Saturday, November 6, 2010

SS - Globs of Atoms in Space

When I was 8 years old, my parents surprised me by sticking glow-in-the-dark stickers of stars and planets on the ceiling of my room, because I was absolutely obsessed with the cosmos.  I never truly got over that obsession, and now, I drink up articles and programs such as 'Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking'  like coffee.  (Remembering them is a different issue...)

Today's 'Sunday Snap' is a visual and infrared mapping spectrometric image of my favourite planet, Saturn, taken by the Cassini Orbiter.

I took this image from NASA's photojournalThis is the image's catalog page!  Isn't it just beautiful?

As a bonus, I'll add NASA's Oct 7, 2010 Image of the Day:

From the gallery: On Oct. 7, 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, observed its first lunar transit when the new moon passed directly between the spacecraft (in its geosynchronous orbit) and the sun. With SDO watching the sun in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, the dark moon created a partial eclipse of the sun.

Simply phenomenal!

A quote by Richard Feynman comes to mind:
"Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars — mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is "mere". I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination — stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern — of which I am a part... What is the pattern or the meaning or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?"

How true!

And now, a confession:
I feel obliged to tell you that I, a 24 year old, currently have a packet of glow-in-the-dark star stickers sitting unopened on a bookshelf, that I will open very, very soon.  And I swear that one day I will be in possession of this projector!   All I need, now, is to build myself a spaceship.

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