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Happy Carl Sagan Day!
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The news these days is filled with polarization, with hate, with fear, with ignorance. But while these feelings are a part of us, and always will be, they neither dominate nor define us. Not if we don’t let them. When we reach, when we explore, when we’re curious – that’s when we’re at our best. We can learn about the world around us, the Universe around us. It doesn’t divide us, or separate us, or create artificial and wholly made-up barriers between us. As we saw on Twitter, at New York Times Square where hundreds of people watched the landing live, and all over the world: science and exploration bind us together. Science makes the world a better place, and it makes us better people.
It’s what we can do, and what we must do.
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Kristin and I were fortunate enough to catch a sensational performance by the National Symphony Orchestra last night at Wolf Trap. Their show was called “The Planets - an HD Odyssey”, which included a stunning visual tour of NASA’s Curiosity rover’s journey to the Red Planet (it arrives the evening of August 5th!), followed by a visit to each planet, each with a complimentary musical theme. Seen here is Curiosity’s simulated descent, dubbed “Seven minutes of terror” by NASA.
There was a 75% chance of thunderstorms and a severe thunderstorm warning in effect last night. Fortunately we were only sprinkled upon and just prior to the show, the clouds broke, allowing the setting Sun behind us to produce the most brilliant double rainbow I have ever seen. The bows sat directly atop the theater for a about 30 minutes. It was marvelous.
Image Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers
Source: Flickr / nasahqphoto
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LIVE high-res SDO image of the Venus transit (updated every 15 min.)
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Watch now (last chance in your lifetime)
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A. You’re atop the Statue of Freedom.
B. You’re taking pictures from atop the Statue of Freedom.
C. You’re taking pictures of Space Shuttle Discovery being transported by the SCA from atop the Statue of Freedom.
HOW DO YOU ARRANGE THAT?
Photo Credit: NASA / Rebecca Roth
Source: Flickr / gsfc
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Discovery Departing Florida by Ben Cooper
Source: Flickr / bpcooper
What landscape photos would look like if the Earth had Saturn-like rings. Absolutely beautiful.
(And from space!)
Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
When you take something great, like the musings of the mind of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and combine it with something else great, like stunning images of life and wonder on and off of Earth … you get this.
It’s the sort of video that makes you prop your chin up in your hand, with your head tilted just so (yeah, like that), as you stare at your computer screen mumbling things like “Ahhh“ and “Wooahh” and other unintelligible noises that mean “I approve of this, and it makes me feel good.”
Watch it once, then twice, then with a friend.
Alright, that’s pretty cool.
Have you ever wondered what a hypothetical alien civilization, capable of radio astronomy, might think of us? Well, that depends on how close this hypothetical civilization is. Here’s what these hypothetical civilizations, inhabiting the nearest stars may have seen of our television and radio culture
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All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
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