Earth Suspended in a Sunbeam

As 2015 wraps up, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes and perspectives, from none other than Carl Sagan, arguably the greatest science communicator in history. “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love,...

15 Years of ISS Astronauts

It has been 15 years since November 2nd, 2000, when Astronauts first occupied the International Space Station.  Since then, it has been inhabited continuously by a team of up to six people.  220 citizens of Earth from 17 nations have flown with $100 Billion station over many 45 minute orbits of our planet. The men and women who have spent time aboard the station have had a view of our world that so many people have never experienced.  Seeing the planet as a planet, one of countless other worlds in a dark empty void dotted by stars, it changes your perspective on...

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Universe!

First of all, in case you didn’t know, according to a few sources, today is not just Valentine’s day, but also: Impotence Day, Condom day, Singles Awareness Day, Ferris Wheel Day, Congenital Heart Disease Day, and Pet Theft Awareness Day. And on to the Astronomy!  A classic favourite would be the Heart Nebula. Located 7,500 light years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, this heart-shaped HII emission nebula is located along the plane of the Milky Way galaxy.  HII regions like this one are used to probe the massive star formation in a galaxy.  This is because massive O and B...

4.3 Gigabytes and 100 Million Stars in a Single image – Andromeda

When I became a Masters student, a big part of the reason I liked the supervisor I had was that she studied M31: The Andromeda Galaxy.  Since I was young I was obsessed with finding this galaxy in a telescope, and I will never forget when I first found it, seeing photons that had travelled for 2.5 Million years through space, it was my first ever experience with time travel. So its natural that I am excited about a recent Hubble release of the highest resolution photo of the Andromeda Galaxy Ever taken.  Let’s start with a standard shot of...