Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NASA Month: Inspiration in the Stars & Hubble Telescope

All this month, I'm NASA! This means every weekday in March will feature a new post about NASA, and I'm hosting a giant giveaway in order to encourage people to spread the NASA love. For more information on the giveaway, check out this post.

Inspiration in the Stars

I have always found the stars to be particularly inspiring. There's something about them that reminds me of hope. Perhaps it's because they seem so stable. They're always there. Unreachable, yes, inscrutable and a bit alarming--but there

For all my childhood, the stars were dots in the sky. They got a little closer when I got older--but I think I didn't grasp the full weight of them until the Hubble Telescope, developed by--you guessed it--NASA. 

The Hubble Telescope is a space telescope--it is literally in space, recording images sent back to Earth. In orbit around our home planet, Hubble was actually delayed by yesterday's topic, the Challenger destruction. It launched in 1990, and incorporates an amazing array of technology, lens, and more. (Source and more info.)

But while Hubble might be well-known for its lens, or its costs (estimated up to $10 billion to date), what it's really famous for is its pictures of stars, galaxies, and the wonders of the universe:

The Butterfly Nebula 
Star cluster Pismis 24 with nebula
Hubble image of dust lanes in
the elliptical galaxy 
Centaurus A
Of course, Hubble gave us more than close-ups of the births and deaths of stars. It showed us things about planets we never knew before. 

The Southern Aurora Borealis on Saturn.
Imagine the Aurora Borealis you can see in our own
Arctic Circle...but on Saturn.
But what I find the most awe-inspiring is the Deep Field photographs. Take a look at the photo below. 

Those dots? They're galaxies. Not stars. Not planets. Galaxies. Go outside. The stars you see (for the most part) are from our galaxy, the Milky Way. Those little dots in the picture above are all different galaxies. All the stars you see in our night sky--an uncountable number. There are as many--or more--stars in each of those galaxies. And each of those stars in each of those galaxies have the potential for planets...our solar system has eight(ish, depending on your status with Pluto). The universe is mind-boggling huge, and Hubble has captured that here is a way much greater than we've ever been able to comprehend before.  

If you ever wonder how small you are, there you go. 

(Want more eye candy? Click here.)

(Images and some captions via Wikipedia)


This post is a part of the month-long celebration of NASA I'm hosting on my blog. In order to encourage people to celebrate NASA, I'm also hosting a giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive all the books in the recent Breathless Reads tour, as well as ARCs of two anthologies and a signed Breathless Reads poster:

As well as swag from NASA, courtesy of Kate @ Ex Libris:

To celebrate NASA creatively: you could blog about why you like NASA, you could reach out to an astronaut for an interview, you could make space fan art, you could sing a song about NASA, you do a vlog, you make a list of all the ways NASA rocks...any of this counts! Just celebrate NASA in some awesome way, post it online, and include the link in the Rafflecopter. I even set that part of the entry open for multiple entries, so you could blog and vlog and Facebook and tumblr and Pinterest about NASA and they all count. The only requirements: post a link back to this contest, and put the full URL of the site in the Rafflecopter. Full details here.

To enter: be sure to read the full rules and terms of the contest here. Then fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bonnie said...

Ok, this is awesome. And this works out great because my current WIP is a sci/fi. can I set up an astronaut interview! Hmmm...

OOO - Or maybe Mohawk guy from the Mars Rover.

*puts on thinking cap*

Unknown said...

Yes, Pluto is a planet. Just sayin'.

And oh, Hubble, how I shall miss you, now that they are going on to make "bigger" and "better" and "newer" space telescopes. Hubble is the WIN.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I super love your NASA month! As a librarian who also got her bachelor's in astronomy, anything space-related still gets my little heart going. Hubble really was ahead of its time, wasn't it?