Inspiration in the Stars(Images and some captions via Wikipedia)
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.)
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 enter: be sure to read the full rules and terms of the contest here. Then fill out the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway