Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Get Deep With the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field Image
(NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; & HUDF09 Team
)

The Hubble Space Telescope has had a remarkable impact on space science and humanity. From observations of the outer planets of our solar system to exploring other stars and nebulae in our galaxy, Hubble has been an impressive mission and has produced some of the most incredible images of the cosmos to date. One series of incredible images are the Hubble Deep Field (HDF), the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF), and the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (HXDF).

The picture above shows the HXDF in all of its glory. Released in 2012, this picture shows a smattering of galaxies, something in the range of 5,500 of them, and some of them are as far away as 13.2 billion lightyears (meaning that some of those blobs of colored light in this image sent their shine our way some 13.2 billion years ago!).

Just looking at this image should make one wonder about the immense vastness of our universe and the potential things that may be happening in any of those thousands of galaxies far, far away. Now that have evidence to show that many stars in our galaxy have planets, it makes me wonder about how many worlds are out there in just this one region of space from the HXDF alone. Could there be other inhabited worlds? Are there species of beings out there who are turning their own instruments our way and seeing our light from long ago flashing at them? I'd like to think so. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Earth and our Moon from Voyager 1

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. 
On such a full sea are we now afloat. 
And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures." 

-William Shakespeare



This picture of the Earth and Moon were taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of 7.25 million miles (~11.66 million km). Taken on 18 September 1977 (when I was -6 years old!), this picture as the very first ever taken that showed the Earth and the Moon in one single frame.

Voyager 1 is the most distant piece of human engineering and human exploration. It's fanciful to sit and think sometimes about how far away it really is now. As of the exact time of this writing, Voyager 1 is 20,661,735,297 km from the Earth and still going. The Voyagers and their mission were a hallmark of early space exploration. Now is truly the time for us to work together to take this current of humanity's evolution as a spacefaring species, and find our ventures among the other realms in the cosmic ocean.


(Note: in the picture above, the Moon appears very close to the Earth. However, the Moon is really about as far away from us as 30 times the diameter of the Earth! The picture certainly wasn't taken from equal distances to both Earth and Moon)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stairway to Heaven played skillfully on koto and shakuhachi - a stellar performance

"No stairway. Denied."

...Well not in this awesome video from performers Keiko Hisamoto, Masako Watanabe, Miromu Motonaga, and Kizan Kawamura, where they play two koto (stringed instruments and the national instrument of Japan) and two shakuhachi (Japanese end-blown flutes). 

I can always jam out to some Stairway to Heaven, and this version is definitely incredible and well-performed:



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sit back and let yourself be stunned by this awesome video of Mars imagery


Mars, dune-filled, desert planet. Mars has long held intrigue for many of us. From that red sprinkle of light in the night's sky, evoking gods of war, to the canal-irrigation hypotheses of Percival Lowell that led to some of the earliest alien science fiction, to the several dozen spacecraft that have been launched for Mars (with less than two dozen having been successful), Mars has a special place in the planetary hearts of many of us who are intrigued by the cosmos. 

One of the missions that has been uber successful, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), has the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (or HiRISE), which has taken well over 200,000 pictures of the Martian surface at high resolution. I just came across a sweet video compilation of false-colored images created by Kamil BubeĊ‚a that is definitely worth a watch. The video, called Vivid Mars, is stunning and enticing. I definitely felt the human imperative to get out there and explore a new place when I watched this video. Check it out below (or at Kamil's Youtube page):