“There’s no place like home…”

I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  Nor is it the only stunning image the probe has provided.  But, as those involved pointed out “We can’t see individual continents or people in this …

Read more…

Voyager: “We are approaching the solar system’s final frontier”

Here’s a short informative video from Science at Nasa on the indications that Voyager 1 is about to enter into the vastness of interstellar space.  (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Space, remember, is very very big. And on that note, because I can, here again is some wondrous time-lapse video of the night-sky above the ESO Very Large Telescope array [VLT], in Chile, from NikoBustos. [Video credit: ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)] Or even this [Video credit: ESO/S. Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard) ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)] And, of course, the Milky …

Read more…

“A billion stars revealed”

A stunning image was unveiled last week at the UK-Germany National Astronomy Meeting NAM2012 in Manchester. [All images courtesy of Mike Read (WFAU), UKIDSS/GPS and VVV] The BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, helpfully provides this combination image, with a partial zoom-in on the Galactic center. But to really appreciate the scale and detail of the image you need to use the online interactive viewer here. From the University of Edinburgh press release Astronomers have today released a picture containing more than one billion …

Read more…

“Look again at that dot.”

As Curiosity heads to Mars, and Voyager continues to go boldly further than ever, the BBC reports on some speculative assessments of potentially habitable locations elsewhere in the galaxy.  A timely reminder, then, from the Guardian’s GrrlScientist of our pale blue dot in this short video tribute to Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space [1997: Amazon UK; Amazon US]. From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any …

Read more…

Voyager: “It’s bubbly out there.”

The Guardian’s GrrlScientist picked up on the 30-something Voyager probes’ latest scientific discovery on humanity’s farthest journey.  New view of the heliosheath. Red and blue spirals are the gracefully curving magnetic field lines of orthodox models. New data from Voyager add a magnetic froth to the mix. Image: NASA Here’s the YouTube version of the ScienceatNasa video posted at the Guardian. And if that explanation was a little too pink and fluffy for you, try this different version of the same …

Read more…

Voyager: Humanity’s Farthest Journey

While waiting for Endeavour’s final voyage, you can catch up, metaphorically, with the ongoing scientific odyssey of those other still-nimble Voyagers as they head towards the vastness of interstellar space.  ( Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) NasaTV has Thursday’s special science presentation on the mission with a panel of the Voyager team – including Ed Stone, who’s been there since 1972, and Ann Druyan, creative director of the group, led by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, who put together the Golden Record both Voyagers carry. …

Read more…

“you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s…”

With Cassini exploring Saturn’s moons, and Messenger finally at Mercury, the BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, takes an interesting look at the future prospects for interstellar travel.  And he starts with this observation of Voyager’s 33-year-long journey. I’ve been troubled of late by the scale of things, by the vastness of space. It’s been brought into focus by two things, I think. The first is the Voyager 1 probe – the most distant man-made object from Earth. I’ve written a couple of …

Read more…