Posts tagged: a still more glorious dawn
Imagine how it would look if the Orion nebula is only four light years away - the distance the nearest star is to us, instead of 1,300 light years. It would be so bright that we wouldn’t be aware of the dark sky. We wouldn’t see other stars. The whole world would be the Orion nebula and the sun.
Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home.
NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.
It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute.
But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.
Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]
Laniakea: Our home supercluster
I took a photo every 2 minutes over the span of about 2 hours at a 20 second exposure and animated it all together! This 2 second loop was the result!
Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
holy fuck you can actually see how the earth turns by paying attention to the stars
this fucks me the fuck up
i’m into really low commitment hangouts like lying on the floor near each other or falling asleep together or falling into an endless void together
Making out with a person for the first time is the coolest thing and the second coolest thing is driving home and getting aware of all the parts of your face where they were and tasting their lip balm on your lips. The third coolest thing is outer space.
#pirates of the caribbean was kind of a formative influence #so here’s the thing #after years of chasing curses and hearts and fountains; losing the pearl and winning her back and losing her again #after rum enough to drown his sins and sorrows both#captain jack sparrow wakes up one morning and he’s immortal #just like that #no deals with calypso (he hasn’t been able to find her since the brethren court broke her chains) no desperate double-dealing #one morning he just…stops #stops aging stops dying #he gets the seas forever—except #except #the edges of the map are closing in #the lure of undiscovered treasures is waning and merchant ships are becoming better defended #the day that the East India Company takes Shipwreck Island; Jack feels a great chapter in the world’s history close #(he flees to the Barbary coast with the rest of his ilk; but the romance has gone out of it—the is too much desperation #too much hunger too much blood to it nowadays #the age of the swashbuckler won’t live out the decade) #I imagine this thing he’s chased all his life would crumble through his hands as he bounced from ship to ship #he never gets used to the square rigging on the clippers; though they lead to some good work running tea from china #but the first time he sees a steamship he nearly walks off the dock out of shock #of all the ways sailing would have changed; who thought you’d get rid of the /sails/ #(he swears he’s never getting on one of those monstrosities; let alone sailing on one) #(he manages to hold out until 1893 when the longing for the sea overwhelms him and he decides that even #that ghastly smog and the humming of the engines can be endured) #sometimes he’ll see calypso out of the corner of his eye—leaning on the deck railing; darting alongside the ship with the dolphins #(someone in the early 20th century tells him they’re not fish and he nearly busts a gut laughing) #he wears a hundred names and a hundred looks; cuts his hair short or grows it long #calls himself american; spanish; english (british); caribbean #he has two dozen different copies of Stevenson’s Treasure Island—it reminds him of something gone and half-forgotten #and in 1920 when Seitz comes out with Pirate Gold; Captain Jack Sparrow is in the first row (x)
And then in the future, everything changes. He’s been through it all, of course-watched humanity rediscover the heavens above them, watched them begin to wonder what’s out there. He cheered with the rest of the world when they landed on the moon, cheered as if he’d found Isla de la Muerta all over again, because there was something new. New treasure, a new horizon. But then they stop going, stop exploring, and he goes back to riding tankers across the rising seas. So he’s surprised when one day he wakes up from a night with his bottle of rum (his truest companion), and hears that there’s colonies on Mars now, and they need ships to supply them. He spends the next decade crafting new identities, learning all he can to qualify for the job, and after several tries (and even more faked deaths-this immortality thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the age of the inerasable digital self) he gets it. The ships go nearly constantly now, the needs of the terraforming project creating an unbroken line of vessels from Mars to Earth and back again. “Show me that horizon,” he whispers to himself, his personal prayer of thanksgiving, each time they leave orbit, because the worlds, the stars are in motion and it’s never the same, with nearly three years for a round trip the ports are always different, even if they keep the old names. And finally one trip something goes wrong with the reactor, they’re too low on power and have to deploy the backups, and Jack (Lucky Jack, they call him, for he survives too many things he shouldn’t but science has yet to accept that maybe some things weren’t old wives’ tales after all) goes out for the spacewalk to bring up the solar panels. And as they rise, geometric patterns black against the sun’s glare, he’s struck by a powerful sense of déjà vu, because it’s all here-wind and sails, a ship beneath his feet and stars above his head, horizon in all directions. He wonders, for a moment, if the reason he’s still here is because the universe wanted a witness, to mourn the end of one age of exploration, and rejoice in the birth of the next.
Thank you for writing this. It made me cry, but oh I am so relieved to see the yearning for the stars.
That shouldn’t have given me as many feels as it did…
This gave me chills like twice
Reid Wiseman is a national treasure.
Russian cosmonauts have discovered something remarkable clinging to the outside of the International Space Station: living organisms.
yooooOOOOOOY OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HERE WE GO THERE IT IS HERE WE GOOOO IT ALL BEGINS HERE ITS HERE THIS IS IT THIS IS THE BEGINNING BRING ON MY MASS EFFECT FUTURE
I feel I should clarify: they found sea plankton on the hull of the space station. it might not be alien life but it’s still incredibly exciting and inexplicable