Friday, 11 May 2007

Pale Blue Dot

In an idle moment, I clicked on the Stumbleupon button and found myself at this site (do click through), showing the relative size of the planets in our solar system and some of the stars. I love illustrations like this. I know how small the earth is compared to other heavenly bodies, but it never fails to inspire wonder when I see a direct comparison. They've got a similar, but more amazing, 3-D exhibition of the Scales of the Universe at the Rose Center in New York; if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend a visit.

This also reminds me of the Pale Blue Dot picture and narrative, concerning a photo of Earth taken from 4 billion miles away . Money quote:
We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you've ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Awe inspiring stuff, eh?! Puts a lot of things in context, and well worth reading the rest if you have the time.

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