I rewrote the Common Themes About section earlier this week. While conversing with my best friend and my husband about that day’s post, my reasons for posting it, and posting things here in general, I finally and fully understood this site’s mission statement, which is:
From the dawn of the Space Age to the present moment, spaceflight has a profound influence on culture. Images of space and space exploration inspire awe and enthusiasm in each generation, and over time they percolate into our everyday lives and society as a whole. From stylized hints in industrial design to literal interpretations, from the mundane to the obscure, spaceflight is all around us.
Common Themes explores the influence of spaceflight and space exploration — also astronomy and science fiction — on aspects of human civilization and culture.
I knew when I first thought up this blog that space and spaceflight have a considerable, even profound influence on our culture; in the United States and around the world, objects, designs and works of art influenced by space/spaceflight pop up regularly. I never really made the connection of why that was.
It’s because space and spaceflight are awe-inspiring.
We may not want to pay for it when voting time comes around, but here in the US, public support for the space program is startlingly high and strangely consistent. You can’t help but feel… something… when you look at an image of a far-off galaxy, when you see video footage of the Space Shuttle launching, when you look up at the Moon. It stirs something within each of us. I believe it’s different for everyone, but that internal lurch is why I post here. It certainly does something to me!
I will be posting some amazing images of space and spaceflight, with the intent to inspire awe. The space-themed things I feature on Common Themes come from that feeling you get when you look at these images. If they didn’t strike someone with awe, sometime, nobody would paint the Moon, or work spiral galaxies into jewelry, or print thousands of variations of comics with stylized rockets, daring astronauts and buxom space beauties
Nothing I reproduce here would EXIST without that awe and inspiration.
Regular post series will continue as usual; I’m simply augmenting them with some larger perspective. I hope you enjoy them! To kick things off, this image was featured on June 22 (much larger version of this image available there for download.)
Big, beautiful, barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300 lies some 70 million light-years away on the banks of the constellation Eridanus. This Hubble Space Telescope composite view of the gorgeous island universe is one of the largest Hubble images ever made of a complete galaxy. NGC 1300 spans over 100,000 light-years and the Hubble image reveals striking details of the galaxy’s dominant central bar and majestic spiral arms. In fact, on close inspection the nucleus of this classic barred spiral itself shows a remarkable region of spiral structure about 3,000 light-years across. Unlike other spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, NGC 1300 is not presently known to have a massive central black hole.