I know I posted aurora pictures not long ago, and I know I’ve been somewhat lacking in the silver rockets/fantastical department of late, but trust me: WATCH THE VIDEO. Pictures of aurora are NOTHING compared to WATCHING THE AURORA. Almost too much beauty is packed into two minutes. (I wish I could save this to my hard drive, just so I could watch it on demand, on repeat.)
Archives for March 2011
Would the Rosette Nebula by any other name look as sweet? The bland New General Catalog designation of NGC 2237 doesn’t appear to diminish the appearance of this flowery emission nebula. Inside the nebula lies an open cluster of bright young stars designated NGC 2244. These stars formed about four million years ago from the nebular material and their stellar winds are clearing a hole in the nebula’s center, insulated by a layer of dust and hot gas. Ultraviolet light from the hot cluster stars causes the surrounding nebula to glow. The Rosette Nebula spans about 100 light-years across, lies about 5000 light-years away, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros).
A simple offering for your Tuesday: some terrific promotional artwork for the Space Shuttle program. (Probably from the late 1970s.)
The recent Supermoon was denied to me by a series of overcast nights, so here’s a couple of pictures from elsewhere in the world: Boston above, Athens below.
My friend Jim Cook inspired this post, because it features his beloved SPACE ROCKS. Yessir, you are looking at genuine crawler-track gravel, across which many a spacefaring vehicle has inched! Jim encouraged me to pick up a pebble or two, as they have most definitely been touched by giant vehicles touching space shuttles and rockets. (Sadly I was never anywhere near the crawler track when I visited the launch pad. I probably should have picked up a rock anyway, as they have also most definitely been kissed by rocket exhaust… I AM A FOOL FOR NOT THINKING OF THIS EARLIER.)
I will forevermore be partial to Discovery, but I have to admit, Endeavour is looking lovely in these pictures. Godspeed, STS-134!
Last year I posted a selection of pictures from the abandoned Energiya-Buran assembly facilities and launch fields. I’ve long been fascinated by the Soviet space program — particularly Buran (“snow-storm” in Russian), which had such a vast scope, and yet had only one unmanned flight before cancellation. Now wild dogs live among the dead machinery, grasses slowly break up the concrete, and everything else is rusting in place. It makes me sad.
Sad enough to write a poem about it, in fact.
Lament for Buran
by Danielle Signor
A sleeping giant, left in place
Against the stark horizon stands,
Arms folded, longing to embrace
A rocketship with loving hands.
The future once was vast and near,
All gleaming steel and gantries high.
Such wondrous dreams that foundered here!
They wait, abandoned like the sky.
Now rust devours you — wild dogs pass,
Beneath your silent structures sleep.
The concrete causeway fades to grass,
Forsaken buildings, secrets keep.
Snow-storm, your energy was spent
Before you first drew breath — lament!
All photos © drugoi @ LiveJournal.