I had a big poster of this photo tacked up in my room as a teen. I love the night lighting, the serene glow of Columbia atop her all-white stack, one quiet moment before the onslaught of chaos and fire. It is the deep breath before the plunge, if you will. One of my favorite images from the Space Shuttle Program.
Archives for July 2017
Celebrating the coast-to-coast total solar eclipse next month, the USPS has released a commemorative stamp featuring thermochromic ink. When cool, the stamps show the eclipsed sun (below); when heat is applied, they show the moon (above!) They are beautiful in person, and I highly recommend picking some up (go for the folio. I admit, the framed art is pretty tempting!)
On August 21, 2017, tens of millions of people in the United States will have an opportunity to view a total eclipse of the Sun. A total solar eclipse was last seen on the U.S. mainland in 1979, but only in the Northwest. The eclipse this summer will sweep a narrow path across the entire country—the first time this has happened since 1918. The U.S. Postal Service® anticipates this rare event with a stamp celebrating the majesty of solar eclipses.
The Total Eclipse of the Sun stamp is the first U.S. stamp to use thermochromic ink, which reacts to the heat of your touch. Placing your finger over the black disc on the stamp causes the ink to change from black to clear to reveal an underlying image of the moon. The image reverts back to the black disc once it cools. The back of the stamp pane shows a map of the eclipse path. The stamp uses a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak of a total solar eclipse that was seen over Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. Mr. Espenak also took the photograph of the full moon that is revealed by pressing upon the stamp image. The reverse side of the stamp pane shows the path across the United States of the forthcoming August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse and gives the times that it will appear in some locations.
As if Google Street View wasn’t enough fun already, they’ve taken to entirely new heights with this walkthrough of the International Space Station, using photos taken by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet earlier this year.
There’s an added layer of interactivity: as the Washington Post reports,
Floating through the ISS online, you’ll notice clickable dots with detailed descriptions of the space and its objects to help viewers understand what they’re looking at. Pesquet noted that this is the first time annotations — “helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS” — have been added to Street View imagery.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to zoom around the ISS some more. Happy to find STS-133 on the mission wall!
Feast your eyes on 10,000 photos of the Apollo moon landings, brought to you by the Project Apollo Archive, who gathered the highest resolution images of EVERYTHING and put them on Flickr in 2015. So lovely… so browsable.
PS: Please, kindly, stop believing the moon landings were a hoax. Here’s the best debunking essay I know of.
Welp, another year, and still nobody’s been back to the lunar surface. [sigh]
I hope you guys aren’t sick of Juno photos yet! (Because I’m not going to stop posting them. I’m trying to spread them out; I’ve been sitting on this one for weeks!)
NASA’s Juno spacecraft was racing away from Jupiter following its seventh close pass of the planet when JunoCam snapped this image on May 19, 2017, from about 29,100 miles (46,900 kilometers) above the cloud tops. The spacecraft was over 65.9 degrees south latitude, with a lovely view of the south polar region of the planet.
This image was processed to enhance color differences, showing the amazing variety in Jupiter’s stormy atmosphere. The result is a surreal world of vibrant color, clarity and contrast. Four of the white oval storms known as the “String of Pearls” are visible near the top of the image. Interestingly, one orange-colored storm can be seen at the belt-zone boundary, while other storms are more of a cream color.