Day 272 – Into the Universe

94 – Top 100 Hubble Images

The Ring Nebula

Sadly, unless we discover a way to travel faster than light, there are many places in the universe we’ll never be. That doesn’t often weigh on the mind, except when viewing spectacular images from the space telescope.

There is a reason Cosmos is a great show to watch.
There is a reason Star Trek is a great show to watch; it is a way to imagine what all those other places might look like if we weren’t constrained by physics.

IRAS 20324+4057

Even if our imagination limits us to a universe populated with bipedal aliens.

The Pillars of Creation

I would have written a longer post… but I spent all my writing-time day-dreaming looking at pictures.

The Eagle Nebula

Day 252 – Cosmos!

No, not that one.
I’m saving that for later… I think.

Cosmos
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

I bought the DVD box set of the original 1980’s show in which Carl Sagan takes a journey through the cosmos. Reading descriptions of this show on websites had made me want to buy it many times in the past… and I never quite did.

I have so far only seen the first episode.
It’s definitely a show of the 80s.

There is the ubiquitous synthesizer music in the background (Vangelis). There is CGI that is both remarkably dated, yet remarkably good for its time. And there are the interspersed people shots with the ridiculous glasses and hairdos and clothing.

And yet…

…none of that seems to matter once you get caught up in Sagan’s flowing monologue. He most definitely has a way with words. And although the CGI available at the time must have been limiting, the way some of the shots are set up are very cleverly done. Especially the cosmic calendar at the end of the first episode gets used very effectively to convey a sense of scale about the age of the universe and our civilizations’ miniscule foothold on the end of the last minutes of the last day.

Scale is often the hardest part of science.

Some of the numbers science comes up with are just too hard to grasp purely intellectually.
The age of the universe.
The distance between the galaxies.
The size of an atom.
The energy contained within an atom.

Even something as intuitively relate-able as a cloud is so much more immense and overwhelming once you fly through it on a plane. And that’s the really easy stuff. Our human minds are just wired with too over-inflated a sense of our own significance.

I can’t wait for episodes 2-13.
And then to do it all over again with Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm.
Although I could already hear him in the back of my head when Carl called Pluto a planet.