“I do know that kind fate allowed me to find a couple of nice ideas after many years of feverish labor,” Einstein (at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1940) once wrote to a fellow physicist.
New York City’s Skyline Over a Century
Photo credit: tier1dc.blogspot.com
Last Launch: Dan Winters and the Shuttle Program
Albert Einstein Being Super Chill
Manuscripts from Historical Icons
1. Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
2. An Alexander Graham Bell Doodle
Space and Time
The White Marble
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP
In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took possibly the most famous picture of the Earth from space, which was dubbed “The Blue Marble.” Since then, NASA has released many gorgeous images of our planet stitched together from satellite views. Usually, however, these Blue Marble images focus on the western or eastern hemisphere.
Not so this image, hereby dubbed “The White Marble.” Using images from the Suomi NPP satellite, NASA put together this image of Earth from the top down. The icy Arctic appears amidst swirls of clouds, with Europe, Asia and northern Africa visible toward Earth’s midsection.
A. Piccard, E. Henriot, P. Ehrenfest, Ed. Herzen, Th. De Donder, E. Schrödinger, J.E. Verschaffelt, W. Pauli, W. Heisenberg, R.H. Fowler, L. Brillouin;
P. Debye, M. Knudsen, W.L. Bragg, H.A. Kramers, P.A.M. Dirac, A.H. Compton, L. de Broglie, M. Born, N. Bohr;
I. Langmuir, M. Planck, M. Curie, H.A. Lorentz, A. Einstein, P. Langevin, Ch. E. Guye, C.T.R. Wilson, O.W. Richardson
Watch a video of the transit of Venus. From 1882.
Today is your last chance to watch Venus cross the face of the Sun before 2117, so don’t miss it. The event occurs so infrequently that the last transit, prior to the one in 2004, occurred all the way back in 1882.
Until relatively recently, the most common way of capturing snapshots the sky was by means of glass, photographic plates. In 1882, astronomer David Peck Todd used a series of these plates to capture the transit of Venus. Over a century later, astronomers Anthony Misch and Bill Sheehan recovered these long-forgotten plates from storage, and combined them to form the video below, reanimating what they call “a moving record of an event seen by no one now living, and a preview of what millions” will soon see for the last time in their lives:
Ghosts of Milky Way’s Powerful Past Revealed
In the image: This artist’s conception shows an edge-on view of the Milky Way galaxy. Newly discovered gamma-ray jets (pink) extend for 27,000 light-years above and below the galactic plane, and are tilted at an angle of 15 degrees. Previously known gamma-ray bubbles are shown in purple. The bubbles and jets suggest that our galactic center was much more active in the past than it is today.
Today the Milky Way Galaxy is a relatively quiet place. Our galaxy has grown up, and intense activity seen in other galaxies is a thing of our past. But scientists have long assumed the past was more hectic. A new study finds ghosts of past activity in the form of twin jets spat into space from the Milky Way’s central black hole.
Unlike our quiescent galaxy, active galaxies have cores that glow brightly, powered by supermassive black holes swallowing material and exciting the gas and dust around them to grow brightly in many wavelengths, from visible light to X-rays and gamma rays. Active galaxies also often shoot twin jets in opposite directions — beams of material thought to be directed by intense magnetic energy.
The new evidence of ghostly gamma-ray beams suggests that the Milky Way’s central black hole was much more active in the past.
“These faint jets are a ghost or after-image of what existed a million years ago,” said Meng Su, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), and lead author of a new paper in the Astrophysical Journal. “They strengthen the case for an active galactic nucleus in the Milky Way’s relatively recent past.”
1. This is an example of a beautiful picture of Saturn taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1980. As you can see, the quality has improved significantly over the image captured by Pioneer 11. Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 made quick flybys of Saturn and then sped off into space. When Voyager 1 completed its flyby of Saturn, it sped off into the depths of space, while Voyager 2 went on to visit Uranus and Neptune as part of its Grand Tour of the Solar System.
2. It’s not the best picture, but you’re looking at one of the first ever images of Saturn captured up close by NASA’s Pioneer 11. During its mission, Pioneer 11 passed just 20,000 km above the cloud tops of Saturn, and captured the first close-up images of Saturn.
Voyager and Cassini
1. Jupiter Portrait
Here’s a spectacular photo of Jupiter taken by the narrow angle camera flying onboard the NASA’s Cassini space craft. Jupiter is one of the four gas giants in the solar system.
2. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Region