Lights of India
This stunning NASA photo has recently resurfaced and is making the rounds online. While speculation about the picture varies, we contacted the NASA media research office and they dug up the original for us with an explanation.
The photo is an overlay of shots highlighting India’s burgeoning population over several years. The white lights were the only illumination visible before 1992. The blue lights appeared in 1992. The green lights in 1998. And the red lights appeared in 2003.
Current speculation suggests the lights are a result of the Hindu celebration Diwali, or the celebration of lights, held from mid-October to mid-November, but NASA was unable to confirm what time of year the shots were taken.
The wonderfully helpful Gwen at NASA says there are no more recent versions available.
- What Does This NASA Photo of India Really Portray? (core77.com)
Powerful words by Carl Sagan
THE PALE BLUE DOT …
If you look carefully at the NASA photo below, you will see a little white dot. This minute speck is Earth seen from the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it exits the solar system, nearly 4 billion miles away. The photo was taken back in 1990.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
COSMIC ART - part 1
A Collection of space images taken by telescopes such as the Hubble, Spitzer and the VLT (Very Large Telescope).
NASA, ESA & ESO
John Serrie - Tingri Maiden
HH: I don’t know if it is just me or all of Vimeo, but I let the video run through while I am doing something else, then play it again and watch it so it is not choppy.
Sun’s Corona - apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1003/corona_druckmuller.jpg