Posts Tagged ‘NASA Photography’

The world’s largest signature

August 8, 2020

In the late 1990s, a Texas farmer named Jimmy Luecke cleared out some grazing land, but decided to leave enough trees standing to spell out his name in giant letters.  His signature is three miles across.  Today astronauts about the Space Shuttle use the signature as a means of checking the resolution of satellite imagery.


How the World’s Largest Signature Is Used by NASA to Analyze Satellite Imagery by Spooky for Oddity Central.

The world at night

September 27, 2015


Source: Louder Than Words via Random Fandom.

I hope the lights stay on.

Looking at the sun

April 28, 2013

The video shows three years of time lapse photos of the Sun, taken at the rate of two a day by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, at a time in the solar flare cycle when flare activity is at its height.

In this video, the Sun looks like it is alive.  But the apparent pulsation is due to variations in the position of the SDO as it orbits the Earth while the Earth orbits the Sun.  Each of the flickers is a solar flare discharging orders of magnitude more energy than all the atomic bomb explosions in history.

Click on NASA – Three Years of SDO Images for background.

Hat tip to

A storm on the face of the sun

March 3, 2013

About a minute into this video, you see a little image of the earth drawn to scale, which is dwarfed by the immensity of the solar flare.   It shows the vastness, the beauty and the wonder of the universe.   But I won’t say the power and size of the solar flare makes me feel insignificant as a human being, because we on our little blue marble of a planet have consciousness and intelligence, which the solar flare does not.   As the 17th century Catholic philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote—

Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.  The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him.  A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him.  But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.

All our dignity then, consists in thought.  By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill.  Let us endeavor then, to think well; this is the principle of morality

The ocean in motion

May 24, 2012

This time-lapse video showing the world’s ocean currents was created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  You can see the Gulf Stream and all the other major ocean currents.   The oceans cover three-quarters of our planet, and their dynamics are worth a look.

It makes me think about the days when sailors crossed the oceans with nothing but wind and currents to move their ships.  You can see the route that Columbus must have taken.  You can see the Triangular Trade of trade goods from New England to west Africa, slaves from west Africa to the West Indies and rum back to New England.   You can see the routes by which Thor Heyerdahl thought Polynesia might have been settled from South America.   In our age of aviation and fuel-powered ships, humans no longer depend on these currents for travel, but they still shape our weather and climate.

Click on NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio for more visualizations.

Click on Perpetual Ocean for technical details about how the video was made.

Hat tip to Boing Boing.