Sunday, January 11, 2009
Pale Blue Dot
First off, the perigee moon that I expected not to see last night because of our cloud cover and 36 STRAIGHT HOURS OF SNOW. Twitter is great, first I met ad men, now I'm meeting astronomers. I asked Tavi Greiner--whose new website I have as a link on the left--to send a photo from Houston with a stick figure of me looking at it, but she did one better, putting my photo in the window. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN posted the version of the photo without me in it, otherwise on might think the moon was rising over an asylum. I did see the moon after all, when I took my border collie out at 2:30 AM, the snow had stopped an I could see the moon behind the clouds. Two years back, when I was working until 2 AM at the printing plant (the parking lot led to the woods which led to the Cal Sag Channel), I saw a deer at the edge of the tree line under a full moon. I'll always remember that instant.
OK, now. The Pale Blue Dot. This photo is from Astronomy Photo of The Day (APOD), the sun behind Saturn courtesy of the Cassini spacecraft. At the edge of the ring on the upper left, Carl Sagan's "pale blue dot," the Earth. Sagan had a wonderful quote that Sid Williams emailed me after 9/11 and I saw it again today when I hit one of the links on the APOD site. Here goes:
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.
Puts everything into perspective, you know. We aren't going anyplace for awhile, if we don't go all Planet of The Apes or Soylent Green first. I may post about Earth-14 or Earth-22 (don't get me started that Marvel has about 60,000 multiversal Earths, with DC sticking with 52 for now, and yes, Bob, Mort Weisinger was the idiot savant of National Periodicals, DC's old name.) But I'm here with all you guys, friends, fans, foes, FoxNews=fatalism, Frank Miller, Finger Alley, and I have no idea why I'm stuck on the F's unless I'm maybe leading up to Full Throttle & Fuck It, which is the title of Steve Malley's blog. Yea, 6.2 billion people in a pretty small place. Carl Sagan was one cool cat.