Friday, April 25, 2014

Space is kind of photogenic

I just really want to be in outer space right now. Some people want to be sunning themselves on a tropical island or walking along the streets of Paris. I want Star Trek to be real and I'm the official blogger for Starfleet and we're heading to some distant galaxy to seek out new life and find the best nachos. We don't even know how great other planets' nachos are. They could change our lives forever. Don't we have an obligation to search this out? I volunteer for Starfleet's Intergalactic Nacho Exploration Unit, is what I'm saying. Although I'm going to imagine the uniforms to be less of an insult to thighs. How about stretchy pants and hoodies? Maybe a nice muumuu. Oh, who am I kidding. I would wear a mustard yellow turtleneck and skinny jeans (two things I look atrocious in) if it meant going into space.

Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of the Hubble telescope. Let's look at some pretty pictures it took from around the Universe:

M83 Galaxy. Like an octopus at a princess party.
Spiral Galaxy M83

Source: Hubblesite.org

The Small Magellanic Cloud

A jet in the Carina Nebula. Those shots of light coming out of the top are from brand new stars.

The Horsehead Nebula. So pretty!!!!

A galaxy eating another galaxy for breakfast...if breakfast lasted a billion years.

A young star shooting out radiation through the dust belt of a nebula. Kapow!

The Sombrero Galaxy. First stop for space nachos.


And finally, something to really freak you out. The telescope was pointed in a spot that everyone assumed was just a bunch of empty space. And then it sent back this:


Those, space nerds, are thousands of galaxies. With the exception of a few of our own stars (the ones with the spikes) every speck of light you see is a galaxy. A galaxy!! The farthest one we can see here is 9 billion light years away. Which, in scientific terms, is super far. That means we're seeing some of these galaxies as they were 9 billion years ago. The nearest ones are only a few hundred million light years away, which means they're practically close enough to borrow sugar from.

Here, wait, go to this instead to see a really big version of it that you can zoom in and check out the details. I particularly like that cluster up at the top.

In other space news, did you know you can see the International Space Station flying overhead. You sign up here and you'll get an email telling when and where to look. It looks like an airplane but without the blinking. It's very peaceful to watch, just standing outside in the cool night air, waving to the people up there. I have to be on friendly terms with the astronauts because someday I'm going to go hunt space nachos with them.

6 comments:

sarahgurl said...

Do you have Earth-favorite nachos? We really are birthday twins I've been craving nachos for a good 2 Weeks now and after reading this I might just go up the gas station and get some. Don't judge,I live far from real food

Rachel Knecht said...

You will receive no judgement from me. Gas station nachos are magical.

Valerie said...

This is amazing, and also totally freaks me out. Space blows my mind the same amount it makes me want to pretend it doesn't exist. Have you been watching Cosmos?

Tessy said...

This post was awesome! Space and nachos - perfection :)

Rach said...

Space really is beautiful. And WOW, that is a lot of galaxies! Also, I'll join you in the hunt, but I'll be looking for the best hot chocolate.

Empress of Venus said...

This actually made my eyes tingle a bit, looking at the larger photo with all those other galaxies. It's nice to feel very very very very small on a bloated day.

Also "octopus at a princess party" should be your first children's book.