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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

Sure... every time you look at your passenger-side rear view mirror, you see that message... but do you believe it? Well, imagine you are 'driving' the space shuttle Atlantis coupled to the International Space Station on May 22, 2010... you just happen to glance at that rear view mirror... if it had one of those, and... WOW!

Actually, that IS what you are looking at--the actual image, not faked or photoshopped, as viewed from earth by award-winning photographer-supreme, Thierry Legault of Paris. The ISS/space shuttle Atlantis, in orbit 242 miles above the earth, traveling at 16,500 mph, is shown here as it crosses in front of the Sun. Legault's interest and fascination with earth subjects, planets and space are a real treat. Just getting this photo, as he explains, is far more complex than you could imagine. I thank him for permission to use this eye-grabber and urge you to treat yourself to a look at some incredible images at astrophoto.fr

I have been hooked on this stuff and the enormity of it all for a long time. How can our universe be so big that it is beyond comprehension. (I caught a fish once that was 6 billion light years long-- see what I mean? Totally unbelievable.)

If you think that is impressive, know that there are more than 100 billion billion (that is not a typo) stars, and our sun (that big orange thing in the rear view mirror) is just a pip-squeak. Check this out and stand back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEheh1BH34Q

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