Gillian Anderson photographed by Laura Hynd.
You may have seen this photograph (or one like it) floating around your social media feeds in the last week.
It’s the Grand Canyon filled with fog.
Gorgeous. Stunning. All the adjectives we use to describe things like space photos. They make sense here.
But is it real?
It certainly looked to be good to true to my eye.
But lo and behold, these images are real, tweeted out by the National Parks Service’s Grand Canyon team itself. I love when there is a simple answer to a viral photo question.
Read more. [Image: National Parks Service]
[description: photo of Fleetwood Mac, Rumours era]
[description: Gillian Anderson]
The New York Times has created an interactive feature tallying all of the exoplanets discovered by NASA’s Kepler Telescope. You should really check out the link, because theirs is animated, and much bigger, and completely awesome, so go check it out.
Although the Kepler telescope is currently dead in the water thanks to some broken gears (although there may be some hope for a resurrection), scientists continue to sift through its data in order to move exoplanets from the “possible” to the “confirmed” category. As of today, we have a total of 1,049 confirmed exoplanets (and counting), which is a drop in a drop in a drop in the bucket for how many are estimated to be out there. Those confirmed 1,049 represent a mere 0.00000001% of the likely 100 billion planets (or more) in just the Milky Way (which doesn’t even count free-floating rogue planets!)
Assuming we continue to fund future missions, the estimates of total planets will certainly change. And as scientists continue to dig through Kepler’s data the number of confirmed planets will definitely continue to rise. Our next steps will be to directly image them (we still don’t know what these exoplanets look like, despite what artists want you to think) in order to analyze the makeup of their atmospheres and whether they have the right chemistry for life (at least as we know it). That will take new tools, and decades of work.
Thanks to planet-hunting missions like Kepler, we are on the cusp of understanding our place in the universe more clearly than ever before in the history of our species. We may be the only living needle in the haystack of planets, or we may not. That distinction isn’t what makes us special. No … what makes us special is that we can know.
Double Bonus: Find out more about how astrobiologists calculate the odds of extraterrestrial civilizations in this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart: The Odds of Finding Life and Love.
(this is an updated version of a post from earlier this year)
President Obama’s speech today on income inequality was long and eloquent, but if I could boil it down to a one-sentence summary, it would be this:
Large-scale efforts to protect the economy’s neediest have a triumphant history in America.
Jump back a 100 years. Our problems are different—and much worse.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Madeleine Vionnet, 1928
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
I can’t look away.
“Creativity can be seen as a state of natural flow, one that…occurs only in the absence of hope and fear. It is at once naturally joyful, peaceful, compassionate, expansive, and powerful.” —Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Mandala de Hevajra, sous son aspect Buddhakapâla
Vers 1375-1390. Ce mandala représente le dieu tutélaire majeur du bouddhisme ésotérique., figuré au centre en posture de danse..
Collection Lionel Fournier.
Détrempe, peinture sur toile
Sud du Tibet
Section Tibet du musée Guimet
(C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée Guimet, Paris) / Thierry Ollivier