Carl Sagan Day
For some reason, November 6th has been declared Carl Sagan Day, to honor the great communicator of science. I can’t find an explanation for why today was picked; perhaps it was the date of some major achievement in his career.
Last year I believe I posted a passage from his book Pale Blue Dot, a masterpiece of hope for humanity. Sagan always held an optimistic view of our future, a mentality that seems sorely lacking now, fourteen years after his death.
This year I thought I’d post a few videos that capture the same spirit that infused Sagan’s work, capturing both the poetry and majesty of the Cosmos.
The first video is a rather poetic tour of our galaxy and the known universe, showing it in all of its wonder and terrible beauty.
The second is an explanation of perhaps the most important image taken by the Hubble Telescope, generally known as the Hubble Deep Field. Astronomers pointed Hubble at a tiny, empty patch of sky and captured all of the photons coming from that patch of sky for over a week. What resulted was an image of about 7,500 galaxies, some of which were formed a mere 500 million years after the Big Bang, meaning the light we are seeing now has been traveling for 13 billion years to reach us. (For a more in-depth explanation of what NASA did, see this video).
And finally, my favorite passage from Pale Blue Dot, this time narrated by Sagan himself.
One Response to Carl Sagan Day
Thanks, Andrew. Please keep posting these remarkable video clips. It’s essential that we keep in mind the vast scale of the universe and our place in it as temporary inhabitants of Earth. People should listen to those words of Carl Sagan over and over. Maybe the school day here and all over the world should begin with students and teachers listening to those words. Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, then a pledge of stewardship to the Earth and universe. Even animals know that it’s bad to wreck their own nest. Let’s not break the Earth and sky. Maybe we should be building iMax theatres in the Middle East and showing the views of the universe from the Hubble telescope for free 24/7 to try to bring some perspective to the human conflicts.These images are a great antidote for arrogance and absolutism. And throw in some rock and roll films on the big screen. That music helped undermine the totalitarians in the USSR. Send Springsteen to Afghanistan. The freedom of the beat is universal.