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.