Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pics In Space--The New Batch

Yay, they're back!! Settle in for a minute or two, and get ready to wander with me into the great beyond, as we take our monthly pictorial tour of the universe. There's something new this month, and the most triumphantly geeky among us will have the opportunity to get out those 3-D glasses they've been saving ever since the last hometown 3-D sci fi festival. I think they're in the closet under the stairs, next to the mint condition Return of the Jedi action figures, aren't they? Alas, despite my official geek status, I am not actually geek enough to have any lying around the house, although they would come in handy to view the image Greg Piepol created to depict the recent transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun, on November 8th. According to MSNBC, he combined solar imagery from the Japanese Hinode probe with a planet image taken from NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft. Seeing the picture made me wish I had the glasses, because I'm sure it's pretty cool, but, oh well, there are plenty of other fun pics to keep me happy this month.

I seem to be most partial to the galaxy, supernova and nebula photos in this batch. The glowing swirls of color and flashes of brilliant light are perfect for this season of the year, like a really impressive Christmas light display that God set in the sky just to make us happy. (I don't know if I've mentioned how much I love Christmas lights, but they're right up there with snow and fireworks in my catalog of favorite things.) Anyway, since the bright and shiny photos are turning my crank this time around, my best-of-the-bunch votes go to numbers 1, 11, and 16. Number 14, however, gets an honorable mention, because it's just plain cool--it's a photo of the Alaskan coast, complete with deep green waters, snow-covered glaciers and a glacial dust storm. There are other interesting pictures of Martian landscapes, the eye of a Saturnian storm, an assorted variety of moons, and other astronomical features of note. All are worthy of an appreciative gaze, but they are all fairly monotone. I don't know why, but I'm drawn to the colorful ones this time around. Maybe it's because we're heading into the drab, grey winter months. Maybe it's because I've been decorating for the holidays this week. Maybe it's because the sparkly ones are so darn pretty. I probably don't need a reason, huh?

Anybody else got a favorite this time around?