Thursday, 19 November 2009

A Mote of Dust

Photo from NASA
By way of marking my 50th blog post, I thought I would get a little deep.  If anyone out there is reading this, then I guess you,  like me, enjoy the natural world in all its bewildering complexity and beauty, from tiny details of form and behaviour to grand landscapes and skies.  Engrossed in the detail, its easy to forget the universal perspective.
I was stunned into silence a few months ago when I heard, for the first time, a 1994 recording of the late Carl Sagan talking about a photograph taken of Earth by the Voyager spacecraft in 1990 when it was 4 billion miles away on its way out of the solar system.   Having been mesmerised by his Royal Institution Christmas TV lectures in 1977, inspired by his Cosmos tv series and impressed by his writings, I cannot understand how this wonderful piece passed me by. 

If you missed it too, you can listen to it here (just ignore the cheesy Cosmos background music!)

And if you can't spot the earth in the photo above go to the NASA site where there is a higher resolution TIFF format picture.

If you have been, thanks for tuning in



  1. In July 1971 I happened to be on the Greek island of Andros, when the Apollo 15 moon landing took place. What seemed to be most of population of the island was packed into the taverna close to the beach, watching the astronauts cautious steps, all united in wonderment. Afterward, as we all stumbled back out into the sunshine, and after rather a lot of ouzo, all those trees, flowers, birds and butterflies around the island seemed even more vivid. There certainly was no place like home. Whatever else space exloration has done, I think it made everyone a little more philosophical Happy birthday Nyctalus!

  2. Hi Greenfingers and thanks for your continuing blog support.
    A memorable moment oiled by ouzo - doesn't get much better than that. Maybe its time to re-launch that photograph and the Sagan commentary to the next generation. Just before the Copenhagen climate talks perhaps, when all the politicians are posturing and bickering with one another over their 'fraction of a dot'.