16 April 2008


this is too stunning not to share. each day i check one of NASA's websites for their astronomy picture of the day. today's image featured a nighttime shot of lenticular clouds shrouding the san francisco peaks north of flagstaff, arizona, with an unimaginably rich and detailed milky way as backdrop. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ (to find this particular image, click on "calendar" at the page bottom, then on today's date, april 16, 2008.)

when i grew up in north central montana in the 50s and 60s, such skies were the norm. there was no such thing as light pollution back then, at least not out on the prairie. i have vivid memories of looking up and seeing tens of thousands of stars, both clustered in the milky way and scattered across the rest of the sky. not to mention the northern lights!

this website includes images from space, as well as those taken on earth. i encourage everyone to send the URL to your desktop, and check each new day's image for a moment of beauty and inspiration. you can browse as far back as june 1995.

NASA maintains a number of excellent websites, including satellite tracking http://science.nasa.gov/realtime/ , solar images http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/ , and many others found on their home page http://www.nasa.gov/ . in my never-to-be-humble opinion, NASA has done wonders with their meager budget, which ought to be a hundred times its current allocation. as should be the budgets for NEA, the national endowment for the arts, public radio and television, education and health care. and yes, i'm a stark raving liberal, and proud of it. it's past time that we drag ourselves out of the primordial ooze of conservative nonthink, and join other developed nations in the 21st century.

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