The Sun glints off a water world

The Sun glints off a water world

The Sun glints off a water world

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 13 2012 11:00 AM

The Sun glints off a water world

You know what? Our planet is awesome.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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[Click to thalassenate.]

This photo was taken by ESA astronaut André Kuipers, on board the International Space Station. Frustratingly there's no info I could find on when this was taken, or what part of the planet it shows... but then, in a way, maybe that's OK. It's a reminder of how big Earth is, how easy it is to get lost here, and how much of it there's still to explore.

Of course, that glint we see of reflected sunlight can tell us so much. It tells us we live on a world of water, which we already knew. But sometimes we see glints from alien worlds, and that tells us liquid exists there too.

And that tells me to take nothing for granted. Even the simplest thing we see so often can reveal amazing knowledge of things we'd otherwise never see.

Credit: ESA/NASA