What’s the Last Thing The Doctor Sees Before Landing the TARDIS?

The entire universe in blog form
Jan. 11 2013 12:34 PM

Geronimo! Allons-y! Fantastic!

I’ve often wondered: When The Doctor watches the screens on the central console of the TARDIS, what does he see right before landing on Earth?

If I had to guess, I’d say THIS:

Envisat view of Great Britian, Ireland, and France from March 2012
Envisat view of Ireland, Great Britain, and France from March 28, 2012. Unusual for the region, it was entirely cloudless.

Image credit: ESA

Advertisement

[Click to enraxacoricofallapatorianate.]

That’s the view of Great Britain, Ireland, and the north of France as seen by Envisat, an Earth-observing satellite. That area is very rarely entirely cloud-free, but on Mar. 28, 2012 this is how it looked from nearly 800 kilometers (490 miles) above the Earth’s surface. The view is astonishing, but I am particularly drawn to the wash of sediment from rivers out to sea, especially on the southeast of England where you can see the Thames bringing sediment into the North Sea. You should really grab the bigger version to see it clearly.

Sadly, Envisat suddenly ceased operations shortly after this image was taken, in April 2012, and was declared dead by the European Space Agency a month later. More Earth-observing birds are planned for launch starting later this year, but it’s bad news to have lost such a magnificent instrument.

If only we knew someone who could swoop in and save the day, maybe hitting the dead sat with a beam from some sort of sonic-based toolery to re-energize it. Ah, well.

Wlecome to the TARDIS.
"The triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism." - Craig Ferguson

Image credit: BBC News / BBC Sport / bbc.co.uk - © 2013 BBC

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

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 3:24 PM Why Innovators Hate MBAs
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:03 PM Kern Your Enthusiasm: The Ubiquity of Gotham
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.