The Universe Is Still Out There

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 6 2014 12:14 PM

Moonicorn Chaser

What with all the posting about global warming and creationism, maybe now is a good time to sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and remember the Universe is still out there, ticking along:

Moon from Space
Oh Universe, you just give and give, and only ask that we appreciate you in return. Click to embiggen.

Photo by NASA

I don't know how I missed this, but International Space Station astronaut Koichi Wakata tweeted this picture recently; it's the very thin crescent Moon rising over the Earth's limb. Taken on Feb. 1, 2014, the Moon was just two days past new at the time. I love the broad sweep and bold colors of the Earth's atmosphere (due to scattered sunlight) contrasting with the delicate wisp of the far more distant Moon.

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I wonder ... if he took a photo just a minute or so later, Mercury would be visible close to the Earth's edge as well. If anyone finds that, please let me know!

N.B.: If you're wondering about the title, it's from Boing Boing's "unicorn chaser," a pretty picture posted as a palate cleanser after a less pleasant post. In this case, I'm just using it as a refresher to get some astronomy and beauty back in to the blog ... but of course, astronomy and beauty are in some ways the same thing.

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