February 11, 2011

11.02.2011

Just noticed that today is a palindrome! I always find it funny when I come across a palindrome or something like that. I really don’t know why, but I guess I’m not the only one.
And now for something much cooler, I found while surfing the www. Like many others I am always fascinated by space and stars and I love looking at photos from outer space.

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"The photograph attached was taken by the crew on board the Columbia during its last mission, on a cloudless day. The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities’ lights. Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris, and Barcelona and that’s it’s still daylight in Dublin, London, Lisbon and Madrid."

My first thought when I saw this photo and read the text was something like "wow, this is amazing! I want to be an astronaut!", but then I researched a little and according to NASA the photo is made on a computer (and NASA is probably a little bit more reliable than a couple of tumblr people). A little disappointing, but it's still pretty cool, I think.

And here's the explanation from NASA: "No single spacecraft or astronaut took this picture. It is a digital composite of archived images taken by several Earth-orbiting satellites and ocean-faring ships. Similar images can be digitally stitched together for any Earth location by John Walker's Earth and Moon Viewer website. Specifically, the daytime land images were taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, while the nighttime images were taken by the DMSP satellites. This image is different from what an astronaut would see for reasons including a complete lack of clouds and an unrealistic exaggeration of lights and contrasts. The image has become both an internet wave in that it continues to circulate as an attachment to digital correspondence, and a modern urban legend. Another image like that is Earth at Night. The reason for the image's continued popularity might be simple: it is really cool looking."

[source: NASA]

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