I had made a resolution this year to post an inspiring space picture on Facebook every day. I'm trying to spend less time on Facebook, so I am moving some of the best to my blog, dated to match my original posts. I may combine a couple here and there and I may leave one or two off to start, but here is post number one! My goal for 2106: to deliver an inspiring/awesome (original meaning intended) cosmic image every day and share my love of the universe with the social mediaverse. Up first: Saturn!
Saturn was the first really cool thing I saw in a telescope. In the 6th grade, Colorado public school students spend a week at "outdoor lab." We hike and make dream catchers (because you always make dream catchers) and learn a thing or two about nature.
One night, we had an astronomy session. The lecturer had a decent-sized telescope and offered to show us Saturn. I was expecting to see a fuzzy dot. What I saw literally brought me to my knees.
I was looking at a whole planet. With my own eyes. And I could tell it wasn't a tiny little thing. I saw the shadows that the planet's sphere cast across its rings. My whole perspective shifted in that one moment. I felt tiny. I became aware of that planet going around the sun, of our planet doing the same. I felt the earth spin beneath me. It made me dizzy and I stumbled to the ground.
I can't offer that same experience here, but I can show you something cool. This is Saturn's hexagonal storm. Its a hexagon! It's real and it's cool and it's over 20,000 miles across! It's been around for as long as we have been taking high resolution pictures of Saturn- probably a lot longer. Rings and a hexagon hat? Saturn rocks some awesome geometry bling!
I said one image a day, but wait! A bonus "barely still New Year's Day" bonus image! Bonus! A false color image of the storm adds to the coolness. Happy new year!