Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

…in a galaxy far, far away…

Artist's interpretation of Fomalhaut

Artist's interpretation of Fomalhaut

Yesterday, I read that astronomers had actually photographed planets outside our solar system for the first time. Planets had been detected before, but always by methods other than direct visuals. This is the first time they’ve actually seen an object this cool (temperature-wise) and this small outside our own solar system, according to aBBC article (linked below).

To me, that’s just phenomenally cool. Astronomers viewing other galaxies and deep space features like gas clouds and nebulae has produced images that are just fundamentally awe-inspiring, showing a universe that is at once beautiful, mysterious, and scientifically enthralling. Seeing actual planets gives spine-tingling shivers to those of us who have imaginations that love to wander around the speculative playground of extraterrestrial life.

I never got to see Star Trek much as a kid, but Science Fiction has always fascinated me from an early age. Seeing images of space from astronomers’ telescopes always ignites a feeling of wonder and appreciation for the vastness of the universe and gets my imagination soaring around space travel, exploration, alien life, terra-forming, and all kinds of other fantastical ideas. It also piques my scientific curiosity about how the universe works, how it formed, and where it’s headed.

Kudos to the astronomers who made this new planetary discovery. Keep up the great work and know that you’re not only making leaps of scientific progress, but you’re providing inspiration and joy to those of us who step into the images of your discoveries… if only in our minds.

Here’s a link to an article about the discovery: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7725584.stm

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