Typical Canadian, eh? A child’s question: ‘How big is the International Space Station?’. The astronaut’s answer: ‘Big – the size of five hockey fields.’ What would similar answers be around the world? ‘The size of five cricket fields.’ ‘The size of five … is there any non-sport-venue answer which comes to mind?
My question: If the governments of the world can send people into space, why can’t they solve more basic questions like keeping people healthy and working and not killing each other?
In any event, here’s Chris Hadfield, Canadian Astronaut, answering school kids’ questions on bathing, eating, cleaning up spills and performing other day-to-day activities beyond the reach of gravity.
Explanation: This infrared view from the Herschel Space Observatory explores the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. Only 2.5 million light-years distant, the famous island universe is also known to astronomers as M31. Andromeda spans over 200,000 light-years making it more than twice the size of the Milky Way. Shown in false color, the image data reveal the cool dust lanes and clouds that still shine in the infrared but are otherwise dark and opaque at visual wavelengths. Red hues near the galaxy’s outskirts represent the glow of dust heated by starlight to a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. Blue colors correspond to hotter dust warmed by stars in the more crowded central core.
Explanation: In silhouette against a crowded star field toward the constellation Scorpius, this dusty cosmic cloud evokes for some the image of an ominous dark tower. In fact, clumps of dust and molecular gas collapsing to form stars may well lurk within the dark nebula, a structure that spans almost 40 light-years across this gorgeous telescopic portrait. Known as a cometary globule, the swept-back cloud, extending from the lower right to the head (top of the tower) left and above center, is shaped by intense ultraviolet radiation from the OB association of very hot stars in NGC 6231, off the upper edge of the scene. That energetic ultraviolet light also powers the globule’s bordering reddish glow of hydrogen gas. Hot stars embedded in the dust can be seen as bluish reflection nebulae. This dark tower, NGC 6231, and associated nebulae are about 5,000 light-years away.
Click to enlarge.
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Explanation: What’s happening in the sky over Monument Valley? A meteor shower. Over the past weekend the Leonid meteor shower has been peaking. The image — actually a composite of six exposures of about 30 seconds each — was taken in 2001, a year when there was a much more active Leonids shower. At that time, Earth was moving through a particularly dense swarm of sand-sized debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, so that meteor rates approached one visible streak per second. The meteors appear parallel because they all fall to Earth from the meteor shower radiant — a point on the sky towards the constellation of the Lion (Leo).
Click to enlargen, well worth it.
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Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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