Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Astronomy Picture of the Day

(right: ice jets irrupting on one of Saturn's moons)

I just found the coolest resource for our astronomy studies. It is NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Website and I am so excited to start showing it to Hunter tomorrow. They post a new photo everyday (which most of them are copyright free since they are the works of the federal government) and they also have a splendid archive, dating all the way back to June 1995! The first picture, a computer-generated theoretical model of earth as a neutron star, is quite humorous in its simplicity, and a vivid reminder of how far technology has come even in just the past fifteen years.

The site is filled with so many incredible, unbelievable pictures, which left me (again) dropping my jaw at what technology has allowed us to explore about the universe. Up close pictures of Saturn's rings? Detailed pictures of galaxies thousands of light years away? Spectacularly beautiful pictures of nebula that make you think they're fake? And not only is there breath-taking photography, but brief (yet still thorough) explanations that anybody can understand (which is nice, since so many of the astronomy resources I have found are full of so much jargon it's hard to understand, much less try and explain to a four-year-old!)

It also is a great way to keep up on much of the current research and discoveries that are going on (like this month's discovery of water on the moon) in an easy, fun, straight-forward way.

And, it also got me thinking - again - about how a few months ago I was planning an astronomy unit study. As soon as I started planning it, however, I began to realize how this wasn't just going to be a unit study at all. Call me a dork but, this stuff was cool. It intrigued me so - everything about it. And I'm not the only one. Hunter still tells me he wants to be a missions specialist (even though he hasn't listened to that CD in ages) and calls math time "astronaut training". Among many other things depicting his interest. So this new daily routine (or sometimes weekly, since that's just how things go sometimes) is going to be a whole lot of fun for the both of us.

Here, some of this month's pictures of the day: (which are so much better close up. Check out site for yourself or click to zoom in)

Stellar flash of the star V838 Mon

Combined images of near-infrared light, infrared light, and xray light - a view of the galaxy with star fields, gas and dust clusters, supernova remnants, and more

Stickney crater on one of Mars' moons

Launching of the Ares 1-X

Zodiacal light over Laguna Verde
"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." 
Psalm 33:6
Hunter is 4 years, 8 months old

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments!