Get Lost in Space!

Way back in August, in anticipation of the start of a new school year, I set out to update the pages on this site related to space. Those pages tend to be popular among the teachers and students who use Cosma, and I happen to enjoy updating them, too. It sounded like a short, fun “end of summer” thing to do.

Ha! Here it is weeks later, and I’m just now back from my excursion into space.

I’ve just got to say, wow! There’s a lot going on out there, literally and figuratively. In fact, there’s so much going on, it’s impossible to cover all of the cool stuff that I saw in this post. Instead, I’ve created a sort of travelogue on a new page called Solar System Gallery.

Essentially, what I found is a boat load of the kind of real imagery that I craved back when I was both taking and teaching Astronomy courses. Not surprisingly, the most spectacular imagery is from our local Solar System, so that’s the focus of the new gallery page.

There is one ironic thing that I noticed. As much as I loved all of that “real” imagery, my favorite media tended more towards the fanciful end of the spectrum.

For example, one of my favorite videos was this visualization by Home Run Pictures of a floating space station in the clouds of Venus.


High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC, Space Mission Analysis Branch, NASA Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate)

Another one of my favorite 360° videos was this fun piece that frames a trip to the Moon as a tribute to David Bowie.

Along the way, I tripped across this traveling exhibit called Museum of the Moon.


A big fake Moon is slowly making its way around the Earth (Mike Wehner, BGR)

One of the most beautiful things that I came across was this video of Jupiter that was the result of a request NASA put out to artists to process their images. It’s mesmerizing!


Gaze Upon Jupiter’s Enormity in this Amazing Fly-By Video (Harley Locke, Wired)
NASA gives Jupiter the Van Gogh treatment with magnificent new image (Jackson Ryan, CNET)

On a more humorous note, there was this 360° video that shows an artist’s conception of what a space mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa might look like.

There was also another neat 360° video by Home Run Pictures designed to visualize a space ship refueling by diving into the atmosphere of Uranus.

Finally, one of the most fanciful videos of all was actually done by NASA. It provided visualizations of the recently discovered TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets.


Exoplanet Travel Bureau (NASA)

Those are just my favorite highlights. That doesn’t even include any of the fantastic “real” imagery that you will find on the Solar System Gallery page. If you visit the page, you will also see a small demo of a fun experimental interface that I’ve been playing around with lately.

Below is a full list of the newly updated pages. If you happen to know any serious space fans, please share. Of course, if you or or your friends happen to be learning or teaching such things, all the better!

I hope you have fun getting lost in space, too! 🙂

Universe Astronomical Instrument
Galaxy Milky Way, Andromeda
Planetary System Star, Brown Dwarf, Planet, Moon

Solar System Gallery

Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Trans-Neptunian Object
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid

“Some Fundamentals”
Physical Laws (Constants) Relativity
Matter Molecule, Atom (Periodic Table), Particle
Force Gravity, Electromagnetism (Light, Color)