Tagged: astronomy

Space art, showing the Earth-like planet Alice with a remarkable landscape full of islands and lakes and in the background gas giant Goliath

Alice and Goliath – two worlds out of many

How many Earth-like planets are there in the universe? In other words: how many doubles does our beautiful water world have? We’ll never get anywhere near an exact answer but “very, very much” is, most likely, pretty close to the truth. There are about 200 billion stars in our own galaxy. The number of galaxies in the universe is, coincidentally, also around 200 billion. So we are talking about roughly 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. Even if only one in a million stars has an Earth-like planet orbiting around it, which seems like a pessimistic estimate, we still have an unimaginable number of...

Close-up of the Earthrise stained glass window showing a piece of the globe with Europe, the Atlantic and North America

Earthrise as a Stained Glass Window

A few weeks ago I made a virtual mosaic, inspired by the famous Earthrise photograph, one of the iconic images of the twentieth century, which has had a huge impact on the way we think about our planet. Lonely This Christmas The Apollo 8 astronauts astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were incredible far from home over Christmas 1968. If the phrase to boldly go where no one has gone before has ever been appropriate, it was in this case. Never before had anyone traveled beyond Earth orbit, which is in fact only a few hundred kilometers from...

The names of all bodies in the Solar System larger than 100 kilometres, with font sizes relative to their radius, based on the realistic colors of the objects against the black background of space

87 Members of the Solar Family

A while ago I made a family portrait of the solar system. Or rather a portrait of the leading members of the family, the eight planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury. Moons, asteroids and dwarf planets But there’s more happening around the Sun. Moons for instance; our own Moon, of course, but also a large number of satellites of the four gas giants. There is an asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter where, besides a lot of little ones, also bigger objects are turning their rounds. But many asteroids can be found outside...

Group portrait of the eight planets of our solar system, shown to scale: Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury in their entirety and parts of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus

Portrait of the Planets

When you want to capture the whole Solar System in one image, you come across a problem: the distances between the eight planets and their star are huge, almost unimaginable. In all the pictures of the solar system you’ve ever seen the sizes of the planets are wrong: they are strongly exaggerated, by necessity. On a scale model of about two metres – a nice size to hang on the wall in your living room – the Earth would be only four thousandths of a millimeter. You wouldn’t even be able to see our homeworld! Heaven on Earth The only...

Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in June 2015, seen from downtown Rotterdam, with a prominent position in the image for the Calypso building and the Schouwburg

Jupiter, Venus and Rotterdam

The 3Develop-offices always have a great view but on the evening of June 30, 2015  a very special spectacle was waiting for me when I came home. Although after ten p.m.  it was still not completely dark. On the northwestern sky I saw two stars close together: a bright one and very bright one. Apparent conjunction If you see such bright stars from the city center  it’s almost certain that they are not stars but planets. And indeed: they were Jupiter and Venus and their apparent conjunction, was one of the most beautiful celestial phenomena of this year. Of course I immediately grabbed my camera...

Wild shapes of ice floating in the blue water of ice lake Jokulsarlon in Iceland, under a dark sky

Twenty Cool Images: the Beauty of Snow and Ice

Tomorrow is the last day of winter, according to meteorologists. According to the astronomers, we still have three weeks to go until spring, but anyway, it’s very likely this winter will pass without a single snowflake, at least here in Rotterdam. Too bad, because snow and ice can be cumbersome at times but at temperatures well above freezing we’re also missing a lot of beauty. To illustrate that, here’s a collection of twenty snow and ice images, made during the colder winters of recent years. And partly also in the less mild climate of Iceland where snow and ice can...