Tagged: earth

World map mirrored in a reflective and slightly undulating water surface

The World in a Water Mirror

The Dutch word for water level is waterspiegel, which literally translates as water mirror.  Such a great word! Because under the right circumstances – not too many waves, but certainly not too few – water gets magical reflective properties, distorting objects until they are barely recognizable. Ideally, the waves create a kind of impressionistic oil painting that can only be captured with fast shutter speeds. Reflectifications I wrote earlier about the reflections of Rotterdam buildings in the old harbor basins. Here is another interpretation of the idea: a water level world map. 3ds Max How do you create a water...

An old and rustyCitroën Deux Chevaux, launched with a Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX, en route to Mars

Chasing Elon Musk in an old French car

On February 6, 2018, SpaceX, one of the companies owned by Elon Musk, launched the first Falcon Heavy. A giant leap for mankind, like Neil Armstrong would have said, because with this rocket, manned missions to the Moon (once again) and to Mars become possible. And those missions also become a lot cheaper than before, because large parts of the rocket return to Earth and can therefore be used again.   Starman On such a first test flight you don’t take expensive satellites. Usually a block of concrete is used as ballast, but Elon had a better idea: he sent...

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...

A mole's world view: a world map seen from below, mirrored, made in digital bronze

A Mole’s View: a Mirrored World Map in Digital Bronze

A few months ago I published a world map based on the perception of a penguin. A polar projection with Antarctica in the middle and the other continents grouped around it, some of them severely distorted. I do not intend to make a tour of the entire animal kingdom, but there was another species that asked for a cartographic interpretation: the mole. Talpa The mole (Talpa europaea) is a small subterraneously living mammal of the family of Talpidae. So now we know where media tycoon John de Mol, creator of The Voice, got the name for his company Talpa (you...

Perspective image of a world map made of 30.000 mosaic tiles, zooming in on North America, with the other continents in the distance distance.

Mosaic tiles and peeling paint: three special world maps

Does it happen to everyone or only to map-o-philes like me? You see a ship hull with rust stains or an old wall with peeling paint and you think, hey, that looks like a map. Oceans, continents, mountain ranges, archipelagos, with a little imagination, you can discover a complete fantasy world on such a weathered surface. Okay, most people will pass by without noticing but for those who want to see it, there is a lot to enjoy. Peeling world map I decided to turn it around and created an image on which peeling paint patterns really shape the continents of our...

Artist impression of planet Earth, seen from a location at 50.000 kilometres above the Netherlands, showing the Northpole, Europa and Africa

Rotterdam, Netherlands, Europe, Earth, Universe

April 22, the birthday of this blog entry, is Earth Day. There is no better day imaginable to talk about satellite and astronaut photographs of our planet. History The first satellite in orbit around the Earth was, in 1957, the Russian Sputnik-1 (which in fact simply means Satellite-1). However there was no camera on board. The first pictures of the Earth were made a few years later , on April 1, 1960, by the American weather satellite TIROS-1. Since then, our home world has been photographed many times. Some of these images have become iconic, like the Earthrise photograph from...

A world map according to the Antarctic or Penguin projection, with the southpole in the middle and increasingly dramatic distortions towards the north

The Antarctic Projection: a Penguin’s World Map

A world map tells a lot about the person who has made it, or about the market it is made for. Here in Europe, we think it’s only logical to place the edge of the map in the Bering Strait and the Pacific. After all, there is almost nobody living there and besides: this way we put ourselves nicely in the middle. The Amero-centric world map People in North and South America, understandably, do not like to live on the edge of the map. That’s why one sometimes sees maps like below, with America in the middle. That the cut...

World map inspired by cubism, showing our planet as a complex system of shapes, colors and lines

A Cubist World Map

No, you better not try to find your hometown or even your country on this cubist world map. Borders, cities, walls and other human constructs are not recognizable in this explosion of colors, shapes and lines. Polygons and blending modes The map was made in Photoshop by overlaying quite a few layers. I made those layers using the filter crystallize, which subdivides an image into polygons in an entirely arbitrary way. I also made a layer of squares that coincide with latitudes and longitudes. After that I generated line drawings from the edges of all those shapes. Eventually I put...

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...

Detail of the Earthrise mosaic, a remake of the famous photo made in 1968 during the Apollo 8 mission

Earthrise: Remake as a Digital Mosaic

Earthrise is the name of one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. The photo of the Earth above the gray landscape of the Moon was made by astronaut Bill Anders during the Apollo 8 mission on December 24, 1968, Christmas Eve. On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Earthrise, NASA made this video, which shows in detail how the photograph came about. Fascinating, because it makes you feel like you are there in person. Merry Xmas Apollo 8 was a legendary achievement: the first three people traveling beyond Earth orbit. Their capsule brought them more than...