The Watering Hole, Monday, May 5th, 2014: Hubble, 24 and Going Strong

Last Thursday marked the 24th year in space for the Hubble telescope. After its inauspicious start, when it became obvious from the blurry images sent back that something was wrong with the telescope’s huge mirror, who’d have thought that we’d eventually be treated to beautiful and breathtaking images of star nurseries, a huge variety of nebulae, and glorious galaxies. The Weather Channel has a photo gallery of the top 100 images from the Hubble Telescope; here’s just a few from this amazing gallery:

Carina Nebula (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Carina Nebula (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672 (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672 (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Antennae Galaxies merging (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Antennae Galaxies merging (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Centaurus A, Taken with Hubble Wide Field Camera 3

Centaurus A, Taken with Hubble Wide Field Camera 3)

Orion Nebula, taken by Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Orion Nebula, taken by Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

The mind-boggling size of these formations and their unimaginable distances from our tiny corner of the universe makes me feel about the size of a dust mote, and totally inconsequential.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind today?

62 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, May 5th, 2014: Hubble, 24 and Going Strong

  1. “You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while”.

    Eckhart Tolle

    • You can sort of see him in the last one. No, I don’t really think it’s a picture of God, but you can see a face and part of the torso of a man which makes it an even cooler picture.

  2. This just in from Captain Obvious….. bear it in mind as Russian GRU spread chaos and mayhem across Ukraine. Obama and Merkel said they would penalize Putin “if he disrupted the election” – well they both need a bitchslap on the head – *he already has!*. Weak, ineffective, cowardly Western response to Putin…..

  3. We’re not small, Jane. We are children of the universe. 🙂

    We just act like we’re insignificant.

  4. Ed Schultz is playing hooky again. I didn’t listen closely enough to the first hour, but the second hour is a repeat.

  5. Schumer, Deferring To Cuomo, Says Most Dems Like Fracking

    Sen. Charles Schumer said he would support fracking in New York if Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides it can be done carefully, during a Monday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

    “Overall, the Democrats throughout the country have supported fracking,” he said. “The president has, most of us have, and it’s worked quite well.”

    It isn’t whether it can be done ‘carefully’, it can’t.
    He isn’t even right about his own state.
    Poll: Fracking opposition increases in New York

    • Check his pockets. The bigfat check from BigEnergy Inc in the envelope…

    • Actually, considering that the Universe has always existed and that the matter and energy inside it has changed back and forth over the years, we’ve been recycled from stardust an infinite number of times, and will be an infinite number of times again.

  6. Thom Hartmann led off his show with Phyllis Schlafly, of all people, and she agrees with him about US trade policy hurting US workers!

    • Common ground with the Teabaggers – that’s what the real Tea Party was about – big corporations sticking it to the little guy. We are all in this together – if the Occupy folks could just be a little less hippy.

    • I still hate the fact that this horrible woman draws breath, when her hate should have killed her years ago.

      • I feel the same. I’m not proud of it, but for all her blather about how women can only be happy by existing in their natural state of submitting to a man, I’ve noticed she’s a dried up old husk of a woman, whereas my older friends who have partners, not masters, are happy, vibrant, and still seeking new experiences. (OIMF, queen of the run-on sentence)

      • Not to mention the fact that she had her son, Andy, lobotomized at the age of three because she caught him playing with his wee-wee. Awful woman.

  7. I am watching Tanya discuss with a Frenchwoman on FB…. Tanya writes in Russian, and the response is in French, its about attitudes to what happened in Odessa, the canard that the Ukrainians are all fascist and what the Maidan was all about. Tanya just said this:

    Мы просто хотели свободную страну. Мы просто хотели нового развития нашей страны. Мы искали Европу на Майдане, а нашли Украину!

    Which means:

    We just wanted a free country. We just wanted a new development in our country. We searched for Europe on the Maidan, and found the Ukraine!

    • Oh she just dragged me into it….. as keeper of the view on Ukraine from the BBC. I have to go and watch a BBC documentary this evening now and tell her what’s in it.

    • Oh this is not a Frenchwoman, but an ex-pat Russian – I think she’s going to get pissed off soon…

  8. Tweet of God and Ricky Gervais are going at it today….. good times 🙂

  9. Turtles are more closely related to birds and crocodilians than to lizards and snakes, according to a study from Dartmouth, Yale and other institutions that examines one of the most contentious questions in evolutionary biology.


  10. SCOTUS Okays Christian Prayers At Public Meetings

    Town officials said that members of all faiths, and atheists, were welcome to give the opening prayer. In practice, the federal appeals court in New York said, almost all of the chaplains were Christian.

    Good to know atheists are welcome to give an opening prayer…//

    • I think I tend to side with TP’s take on the decision:

      The Supreme Court Just Blew A Gaping Hole In The Wall Of Separation Between Church And State

      Town of Greece v. Galloway is the case that proponents of the separation of church and state have feared every since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor left the Supreme Court in 2006. It strikes at the heart of the constitutional prohibition on government endorsement of religious doctrine or belief. And it brings religious conservatives within inches of a victory they have sought for more than two decades. For the sort of people who believe America should be a “Christian nation,” today is a today to celebrate. . . .

      Though Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Town of Greece does not explicitly eliminate the ban on government endorsements of religion, it strongly suggests that the end of this ban is nigh. As Kennedy explains, this ban derives from a case called County of Allegheny v. ACLU, which “held that a crèche placed on the steps of a county courthouse to celebrate the Christmas season violated the Establish­ment Clause because it had ‘the effect of endorsing a patently Christian message.’” Four dissenters, according to Kennedy, “disputed that endorsement could be the proper test, as it likely would condemn a host of traditional practices that recognize the role religion plays in our society.” One of those dissenters was Kennedy. (snip)

  11. Warming climate? PFFFFFFFT…..

    OSLO, May 4 (Reuters) – Part of East Antarctica is more vulnerable than expected to a thaw that could trigger an unstoppable slide of ice into the ocean and raise world sea levels for thousands of years, a study showed on Sunday.

    The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles) inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 metres (10-13 feet) if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said.

    • Because everyone knows those train rides ended at a place where the Jews were forced to purchase health insurance against their will?

    • Bush early in his first term said that he had looked into Putin’s eyes and found a man he could trust.

      This from the man who lied the U.S. into war.

  12. OMG! I did not realize, until now, just how much inSeannity had instigated the whole Bundy debacle. In this clip the old, racist, bastard seems like the voice of reason.

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