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Astronomy Picture of the Day - The Power of Image

It’s been a whirlwind since early yesterday a.m. – being selected, especially as a non-scientist for the NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” is a huge honor and totally unexpected. It’s also a hugely popular site (I had no idea how popular) — the views of the clip in the last 36 hours are many times the viral hits from last week.

And I’ve had very nice emails from major space scientists around the world wanting to use the clip in various ways – it’s overwhelming, humbling and exciting to see this “work-in-progress” clip being used to inform, persuade and entertain.

But what has really brought tears to my eyes are thousands of comments and I’d thought I’d share just a few:

(from Czech Republic) Dear Mr. van Vuuren, I have just seen the first footage of the Outside-In-Project on your website and it is probably the most beautiful thing I have seen in my entire life.

(Daily Mail Online, UK) The result is a seamless journey that is spectacular in its originality and otherworldliness, perhaps even rivaling the majesty of Stanley Kubrick’s timeless 2001: A Space Odyssey.

(from blog Comment) …that’s real. That is a real picture of Saturn. That is a real picture of Saturn’s moons. …I’m sorry, world, but you’re going to have to get by without me today, because my mind has been thoroughly boggled. Can you imagine what someone like Galileo would’ve given to be able to see something like this?!

(from We here at Science Links have looked at many videos over the last few months, but we haven’t seen anything as stunning as this.

(from unknownskywalker on OMG – mind officially blown! What an incredible labour of love this is … take the 2 and a half minutes to watch this, then imagine it in IMAX! Book my tickets ASAP

(from APOD forum) As a child, I dreamed of traveling in space. The best images we had back then were Chesley Bonestell’s paintings. This video brought tears to my eyes – beautiful and amazing, because the images are real.

And that’s just a tiny fraction of the thousands of comments including people debating how the clip was done, it is “science, art, both or neither” and so many, many people moved to tears by it. Even the occasional “I was unimpressed” (which have been surprisingly few considering the nature of the ‘net), is good it makes people aware still of these amazing images.

The most meaningful part to me is that this clip is a tiny part of the amazing journey from the time we first looked up to the stars, to the many scientist and engineers that dedicated their lives to bringing this images home. My mission with the images has always been to preserve those photons as closely as possible until one day they bounce off an 8-story screen into our eyes.

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