Sunday, 21 April 2013

Yuri's Night

April 12th is remembered for two reasons: 

1) The date the first human entered space and completed one orbit, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
2) The maiden flight of NASA's Space Shuttle, STS-1

Every year on this date, Yuri's Night events are registered around the world and the global space party commences. Events range from tea parties and  nights out to low-key nights in.

 Of course, with my university being the International Space University we were more than excited to celebrate these two incredible milestones in human spaceflight and the end of our final exams just so happened to coincide with the date. Myself and a few friends arranged the festivities and as soon as the 4 hours of our last exam were up, food was ordered and a Russian vodka toast to Yuri was given by the Master's co-ordinator Professor Chris Welch with the class. 

All in all, it was a great Yuri's Afternoon, with everybody in a fantastic mood we even spoke to Yuri's Night co-founder Loretta Whitesides who was thrilled to see and share with us her insight into the meaning of the date (it was also her birthday)! The next morning, the class flew to Russia for the week, I'll be posting about this trip very soon as I write this from Moscow Airport waiting to board my flight to Paris.

From Russia with Love!


Friday, 5 April 2013

Darkened Cities

Have you ever wondered what the night sky would look like if the city lights didn't shine so bright? Digital photography wizard Thierry Cohen has composed images of just that. 

The French photographer meticulously captured the night sky as it should look over major cities  including San Francisco, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and New York as shown in the above images. Cohen achieved such stunning photography by situating himself in remote locations on the same latitude of the cities. This way, as the world rotates about its axis he is able to capture skies before they become invisible above the cities. The edges of our galaxy, the Milky Way are clearly visible as well as tens of thousands of stars that those of us living in urban environments just cannot see, even though they are omnipresent.

I feel that the photos highlight our journey as human beings on board this spaceship that we call Earth, travelling through space & time, we are merely observers of the incredibly beauty of the universe. The cities built below are stood in awe of the vast expanse of the energy above it and inspires me to think that we should begin to acknowledge our origins, the stars more clearly as we evolve as a species. Light pollution, I feel is a major hindrance to inspiring people to acknowledge and feel an emotional connection with the cosmos.

Cohen told the New York Times that he wants to show the detached urbanite the stars to "help them dream again."

"Darkened Skies" is on display at the Danziger Gallery in NY throughout May 2013. 


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