I’m spaced out with jet lag after flying overnight from New York to London. The flight was unexciting. But before we took off from JFK I got the thrill of seeing the space shuttle. It was perched on the back of a 747, waiting to take its final ride before being retired to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River. I nearly jumped out of the taxi with excitement.
I’d heard the space shuttle before, many times: when I lived in Santa Barbara, it would fly overhead with a distinctive double sonic boom — bam bam — as it came in for landing at Edwards Air Force Base. If you wanted to watch it touch down on TV, you had to run, because in the time it took to sprint from the back yard to the remote control, the shuttle flew a hundred miles east and would be mere inches above the dry lake runway. And this was when the shuttle was going slow.
When I saw it yesterday it was sitting still, not orbiting the earth at 17,000 mph. But it was nevertheless amazing.
And now, in keeping with the space theme, here’s a time lapse video of Saturn and Jupiter, taken from the Cassini and Voyager spacecraft. Enjoy it. I’m going to go back to my jet lag stupor.
(Via Bad Astronomy.)