Real Places

I’ve noticed many people get bored fairly quickly while looking at astronomy pictures. They’ll take a quick glance at say, “Oooh, that’s cool…” then move on. I cannot fault them though. In order to truly appreciate these images, you must have a decent understanding of what it is you’re actually looking at. Many people are missing that understanding. But more importantly, I believe there’s a simple disconnect; folks may not realize that these are REAL places. These are photos of places that actually exist somewhere. When I look at pictures of the moon or pictures of wispy nebula or far off spinning galaxies, I see real places. I see Venice in the evening. I see the majesty of the Grand Canyon. I see mysterious Machu Picchu. All real places. All places I’ve never been before. All places I would love to see someday in person. I would love to stand at the foot of Mauna Kea as much as I would love to stand at the foot of Olympus Mons. Each just as possible as the other, although one may take a little more effort to travel to. But both are just as real as the next. So next time you see just a ‘pretty picture’ of a double star system, know that there is a planet you can actually physically stand on somewhere and see two suns in the sky. Really.

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