Happy Birthday to LITD!

What's so terrible about two?

Today is Lights in the Dark’s second birthday! I published my first post two years ago today, in an attempt to carry on what Bill Dunford had started with his similarly-themed blog Riding With Robots. When Bill had to step away from his blogging for a while, I asked if he’d be cool with me trying something similar…which he was, and was also considerate enough to send me some of his resource links and contacts as well. I rushed to come up with a name, concept and set up a WordPress site and, as they say, the rest is history. 🙂

It’s been an awesome two years. At first I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep it going, or that I’d run out of stuff to post about. Neither happened…if anything I’m often overwhelmed with all that’s going on daily in the realm of astronomy! Since I like to keep LITD focused on the solar system, that does help me stay on track, but many other interesting articles and images will find their way onto my Facebook page and/or Twitter feed. Be sure to check those out for up-to-date news on lots of various astro and Earth science topics!

I’m going to get into the way-back machine here and repost the very first article I put up on LITD:


LITD's first image post - Saturn!


Thanks for visiting Lights in the Dark, a photoblog based on the concept that Bill Dunford created with his excellent site, Riding With Robots on the High Frontier. Riding With Robots has informed, educated and entertained me for the past several years. Sadly, Bill can no longer maintain his site, and rather than see his concept disappear, I decided to pick up the baton and make an attempt to keep the flame alive, in my own way. (Note: Bill’s site IS back up, btw…click the link for the new-and-improved version!)

I can’t claim to be able to do this as well as he did, but I have to at least give it a try. I’m not a web designer, nor am I an astronomer, but I know what attracted me to Riding With Robots: a clean design, with well-chosen images and nicely thought-out links to further information for those who wished to learn more. (There was also a handy dashboard widget to keep one updated….hopefully that will come in the future to viewers of this page.) (Which it has…in two versions: WP posts and Twitter feeds! Check the sidebar for those!)

Riding With Robots provided a glimpse to our cosmic backyard, from the viewpoint of the fascinating little rovers and satellites that are currently on active duty around the solar system. They are our eyes and ears to the wonders of space, the proxies by which we can explore our extended planetary neighborhood. As we move about our daily life they are also busy with their duties – investigating, measuring, driving, flying, and photographing places humans may not go for centuries yet, if at all. Yet these places exist, and share the same sunrise and sunset as us…indeed, are made of the same stellar “stuff”. They are our family, and these are their portraits.

We can see all these places from our viewpoints on Earth as mere lights in the dark…specks of unblinking brightness in the night sky. But across the vast inhospitable distances, which we humans have managed to cross with our ingenious mechanical inventions, we find they hold a beauty all their own, and often uncannily familiar to what can be found here. After all, nature has a way of making family resemblances.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do sharing them.


And I still hope you’ve been enjoying LITD as much as I have. If anything, I can say I have learned a lot about a topic I have always loved. Of course, a big thanks to the other astro sites out there that report on all things space…Universe Today, The Planetary Society, Discovery News, Bad Astronomy, all the dedicated mission sites from JPL and NASA (especially Cassini and HiRISE!) and basically everyone in my links list. Obviously none of this would be possible without them. Thanks for reading, here’s to many more years of discoveries!



  1. Brian Harrison says:

    Riding with Robots was for me a daily read, and now Light in the Dark takes it`s place ! thank you for taking over from Bill, and for providing an always interesting portal into all things astro – well done !


    1. J. Major says:

      Bill has his site back up, btw…in a new format. Be sure to check it out!


  2. Lisa DeGraaf says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wish that I had found out about you earlier. I have added you to my Google Reader account and I look forward to reading more from you.


Comments are closed.