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This Beautiful Webcomic Shows Why Our “Mathematical Skies” Have Not Lost Their Wonder

Our newfound knowledge of

Our newfound knowledge of “what’s out there” has not reduced its fascination (Image © Boulet)

People of past civilizations had their own ideas of what the stars in the night sky are… distant campfires, lights shining through holes in a vast blanket covering the Earth, deceased ancestors, countless and constantly-traveling gods… whether or not they really believed these stories or if they were just tales to inspire poets and provide entertainment on dark nights is hard to tell. But one thing is for certain: we now know what those points of light really are, thanks to the past several centuries of hard work by astronomers, scientists, and engineers, and although that may make ancient tales about the stars obsolete it certainly doesn’t reduce the inherent wonder and beauty of the night sky – if anything, it has increased it many times over.

Recently French cartoonist Boulet illustrated his own lifelong fascination with space in a webcomic published on his site. In a Dante-esque fashion he takes the figure of French singer Georges Brassens on a trip across the solar system, showing him why science and rational thought have not chased away fascination and beauty along with “the old gods”, as Brassens sang in a 1964 song (which I was not familiar with.) “Eureka” was not a death sentence for wonder!

It’s a really beautiful comic, with brilliant timing and subtle animations to highlight keep points along the way. Don’t scroll too fast.

You can view the full scrollable webcomic here in English and/et ici en Français.

HT to Laurie C. for the link.


What would it look like to watch Daphnis fly past?

Maybe something like THIS:

Daphis by Erik Svensson (All rights reserved)

Daphnis by Erik Svensson (All rights reserved)

What a great combination: Daphnis (my favorite moon) and an artist’s interpretation of what it might look like to see it whiz past as it travels around Saturn inside the Keeler Gap, sending up waves in the rings as it goes! The image is by Erik Svensson, who came across my recent article on Universe Today and was reminded of an illustration he’d made a year ago.

After contacting me about it, I felt Erik’s work definitely belonged in the article as well as here on Lights in the Dark!

Read the article on Daphnis here, and see more of Erik’s work here.

Voyager’s Grand Tour: a Webcomic

Voyager passes by Jupiter

“Voyager”, a webcomic by Jed McGowan

Do you like space exploration? Do you like comics? Then this is for you.

“Voyager” is a webcomic by LA-based artist Jed McGowan about the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Kennedy Space Center on September 5, 1977. Over the next three years it flew by Jupiter and Saturn, taking unprecedented photos of the giant planets and their moons before embarking on its trip out of the Solar System — a journey that it is still undertaking today, over 35 years later. At this time of this writing, Voyager 1 is 18,499,168,000 km from Earth, a distance that takes light over 34 hours to make.

Jed’s wonderful comic has very few words… but really, very few words are needed. Check it out on his blog here.



I can’t repost the images here, because they are copyrighted by the artist, but be sure to check out this series of photographs by renowned photographer Michael Soluri featuring many of the specialized tools used by astronauts on various missions. Beautiful photographs of intriguing instruments, some strange, others very close to what one might find in the average household toolkit….except valued hundreds of times more than their Home Depot counterparts.

And while you’re there, take a look at his wonderful portrait series of the STS-125/SM4 Hubble repair service mission crew. Soluri captures the people within the padded orange flight suits and cavernous space helmets amazingly well, reminding us of the faces that are often hidden behind reflective visors and the skilled hands at work from within thick, chunky gloves. Great work.

Soluri is co-author and picture editor of What’s Out There – Images from Here to the Edge of the Universe and Cosmos – Images from Here to the Edge of the Universe.

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