Happy birthday Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan holding Mars globe
Portrait of American astronomer and author Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996) holding a globe model of the planet Mars, 1970s.
Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Friday, November 9th would have been Carl Sagan's 84th birthday. A consummate science communicator, Sagan shared visions of billions of stars and a tiny blue dot.

During the Voyager 1 mission, Sagan advocated for an image to be taken, not an image of scientific value, but one of perspective. Eventually, nearly a decade after being proposed, an image was taken. It did not look forward into the unknown, but looked back, back to the world that hurled the probe into the space between places.

'Pale Blue Dot'
This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed 'Pale Blue Dot', is a part of the first ever 'portrait' of the solar system taken by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. Earth appears as a tiny blue-white dot in a column of sun glare.

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives."

- Carl Sagan

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While Sagan died in December of 1996, his irrepressible enthusiasm for exploration, understanding and sharing knowledge has continued to resonate.

Continuing that path of exploration, NASA's Juno probe continues to tear across the skies of Jupiter, snapping photos along the way as if hurtles towards a firely end in a predetermined deorbiting to prevent the contamination of the moons of Jupiter that may support life.

Swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic atmosphere
A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Appearing in the scene are several bright-white "pop-up" clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval. This color-enhanced image was taken as the spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet's cloud tops.
NASA | JPL-Caltech | SwRI | MSSS | Gerald Eichstadt | Sean Doran