Heaven and Earth

From Earth to the Heavens

There are a lot of reasons why people like astronomy. For some, it's the topics it covers like black holes, exploded stars, and distant planets. For others, it's the sense of awe that the cosmos inspires. There are also lots of people that just think the images are beautiful and worth gazing at. And, for most, it’s some combination of these and others that make them want to learn more about astronomy.

We probably fall into the last category: there are many valid and intriguing reasons to study the Universe we live in. While it's endlessly fascinating to think about what's "out there," sometimes we really enjoy finding the connections to things here are on Earth. There are many physical phenomena that are paralleled in Earth and in space, and we'll explore some of those in upcoming projects that we'll share here on the blog.

Purely for fun, however, we also like to match some images that simply look similar – even thought they are completely different objects, over different scales, and taken with much different instruments and technology.

To that end, we developed the "From Earth to the Heavens" project. On the left of each pair of images is a photograph from Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the famous artist who has taken fantastic photos from helicopters all over the planet. On the right, we've matched these up with images taken with Chandra and other telescopes.

We find it fun just to see them side-by-side and how much the same these very different things can look. But we're curious to hear what you think. Do you like the pairings? Can you think of others, or ways to make the comparisons more compelling? Does matching the images from Earth with those from the "heavens" mean anything to you?

-Megan Watzke, CXC

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