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Commemorating the eclipse 🌞🌕

On Monday, a solar eclipse will pass over North America—many are traveling to locations where they can view it in totality. Occasions like these are rare and special, and this eclipse has the longest lasting on-land totality of any solar eclipse for a decade. Since our heads are in space, it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight our Space Collection. Sourced straight from the NASA archives, our Space Editions are a wonderful mix of historical narrative, scientific discovery, and jaw-dropping, otherworldly imagery. You can read up on the science + safety of this event here

For those with whom astrology resonates, this total solar eclipse in Aries is a BIG deal that, along with the full moon lunar eclipse that occurred on March 25th, 2024, forms the first eclipse season of the year (the second set of this year’s eclipses will occur in September and October in Pisces and Libra). If that all sounds like gibberish to you, it’s okay, we’ll explain: in a nutshell, eclipses signify beginnings and endings, and the energies associated with them are felt on both a collective and a personal level. Monday’s solar eclipse points back to the astrology of October 2023, and where Aries is in your birth chart points towards what aspect of your life can be called into review at this time. What has changed for you personally between October 2023 and now? This eclipse also has a heavy emphasis on relationships.

We could go on for hours and get into deep detail, but instead, let’s pivot back to talking about deep space: astronomy instead of astrology. For some of us, space is shrouded in a magical kind of mystery—the kind where the more we learn, the more we understand how little we know. Remember how difficult it was to conceptualize the idea of outer space as a kid? There’s a spookiness there, especially related to black holes, the unrelenting and ever-growing speed at which the universe is expanding, and the (apparent) total lack of life. (Speaking of which, did you know that there is one human buried on the moon?)

This stunning, almost floral map is among the first of the prismatic planetary maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1971 to 1997. Commissioned by NASA, geologists were charged with mapping the moon to ensure safe landings for astronauts, but also to pinpoint areas of interest for future research. Dr. Baerbel Lucchitta was the geologist who led the mapping of the north side of the moon. Dr. Lucchitta, after whom there is a glacier in Antarctica named Lucchitta, as well as an asteroid named Baerbel, was one of the first women in the field of astrogeology. The north side was her first assignment with the U.S.G.S.; Mars and the first map of Europa soon followed. (Wow.) For her geographically and aesthetically meticulous work, she was awarded the Geological Society of America, Planetary Geology Division, G.K. Gilbert Award. Dr. Lucchitta was the first woman to receive it.

AS11-44-6667 is a chilling, stunning, peerless image in relief against the backdrop of a black abyss. The photograph’s breathtaking beauty is echoed by the airless atmosphere it documents. AS11-44-6667 was taken from Apollo 11 after the crew completed their mission. Having travelled some 10,000 nautical miles from the Moon on the journey back to Earth, they caught this striking portrait of our natural satellite. There’s something lonely, something longing about the Moon out there on its own, beyond reach but in view. We’ve gazed at its near side throughout all of human history as it’s danced around us in synchronous rotation, star-crossed lovers of the Milky Way. Seeing it like this is disquieting but dazzling.

This iconic photo shows astronaut Bruce McCandless floating above the curve of the earth on NASA’s first untethered spacewalk.

Though it looks like it could be a still from Hollywood’s latest space thriller, this image was taken during the 10th NASA Space Shuttle Mission in 1984. McCandless and fellow astronaut Robert L. Stewart were tasked with testing the new Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). While Stewart stayed fairly close to the ship, McCandless ventured out 320 feet from the orbiter, leading to this image taken by Robert Gibson.

Though the MMU was retired just a few years later, this image lives on as a symbol of the bravery of NASA’s astronauts and a representation of just how small we are in the universe and how much there is still to know.

Black Marble highlights a much more fragile and impermanent feature: us. "Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights," says Chris Elvidge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The Black Marble images (so popular that NASA created a new app, Worldview) were collected over nine days in April 2012, and 13 days in October 2012, by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP), a civilian satellite that makes data available to scientists on Earth within minutes. The final composite photograph is the product of 312 orbits around the earth. The sensor is so responsive that it can detect a single ship in the ocean. The light is a mix of manmade structures and natural phenomena like volcanoes and atmospheric glow.

This blur of fire and rocket seemingly fused together is a photograph of the first launch of the huge Saturn V rocket, created by NASA for exploration of the moon. The legendary image documenting it was captured from a chase plane. Fun fact: any human that has ever set foot on the moon launched from Kennedy Space Center atop a Saturn V rocket.