Aug
18

Following in the footsteps of James Smithson

Inveraray Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland was one of the places visited by James Smithson (1764–1829), geologist and founder of the Smithsonian Institution, during the summer of 1784 while he was traveling on a scientific expedition to the remote island of Staffa on Scotland’s Northwest coast. Steven Turner, curator in the Division of Medicine and Science… Continue reading Following in the footsteps of James Smithson

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Aug
16

From Earth to the Solar System: The pale blue dot

The Pale Blue Dot: This iconic image was taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of almost 4 billion miles from Earth. The dot can be faintly seen about halfway down the orange stripe on the right. (Click on image to enlarge.) In the words of Carl Sagan, who requested that NASA turn… Continue reading From Earth to the Solar System: The pale blue dot

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Aug
10

Blast from the past

In the good old summertime. Fireworks going off behind the Washington Monument on the night of August 10, 1996. The fireworks were part of the Birthday Party on the Mall celebration of the Smithsonian’s 150th anniversary. (Photo by M. Bryant)

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