Saturday, November 18, 2006

National Geographic, Saturn, Life

Every year I wonder if I should renew my subscription to National Geographic magazine. It certainly is a beautiful and often interesting magazine, but with so much else to do and read, and so much information and imagery available on the web...

Then something like the December issue arrives with a special article on Saturn. I've seen many of the Cassini images of Saturn on the web, but there's something about NG's sharp, glossy color printing (and large format fold-out pages) that makes a big difference. And in this case there's also a special map/poster insert - I always love NG's maps and posters, and this one is a map of the solar system and its eight planets (sorry Pluto, but you and Eris still show up as dwarf planets). OK, so I renew once more.

Geographic also has good material on line, and in this case, there's a "zoomified" version of the solar system map (see graphic) that you can find here. The current issue also has an article on the early Earth, illustrated with photos by Frans Lanting of current Earth features such as volcanoes and geysers that resemble aspects of the early Earth. This article links to a special non-NG web site for a project of Lanting's, "LIFE - a Journey Through Time" which traces the nearly 4 billion year history of the life on Earth through a series of wonderful photographs and an amazing Flash-driven time line that uses the photos, captions, and music to bring the history to life.

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