Thursday, August 29, 2013

Saturn, Earth...and Ultrarunning

Courtesy of Bad Astronomy--which if you don't read at least weekly, you're deprived--a stunning image of the Earth, from very, very afar:

The picture above is from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn. On July 19, at a distance of 1.4 billion kilometers (900 million miles) from Earth, it took the above image (actually a combination of three pictures taken with a red, green, and blue filter to mimic a “natural light” photo). Cassini was on the far side of Saturn, looking back toward the inner solar system. From that vantage, Saturn blocks the Sun and looks dark (except for an arc of light scattered through its upper atmosphere), and we see the rings translucently, light from the distant Sun penetrating and shining through. The Earth is just under the main rings, a scintillation of blue above Saturn’s ghostly E-ring.

We Ultrarunners get all cocky (yes, we do) about how far we can run.  After all, we are among the elite few on the planet who can run 50 miles or 100 miles at one time.

Sure, we are usually very self-deprecating and modest, but secretly we are very smug about the fact that we can run vast distances (see how I work in one of my all-time favorite words, vast?).

But--and this is a great big but--what we can do with our legs doesn't amount to a pinch of crap in the big scheme of things.

The Earth--where we sometimes run on some trails--appears as a tiny dot at the 3:00 o'clock postion in the image above.  The Earth, where everyone who has ever lived and everyone we will ever know, calls home.  This image is taken from the vicinity of Saturn, some 900 million miles away.

900 million miles.  Think about that on your next trail run.


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