Paris from satellite, photo credit ESA

It becomes easier and easier to know anything—almost all the world’s knowledge is available online. A late blooming learner, I recently finished a course on Monitoring Climate from Space. I heard about it from a newsletter to which I subscribe from the European Space Agency.


One of ESO’s telescopes in Chile, photo credit, ESO

ESA runs the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a facility in Chile’s Atacama Desert—one of the driest, darkest places on earth, making it perfect for viewing the sky. Although a longtime stargazer, turned on by my seventh grade teacher, Sister Carlene, I had never heard of the site, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, until a photo from ESA turned up on my StarWalk app. BTW; if you want gorgeous pictures of sky subjects, subscribe to their feed, ESO publicity.

The course I took describes how satellites monitor and predict ocean temperatures, iceberg fields, and much else, collecting hard evidence of climate change.


Blood cells before being launched into space to the International Space Station on Space X Dragon satellite, purpose: to learn how cells react to living in space., photo credit, ESA

I just began a second course from the same source, Future Learn, on the abdomen. A bit late to be finding outside what is inside my stomach, but I am vague about where my liver or gall bladder is, and about time I find out while they are both still functioning. The courses are all free; the two I have tried well organized and well taught. Most of my Profs had British accents, music to my ears after Downton Abbey.

Among new courses recently announced: Shakespeare and his World, The Mind is Flat; The Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology and The Power of Social Media.

Check them out at


Hope some of you saw E. O Wilson, the star of my last blog on PBS. He and his book, Half Earth were featured both on the NewsHour Weekend, and the April 28 edition of the PBS NewsHour. What fun to scoop PBS.

Half Earth is a fit for WinterBloom, since the blog’s theme—“late bloomers” describes Wilson’s daring proposal at 86. No late bloomer himself, Wilson had a long and distinguished career as a naturalist starting as a boy in his native Alabama woods.

PPS. Eyes on the Sky mimics the title of an excellent movie starring Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky, highly recommended by me and Rotten Tomatoes 94%. About drones, not telescopes.