Carl Sagan Day is observed on November 9 every year. This day celebrates the life and teachings of Carl Sagan, who was born on this day in 1934. An American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator, he is known for his many contributions to science. His best-known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including an experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. He also assembled the first physical messages sent into space that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might come across them. Sagan argued the now-accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect! Interested in learning more about Sagan’s work? Check out these science scholarships to learn more.
History of Carl Sagan Day
The day was created in 2009 by the Center For Inquiry in Fort Lauderdale, as well as Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists (FLASH), and other groups. Events held in Florida have helped spread the celebrations around the world. Events such as star parties — where people come together and view the sky — astronomy lectures, science fairs, and workshops are held every year.
Sagan worked in many scientific fields, such as astronomy, cosmology, astrophysics, and astrobiology. He is best known for his ability to communicate scientific ideas to the general population without intimidating the common man. This is probably most exemplified by his 1980 PBS documentary series, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”, which was the most widely viewed PBS program of its time! It won two Emmys and a Peabody Award, and has been viewed by over a billion people in 60 countries. Sagan also published a book to go along with the series. In fact, Sagan wrote more than 20 books, including “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence”, which won a Pulitzer Prize, “Contact”, which was made into a film, and “The Demon-Haunted World”. For 12 years, he was the editor-in-chief of “Icarus”, and published 600 scientific papers and articles in publications such as “Skeptical Inquirer”. Beginning in the 1950s, Sagan was a consultant and adviser to NASA. He received countless honors and awards and was a professor of astronomy, as well as director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies, at Cornell University. He passed away in 1996.
Carl Sagan Day timeline
Sagan’s thesis, “Physical Studies of Planets”, earns him a Ph.D.
He is a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, during this time.
Sagan co-writes and narrates the 13-part television series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”.
Sagan dies from pneumonia at the age of 62.
Carl Sagan Day FAQs
What is Carl Sagan most famous for?
Sagan helped lay the groundwork for two new scientific disciplines: planetary science and exobiology, or the study of potential life on other planets. He co-founded and served as the first president of The Planetary Society, an organization dedicated to inspiring and involving the public in space exploration.
Did Carl Sagan say “billions and billions”?
To help viewers of “Cosmos” distinguish between “millions” and “billions”, Sagan stressed the “b”. Sagan never did say “billions and billions” however. Parodying Sagan’s effect, Johnny Carson quipped “billions and billions”.
Did Carl Sagan go to space?
No, he did not. However, Carl Sagan played a leading role in the American space program from its very beginning. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA beginning in the 1950s — he briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon.
Carl Sagan Day Activities
Host a “Cosmos” or “Contact” viewing party
Choose your favorite episodes to show to friends. Alternatively, you could host a public viewing on Carl Sagan Day.
Read Sagan’s books
Check out Sagan’s many books at your local library or bookstore. Introduce young readers to Sagan’s books today.
Look at the stars
Don’t forget to look up at the night sky! Gaze at the stars and reconnect with the grandeur of the cosmos on Carl Sagan Day.
5 Facts About The Universe That Will Blow Your Mind
We are very small compared to the Universe
If you squeeze all the empty space out of the atoms of every person on Earth, you could fit the entire human race into a sugar cube
The Universe is immense
It spans a diameter of more than 150 billion light-years.
We’ve seen virtually nothing of the Universe
It’s believed that 95% of the Universe is invisible.
The Moon is moving
Each year, the Moon moves about 1,49 inches away from the Earth.
About 275 million stars are born daily
This means there are about 100 billion new stars each year.
Why We Love Carl Sagan Day
It encourages rational thinking
Carl Sagan Day encourages scientific thinking among everyone. We are encouraged to think critically and rationally.
Learning is promoted
Carl Sagan Day is a day of learning and adding to your knowledge. Read as much as you can and learn about things that interest you.
It’s a day to wonder
The best way to celebrate Carl Sagan Day is by wondering about the cosmos and its expansiveness. The day reminds us of the brilliant wonders of the universe.
Carl Sagan Day dates