antwrp

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
Axel
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Location: Montreal, Quebec

antwrp

Post by Axel » Sun Oct 17, 2004 4:48 pm

Maybe everyone knows this, but what does "antwrp" mean in APOD's URL. Does NASA have a server in Antwerp?

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RJN
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Post by RJN » Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:01 pm

That's one of the "mysteries of APOD". But here is the answer. This was the domain assigned to us in 1995 by Tom McGlynn at NASA GSFC for APOD. Actually APOD was one of only several web sites and NASA projects that ran on that computer -- our full address http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html was needed to find us at that time. Since then the antwrp computer has been taken out of commission but the name remains primarily for APOD's sake.

Tom tells us that antwrp is short of Antwerp, the city in Belgium, but named this because it was the key word used in Ursula K. LeGuin's book "The Lathe of Heaven". When the word "antwerp" was spoken, the central character George would dream things that became reality. It's a good book and I highly recommend it!

Jerry Bonnell and I have since read 'Lathe and liked it and the connection with APOD, albeit fanciful and somewhat disconnected. When people see APOD images, for example, they can dream of being far away from work or school (etc.). Since APOD features (mostly) real images, the setting for those dreams are, in fact, real.

We have since been give apod.nasa.gov as a shorter name. This URL works even today. We are reluctant to change our pointer to antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov because so many people have bookmarked it and linked to it, creating such deep tentacles into the web that Google currently lists APOD under the antwrp URL as the top hit under "Astronomy" (for example). Still, we may change it anway one day.

Although this was probably more information than you wanted to know, that's the answer.

- RJN

Axel
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec

Keep it!

Post by Axel » Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:02 pm

After reading that story I wouldn't want the URL to change... I've always enjoyed stories by Ursula LeGuin, so I will surely look for "The Lathe of Heaven". "Antwerp" might be a bilingual pun: the town's French name is "Anvers", which sounds just like "envers", meaning the reverse, or inside-out, or upside-down, or (metaphorically) the alternative version of a story.