Wow! The Universe Today is ten years old!
It’s one of those websites that I took for granted for many years, until Fraser Cain gave me the outstanding opportunity to write for it on December 21st, 2007. Over at the site, Fraser provides an intimate look into why and how he got Universe Today started, but I thought I’d share some memories of when I first stumbled upon Fraser’s venture and how I had the crazy luck to start writing for him.
To set the scene: It was a cold, dark night, in the frozen Arctic wastes…
Actually, it may have been cold, dark and frozen, but my time on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean was pretty comfortable. I studied in this unique part of the world for a five months exchange in 2002 as part of my final semester studies of my Masters at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. As far as life-changing experiences go, this was it.
Anyhow, as I was studying at UNIS (the world’s most northern university) in the capital town of Longyearbyen, I was fortunate enough to be sharing an office that actually had internet connection. Although it was slow (the island depended on a satellite uplink for internet connection), at least we had some access to the outside world.
I remember it well, one late night study session, when the Arctic night was slowly transitioning to 24 hour day light, fellow British student and friend, Chris Arridge pointed me to a great little website that kept up with all the space news. Intrigued, and wanting to find a site I could read every day to get my dose of space stuff, I browsed the Universe Today. I wasn’t crazy about the site to begin with, but it grew on me. Up till that point, blogging was a bit of a mystery to me, and I didn’t even have my own website, so the short UT posts didn’t seem to gel with what I was used to. However, I found myself checking UT daily, then hourly, to see what was going on in the world of space. From those twilight nights in an office surrounded by ice, fjords and snow mobiles, I was hooked, but I didn’t even realise it. The Universe Today had crept into my life and I eagerly awaited each and every enthusiastic post written by this Canadian guy called Fraser Cain.
This is the power of the Universe Today, it is fast, up-to-the-minute and delivers accurate space news and opinion from its growing number of writers. According to Fraser, he is now able to maintain a number of writers and turn a profit, meaning that it can only grow in strength. It was the original space news blog, that began life as a hobby, only to grow, pulling in 2 million readers a month. Long may it continue and I hope to continue to provide articles to this amazing website that has in-turn enriched my writing skills.
Thank you Fraser for creating the Universe Today, and thank you for taking me on as one of the Universe Today writers, as back in 2002, I had very little idea about the kind of behemoth the website would become.