NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

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NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby bystander » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:16 pm

Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen
National Public Radio | 2016 Oct 24


When scientists recently announced that they had discovered a new planet orbiting our closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centuri, they also released an artist's conception of the planet.

The picture of a craggy canyon, illuminated by a reddish-orange sunset, looked like an image that could have been taken on Mars by one of NASA's rovers. But the alien scene was actually completely made-up.

It's part of an ever-increasing gallery of images depicting real planets beyond our solar system that, in fact, no one has ever seen.

Astronomers detect these planets by looking for how a planet's gravity tugs on its star, or how a planet blocks a star's light. Over the last two decades, they've used these techniques to detect thousands of planets.

Creating popular images to show what the planets might look like has become something of a cottage industry. The artists say this work can drive home the idea that these planets truly exist — but, still, some people worry that the public might get the wrong idea. ...
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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:13 pm

NPR wrote:
Creating popular images to show what the planets might look like has become something of a cottage industry. The artists say this work can drive home the idea that these planets truly exist — but, still, some people worry that the public might get the wrong idea. ...

It certainly bothers me how nearly universally bad these images (and almost all astronomical "artist's concept images) are.
Chris

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby geckzilla » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:56 pm

Somewhere along the line, it was decided to let soft sci-fi imagery dominate planetary illustration. I have no doubt that most of these illustrations were inspired works created by artists with very little science background. They basically copy those works and then subtract any aliens or spaceships.
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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby Ann » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:42 am

Saturn from Titan, 1944. Illustration: Chester Bonestell.

Chester Bonestell's pictures were nicer to look at.

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starbrush » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:47 am

Even painting pictures of our own planet's face and landscapes can be tricky! And I really enjoy Chris Peterson's point: it goes to the heart of the difficulties. Turning a few bits of data into something visual, borrowing from our existing 'visual vocabulary' - Earthly or gained via space probes - is always going to involve imaginative risks. I've never seen the Milky Way blazing as it does in astrophotography such as we see on APOD/Asterisk, and I doubt I'd be able to look at some of the distant depicted suns without getting my retinae scorched. Perhaps it would be raining ammonia anyway and it would be impenetrably foggy (Claude Monet might have enjoyed the challenge). Jupiter gets sunlight what, 3% the strength that Earth does?... Yet the space probe photos are jolly bright. And Hubble imagery involves processing with colour palettes chosen to best reveal features and structures. Elizabeth Kessler of Chicago University offered fascinating suggestions that Hubble image palettes owe something to the traditions of the painters of big romantic - and 'sublime' - landscapes of America. See, e.g., http://www.spacedaily.com/news/hubble-05i.html
I also notice, as I'm sure fellow Asternauts have, that photos of Earth from the ISS seem to show a much exaggerated curvature. Incidentally, you might like to try something next time you have sight of a big, wide, flat horizon, e.g. the sea. I find that if I tilt my head 90 degrees to look at it, my brain insists that there's a graceful curve! (Tip: hold on to your phone if it's in a shirt pocket)
Lewis Wolpert once said that "Art has zero to offer Science". That's a good challenge. I know Science has given my art a lot. (Perhaps he was being tongue-in-cheek; for the number 'zero' has been of immense use to Science).

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starsurfer » Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:30 am

I think paintings of women look nice. :D :wink:

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby Ann » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:29 am

starbrush wrote:Lewis Wolpert once said that "Art has zero to offer Science".


Image Art? Is that true? :shock:

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starbrush » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:30 pm

Ann wrote:
starbrush wrote:Lewis Wolpert once said that "Art has zero to offer Science".


Image Art? Is that true? :shock:

Ann


There's this BBC Radio 4 archive page - alas the 'Listen Again' link didn't work for me. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/the ... ures.shtml
It's gone, gone, 9 light-years away and fading! :(
On the same topic, the Prof writes in the Guardian (UK) at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2 ... reducation

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starbrush » Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:30 pm

starsurfer wrote:I think paintings of women look nice. :D :wink:

Hmm... I wouldn't want to strain too hard against the fence marked !OFF TOPIC! lest I be asked to take my quadruple espresso to the forum next door. But...
A Gaia-esque personification of fine human science, wisdom, stewardship, love etc, features in a few paintings. She was 'Verse 3' of a 5-verse sequence, but then demanded a series of her own - similarly to a minor character in Ursula K Le Guin's short story Semley's Necklace, who insisted that she write his story: the ethnologist in Rocannon's World. As UKL says, you can't argue with these people!
Verse 3 and the loss of a planet (Painting)
Verse 3 and the loss of a planet.JPG

'Verse 3' roams the stars as an optimistic personification of how we might hope to be - should we deserve that role. And here I am, minor artist of 21stC, borrowing from Graeco-Roman mythology!
Verse 3 picks another world (Painting)
Verse 3 picks another world.JPG
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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starsurfer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:00 pm

starbrush wrote:
starsurfer wrote:I think paintings of women look nice. :D :wink:

Hmm... I wouldn't want to strain too hard against the fence marked !OFF TOPIC! lest I be asked to take my quadruple espresso to the forum next door. But...
A Gaia-esque personification of fine human science, wisdom, stewardship, love etc, features in a few paintings. She was 'Verse 3' of a 5-verse sequence, but then demanded a series of her own - similarly to a minor character in Ursula K Le Guin's short story Semley's Necklace, who insisted that she write his story: the ethnologist in Rocannon's World. As UKL says, you can't argue with these people!
Verse 3 and the loss of a planet (Painting)
Verse 3 and the loss of a planet.JPG
'Verse 3' roams the stars as an optimistic personification of how we might hope to be - should we deserve that role. And here I am, minor artist of 21stC, borrowing from Graeco-Roman mythology!
Verse 3 picks another world (Painting)
Verse 3 picks another world.JPG

Well a painting of Andromeda wouldn't be off topic! :D

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starbrush » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:40 pm

I could give it a 'whirl' !

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Re: NPR: Out Of This World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

Postby starsurfer » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:49 pm

starbrush wrote:I could give it a 'whirl' !

Like this?


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