APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

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APOD Robot
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APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:14 am

Image Reflections on the 1970s

Explanation: The 1970s are sometimes ignored by astronomers, like this beautiful grouping of reflection nebulae in Orion - NGC 1977, NGC 1975, and NGC 1973 - usually overlooked in favor of the substantial glow from the nearby stellar nursery better known as the Orion Nebula. Found along Orion's sword just north of the bright Orion Nebula complex, these reflection nebulae are also associated with Orion's giant molecular cloud about 1,500 light-years away, but are dominated by the characteristic blue color of interstellar dust reflecting light from hot young stars. In this sharp color image a portion of the Orion Nebula appears along the bottom border with the cluster of reflection nebulae at picture center. NGC 1977 stretches across the field just below center, separated from NGC 1973 (above right) and NGC 1975 (above left) by dark regions laced with faint red emission from hydrogen atoms. Taken together, the dark regions suggest to many the shape of a running man.

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heehaw

Re: APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by heehaw » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:35 am

The ancient Greeks, our intellectual "founding fathers," or perhaps I'd better say (these days) "our founding parents," created mathematics as we know it, and created astronomy as we know it, and made halting steps towards physics as we know it; but, they also were deeply interested in beauty. We moderns have not made any breakthrough on beauty. We humans find flowers beautiful. That, to me, is a remarkable fact. Because the flowers have no stake in us considering them to be beautiful, or at least only a minor stake, compared to the vital stake they have in having the bees consider them to be attractive (beautiful?). We and the bees (and the butterflies) have a common standard of beauty, though bees and butterflies have, as far as I know, no mathematics or astronomy or physics. So, what is beauty? How vital is it to the Universe? The reason I launched on this discourse is, of course, the extraordinary beauty of the Astronomy Picture of the Day: today, and indeed almost every day. Have you ever seen an ugly astronomical photograph? Yet before telescopes (and long-exposure photography) we humans had never glimpsed these sights: but we find them beautiful! How can that be?

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Re: APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by geckzilla » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:38 am

heehaw wrote:Yet before telescopes (and long-exposure photography) we humans had never glimpsed these sights: but we find them beautiful! How can that be?
The same physics that govern patterns on Earth also govern the rest of the Universe.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Ann
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Re: APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by Ann » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:45 pm

heehaw wrote:
Have you ever seen an ugly astronomical photograph? Yet before telescopes (and long-exposure photography) we humans had never glimpsed these sights: but we find them c! How can that be?
Part of the reason why we find almost all astrophotographs beautiful is, I think, that many if not most astronomical photographs have been processed in a way that makes them beautiful to us. For example, if we could see the nebulas in today's APOD with the naked eye, they would look gray and faint to us, wihtout much detail.

Adam Block's photographs are always a delight to look at. Adam never lies about the colors of a nebula, but he enhances the colors so that we can fully appreciate them. Another way of putting this is to say that if our eyes had the same kind of color receptors as they do now, but had many more of these receptors so that our eyes were much more sensitive to colors than they are now, then the nebulas in today's APOD would look to our eyes the way they do in today's APOD.

Note the dull reddish magenta color of the Running Man nebula. Clearly this color is a mixture of low levels of Ha emission, caused by the ultraviolet light of a star of perhaps spectral class B1 or even B2, mixed with fine dust grains that reflect the blue light of the star.

Also note the contorted dust shape below the Running Man. Note that this dusty shape is better illuminated at bottom than it is at top. Astrophotographer David Malin once said that this dust cloud is a reflection nebula of a reflection nebula, reflecting the light of many colors from the Orion Nebula itself.

Ann
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HooWee

Re: APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by HooWee » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:59 pm

heehaw wrote:We and the bees (and the butterflies) have a common standard of beauty, though bees and butterflies have, as far as I know, no mathematics or astronomy or physics. So, what is beauty? How vital is it to the Universe?
I'm slightly red/green color blind so if the shades are really close I have a hard time telling them apart. Also, I seem to have difficulty with some kinds of pattern recognition, I can never see the numbers hidden in the colored dots (any colors) at the eye doctor's office, and I sure don't see the running man in this nebula. But for all of that I find the clear night sky breathtakingly beautiful by naked eye and the astrographs here at APOD even more so. I think recognition of beauty is a function of humanity (or perhaps sentience in general?), I'd have trouble believing the birds and bees and butterflies are capable of the concept. I mean we see the beauty of a flower but I think they see lunch.

Tekija

Re: APOD: Reflections on the 1970s (2016 Jan 13)

Post by Tekija » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:57 pm

HooWee wrote:
heehaw wrote:We and the bees (and the butterflies) have a common standard of beauty, though bees and butterflies have, as far as I know, no mathematics or astronomy or physics. So, what is beauty? How vital is it to the Universe?
I'm slightly red/green color blind so if the shades are really close I have a hard time telling them apart. Also, I seem to have difficulty with some kinds of pattern recognition, I can never see the numbers hidden in the colored dots (any colors) at the eye doctor's office, and I sure don't see the running man in this nebula. But for all of that I find the clear night sky breathtakingly beautiful by naked eye and the astrographs here at APOD even more so. I think recognition of beauty is a function of humanity (or perhaps sentience in general?), I'd have trouble believing the birds and bees and butterflies are capable of the concept. I mean we see the beauty of a flower but I think they see lunch.
Very few people are color blind. A great many, almost all male, are considered to have anomalous color vision. Sounds like you are one of them! It is also unlikely that you have any problem at all with pattern recognition. The test that you refer to, developed almost exactly one hundred years ago by a Japanese ophthalmologist Ishihara, is a test of color and not a test of pattern recognition, although one might get such an impression. The colors of adjacent dots were carefully chosen by Ishihara so that one with anomalous color vision can not tell them correctly from another color. Thus he or rarely she who is subjects to this test will see another number than those with normal color vision, or will not see any number at all, depending on the plate. But toward the end of the test, a few plates are presented in which only those with sufficiently anomalous color vision can see the number. This is their chance for revenge! Like this one:

Image

Note that this test is highly dependent on the light spectrum and fails to work perfectly over the net. It should be done with printed cards in daylight or under equivalent incandescent light.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinobu_Ishihara