July 27, 2013 | 7
Here are some things that will give whatever might be on your mind at the moment a little perspective.
You’ve probably seen these images plastered all over the Internet already. But seeing as I blogged about the new pale blue dot before it was taken, here they are:
That’s Saturn, the Earth and moon as they were last Friday evening. I quite like this raw version too:
On the topic of space images, there was a great blog post this week about the term “false colour” and why we all really need to stop saying it. Dr Robert Hurt explains why he doesn’t like the connotations of deliberate misrepresentation that come with the term, and how “false” colour images are actually pretty useful in helping us appreciate, for example, the haze of Neptune that we wouldn’t see with our own eyes.
I especially like his point that it’s rather arrogant to call what we see “true” colour, and visual representations of the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum “false”:
The idea that out of the entire vast spectrum of light, from gamma rays through radio, only the tiny sliver of light seen by our eyes, sliced into the three filters shared by most humans represent the true colors in the universe is… almost unspeakably arrogant.
There is wonderment to be found in the colors accessible to human eyesight, a fantastic three-dimensional color space of hue and value. I just think it is good to remember a little humility and acknowledge that the particulars of our vision are shaped by a number of accidents of evolution and are no more a “true” representation of the universe than myriad other possibilities.
So remember — we’re on a tiny dot of a planet, and our eyes only allow us to see a tiny slice of the universe. Happy Saturday…