Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Universe is a big place

Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken (Redux)

By Tony Darnell

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Searching for the faintest objects in the Ultra Deep Field is like trying to find a firefly on the Moon. Light from the farthest objects reached the Hubble telescope in trickles rather than gushers. The orbiting observatory collected one photon of light per minute from the dimmest objects. Normally, the telescope collects millions of photons per minute from nearby galaxies.

This UTube film reminds me of the Total Perspective Vortex:

Trin Tragula was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. She would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.

"Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as 38 times in a single day.

And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex, just to show her. Into one end he lugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the ther end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she seen in one instant the hole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot have is a sense of proportion.

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