Friday, March 03, 2006

An Optimist's Confirmation

I just received my beautiful e-postcard from the Spitzer Space Telescope:



What you are looking at is Stephan's Quintet. Four of the five galaxies in this image are colliding. The green arc in the center of the image is actually one of the largest shock waves ever seen- it's a shock wave bigger than our own galaxy! It is being produced by one galaxy falling toward another at over a million miles per hour.

Now what you might not see is actual scientific proof of a long-held belief! Now don't be hard on yourself if you don't initially see it, I am an astronomer and have been trained in image analysis. I know the proper equations to apply to this image to glean the truly necessary information. Using complex number wave functions and a little bit of scientific ingenuity I have come up with this:



God truly does have a sense of humor.

2 comments:

jmac said...

Is this real?! This Spitzer photo & caption are beautiful!

seadot said...

Yes, absolutely. The "smiley" was already there, I just cut it out of the whole- like early astronomers naming constellations. Stephan's Quintet is a very famous conglomeration of galaxies. You can get JPL's e-postcards here. Fill in the required fields and select "E-postcards." Cheers!