archive: April 2009


Comments 8

Commenting is now closed

For Petesake says:

Very cool picture, but how is the anthropomorphic shape of this nebula different than seeing a face of my grandfather in a cloud or the Virgin Mary in a toasted cheese sandwich? The meaning of the shape is not the shape itself, but what is in the mind of the viewer. We tend to see what we want to see.

This nebula photo has some extra stuff going for it besides a deep-seated human longing for meaning, though. First off, it’s in outerspace, which makes it seem even more mysterious and etherial! Secondly, the image is enhaced by NASA photograph colorists to peak the interest of the public. Every time you see a colorful NASA photograph, it is an enhanced photograph. If NASA’s talented space artists did not color the photos, they would be totally bland and uninspiring to all but the most nerdy PhD astrophysicists. But in colorized form they look amazing to everyone, and they make it more paletable to funnel a few billion tax dollars into the space program. Maybe even a few trillion for a Mars mission. A great public releations tool for the program indeed.

Now, we can see God anywhere we choose, at church, in nature, in a sunrise, in the face of a child. Certainly human science and artistic achievements could be seen as gifts from God. This nebula photo is science and art. But it is not a hand. It just looks like one because of human creativity in the photo studio and in the minds of the people who gaze upon it. I simply appreciate it for what it is–amazing. The colorist got lucky, and so did we in being able to see it.

oh please, 1st of all, I’m agnostic, but don’t pretend someone painted it to look like this. NASA assigned a color spectrum to certain X ray frequencies and this is what it ended up looking like. period. no one made it look like a hand, it just does.