Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Picture Of The Day

Last night, as I walked out of the office about 5:45 p.m., I looked up at the Moon and saw right next to it a bright object, and snapped a photo with my camera.



Turns out that was Jupiter next to the moon.  And it turns out too that only recently scientists understood why Jupiter appears smaller than Venus when you look at it with your eye, but larger than Venus when you look at it through a telescope.

The problem, which was first documented by Galileo, is that Venus is smaller than Jupiter and thus when we see it (even though Venus is closer) it should appear smaller.  But it doesn't, unless you look through a telescope.

The reason is because of the way our eyes look at white things against black backgrounds. When we see a white spot on a black background, the brighter that spot is, the larger our eyes imagine it to be.  So Venus, which is brighter than Jupiter, appears larger because our eyes think brighter= larger.

OTHER THINGS TO CHECK OUT:

Sexy Secret Agents, on Me, Annotated: It's not what it sounds like. Unless it sounds like sexy secret agents.

THE THINKING MAN'S BLADE RUNNER: a short scifi story about life, and love, and having a girlfriend who is actually a clone programmed by a computer who gets mad at you because she thinks you're trying to reprogram her. SAME OLD SAME OLD...

A PLUG FOR OTHERS: Andrew Leon has written both a thoughtful essay on how fragile our existence is, and a story about robot sex, on Indie Writers Monthly. Can I guess which one made you click that link?

6 comments:

Rusty Carl said...

Another centuries old mystery finally solved. I hope someone is working on the whole, 'light staying on in the fridge' thing soon, my grandmother insists that's the greatest mystery of the modern age.

Briane P said...

I believe that once the NSA finishes reading all our emails, they will turn their Hal 9000 to that task.

Andrew Leon said...

@Rusty: That's refrigerator gnomes. I thought everyone knew that.

Jupiter should hire a better PR person.

Robin said...

Brighter=larger explains a lot. For instance, most people are uber-fascinated by shiny things. And yet, all that glitters isn't gold and just because he's sexy doesn't mean he's smart. Or funny. Or nice. Insert she for he and the same applies.

Thanks for clearing this up.

Briane P said...

Andrew:

Who's a better spokeperson than Galileo? I was always ready to buy wine form him and his brother Ernst.

Robin:

I had a detailed response to your assertions but then I found a quarter on the sidewalk and forgot all about this.

PS: It turned out to be a gum wrapper. BUT STILL SHINY.

Liz A. said...

Have you seen Brain Games? It's on one of those sciency channels that I watch. (I suppose I should go and look that up, but I'm at work and a kid just walked in to "type his essay" so I should at least pretend to be a teacher or something. Which means I should probably stop reading blogs right now.)

Anyway, they do things like this on Brain Games.