MOST RECENT POSTS

In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Galaxy Zoo


I’m briefly turning aside from the normal type of my posts to tell you about the fascinating afternoon I have spent today.

VERY dramatic. Possible close encounter of 2 galaxies.
Above left appears distorted.
 Lower spiral also looks stretched. 3rd galaxy in view?


Having been to an excellent University of the Third Age lecture on the ‘Life and Death of Stars’, (relieved that there will be no exam at the end of the course!) I returned home enthusiastic to re-engage with classifying galaxies on the Galaxy Zoo website. If you haven’t encountered this and like a simple science-based challenge, then do take a look at their website (link at bottom of this post). It’s an excellent example of ‘Citizen Science’. You will be shown galaxies, recently recorded by one of the major telescopes and invited to classify them, working through a series of simple choice questions. I’m not sure I’m particularly skilful at this yet – but with all but the most straightforward galaxies (shown by a series of examples), there is an opportunity to make comments that of themselves may be useful to the astronomy teams that could not possibly manage the vast number of classifications of images coming from our major space and land-based telescopes without this community assistance

Two things particularly appeal to me in these sessions (which can be as long or short as you choose)

·      *I know I am making a small contribution to real scientific endeavour (an encouraging thought for an armchair scientist like myself)
·       *I just might be able to draw attention to a never-seen-before feature in one of the galaxies I classify.

Stirring stuff – and if the idea appeals to you too, you’ll be very welcome on the website at www.galaxyzoo.org

Here are two of the amazing images I’ve been asked to classify this afternoon, with my remarks.


Beautiful formation with ‘halo’ aound galaxy core
 and spirals extending from the ‘halo’, not the galactic centre - unusual!





Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'