Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime

Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime

Elizabeth A. Kessler


The shiny, dramatic pictures of far away stars and galaxies taken via the Hubble area Telescope have come to outline how we visualize the cosmos. of their immediacy and vibrancy, photos from the Hubble exhibit what destiny generations of area tourists may well see should still they enterprise past our sun process. yet their incredible shades and specific info are usually not easily items of the telescope’s unparalleled orbital place and technologically complex optical method. really, they end result from a sequence of planned judgements made by way of the astronomers who convert uncooked information from the Hubble into outstanding photographs by means of assigning shades, adjusting distinction, and actively composing the photographs, balancing the will for an aesthetically unique illustration with the necessity for a scientifically legitimate one.

In Picturing the Cosmos, Elizabeth A. Kessler examines the Hubble’s deep area photos, highlighting the awesome resemblance they endure to nineteenth-century work and pictures of the yank West and their invocation of the visible language of the elegant. Drawing on paintings background and the heritage of technological know-how, in addition to interviews with astronomers who paintings at the Hubble background undertaking, Kessler lines the ways in which the elegant, with its inherent rigidity among cause and mind's eye, not just kinds the looks of the pictures, but additionally operates on different degrees. The elegant informs the twin expression—numeric and pictorial—of electronic facts and underpins the relevance of the frontier for a brand new period of exploration played through our tools instead of bodies. via their engagement with the elegant the Hubble photographs are a fancy act of translation that encourages an adventure of the universe as concurrently past humanity’s seize and in the achieve of our knowledge.

Strikingly illustrated with full-color photos, this ebook unearths the clinical, aesthetic, and cultural importance of the Hubble photographs, providing a nuanced realizing of ways they form our ideas—and dreams—about the cosmos and our areas inside of it.

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