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Five most influential astroimages

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#1 Alex McConahay

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 12:38 PM

I would like to know, from those most engaged in taking images of the heavens: 

 

…...What five images of the heavens (or Astro objects, or the sun, or moon, or planets, or stars......whatever up there) have had the most impact on history?

 

An image is any representation of the heavens, painting, drawing, sketch, plate, pretty picture, ccd, ektachrome,  hubble shot, whatever. 

 

Give a justification for your selection, please. 

 

(Yes, I am doing a presentation, and would like to know if I have thought of everything.)

 

Alex

 


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#2 pedxing

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 12:44 PM

Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius.

 

It is multiple sketches, but each one describes what at the time was a revolution in our understanding of what we see in the sky.


Edited by pedxing, 21 March 2019 - 12:46 PM.

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#3 Mark326

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 12:52 PM

Going to pick Andromeda, because Edwin Hubble’s observation help conclusively prove Galaxies outside our own Milky Way existed.


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#4 bobito

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 01:09 PM

Hubble's Deepest Field image, it had a profound effect on me.  Seeing that many galaxies in such a small portion of sky really put the universe in perspective for me.


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#5 44maurer

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 01:12 PM

The CMB map, showing the uniformity of the temperatures in the early universe. There have been several, so it could be different versions produced over the years. I believe the most detailed was the Plank CMB.
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#6 bmhjr

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 01:15 PM

Hubble's Pillars of Creation.  For me it is not only an astounding image, but it provoked the ideas around creation, and history.


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#7 happylimpet

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 01:17 PM

Can we count Earthrise, taken from Apollo 8?


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#8 kyle528

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 03:55 PM

I'm going to second the Hubble deep field, because of the impact it had on our understanding (or lack of understanding) of just how much there is out there, and how mind-numbingly insignificant any one thing is to any other. But I have to say, the photo that has always had the most impact on me is not necessarily of a celestial object. Since I was a little kid, I've been fascinated by anything not having to do with this planet, and perhaps more by our measly attempts (measly used in a size scale comparison, not technological or significance) to explore the depths of space. So I have to say that my favorite is the Pale Blue Dot. There's so much to be said about this image, but no one could ever say anything more truly touching than Carl Sagan himself. 

 

 

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Carl Sagan-1994


Edited by kyle528, 21 March 2019 - 03:56 PM.

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#9 tcchittyjr

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 04:08 PM

I'm going to 2nd both the Pillars of Creation and the Earthrise from Apollo 8. My dad was involved in the space program, and we lived in Cocoa Beach during the Apollo launches. Seeing our earth from the moon's point of view made a BIG impact on me as a teenager. Pillars of Creation make me want to be a better astrophotgapher.

 

TomC


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#10 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 04:41 PM

I'm going to second the Hubble deep field, because of the impact it had on our understanding (or lack of understanding) of just how much there is out there, and how mind-numbingly insignificant any one thing is to any other. But I have to say, the photo that has always had the most impact on me is not necessarily of a celestial object. Since I was a little kid, I've been fascinated by anything not having to do with this planet, and perhaps more by our measly attempts (measly used in a size scale comparison, not technological or significance) to explore the depths of space. So I have to say that my favorite is the Pale Blue Dot. There's so much to be said about this image, but no one could ever say anything more truly touching than Carl Sagan himself. 

 

 

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Carl Sagan-1994

Amen.

 

It is perhaps unfortunate that Carl Sagan's message has not been more influential, as in the two decades since his oratory not much seems to have changed.  Equal to the Pale Blue Dot in this regard, I think, is Earthrise.  Earthrise came at a better time to be a rallying icon for change, but Dr. Sagan's text, and the image it describes, put things in better perspective.

 

But to the core topic of the thread, I think the most influential image was one sketched centuries before the invention of the camera, that of Galileo’s picture of Jupiter and 4 of its moons.  The universe, as we knew it, was never the same since.


Edited by TelescopeGreg, 21 March 2019 - 04:47 PM.

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#11 SHFT

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 04:43 PM

Some more recent ones but the first close-up pictures from Pluto are breathtaking and the Rosetta mission pictures are unreal,



#12 nimitz69

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:19 PM

Since you specifically asked for images that “ ... had the most impact on history”. And not what has personally motivated the person responding to your post .... I’d have to say #1 was the Apollo earthrise photo and #2 would be the Hubble Deep Field.

 

Although the HDF is more profound in absolute terms given what it reveals about the Universe, the Apollo image I’m sure has been seen by more people and therefore has likely had a larger influence on humans ....



#13 Salacious B Crumb

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:51 PM

How about Van Gogh, The Starry Night.

 

 

- Mikko


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#14 AhBok

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:25 PM

First Viking image of Martian landscape.
Cassini image of Saturn.
Apollo view of earth.
Pillars of Creation.
Hubble Deep Field.

#15 ldcarson

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:44 PM

Live video of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.


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#16 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 10:37 PM

Live video of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.

Yeah.  And for me, personally, a picture of our home TV set with the image of his foot on the Moon.  (This, before the days of VCRs and such...)


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#17 2ghouls

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 09:04 AM

I thought of Eddington’s 1919 solar eclipse photo that was the first (?) evidence of Einsteins theory of general relativity. I don’t think the photo has as much visual impact as earthrise or the Hubble deep field, but it definitely was historic.
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#18 jstrandberg

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 09:47 AM

Can we count Earthrise, taken from Apollo 8?

Oh YES! As a 16-year old kid that one picture fired a life-long love of astronomy and a fascination with space flight.



#19 Pauls72

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 10:31 AM

Edwin Hubble Andromeda - We are not alone, poof there are other galaxies.

Hubble Deep Field - Proof there are way more galaxies than anyone ever expected.

Apollo Earth Rise - Puts our size in the universe into perspective.

Sketches of Jupiter and Saturn by Galileo - Showed planets with their moons.

Clyde Tombaugh's images of Pluto - Our 9th planet from 1929 to 2006. tongue2.gif

 

As time passes I think some of the images taken by some of our space probes & telescopes will become more important:

New Horizons - Pluto and Ultima Thule

Pioneer 10 & 11, Voyager 1 & 2 - Tours of the planets, most notably The "Family Portrait" image of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Earth and Venus from Voyager 1 from beyond Neptune. (aka: The Pale Blue Dot.)

Solar Maximum - Sun Images

Viking, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity - Mars images

Galileo - Jupiter Images

Cassini - Saturn Images

Verena - Images of Venus

NASA's APOD of Water on Mars

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap050401.html


Edited by Pauls72, 22 March 2019 - 10:32 AM.


#20 charotarguy

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:55 PM

Earth (pale white dot) through saturn's ring by cassinni spacecraft. 


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#21 Alex McConahay

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 09:11 AM

My choices:

 

The image of the moons of Jupiter--Galileo. Finally, some proof for Copernican Revolution. 

Solar Eclipse--Eddington. At last, they took Einstein seriously.

Discovery of Cepheid in Andromeda--Hubble. Greatly expanded the size of the Universe.

Red shift (Don't know which image)--Hubble?. Changed the age of the universe and the creation story.

Earthrise (and Pale Blue Dot)--Inspired Environmental Movement.

 

I suppose I could add Footprints on the moon.....Signaled the beginning of the end of the cold war.

 

Now, don't get me wrong. Pillars of Creation, the detail on Pluto, and the Deep Field, and the rest of the suggestions were pretty impressive pictures. But I do not think they had much influence outside of the astronomical community. These others, I think, entered into the stream of consciousness of people as a whole. The whole world changed their way of thinking.

 

Gabany and Gendler have a book "Breakthrough: 100 astroimages that changed the world." Beautiful book, and worth picking up. Lots of history in it. But it is about 100 remarkable images in the history of astroimaging. I do not know of many of them that actually changed anything in the world as a whole.

 

Time/Life has a book "100 Photographs that changed the world." (Earthrise is on its cover!). It contains hundreds of pictures from the "Life" collection, and they were the premier collection of images for the last century. Again many of them record events, but I do not think changed them. For instance Eisenstaedt's photo of the sailor kissing the girl in Times Square is certainly memorable, and records the events of an era. But I do not think it changed anything.

 

One other thing.....All of the images that I have mentioned have something in common---they shrunk the size/importance of the earth.....Except, for Pale blue dot and Earthrise. While they shrunk the earth, they made it very much more important. 

 

So, thanks, all for your suggestions. And wish me luck on the presentation.

 

Alex 



#22 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 12:56 AM

"One other thing.....All of the images that I have mentioned have something in common---they shrunk the size/importance of the earth.....Except, for Pale blue dot and Earthrise. While they shrunk the earth, they made it very much more important."


Bingo. There's your final slide. Good luck!


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