Nietzche and Astronomy?

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster. And if you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. --F. Nietzsche

That's supposed to be a metaphor, right? Not so, says NGC 1097. In visible light, it just looks like a barred spiral galaxy:

But damn if the abyss isn't gazing back at us in the infrared. From the Spitzer Space Telescope:

Universe Today has the full story on what we're seeing. You're going to have to go there; apparently, I have a monster to battle.

Tags

More like this

As I write this, the Space Shuttle Atlantis has just blasted-off a few hours ago, headed for the Hubble Space Telescope. It's hard to believe that Hubble's been up there for more than 19 years now, and has helped revolutionize our understanding of the Universe, from measuring the Hubble constant to…
Unfortunately, NASA is calling it a "wild creature of the dark" with an "eye-like object at its center." Actually, it is a galaxy, which is plenty cool so they could do without the fancy-talk. Here's the picture: This is Galaxy NGC 1097, and it is about 50 million light years away/ago. The…
"Einstein was wrong when he said, 'God does not play dice.' Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen." -Stephen Hawking Welcome back to Starts With A Bang after a brief vacation! Apparently,…
Bookgasm has a very fun guest post by Ben H. Winters, author of the recently published Jane Austen pastiche/adaptation/expansion Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Since writing SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS, I've gotten a ton of feedback about how nice it is that I've made Jane…

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Neil,

The problem is that IR is hard to do from the ground; the atmosphere really gets in the way. By time we had telescopes like UKIRT up and running, we knew better about Mars. In fact, it wasn't even until the launch of the satellite COBE that we got to see the Milky Way in infrared; check it out!

That's why Spitzer, Herschel, and the big Hubble successor, James Webb, are all poised to take advantage of doing IR in space!

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.

Thanks for this great shot, and I like your literary flair. The "eye" does look more dramatic in IR, but you can see it well enough in the visible shot. One thing I wonder about older use of IR astronomy: when they were still wondering about the "green" areas of Mars being vegetation, didn't someone think to do the near IR (at least spectroscopic if not image) to see if that resembled plant reflection? And there are so few nice astronomical IR Ektachrome shots, that I can find at least.