Eye Of God Found - But No Mote
This remarkable new image of the Helix nebula is a recent product of the European La Silla Observatory in Chile using a special camera attached to a telescope.
(The Helix nebula)
ESO explains that the Helix (NGC 7293) is the result of the "final blooming" of a Sun-like star before its "retirement" as a white dwarf.
Gas blown from the star's surface radiates outwards and "shines" under ultraviolet light from its hot progenitor. The photograph, taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the 2.2-metre Max-Planck Society/ESO telescope, shows a central blue-green glow caused by "oxygen atoms shining under effects of the intense ultraviolet radiation of the 120,000°C central star and the hot gas".
ESO elaborates: "Further out from the star... the red colour from hydrogen and nitrogen is more prominent."
In their classic 1974 book The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle describe one of science fiction's most recognizable places - the Coal Sack. Here's the description of the Coal Sack, Murcheson's Eye and the Mote in God's Eye.
The Coal Sack was a nebular mass of dust and gas, small as such things go - twenty-four to thirty light years thick - but dense, and close enough to New Caledonia to block off a quarter of the sky. Earth and the Imperial Capital, Sparta, were forever invisible on its other side. The spreading blackness hid most of the Empire, but it made a fine velvet backdrop for two close, brilliant stars.
Even without that backdrop, Murcheson's Eye was the brightest star in the sky - a great red giant thirty-five light years distant. The white fleck at one edge was a yellow dwarf companion star, smaller and dimmer and less interesting: the Mote. Here the Coal Sack ahd the shape of a hooded man, head and shoulders; and the off-centered supergiant became a watchful, malevolent eye.
The Face of God.
(The Mote in God's Eye)
Obviously, this is not an sf prediction; however, in the novel, the sight of the Coal Sack and it's two small stars fueled the creation of the Church of Him. Perhaps this picture of the Helix nebula will do something similar.
Read more at Stargazers peer into the 'Eye of God'.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/27/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985
Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'
Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.
Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'
How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'
PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'
Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.
Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.
International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'
Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.
IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories