If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A tediously accurate map of the solar system

Congratulations on making it this far.

Being a science and space nerd from an early age, I’ve looked at a lot of maps of the solar system over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed one as much as “If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A tediously accurate map of the solar system”.

It’s sort of a philosophical side-scroller game (with no point) based on science. Or, actually, it’s a nice essay, presented in a somewhat unusual form, on the difficulties we humans have wrapping our heads around things that aren’t of a human scale, like the solar system.

“Sorry, Humanity,” says Evolution. “What with all the jaguars trying to eat you, the parasites in your fur, and the never-ending need for a decent steak, I was a little busy. I didn’t exactly have time to come up with a way to conceive of vast stretches of nothingness.”

It’s fun and informative and definitely worth scrolling past all those zillions of miles of darkness to find the next snarky little remark or, if you’re really lucky, an actual planet :)

With so much emptiness, aren’t stars, planets, and people just glitches in an otherwise elegant and uniform nothingness, like pieces of lint on a black sweater?

(It also shows off some pretty shiny webdev tools and design, which made a different part of my nerdliness happy.)

Big thanks to Josh Broton for the pointer:

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Mirages as both science and art

Particolari della superficie di Marte, 1890 Giovanni Schiaparelli

If you’re never been over to BibliOdyssey I highly recommend a visit. The sub-title for the blog is “Books~~Illustrations~~Science~~History~~Visual Materia Obscura~~Eclectic Bookart” which, well, sums it all up rather nicely. Lots of neat old illustrations, often (but not always) on scientific themes. The themes are interesting, the background info excellent, and the images are frequently just too cool.

The image above is from some of the earliest high quality mapping of Mars in the late 1800’s by Giovanni Schiaparelli, and is part of a really neat set of early modern maps of the red planet. Peacay (BibliOdyssey’s curator) has once again pulled together some great images that are really wonderful to look at in and of themselves, as well as being really cool historic and scientific documents.

Schiaparelli’s (in)famous ‘canali’ turned out to be a kind of optical illusion caused by interactions between light, dust clouds that form in the martian atmosphere, the orbital location and background interference from the planet’s surface itself. If a sketch is made of something that wasn’t really there but you believed it to be there at the time, can you call the result abstract art I wonder? I guess so.

I concur.

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