The word pupil has been used in English to denote the center of the eye since around 1660, a borrowed word from the French word pupille, which dates back to around the 14th century, borrowed from the Latin word pupilla meaning doll. The Ancient Greeks used the word kore to denote principally a girl but also a doll, with the added use as the center of the eye just as in modern usage. This usage is thought to derive from the tiny reflection of oneself that can be seen in the dark central portion of the doll’s eye.
Special thanks to Rowan and Beckett for use of their eyes to illustrate. Image of the elongated ‘string of pearls’ pupil of a gecko used with permission courtesy of Yanpetro, under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.
Christopher Varady-Szabo began his career in architecture before moving over to fine art. In his drawings, he complements photographs with his own drawings with a focus on the environments and physical spaces of plant life.
From February 8th to April 7th, his work will be shown with artist Lorraine Gilbert in the exhibit Arbor vitae at the Ottawa City Hall Gallery. The show revolves around the idea from Norse mythology that humans are merely trees to whom the gods have granted the breath of life, the ability to walk and a face.
To see more of Varardy-Szabo’s work, you can visit his website here.
Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse! [code] [more] [bigger version]
This a fun demonstration. Try it on paper! Or with code if that’s your thing.
Here a ferrofluid climbs a spiral steel structure sitting on an electromagnet. Magnetic field lines emanating from the sculpture’s edges tend to push the ferrofluid out into long spikes—part of the normal field instability—but surface tension resists. The short, somewhat squat spikes we see are the balance struck between these opposing forces. Though known for their wild appearance, ferrofluids appear many in common applications, including hard drives, speakers, and MRI contrast agents. Researchers have also recently suggested they might help understand the behavior of the multiverse. (Photo credit: P. Davis et al.)
Way way way back in the days when our knowledge of astronomy was considerably less than today’s, many people used to think this light was caused by some unknown phenomena that occurred within the Earth’s atmosphere, it is also known as a False Dawn. But we soon came to find out that this wasn’t the case at all, in fact, the lighting is really caused by the reflection of little dust particles moving in outer space. Pretty awesome right?
Scientists think that some of these dust particles are possibly grains left over from the very process that formed our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.
These dust grains in space spread out from the sun in the same flat disc of space inhabited by Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the other planets in our sun’s family. This flat space around the sun – the plane of our solar system – translates on our sky to a narrow pathway called the ecliptic. This is the same pathway traveled by the sun and moon as they journey across our sky.
The pathway of the sun and moon was called the Zodiac or Pathway of Animals by our ancestors in honor of the constellations seen beyond it. The word zodiacal stems from the word Zodiac.
In other words, the zodiacal light is a solar system phenomenon. The grains of dust that create it are like tiny worlds – ranging from meter-sized to micron-sized – densest around the immediate vicinity of the sun and extending outward beyond the orbit of Mars. Sunlight shines on these grains of dust to create the light we see. Since they lie in the flat sheet of space around the sun, we could – in theory – see them as a band of dust across our entire sky, marking the same path that the sun follows during the day. And indeed there are sky phenomena associated with this band of dust, such as the gegenschein. But seeing such elusive sky phenomena as the gegenschein is difficult. Most of us see only the more obvious part of this dust band – the zodiacal light – in either spring or fall.
Under what sky conditions might you see it? You’ll need a dark sky location to see this false dawn, or zodiacal light, someplace where city lights aren’t obscuring the natural lights in the sky. The zodiacal light is even milkier in appearance than the summer Milky Way, but if you can see the Milky Way you can also see the zodiacal light. [EarthSky]