Aug 28 2013
Aug 14 2013
I recently bought Canon’s EF 200mm f#2.8 prime lens for some deep-sky imaging with the Canon 5D MkII. To say I am highly impressed with this lens’ performance is a massive understatement – it is fantabulous!
Last night was “first light” for the EF 200mm and I imaged the Double Cluster region and the region around M31. Note that the field of view is around 9.5 x 6.5 degrees and we have perfect round stars from corner to corner – this is AMAZING performance for a “daylight photography” lens. It’s certainly more impressive than the refractors I use for the purpose – although at 200mm the focal length is a lot shorter and so the resolution is also quite a bit poorer. That said – for wide-field deep-sky imaging I reckon this lens takes some beating.
The Double Cluster image was only 6 subs at 3-minutes per sub, f#4, ISO 800, IDAS filter. The M31 image was just 10 subs at 5-minutes per sub again at f#4 but this time at ISO 400, again using an IDAS filter.
I am highly impressed with the performance of this lens and have a huge list of objects now on the whiteboard waiting to be imaged by this little beauty
Today I managed to get my 50th Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) posted
Thank you Jim for continuing to publish my work.
Science and God
Oh dear, that old Chestnut again, can anything new be said on the subject? Probably not, but then again, as we are now in the 21st Century, perhaps it is a good time to re-assess the situation.
Can you picture the battered Galileo leaving the interrogation by the Inquisition muttering under his breath “And yet it moves”? I can, very clearly, even though it is very likely that he never said those words at that time. Whilst on the subject, do you know how long it was before the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. the incumbent Pope) actually apologised for this travesty? We had to wait until the 31st October 1992 before Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how “the Galileo affair was handled”. Better late than never I suppose.
Do “scientists” show any more tolerance or understanding towards Religious people? Far from it, the last decade has seen plenty of venting from several individuals who believe their own Godless view of the Universe is the “correct” way to look at things. Many “scientists” also express the opinion that as we learn more and more so the need for a God appears to be required less and less. Those with these opinions are of course very amateur “scientists”; those working at the forefronts of Cosmology fully realise that we are a long way from any real understanding of the Universe we live in, and that a God (or Gods) could help us out in explaining some of the more cerebrally challenging details.
As I have mentioned in posts elsewhere, it is a rather ignorant Religious person who has no time for science, because like it or not, that’s the way the world operates. Likewise it is an equally ignorant “scientist” who discounts the spiritual side of Homo Sapiens, because again, like it or not, that’s a level on which (most) humans operate.
The reason I have called this piece Science and God and not Science and Religion is quite simple. I have said all I am going to say about Religion above, Religion is not the issue here, God is. Religion is a mind-construct of Homo Sapiens. Religion and associated concepts such as Heaven were created, as Kryten so brilliantly observed in Red Dwarf, “to try and prevent you guys from going nuts”. I have no time for any religion whatsoever, purely man-made constructs cannot give any “true” answers to the God question. They do seem however to be really good forums for pitting Homo Sapiens against Homo Sapiens. But not having any religious interests does not equate to having no interest in the existence of a God (or Gods). The God question is extremely interesting.
Does God exist? Even Kurt Gödel wrote a piece trying to answer this question, so I guess it must be important. The corollary of course is, if God exists, then what exactly is God?
I can be wrong right from the off on this one, but my “feeling” is (yes I am a member of Homo Sapiens I work with feelings as well as with numbers) – my feeling is that what we as a race call God is the Absolute Infinite. So that is going to be my starting point, if you disagree with that, then it is pointless reading any further to get any God answers.
If God is the Absolute Infinite, the Ein Sof, then I think we are entering very interesting territory indeed. Why? Because I don’t believe there is ANYTHING in the physical Universe that is infinite. I don’t believe there are an infinite number of photons, quarks or neutrinos. Our Universe it appears is finite in size and contains a finite amount of stuff within it. So everything we know (or ever will know) in the real physical world appears to be made out of finite quantities – Q.E.D. we won’t find God in the physical Universe.
Where do we find Infinities? The only place I know of where we find Infinity and infinite quantities is in mathematics. Now that’s strange. We use mathematics to explain the real world to a high degree of accuracy, and we even carry out integrations over infinity to give answers that correspond to realities in the real world – and yet infinity does not seem to be part of the real world.
So am I saying that God is Mathematics? No I am not. But can you see that Mathematics might give us a clue as to what God actually is? The Absolute Infinite was contemplated by Georg Cantor as an infinity that transcended the transfinite numbers. It should be noted that Cantor equated the Absolute Infinite with God! Cantor believed that the Absolute Infinite possessed mathematical properties including the reflection principle which states that every property of the Absolute Infinite is also held by some smaller object. It is sad to relate that Georg Cantor, along with several other famous mathematicians/physicists who dared to venture into the realm of the infinite encountered severe mental problems which led to death.
We are now coming to the end of this piece. How is it possible for a finite Mind to contemplate and work with infinite quantities? I suppose the trite answer is that it cannot and it leads to madness and death, which in itself is extremely interesting observation, because as we all know “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”. But now consider the reason our finite minds can work with the Infinite is due to the reflection principle, so that every property of the Absolute Infinite is also held by some smaller object – ourselves for example!
I therefore believe it is possible for us “smaller objects” to know “the Mind of God” – but the quest is fraught with danger!!
Another Panoramic shot with the 5D MkII from 31st May 2013 – this time enchanting Avebury – I love this place.
I very rarely see these spiders in the garden, so today there were three within 6 feet of each other. Needless to say they got macro’d
Jul 13 2013
Got today’s EPOD with my focus-stacked photomicromosaic of the Diatom Exhibition slide. Thank you Jim for continuing to publish my work
Jul 12 2013
We have just had 8 consecutive clear Moonless nights – I’m pretty sure that one will remain an unbroken record. Taken during this period of deep-sky imaging bliss we have the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere, which is NOT Vega as you might guess (looking up on a summer’s evening Vega appears to be the brightest star up there) – but over to the west, looking a lot like Mars IS the brightest star – and it’s Arcturus.
Arcturus – or Hoku-lea the star of gladness, the star that leads great voyagers home – to quote Stephen James O’Meara in his superb book “The Caldwell Objects”.
There’s something about Arcturus, I don’t know what it is, but I get a great feeling of comfort and security when I see it shining overhead. Maybe I have some Hawaiian ancestry?
A deep image using the Hyperstar III and 7 x 15-minute subs looking at the SAO 69116 region in Cygnus. The Tulip nebula can be seen at the left of the frame, I’ll need to grab another frame to get this in as well (I forgot the chip was in portrait mode and not landscape mode )
I’ve read some staggeringly good (Auto)Biographies over the last few years, but I have sadly just finished the best ever. You could actually forget that it is an Autobiography – it is a superb science book with penetrative insights into the way research does and does not work. What am I talking about? It is Luis W. Alvarez’s Autobiography titled “Alvarez: Adventures of a Physicist”. If you have any interest in Physics whatsoever it really should be on your bookshelf.