The astronomer’s gaze

I’ve been looking at the sort of raw images that are produced by modern telescopes. The above image is a typical example of these.

The process of how this image is cleaned up and made suitable for further analysis and study is described in detail at …

http://wisp11.physics.wisc.edu/~soto/

The resulting cleaned up image looks like the one below.

The astrophysicist does not look directly at the object that he/she studies, rather it is digitally altered and processed before it can even begin to be analysed and studied. This distancing from the object must have an impact on the way they interact and related to the object they are studying.

For an artist there is the viewer’s gaze, the artist’s gaze, the male gaze e.t.c that all represent different ways of looking at the object/subject being viewed. They also have very different relationships to the object being viewed. The artist is going to have a radically different way of looking at and relating to the object under scrutiny than the viewer. It would be interesting to see how the astrophysicist’s gaze differs; though they are electronically seperated from their object they try to understand it down to the tiniest detail.

I swear this made more sense in my head 🙂

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