FieldNotes: How The Bird Got Its Beak
20 hours ago in Field Notes
ISON made a brief appearance to the unaided eye for a few days before it grazed the sun and then uncoiled itself. But to the learned astronomer ISON is still interesting. Comets are rare objects in the inner solar system so even a dead comet is a chance to learn something, in fact, further spectroscopic observations of this dead comet's remains will continue to tell us exactly what it was made of. There is a legacy here.According to Brueghel when Icarus fell it was spring a farmer was ploughing his field the whole pageantry of the year was awake tingling with itself sweating in the sun that melted the wings' wax unsignificantly off the coast there was a splash quite unnoticed this was Icarus drowning
The world we see is an illusion, albeit a highly persistent one. We have gradually got used to the idea that nature’s true reality is one of uncertain quantum fields; that what we see is not necessarily what is. Dark matter is a profound extension of this concept. It appears that the majority of matter in the universe has been hidden from us. That puts physicists and the general public alike in an uneasy place. Physicists worry that they can’t point to an unequivocal confirmed prediction or a positive detection of the stuff itself. The wider audience finds it hard to accept something that is necessarily so shadowy and elusive.I just published this article in Aeon Magazine, read on!