The use of photographs gave Krieger a firm foundation for the positional accuracy of different craters and rims, but the details added by hand were only visible visually through his telescope during moments of good "seeing." In order to explain this, it must be recalled that every time we observe the Moon, we are looking at it through our atmosphere, which can be very turbulent at times. There are nights when features on the lunar landscape may appear fuzzy and when stars themselves appear to perform cosmic waltzes in the eyepiece of a telescope, due to atmospheric turbulence. At other times, photons from outer space travel through a serene and steady path in our atmosphere. During brief moments of atmospheric steadiness (astronomers call this "good seeing"), the eye of Krieger was visually able to discern details on the lunar landscape which the low resolution photographs with their long exposure times did not. So Krieger added them by hand. (The modern digital era, which has ushered in the webcam, allows astronomers equipped with even small telescopes, to faithfully record the lunar landscape, with its imposing rims, craters and volcanic seas, or "mare." The webcam provides a veritable multitude of images, and a computer can then select those frames taken in moments of "good seeing.")
To Krieger, our terrestrial atmosphere was the mask of the Moon. Krieger attempted - and very successfully so - to penetrate that mask.
There is an important point to be stressed here: The nineteenth century way of speaking about a photograph was not only to regard it as the product of a machine (a camera) but it was also partnered by "the pencil of nature." The sentiment was that ... we still do not know how Nature pencils herself, but we do know that ... Nature does not pencil herself in one swoop.
Galaxies do not pencil or betray their structure in one swoop. There is an optical image of a galaxy. It "speaks the truth," but only part of the truth. The context is strictly the shape of the galaxy as seen in optical light. Images secured of the same galaxy, through different filters and detectors, also speak the truth - but again, a different sector of the truth as further discussed in Chapter 8.
It has been said that Nature and the capturing of Nature by means of a camera are a binary pair - sometimes aligned and at other times, opposed. The mystery of the "pencil of nature" ...
Astronomers are yet waiting to "image" the distribution of what may constitute ninety to ninety-five percent of the mass of a spiral galaxy, but much more of that later (Chapter 11). The mystery of the "pencil of nature" ...
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, the Apostle Paul writes: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." The above translation is from the King James Bible, but "The Message" paraphrase by Eugene Peterson resonates the meaning yet further, in terms of a fog or a mist:
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
As we shall see in the chapters to follow, Nature is veiled. As we penetrate different Shrouds of the Night, we are afforded glimpses of what may constitute different components of a galaxy but these never appear together in one investigative process - rather, different methodologies reveal different truths. Such is the grandeur of Nature and of our Shrouds of the Night.
Enter Edward Emerson Barnard, one of the most admired astrophotographers of all time. He was born, in extreme poverty, in Nashville, Tennessee in 1857, eight years before Woodbury had invented his process of mass producing photographs in books. Barnard had lost his father prior to birth. To help secure a meager income for his mother, this young man found employment, at the tender age of nine, with a photographer named van Stavoren.
Barnard was greatly inspired by the descriptions of the heavens as given by the Reverend Thomas Dick (1774-1857). The story is an interesting one, recounted in the May 1923 issue of The Observatory.
Being always ofagenerous and trusting disposition, the lordly sum oftwo dollars was about this time [ca. 1870] loaned to a boy friend. The money was never returned, but in its place there was found one day a copy of Thomas Dick's collected works ... the flowery language of Dick's descriptions appealed to the romantic spirit of the boy and inspired in him a desire to study the heavens.
Dick's style of writing was absolutely captivating. It immediately gripped the attention of the reader. Here is an extract of Dick's description of the sidereal heavens:
But to minds enlightened with the discoveries of science and revelation the firmament presents a scene incomparably more magnificent and august. Its concave rises towards immensity, and stretches, on every hand, to regions immeasurable by any finite intelligence; it opens to the view a glimpse oforbs of inconceivable magnitude and grandeur . it opens a vista which carries our views into the regions of infinity, and exhibits a sensible display of the immensity of space, and of the boundless operations of Omnipotence; it demonstrates the existence of an eternal and incomprehensible Divinity, who presides in all the grandeur of his attributes over an unlimited empire ... Amidst the silence and solitude of the midnight scene, it inspires the soul with a solemn awe and with reverential emotions; it excites admiration, astonishment, and wonder in every reflecting mind, and has a tendency to enkindle the fire of devotion, and to raise the affections to that ineffable Being who presides in high authority over all its movements. While contemplating, with the eye of intelligence, this immeasurable expanse, it teaches us the littleness of man, and ofall that earthly pomp and splendour of which he is so proud . In short, in this universal temple, hung with innumerable lights, we behold, with the eye of imagination, unnumbered legions of bright intelligences, unseen by mortal eyes, celebrating in ecstatic strains, the perfections of Him who is the creator and governor ofall worlds ...
Thomas Dick's writings clearly had a profound effect on the mind of Barnard. Figures 75 and 76 show the planet Jupiter as drawn by the young Barnard in Nashville, in July 1880. Shrouds of the Night Barnard continued work as a photographic assistant for seventeen years; such experience
140 proved to be invaluable for his later career. In 1883, Barnard was offered a scholarship in
The Dawning 141
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