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In astronomy…

An astronomer by training but a photographer at heart, Zoltan Levay creates images of the cosmos with one of humankind’s most advanced optical instruments: the Hubble Space Telescope. Producing photos with the telescope, he says, is not that different from shooting mountains and rivers in national parks. “We’re just shooting landscapes of the universe instead”, he says.

Levay transforms Hubble’s raw data into iconic images. Hubble’s cameras take black-and-white shots and record color with filters. Levay converts the data into reds, greens and blues of space.

A famous Hubble image is the Pillars of Creation, released in 1995. Its fingerlike projections show where stars are born. Using newer infrared cameras on Hubble, Levay and his team have now refashioned the image with greater clarity and a view inside the cloudy pillars (SN Online: 1/6/15). “It was a nice way to bookend Hubble’s mission”, he says. (1)

In manuscripts…

A legendary medieval book has revealed secret images that have been hiding in the margins for centuries — including ghostly faces and long-lost poetry.

Written in 1250, the “Black Book of Carmarthen” is the oldest remaining medieval manuscript written solely in Welsh. It contains prophetic poems and stories of legends and heroes from the Dark Ages, including some of the earliest references to King Arthur and Merlin the wizard (referred to in the text as Myrddin the “wild man”).

But a new analysis by University of Cambridge researchers using ultraviolet light and photo editing software shows the book once contained even more: pictures and text drawn in the margins, including ghostly faces that have recently captured the imagination of people around the world. (2)

We like using images to show what we think. We like seeing images to understand what others tell us. We rely too much on our eyes and yet what we see is in our brain. We see what we like to see. We feel scared when we see something scary only when we are ready to be scared. We feel nice when we see something nice, only because we are in a state of mind which needs something nice to see. We are what we think and yet we believe – we WANT to believe – that what we see is something “out there” independent from us. We crave for a creator, for a higher power which has made things as they “are”. Call it God, call it Ideas (Plato), call it One (Parmenides), the fact is that we all believe in the external image. And yet the image lies deep inside us. We are fooled by our eyes into believing into Existence. And yet we are the ones who make everything “exist”.

Pull your eyes off.

In order to see outside your brain…