Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pictures worth a thousand words (after you read the words):

Some pictures are not worth a thousand words until they're explained to you. I've been reading how astronomers recently realized that our galaxy is not (currently) a "spiral" galaxy, but rather a "spiral bar" galaxy. And I've seen several pictures of this spiral bar form without being able to see the difference. Where's the bar?

The October issue of Scientific American, p. 44, had another perplexing (to me) picture of this galaxy shape, but fortunately there was an explanation: "A barred galaxy looks like a lawn sprinkler where the water flows through a straight tube, emerges at right angles and then curves around." Okay, NOW the picture is worth a thousand words to me.
(Incidentally, if you've got this issue, you can see that I removed a possibly incorrect and misleading comma from the quoted sentence. I'd love to link to the magazine picture, but I cannot find it online.)

No comments: