Archive for the Astronomy Lookalikes Category

Astronomical Apocalypse Look-alike

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, Film, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on November 1, 2022 by telescoper

I know it’s a bit late for Hallowe’en but have you noticed the similarity between the physical manifestation of the apocalyptic Sumerian deity Gozer as seen in the film Ghostbusters (left) and the pattern of dark coronal holes recently observed by NASA in the Sun’s atmosphere (right)? I wonder if, by any chance, they might be related?

The First Deep Field from JWST

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2022 by telescoper

I have to say that I didn’t stay up to watch the live stream of last night’s preview of this afternoon’s release of the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope. It started very late and I got sick of listening to the dreary music on the feed so went to bed. Nevertheless here is the first picture:

Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

This is a deep field image taken using JWST’s NIRCAM (Near-Infrared Camera). Note that the artifacts you see around some objects are diffraction spikes which occur around bright sources; their six-fold symmetry reflects the hexagonal structure built into the JWST’s mirror assembly. Sources sufficiently bright and compact enough to cause these spikes in deep field images are foreground stars: the extended, fainter objects are all much more distant galaxies.

The description from the NASA page is:

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.

Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.

This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks. 

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe

Here is a close-up of one of the distorted galaxy images and othe features produced by gravitational lensing:

We’re having a special viewing in Maynooth this afternoon of the press conference which will unveil more new images from JWST – nice telescope, shame about the name. I may add comments on here if anything particularly exciting turns up. You can watch it here:

Let’s hope this one starts on time!

Astronomy Look-alikes No. 102

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, Television with tags , , on April 17, 2022 by telescoper

Today being Easter Sunday, I was engaging in a religious observation of an old episode of the TV detective series Columbo when the spirit moved me to post an item in my Astronomy Look-alikes folder. I wonder if unscrupulous murderer Patrick Sutton and gravitational wave expert Robert Culp might in some way be related? The attempt to grow a beard as well as a moustache isn’t fooling anyone, but I think we should be told anyway…

Astronomy Look-alikes No. 101

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, Television, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2020 by telescoper

One winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics, Roger Penrose, is based in Oxford where he also plays Chief Superintendent Bright in the popular TV detective series Endeavour

Astronomy Look-alikes No. 100

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, Cardiff, Television with tags , , , on September 16, 2020 by telescoper

I haven’t done any of these for a while, but last night I was surprised to see Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University on television for the second time in a week so I couldn’t resist. I wonder how while discovering phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus she finds the time to play Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in the popular detective series Vera?

Astronomy Look-alikes No. 99

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes with tags , on April 10, 2020 by telescoper

I’m aware that it has been some time since I posted one of my Astronomy Look-alikes but I received the following suggestion by email from an anonymous correspondent following a post earlier this week.

The email reads:

Have you noticed the striking resemblance between the well known blogger and observational cosmologist Ricky Tomlinson and the acclaimed actor and icon of working class manhood, Peter Coles?

Disturbingly, the latter has been seen recently impersonating Tomlinson in an on-line Maynooth University Computational Physics lecture.

My correspondent has obviously let social isolation get the better of him, because everyone knows that Ricky Tomlinson is a theoretical rather than observational cosmologist. Moreover, although he does look a little bit like me, I obviously look nothing like him.

Anyways, if you’ve got nothing better to do please feel free to send me further suggestions for the Astronomy Look-alikes folder!

With the Cosmic Web in Mind..

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2019 by telescoper

Some time ago I posted one of my Astronomy Look-alikes about the remarkable similarity between the structure of the human brain and that revealed by computer simulations of the large-scale structure of the Universe:

I wonder whether this means that the Cosmic Web is really just all in the mind?

Anyway I just came across an article by Franco Vazza and Alberto Fenetti that takes the comparison between brain cells (among other things) and the Cosmic Web a bit further, including a look at the corresponding power spectra:

The main point to take from this picture is that many naturally occurring patterns have approximately power-law power spectra, at least over a limited range of scales. However, as I have pointed out before on this blog, the power spectrum on its own does not really quantify pattern in any meaningful way. Here for example are two patterns with exactly the same power spectrum:

The point is that the power spectrum does not contain any information about the phase correlations of the Fourier modes, which are important in quantifying localised features. For further discussion of this issue, see here.

Astronomy Bookalike

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes on June 13, 2019 by telescoper

It has been pointed out to me that I haven’t contributed anything to my collection of Astronomy Lookalikes recently. My only excuse is that I haven’t really thought of any. I’ll try to get it going again. Suggestions are always welcome.

In the meantime take a look at this book look-alike:

If you click on the picture you can make it bigger.

These two pages are taken from two different books on Astrophysics written about a decade apart by two different authors. This is by no means the only point of similarity between these particular volumes. I wonder if by any chance they might be related?

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Astronomy Look-alikes, No. 98

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes with tags , on June 20, 2017 by telescoper

I’ve been reminded that it has been a while since I last posted an Astronomy Look-alike so I was wondering if anyone else has noticed the spectacular similarity between Professor Will Percival of the University of Portsmouth and TV presenter Richard Osman? Is it pointless to ask whether they might possibly be related?


Astronomy Look-alikes, No. 97

Posted in Astronomy Lookalikes with tags , , on October 10, 2015 by telescoper

I found an appropriate look-alike for University of California at Berkeley astronomer and serial sexual harasser Geoff Marcy: