"Welcome to Airplanes and Rockets Founded 2006"
There is now a computer
font available to astronomers: Galaxy. Well, not really, not yet, but at some point
there probably will be. The rendition of "Welcome to Airplanes and Rockets! Founded 2006" shown
to the left was generated automatically by a website called "My Galaxies." Thanks to thousands
of volunteers worldwide that have participated in The
Galaxy Zoo's project of classifying galaxies, a set of letter-shaped
galaxies has been identified that can be used to write words like "airplanes and
appears that so far God (or the Big Bang - take your pick) did not create a full
set of upper case letter-shaped galaxies. Some letters can be considered upper or
lower case, like Cc Ii Jj Oo Pp Ss Uu Vv
Ww Xx Zz.
As you might expect, there are
galaxies as well (image right). After all, mathematics is the language of
the universe. Judging by the shape of the numbers ""1" and "7," and the fact that MyGalaxies.co.uk domain is registered in the UK, I'm guessing the selected galaxy
shapes are modeled after the European-style numeral set.
With the contributions to astronomy made by ancient Greeks, you would think there
are galaxies shaped like Greek characters, but evidently not - or at least they
have not been identified yet. I input ελληνικά (Greek) and the algorithm was befuddled.
Arabic (العربية) seems to thwart its logic as well even though Arabs did a lot of
looking at the sky. Before you get all upset at the Universe for seemingly excluding
your language's characters, consider that these images are as viewed from the perspective
of the Earth's current location relative to everything else. At some point in time
past or perhaps sometime in the future maybe those galaxies had different visual
shapes or we were looking at them from a different angle. Saturn is a good example
of how much difference perspective can make. At certain times during its orbit around
the sun the rings are presented edge-on and practically disappear from our vantage
point because the planet's rotational axis is tilted with its orbital plane, but
at other times, like now, the rings are tilted towards us so they are apparent even
with a cheap pair of 8x35 binoculars.
Posted December 30, 2022