Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What would the night sky look like if we could see in all the wavelengths at once?

When responding to this question, I’m afraid I’m a little bit hindered by the human brain"s ability (or rather, its inability) to convert, process, and transform the information that it receives into images. The short answer: The universe would look like an extremely bewildering place. Unless your brain was altered so that it could interpret the new information that it was receiving, everything would be a confused and meaningless morass of color and brightness. In this case, it would probably be best to just keep your eyes closed (or maybe get fancy-fancy eye-patches).

In truth, I can no more describe what the universe would look like if we could see all the wavelengths than I can describe color to a blind person. We would (presumably) be able to perceive more/different colors if we had different kinds of receptors in our eyes. But we don’t. Which is why any pictures that show wavelengths like x-ray, infrared etc. have to be shifted into the visible spectrum. That said, I can discuss what objects in the night sky (and in the world) would appear brightest if you could see in different wavelengths. And theorizing is always fun, so let’s give it a go…

To find out what the universe would look like see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/what-would-the-night-sky-look-like-if-we-could-see-in-all-the-wavelengths-at-once/

Image credit: NASA

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