The Arcadian Ideal...

Oh, if we could only live in an arcadian world...

65 notes

thedemon-hauntedworld:

The Tidal Tale of NGC 3628
A mere 30 million light-years away, large spiral galaxy NGC 3628 (center left) shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals, in a magnificent grouping otherwise known as the Leo Triplet. In fact, fellow trio member M65 is near the center right edge of this deep cosmic group portrait, with M66 just above it and to the left. But, perhaps most intriguing is the spectacular tail stretching down for about 300,000 light-years from NGC 3628’s warped, edge-on disk. Known as a tidal tail, the structure has been drawn out of the galaxy by gravitational tides during brief but violent past interactions with its large neighbors. Not often imaged so distinctly, the tidal tail is composed of young bluish star clusters and star-forming regions.

Image Credit & Copyright: Thomas V. Davis (tvdavisastropix.com)

thedemon-hauntedworld:

The Tidal Tale of NGC 3628
A mere 30 million light-years away, large spiral galaxy NGC 3628 (center left) shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals, in a magnificent grouping otherwise known as the Leo Triplet. In fact, fellow trio member M65 is near the center right edge of this deep cosmic group portrait, with M66 just above it and to the left. But, perhaps most intriguing is the spectacular tail stretching down for about 300,000 light-years from NGC 3628’s warped, edge-on disk. Known as a tidal tail, the structure has been drawn out of the galaxy by gravitational tides during brief but violent past interactions with its large neighbors. Not often imaged so distinctly, the tidal tail is composed of young bluish star clusters and star-forming regions.

Image Credit & Copyright: Thomas V. Davis (tvdavisastropix.com)

8 notes

The Mediterranean Sea of America…
So, I tend to have a yearning for cartography. It may stem from my background as an architect, an artistic, technical and graphically based profession. But, I also have always had a need to understand the world we live in, explore new things, see the things that we in America are so far removed from. It does seem that we have blinders on sometimes. Honestly, the United States has so much and dominates so much culture it isn’t very hard to think that this is all there is. Exploring both historical and modern maps can bring the rest of the world into focus. Exploring map based infographics can be very enlightening as you try to understand relationships between all parts of the globe.
I had the pleasure of taking a cruise around the Mediterranean a few years ago. My wife and I had such a great time exploring the historical places and artifacts and the life of strange cities. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Mediterranean wasn’t so far away?
Well, I was examining maps and globes and realized that the Mediterranean Sea is at the same Latitude as the United States. If only it were possible to rotate the Mediterranean Sea around to our side of the planet? Would it fit? What effect would this have? What about the states… new coastlines in the middle of the country… new relationships… states torn in pieces?
A couple of screen captures, lots of graphic manipulation and now we know. The Mediterranean Sea fits within the confines of the United States of America. In a way, it is pretty amazing how big the Mediterranean Sea is.  We always think if the United States as a vast country, more than 3000 miles from east coast to west coast. It used to be quite a task to traverse that distance. Amazingly, ancient mariners of the Mediterranean traversed similar vast areas of water for their commerce, and conquests.
So, what have we done? This is a new vision of the United States of America. A few states have been unaffected by this mash-up.  Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Main and Florida. Yes, I am ignoring Alaska and Hawaii since they are remote, sorry.
It’s interesting to note that by adding the Black Sea, it nicely takes the place of our own Great Lakes. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec get new coastlines, but Lower Ontario becomes an isolated piece on the US side. A Canadian interloper if you will. Although the Great Lakes are very large, I believe the area of the Black Sea is larger than the combined Great Lakes. In this alternate US the remaining areas of the Great Lakes become great grassy plains… perhaps, International Park Reserves, or snatched up by neighboring states. Michigan loses a large portion of its “mitten” and the upper peninsula becomes the state it always wanted to be, Superior.
The “rust belt” area of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania would approximate the area of Turkey. Illinois becomes a state of great island outcroppings and the "Aegean Sea" becomes the "Illinois Sea". Kentucky hugs the southern coastline of the new “rust belt”. The Greek Islands of Karpathos and Rhodes would be part of Kentucky. What a history to explore.
The South has been largely supplanted by the "Confederate Sea", the eastern arm of the Mediterranean. The southern states have been effectively cut in half. Oddly, mirroring the Turkish grab of part of the Island of Cyprus, West Virginia has grabbed a part of this alternate Cyprus that is mostly in Virginia. The State of Tennessee has been reduced to a portion of the former Island of Crete.
Missouri would take most of the Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese, most of Crete, and many islands. Iowa gains great rocky coastlines on both the east and west. The new "Plains Sea", that takes the place of the former "Adriatic Sea", reaches into North Dakota and cuts South Dakota into the new states of East Dakota and West Dakota. West Dakota is the new Tuscany and East Dakota approximates Croatia. Nebraska is now the main “boot” of Italy with coast on the east and west. Kansas takes over the “toe” of Italy and Sicily (except Colorado has made a foothold on the west tip).
The "Tyrrhenian Sea" along the west coast of the Italian peninsula becomes the "Nebraska Sea" and reaches all the way up to Montana and the Custer’s Battlefield Monument.  Wyoming has split into the new state of Yellowstone (with the amazing Yellowstone Park) and the Wyoming Islands (Corsica and the Northern part of Sardinia). Idaho gains new coastline.
Texas, New Mexico and Colorado have a great new coastline. Although Colorado has been mostly swallowed up and maintains the southern part of Sardinia and an outpost on Sicily.
Utah has split into the coastal area along the northern edge of Arizona and the Great Salt Islands. Nevada has lost the southern portion to a new state called Las Vegas. In return they get a Mediterranean coastline. I think that would be a good trade. 
The new “Sea of California”, the western outlet, splits the state into Northern California and Southern California… most Californians want that anyway. This leads us to the “Strait of Pismo” and out to the Pacific Ocean. There just may be a “Rock of Pismo” in place of the “Rock of Gibraltar”. Not quite the cache’… I would say.
So, a brave new alternate United States of America with its great inland sea. What a different world it might have been, or might be in another alternate world. If I were a writer, I would love to explore the alternate history of the United States in this new version. Does anyone want to tackle it?  I’ll take concept credits;-)

The Mediterranean Sea of America…

So, I tend to have a yearning for cartography. It may stem from my background as an architect, an artistic, technical and graphically based profession. But, I also have always had a need to understand the world we live in, explore new things, see the things that we in America are so far removed from. It does seem that we have blinders on sometimes. Honestly, the United States has so much and dominates so much culture it isn’t very hard to think that this is all there is. Exploring both historical and modern maps can bring the rest of the world into focus. Exploring map based infographics can be very enlightening as you try to understand relationships between all parts of the globe.

I had the pleasure of taking a cruise around the Mediterranean a few years ago. My wife and I had such a great time exploring the historical places and artifacts and the life of strange cities. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Mediterranean wasn’t so far away?

Well, I was examining maps and globes and realized that the Mediterranean Sea is at the same Latitude as the United States. If only it were possible to rotate the Mediterranean Sea around to our side of the planet? Would it fit? What effect would this have? What about the states… new coastlines in the middle of the country… new relationships… states torn in pieces?

A couple of screen captures, lots of graphic manipulation and now we know. The Mediterranean Sea fits within the confines of the United States of America. In a way, it is pretty amazing how big the Mediterranean Sea is.  We always think if the United States as a vast country, more than 3000 miles from east coast to west coast. It used to be quite a task to traverse that distance. Amazingly, ancient mariners of the Mediterranean traversed similar vast areas of water for their commerce, and conquests.

So, what have we done? This is a new vision of the United States of America. A few states have been unaffected by this mash-up.  Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Main and Florida. Yes, I am ignoring Alaska and Hawaii since they are remote, sorry.

It’s interesting to note that by adding the Black Sea, it nicely takes the place of our own Great Lakes. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec get new coastlines, but Lower Ontario becomes an isolated piece on the US side. A Canadian interloper if you will. Although the Great Lakes are very large, I believe the area of the Black Sea is larger than the combined Great Lakes. In this alternate US the remaining areas of the Great Lakes become great grassy plains… perhaps, International Park Reserves, or snatched up by neighboring states. Michigan loses a large portion of its “mitten” and the upper peninsula becomes the state it always wanted to be, Superior.

The “rust belt” area of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania would approximate the area of Turkey. Illinois becomes a state of great island outcroppings and the "Aegean Sea" becomes the "Illinois Sea". Kentucky hugs the southern coastline of the new “rust belt”. The Greek Islands of Karpathos and Rhodes would be part of Kentucky. What a history to explore.

The South has been largely supplanted by the "Confederate Sea", the eastern arm of the Mediterranean. The southern states have been effectively cut in half. Oddly, mirroring the Turkish grab of part of the Island of Cyprus, West Virginia has grabbed a part of this alternate Cyprus that is mostly in Virginia. The State of Tennessee has been reduced to a portion of the former Island of Crete.

Missouri would take most of the Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese, most of Crete, and many islands. Iowa gains great rocky coastlines on both the east and west. The new "Plains Sea", that takes the place of the former "Adriatic Sea", reaches into North Dakota and cuts South Dakota into the new states of East Dakota and West Dakota. West Dakota is the new Tuscany and East Dakota approximates Croatia. Nebraska is now the main “boot” of Italy with coast on the east and west. Kansas takes over the “toe” of Italy and Sicily (except Colorado has made a foothold on the west tip).

The "Tyrrhenian Sea" along the west coast of the Italian peninsula becomes the "Nebraska Sea" and reaches all the way up to Montana and the Custer’s Battlefield Monument.  Wyoming has split into the new state of Yellowstone (with the amazing Yellowstone Park) and the Wyoming Islands (Corsica and the Northern part of Sardinia). Idaho gains new coastline.

Texas, New Mexico and Colorado have a great new coastline. Although Colorado has been mostly swallowed up and maintains the southern part of Sardinia and an outpost on Sicily.

Utah has split into the coastal area along the northern edge of Arizona and the Great Salt Islands. Nevada has lost the southern portion to a new state called Las Vegas. In return they get a Mediterranean coastline. I think that would be a good trade. 

The new “Sea of California”, the western outlet, splits the state into Northern California and Southern California… most Californians want that anyway. This leads us to the “Strait of Pismo” and out to the Pacific Ocean. There just may be a “Rock of Pismo” in place of the “Rock of Gibraltar”. Not quite the cache’… I would say.

So, a brave new alternate United States of America with its great inland sea. What a different world it might have been, or might be in another alternate world. If I were a writer, I would love to explore the alternate history of the United States in this new version. Does anyone want to tackle it?  I’ll take concept credits;-)

Filed under cartography alternate history maps fantasy maps

87 notes

ratak-monodosico:

Mystical Mapping Before Flight: the value of panoramic cartography as an historical source

Cartography has shaped the limits of our knowledge for thousands of years. Since ancient times, map-makers have sought to render their impressions of the known world, often skewing hard evidence for dubious political gain. These maps in term have aided history’s foremost explorers and navigators, allowing them to stretch the bounds of earth further still.

Whilst ‘flat’ maps have played a crucial role in global history, the panoramic depiction is often overlooked. Today we are constantly bombarded with birdseye views of continents, cities and townscapes which give us the detailed overviews of persisting human development and interaction.

New York Panorama

New York Panorama

However, even before the advent of flight and extraterrestrial satellites, cartographers and artists alike have depicted their homelands from the air. Their imaginings, sometimes derived from vantage points such as bell towers and forts, sometimes conjured up from the recesses of their minds, give us an alternative historical source.

Jacopo_de'_Barbari_-_Venetie_MD_-_retouched

De’ Barbari Map of Venice, 1500

Jacopo de’ Barbari’s 1500 panorama of Venice provides a powerful and detailed overview of what was, at the time, one of Europe’s preeminent cities. Capturing the Republic of Venice at its peak – shortly before the commencement of the inexorable decline that would see its maritime empire usurped by Ottoman Turks – de’ Barbari conveys the aura of wonder that many travellers experienced when passing through the lidi into the fabled lagoon. The depiction of Neptune astride his seahorse, facing skywards, testifies to Venetian maritime glory and its association with divine providence.

De’ Barbari had completed his map after taking a series of detailed surveys from the city’s campaniles – despite the optimistic promises of a certain Leonard da Vinci who had tried to persuade the Doge to patronise his imaginative ‘flying machine’.

The 1590 woodcut below, however, showing a panorama of medieval Rome, did not strive for such detail. Rather, it is concerned with the important buildings and structures of the city; the aqueducts, the towers, the palaces and the churches. This is a cultured, pious Rome, free from the religious strife that upended much of late 16th century Europe.

P21343 P850002-b1map4 001

When compared to Giambattista Nolli’s 1748 aerial map of Rome below – one oozing precision and dedication – the woodcut can appear rather feeble. Yet somehow the panoramic view overcomes the lack of detail; it gives a sense of Roman culture, a truly Christian civilization elevated by the expertise of its engineering. The Nolli map, meanwhile, is of greater practical significance, giving us a fascinating portrayal of the planning and urban growth of an early modern city, a remarkable feat for the time.

Nolli Map, 1748

Nolli Map, 1748

Even after the advent of flight, maps continued to single out the buildings that brought their cities alive. By 1926, most Americans knew what New York looked like from the air. Yet the map below, created to promote the Paramount silent film New York, draws attention to the landmarks that make the city special. The road alignments are inaccurate but that is irrelevant; this is an expression of American optimism during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ before the Wall Street Crash made New Yorkers question the validity of the American Dream.

New York Movie Map, 1926

New York Movie Map, 1926

Panoramic maps, in addition to being more aesthetically pleasing than traditional flat maps, allow us a cultural snapshot of a town, city, state or people at a certain point in history. Whilst undoubtedly vulnerable to cartographical bias and inaccuracy, they allow us to view the past in a different way, enable us to achieve a degree of understanding of what it must have been like to inhabit a particular place at a particular time.

(via fuckyeahcartography)

137 notes

artofthedarkages:

Tabula Peutingeriana

A map of the Late Roman Empire. Buildings mark major cities and sites. Rome, Antioch, and Constantinople are marked by enthroned figures. Forests, mountains, and water are signified. Places that no longer existed by the 5th century, such as Pompeii, are still labelled. Due to the map’s geographical distortion, it may have been used as a way to quantify and glorify their Empire rather than for practical navigation.

Ink and pigment on a seven meter parchment scroll. Copied in the 1200s by a German monk.

Designed in the 400s; an isolated example of Late Roman cartography. After being discovered by Renaissance humanists, the map bounced around Europe then was purchased by the Hapsburg imperial court. It is currently held in the National Library of Austria.

(via fuckyeahcartography)

343 notes

spaceplasma:

Curiosity Discovers Ancient Mars Lake Could Support Life

An ancient lake on Mars was capable of supporting life for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, researchers reported today based on findings from NASA’s Curiosity rover. In March, NASA announced that the lake was once capable of supporting microbial life, but little more was known. Now researchers have shown that the lake existed around 3.5-3.6 billion years ago and actually contained an “Earth-like” environment.

Not long after touching down in the Gale Crater last August, NASA’s Curiosity rover was driven over to Yellowknife Bay, a trough over 16 feet deep made up of basaltic sandstones. It’s there, near the edges of the lake where lower levels of dirt are accessible, that researchers tested to see if microorganisms could have existed. In particular, they say that chemolithoautotrophs — a type of microorganism commonly found in caves on Earth — could have existed in the lake’s environment, breaking down the area’s rocks and minerals for energy as they do on Earth.

The researchers say that liquid water once existed there, and they’ve previously speculated that it would actually have been drinkable because of its low salinity and neutral acidity level. Actual signs of microbial life haven’t been observed, but researchers say that an elemental cocktail that would have supported them was certainly present.

Full Article

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

15 notes

mollyculetheory:


Paris, 1922
When they first crested over the horizon, they were specks.  Only the most observant - or the most bored - noticed: children lying in new grass finding rabbits in the cloud cover, or the old women who feed the pigeons, clutching sacks of grain.  It wasn’t yet clear what they were - uncommonly large birds, or perhaps a small flock of the new flying machines - but whatever they were they swept south-southeast with the wind.  As they flew closer, more people began to look up, nudging strangers at street-crossings.  “Eh, regardez! C’est quoi, ça?”  Necks craned above scarves, and women with skyward eyes stumbled on cobblestones.
We watched them settle down above the IXe arrondissement, their shapes becoming more apparent, softly rounded like the breast of a young woman, peachy in the afternoon light.  One bounced off of the spire of La Trinité, and as a city we winced and waited for a pop but it just lofted upwards unharmed.  There were at least a dozen of them, and they jostled each other, lazily ricocheting, seemingly borne on gaiety as much as on a breeze.
They started to descend sharply before they reached the Seine, merrily bumbling between the spires of Pont Alexandre III.  Those who were near her banks that day swear that they stopped in midair when they reached the river, dipping their lower bellies into the water and rocketing up in a sunbrilliant shower of droplets, scattering the geese in a flurry of squawk and white feather.
Granting the Eiffel Tower a respectful berth, they swooped over low buildings and trees.  We could see them clearly by then, although this raised more questions that it answered.  They were perfectly round, apricot-hued, gleaming the late afternoon sun off of their westward sides.  We waited for them to keep winging over Paris, bobbing farewell over the banlieues, but they slowed abruptly, hovering over Square Saint-Lambert and then floating gently to earth.  
Theories abounded, young girls in schoolyards solemnly discussing faeries, men stubbing out half-smoked Gitanes and making oblique references towards malevolent eggs, the Académie des sciences making even more vague references towards agriculture and radioactivity.  But when we finally dared venture back into the plaza, they were just sitting there calm, unthreatening: spheres of peach unbroken except for a grayish line of uncertain provenance down one quadrant.  
We waited for them to hatch, to disgorge insects or birds or unimaginable creatures; we waited for them to blow up, annihilating the environs with slime or fire; we waited for them to do anything, really.  But they just sat, serene, globes of spring sunset resting quietly on the plaza.  The most intrepid boys reported that they felt like velvet stretched thin over a tyre. We weren’t sure what to do, but before any consensus was reached, one day in late October they took flight again, bobbling back the way they came: tower, river, bridge, church, and away.  No other city in France or elsewhere reported a similar occurrence, but then again, we made no official statements, either.  
Soon I, perhaps the last person who remembers that summer when the strange orbs descended upon Paris, will be dead.  I leave this here so that it will not be forgotten forever, not because of its scientific mystery or conspiracy, or farce, but because to this day, I am not certain that I have ever seen anything more beautiful than those cantaloupe spheres dancing bittersweet over the early-summer Seine.
Picture from this amazing collection of color photography of early 20th-century Paris.

 

mollyculetheory:

Paris, 1922

When they first crested over the horizon, they were specks.  Only the most observant - or the most bored - noticed: children lying in new grass finding rabbits in the cloud cover, or the old women who feed the pigeons, clutching sacks of grain.  It wasn’t yet clear what they were - uncommonly large birds, or perhaps a small flock of the new flying machines - but whatever they were they swept south-southeast with the wind.  As they flew closer, more people began to look up, nudging strangers at street-crossings.  Eh, regardez! C’est quoi, ça?”  Necks craned above scarves, and women with skyward eyes stumbled on cobblestones.

We watched them settle down above the IXe arrondissement, their shapes becoming more apparent, softly rounded like the breast of a young woman, peachy in the afternoon light.  One bounced off of the spire of La Trinité, and as a city we winced and waited for a pop but it just lofted upwards unharmed.  There were at least a dozen of them, and they jostled each other, lazily ricocheting, seemingly borne on gaiety as much as on a breeze.

They started to descend sharply before they reached the Seine, merrily bumbling between the spires of Pont Alexandre III.  Those who were near her banks that day swear that they stopped in midair when they reached the river, dipping their lower bellies into the water and rocketing up in a sunbrilliant shower of droplets, scattering the geese in a flurry of squawk and white feather.

Granting the Eiffel Tower a respectful berth, they swooped over low buildings and trees.  We could see them clearly by then, although this raised more questions that it answered.  They were perfectly round, apricot-hued, gleaming the late afternoon sun off of their westward sides.  We waited for them to keep winging over Paris, bobbing farewell over the banlieues, but they slowed abruptly, hovering over Square Saint-Lambert and then floating gently to earth.  

Theories abounded, young girls in schoolyards solemnly discussing faeries, men stubbing out half-smoked Gitanes and making oblique references towards malevolent eggs, the Académie des sciences making even more vague references towards agriculture and radioactivity.  But when we finally dared venture back into the plaza, they were just sitting there calm, unthreatening: spheres of peach unbroken except for a grayish line of uncertain provenance down one quadrant.  

We waited for them to hatch, to disgorge insects or birds or unimaginable creatures; we waited for them to blow up, annihilating the environs with slime or fire; we waited for them to do anything, really.  But they just sat, serene, globes of spring sunset resting quietly on the plaza.  The most intrepid boys reported that they felt like velvet stretched thin over a tyre. We weren’t sure what to do, but before any consensus was reached, one day in late October they took flight again, bobbling back the way they came: tower, river, bridge, church, and away.  No other city in France or elsewhere reported a similar occurrence, but then again, we made no official statements, either. 

Soon I, perhaps the last person who remembers that summer when the strange orbs descended upon Paris, will be dead.  I leave this here so that it will not be forgotten forever, not because of its scientific mystery or conspiracy, or farce, but because to this day, I am not certain that I have ever seen anything more beautiful than those cantaloupe spheres dancing bittersweet over the early-summer Seine.

Picture from this amazing collection of color photography of early 20th-century Paris.