Painting with Light

"Our modern understanding of light and color begins with Sir Isaac Newton and a series of experiments that he published in 1672. He was the first to understand the rainbow — he refracted white light with a prism, resolving it into its component colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.

Artists were fascinated by Newton’s clear demonstration that light alone was responsible for color. His most useful idea for artists was his conceptual arrangement of colors around the circumference of a circle, which allowed the painters’ primaries (red, yellow, blue) to be arranged opposite their complementary colors (e.g. red opposite green), as a way of denoting that each complementary would enhance the other’s effect through optical contrast." 
Still today Newton's color system is used in fine arts.

But coming back to light:
One of the contemporary artists who is using light as a medium for art is the American Stephen Knapp.
His huge installations are made only of coated glass and light. The visible color on walls is reflected and affected by the angle of the glass to the light source – usually a halogen light. The glass reflects in two directions and the colors shoot around, overlap and create new color mixes.  

More about Stephen Knapp


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Why are Moths Attracted to the Light?


"Phototaxis is an organism’s automatic movement toward or away from light. So a cockroach has negative phototaxis, because it’s always scuttling into dark corners while a moth has positive phototaxis because of it’s preference for bright lights.

Why are they attracted to bright lights?

We have several theories but no definite answers. Here are the theories:

  1. Moths use the moon as a primary reference point to travel. So it’s attraction to the light maybe related to that orientation and cause disorientation. 
  2. Moths may see flying towards the light as advantageous and safer than flying somewhere dark. 

Did you know moths are sensitive to ultra-violet light? A white light will attract more than than a yellow one."

Via Tumblr
More information check this out


Twilight Phenomena

In case you observe a strange, colorful vortex in the sky and think of an UFO, please read this before. :-)

"Twilight phenomenon is produced when unburned particles of missile or rocket propellant and water left in the vapor trail of a launch vehicle condenses, freezes and then expands in the less dense upper atmosphere. The exhaust plume, which is suspended against a dark sky is then illuminated by reflective high altitude sunlight, which produces a spectacular, colorful effect when seen at ground level. The phenomenon typically occurs with launches that take place either 30 to 60 minutes before sunrise or after sunset when a booster rocket or missile rises out of the darkness and into a sunlit area, relative to an observer’s perspective on the ground.

This phenomenon usually produces a cloud of green, blue, white and rose colored hues which takes on a corkscrew appearance as it is whipped around by wind currents. It is seen within two to three minutes after a launch has occurred. Depending on weather conditions, it could remain in the sky for up to half an hour before dispersing.

Pre-dawn launches are probably less spectacular than their dusk counterparts. During dusk launches, the sunlight shines through the exhaust plume. Pre-dawn launches, on the other hand, produce a more subtle display because the sunlight directly reflects off the plume."

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Via Wikipedia

Earth’s Analemma


"This is a remarkable record of the Sun's yearly journey through planet Earth's sky, made with planned multiple exposures captured on a single frame of a film. Exposures were made at the same time of day (9:00am local time), capturing the Sun's position on dates from January 7 through December 20, 2003. The multiple suns trace an intersecting curve known as an analemma." 

An analemma is caused by the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth and the elliptical orbit. 

Other planets produce, due to their different tilts and elliptical orbits, different looking analemmas. The image below is a simulation from Mars – called a Martian Analemma:
"It shows the late afternoon Sun that would have been seen from the Sagan Memorial Station once every 30 Martian days beginning on Pathfinder's Sol 24 (July 29, 1997). Slightly less bright, the simulated Sun is only about two thirds the size as seen from Earth, while the Martian dust, responsible for the reddish sky of Mars, also scatters some blue light around the solar disk.



Scientific Engravings from 1850

Engravings on science by John Philipps Emslie. 
The pictures illustrate the equipment and phenomena of several physical disciplines.

Via the Wellcome Collection.

The Great Art of Light and Shadow

Illustration by Athanasius Kircher from his book Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae (The Great Art of Light and Shadow).

"In 1646, Kircher published Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae, on the subject of the display of images on a screen using an apparatus similar to the magic lantern as developed byChristiaan Huygens and others. Kircher described the construction of a "catotrophic lamp" that used reflection to project images on the wall of a darkened room. Although Kircher did not invent the device, he made improvements over previous models, and suggested methods by which exhibitors could use his device. Much of the significance of his work arises from Kircher's rational approach towards the demystification of projected images.

For most of his professional life, Kircher was one of the scientific stars of his world: according to historian Paula Findlen, he was "the first scholar with a global reputation". His importance was twofold: to the results of his own experiments and research he added information gleaned from his correspondence with over 760 scientists, physicians and above all his fellow Jesuits in all parts of the globe. The Encyclopædia Britannica calls him a "one-man intellectual clearing house". His works, illustrated to his orders, were extremely popular, and he was the first scientist to be able to support himself through the sale of his books. Towards the end of his life his stock fell, as the rationalist Cartesian approach began to dominate (Descartes himself described Kircher as "more quacksalver than savant")."



Natural Beauty


Photograph by Chris Schoonover.

Via cschoonover