The Heartbeat of a Sun-Like Star in Infancy

SUPER NERD ALERT!  ASTROPHYSICS INCOMING!

This is so beautiful — you’re looking at what appears to be the “heartbeat” of a protostar, which is a sun-like star that forms out of a giant interstellar cloud full of molecular hydrogen and dust.  Most of these clouds are found within the interstellar medium, which is best explained as the big space between star systems in a galaxy.  Inside of these huge clouds of dust and molecular hydrogen (among other interstellar stuff), there is a lot that goes on, and it is some very complicated stuff, as you can imagine.  Essentially, all of our knowledge on this is theoretical to some extent, as we obviously can’t just swing over and check it out for ourselves, we have to rely on telescopes, satellites, spectral analyses, and other data we collect on the subject.

As dust and gasses float around inside of these interstellar clouds, gravity plays a huge part in the creation of a new star.  As gravity pulls dust and gasses into a “clump” at the center of one of these clouds, more and more stuff clumps together, creating a core of sorts — nobody really has a clue how this happens and why it occurs, but as a trillion trillion trillion of these bits of dust, interstellar gasses, and other “stuff” pull together to create a mass, the temperature of the core goes up.  This is to be expected, as these bits of dust and gasses slam into each other.  The density of this “core” also increases as more and more atoms inside of the interstellar cloud try to occupy the same space as they are pulled together by gravity.  Also as you can imagine, the gravity of this core gets considerably stronger as more and more bit of interstellar stuff collect and clump at the core, which causes the temperature to get higher and gravity to get even stronger.  This is the birth of a star.  This process of a star grabbing more and more mass is called accretion.

A pretty interesting phenomena happens when the star being born reaches a point where the gas pressure inside the core is equal to the gravity of the entire core — the protostar reaches an equilibrium, and no more mass is pulled into the core.  This is what is happening right now in the star being born in the video above, called V1467 Orionis, which is being born right now in McNeil’s Nebula, a big circular cloud of dust and gas located inside the constellation Orion.  It was detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Japan-led Suzaku satellite.  This is literally a star being born.  In the video above you saw two spots, one on either side of the star — these are enormous holes where the core is sucking in more gas and dust to fuel birth.  Once equilibrium is established, this feeding will stop.  The when, where, how, and why is unknown, but boy is it gorgeous.

Click on the image below for a full-size image of V1647 Orionis.

This image below is McNeil’s Nebula, which resides inside of the constellation Orion:

Thanks to Space.com, NASA, and Cosmic Ray!

Nieuwe Heren’s Aegis Parka Warns You about Pollution with Light

Dutch designers Nieuwe Heren make another appearance on JimOnLight.com!  You might remember them from their very cool Deconstructed Floodlight about a year ago.

Meet the Aegis Parka — a jacket that lights up to warn you about polluted areas in real time.  It reminds me of the movie Cherry 2000 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome all rolled into one crazy looking piece of clothing:

It detects toxins in the air, offers oxygen, and features a very durable ceramic scaly fabric that is supposed to be pretty tough.  From the Nieuwe Heren website on the Aegis Parka:

Aegis: as stated in the Iliad, is the shield of Zeus, possessing great powers, forged by Hephaestus with a surface of gold like scaly snake-skin.

With Urban pollution growing out of hand, and lifespans diminishing due to airborne pollutants we felt the urge to design a jacket that counters those effects.

A sensor in the parka registers hazardous molecules and signals you of the intensity. The more Led’s illuminated the worse the air quality. A built in respirator with an active carbon filter helps you inhale fresh air.

Biking/walking through the city wearing this garment even contributes to the air quality, as the suit is treated with a TiO2 (titaniumdioxide) solution, which cleanses the air due to it’s photocatalystic properties.

The garment is created from schoeller®-Ceraspace™, a scaly fabric created out of ceramic particles, making it far more abrasion and heat resistant then leather.

The inner lining consists of schoeller®-PCM™ a special textile containing millions of microcapsules filled with Phase Change Materials (PCM). They balance out temperatures which are too high or too low to achieve the wearer’s personal comfort climate.

Very cool!  Welcome back to JimOnLight, Nieuwe Heren!

Thanks to Geek, Stuff, and DesignBoom!

Acting Green vs. Buying Green [Infographic]

I saw this great infographic over at Inhabitat, from a cool website called eLocal — the idea behind it is the idea of the difference between buying green and acting green.  It’s pretty clever, check it out!

After all of this time, I still kinda cringe that we call it “green.”  I feel like the reality of the situation should be enough to force people to think with a little bit more earthen responsibility, as “green” really refers to sustainability.  perhaps I’m a wee bit pessimistic about the whole thing, but the real idea behind branding the idea of sustainability as being “green” is to save the Earth.  She needs saving, folks.

The Bay Lights

Wow! The Bay Lights proposal is one of the coolest urban public lighting proposals I’ve seen in a while. The San Francisco Bay Bridge is a massive canvas, and an unparalleled location for a lighting playground. Numerous cities have treated their bridges with light, but for some reason, this particular proposal just glows:

The Bay Lights website is absolutely worth checking out. They are also looking for support, so if you are in a position to offer any, that information is also on their website, along with multiple renderings, videos of the bridge and project supporters, and more.

Rrrrrrrroll, with Eight “R’s”

Call me crazy, but I adore art like this below.  Tumblr users Rrrrrrrroll have created a series of GIFs that feature a woman spinning around in a series of environments.  There’s really not much to say about this work, you have to just see it.  Even the creators were quoted as saying “We don’t really have any specific reasons for starting “rrrrrrrroll,” but we were all thinking how cool it would be if we could produce something while just hanging out.”

Fair enough.  Good enough for me.  Check these out below, these are just some of my favorites.  Lots more to see on the Rrrrrrrroll Tumblr page, so check them out!

What Exactly are Eye Floaters?

“I’ll look over there!”

“I’ll move over HERE!”

“You got an answer for everything.”

So.  Have you ever been looking at a book, the sky, or anything really, and seen what most people call “eye floaters?”  You know, the really weird almost chromosome-looking things that seem to just effortlessly and painlessly dance across our vision whenever the hell they want?  Like so:

These little buggers are the product of eye aging and the disintegration of the goo inside the eyeball itself.  If you’ve ever spent any time at all staring at eye floaters, you know that they can be fairly entertaining!

Inside of the eye ball, there is a liquid that gives the eye its shape and acts as a light medium (consequently with a Refractive Index of 1.336) to get light to the retina.  This liquid isn’t quite a liquid and isn’t quite a gel, but the consistency of it is sort of like that of Jell-O.  it’s called the Vitreous Humor, or the Vitreous body, or simply just the Vitreous.  This stuff is pretty neat, as it’s completely transparent as we’re born through teen-hood.  The vitreous is made of about 99% water, along with some sugars, some salts, some collagen fibers, and these pretty cool cells called phagocytes.  The phagocytes’ main purpose is to hunt down and kill foreign bodies in the eye’s vitreous body and visual field.  Pretty cool, eh?

The vitreous body is a stagnant body of fluid; it does not have a regeneration process either, which means if you sustain some damage to an eye or both, they’re gone, as once the vitreous is gone, it is gone forever.  This is a great reason to ALWAYS wear safety goggles and eye protection whenever you’re doing something that could impact the eye ball.  I had a pretty scary experience one summer when I was still in undergraduate study, away on an opera tour.  I was building the set we were touring, and a piece of a table saw blade sheared away and shot itself right into my eyeball.  I spent several hours at the hospital as the doc tried to grab that piece of metal and dislodge it from my eyeball, about 3 millimeters from the edge of my pupil.  I got lucky.  I did have safety glasses on, too – which goes to show you that you can never be too careful.  After the ER doc dug that piece of blade out of my eye, they inserted a plastic lens attached to a bag of saline that drained around my eyeball to clean out any extra debris.  The resulting pic was pretty hilarious, and I was in good spirits, making jokes.  Ann Davis, thingmaker extraordinaire, took the photo, circa 1998:

As we get older, parts of the Vitreous degenerate and clump, creating the little eye floaters we’re so fond of seeing.  These things remain in the eye for as long as we are old, until we either A) die, or B) have them surgically removed.  For most people these things aren’t a problem at all, we just deal with them.  For some, however, they become so numerous and so vision-impairing that surgery IS required for removal of all of the clumped bits of whatever matter the eye floaters are made from — old proteins, bits of clumped collagen cell bundles, foreign bodies, retinal cells, etcetera.

Eye floaters do have some different types — from Wikipedia’s entry on floaters:

The common type of floater, which is present in most people’s eyes, is due to degenerative changes of the vitreous humour. The perception of floaters is known as myodesopsia, or less commonly as myiodeopsia, myiodesopsia, or myodeopsia.  They are also called Muscae volitantes (from the Latin, meaning “flying flies”), or mouches volantes (from the French). Floaters are visible because of the shadows they cast on the retina or their refraction of the light that passes through them, and can appear alone or together with several others in one’s field of vision. They may appear as spots, threads, or fragments of cobwebs, which float slowly before the observer’s eyes.  Since these objects exist within the eye itself, they are not optical illusions but are entoptic phenomena.

What I find cool about eye floaters is that you’re actually seeing the shadow of the floaters on your retina, like a Linnebach projector.  Remember those?  As the light passes through the iris, it blows through the vitreous body and the floaters get in the way, causing shadows on the retina that your brain decodes as the floaters’ shape and size.

Now let me say this — most times, eye floaters are harmless bits of entertainment that all people have in some form or another.  However, sometimes eye floaters can be indications of a larger problem, like eye disease brought around by diabetes, carotid artery disease, or even as an indicator of a stroke or heart attack that may be imminent.  Sometimes eye floaters might be accompanied by flashes of light; this is a certain time to hit the doctor’s office.  A lesser known ailment, one that keeps on giving, per se, is ocular herpes.  As scary as that sounds, it is!  The vitreous can also become detached, too — as you age, the vitreous body sort of liquefies and detaches from the retina, which also causes eye floaters.  I’m certainly not a doctor, and you should use your own judgement when it comes to your health.  But if you have lots and lots and lots of floaters, perhaps it’s time to visit your doc.

A detailed article about determining when your eye floaters might indicate a larger problem is here – check it out.

Some fun facts on eye floaters, from Today I Found Out:

  • Interestingly, if the eye floaters would just stay still instead of floating around, your brain would automatically tune them out and you’d never consciously see them.  Your brain does this all the time with things both in and outside of your eyes.  One example of this inside your eye are blood vessels in the eye which obstruct light; because they are fixed in location, relative to the retina, your brain tunes them out completely and you don’t consciously perceive them.
  • The reason you can see floaters better when looking at, for instance, a bright blue sky, is because your pupils contract to a very small size, thus reducing the aperture, which in turn makes floaters more apparent and focused.
  • Individual floaters often won’t change much throughout your lifetime, typically retaining their basic shape and size.
  • The perception of eye floaters is known as myodesopsia.
  • The reason the floating specs never seem to stay still is because floaters, being suspended in the vitreous humor,  move when your eye moves.  So as you try to look at them, they will appear to drift with your eye movement.
  • Eye floaters are examples of entoptic phenomena.  Entoptic phenomena are things we see where the source is within the eye itself.
  • If you ever see a ton of floaters appear out of no where, possibly with some light flashes, you should get to an eye doctor immediately.  There is a chance (1 in 7) that your retina is about to detach from the back of your eye.  If that happens, you have very little time to get it fixed before it effectively dies and you go blind from that eye.
  • Floaters can damage the retina by tugging on it, sometimes producing a tear.  When a tear happens, vitreous can invade the opening in the tear, which will ultimately widen the gap and in 50% of these cases will result in the retina eventually becoming fully detached if not repaired via surgery.
  • “Light flashes” not caused by actual light, also known as photopsia, will often occur when the photoreceptors in the retina receive stimulation from being touched or from being torn.  This produces an electrical impulse to your brain, which your brain more or less interprets as a light flash.  This physical stimulation is often caused when traction is being applied while the vitreous detachment is taking place.  The flashes should subside when the vitreous finally detaches.
  • These flashes will also often temporarily occur when you get a sharp blow to the head.  The sudden jarring causes pressure on the retina; this in turn creates an electrical impulse to the brain which the brain interprets as a flash.

Thanks to About, Earth Clinic, eHow, WiseGeek, All About Vision, WikiDoc, LoveEyeFloaters, and TheBrain!

Sunday JimOnLight Flickr Group Photo Pool

Pardon the little extended vacation there folks — me and the boys at CAST Software just put out Vivien 2012, and wysiwyg R29 is shortly to arrive.  Holy shit is it a lot of work making software.  I also headed down to Nashville last week for the PLASA Focus Nashville show, which rocked!  I had a blast hanging out with my two bosses and the wonderful mix of people that came to get their PLASA Focus on.  I am really digging these shows.  It’s almost as if the smaller variety of the shows gives you a chance to actually talk to the vendors and learn about their wares.  I’m really digging it.  Plus, it’s always great to see Jackie and David!

A pretty cool selection of JimOnLight.com Flickr Group photos is below — happy Sunday, everyone!

Rainbow and Sunlight, Yorkshire Dales (Explored)

Corner Brook Canada Day

Mercy Me

Untitled

N.D.B.C - I'M SEXY I KNOW IT - Today's Explore at #1 on Fluidr

when will it end?

Road Kill - FDT

Beam Me Up

A Ghouly Monday Morning, Thanks to Harold Feinstein

This is some pretty awesome imagery – ready?

WTF!  Ok, that was outstanding for me, I hope it was good for you.  It is Monday morning, after all!

This is the work of Harold Feinstein, photographer of life and master of light.  Harold is known for some of his Coney Island photography, but in my opinion that doesn’t even scratch the surface of his creativity and storytelling.  From Harold’s portfolios:

When I was a young man, beyond my favorite haunt of Coney Island, my photographer’s eye found delight in New York City street life – the glittering lights of Times Square, the streets of Harlem, smoke-filled coffee shops, subways, city stoops, and shop windows.  As time passed I had the opportunity to explore beyond the streets of New York, traveling to other parts of the country and the world. Everywhere, people live out their own personal story, yet are tied together through the universal emotions of love, loss, curiosity, humor and compassion.

This portfolio of my street-work is a small sampling of my photographic journey bearing witness of the beauty and mystery of this human life.

You know what?  I completely agree.  I initially saw this on Huffington Post, but it’s also from a post at Dangerous Minds and the Midnight Gallery.

About Harold and the photo:

Photographer Harold Feinstein, born in 1931, is a celebrated American photographer, known for his portraits of Coney Island, where he was born, as well as nudes, still lifes and street photography. He also has a stunning collection of photographs from when he was a draftee in the Korean War in 1951. One of those photos, GI In Photo Booth, Kilmer, 1951, apparently caught the eye of a Photoshop pro somewhere, who decided to take Feinstein’s beautiful, somber photo and give it more of a nightmarish spin.

Love it.  Good morning, everyone!  Happy Monday!