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Moments of Clarity

4 Mar 2021, 21:20 UTC
Moments of Clarity
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

And what if the sky here is no different
And it is my eyes that have been sharpening themselves?
– Sylvia Plath
We live at the bottom of an ocean of air that distorts our view of the heavens.
After traveling for eons through empty space, light from faraway stars and galaxies must plow through Earth’s atmosphere in the final moments of its journey to reach our eyes. Swirling, turbulent pockets of air jostle the incoming light, making the stars appear to twinkle and blurring our view of the universe.
But sometimes, for the briefest of moments, the atmosphere stops churning. During those lulls, the light reaches us undisturbed, yielding crisp, clear views of the cosmos. Then, just as quickly, the air roils again, and the clarity is gone.




Astronomers have learned to capture those rare moments of clarity with telescopes. A sequence of short exposures will record a few taken during instants when the air was exceptionally still, yielding images as sharp as any obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. These fleeting glimpses of the undistorted sky are called lucky imaging.
We experience similar moments of clarity in our lives from time ...

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