September 12, 2018 L: Lens
A lens can be glass that is formed and polished in such a way that the light entering it is diffracted, so that what is observed appears to expand or contract. Object details can be filled in because the bigger the diameter of the lens, the more light collected from the source.
In the 1600s, the philosopher Spinoza, the mathematician Leibniz, the astronomer Huygens, the astronomer Galileo perfected lense-making methods. I call that time that somewhat intersected with the Maunder Minimum (Little Ice Age when there were no sunspots (hot storms) on the cool sun.
It’s hard to think of the pinnacle of technology had to do with fashioning glass into lenses back then, but as the fuzzy image, posted yesterday, from my Nikon digital camera shows fuzzy images and positions of Jupiter moons orbiting the gas giant. The Nikon has a 400 mm glass lens, but also, electronic collection to create an electronic image that we can share and post on our websites.
My first novel in my AGES OF INVENTION SERIES, ENTANGLED, is steampunk in that it suggests lens technology could be used back then to create a light generating computer (a time machine: The Q) that can take human characters back into their past lives. In the story of ENTANGLED, Electress Sophia of The House of Hanover (the almost queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland) controls the light-generated time machine. She is the mother of today’s British royalty.
Galileo drew the different positions of the four Galilean moons (Ganymede, Io, Callisto, and Europa) while looking through a telescope made of two lenses (compound telescope). Both telescopes and microscopes are fashioned with objective lenses and eyepiece lenses (which can be changed to produce different magnifications).
Still today, lenses allow those with close-up vision to view things at a distance, and those with distance vision to see things close up in the form of hand-held magnifiers and glasses.
Telescopes and Microscopes, using compound lenses, are great ways for parents to get their children interested in the world around them. Pond scum and algae have 24/7 live-streaming content in the form of all sorts of microscopic organisms. There are so many critters to catalog that a person can even discover new animals or plants, and have them named after them, or they can be credited for a discovery, publish their observations of the behavior of organisms that no one else has ever seen.
So, if telescopes work, how do simple, single lenses do the same thing? The eyepiece lens we use in telescopes and microscopes can function just like the lens in our eye can. The lens in our eyes has muscles that help it change its ability to focus images on the back inside of our eyes (the retina and its cone and rod receptors).
Light exists as both electromagnetic waves and focused energy packets. Light is the part of a spectrum of energy packets that we can see. Like lenses, large-dish radio receptors can image the universe using radio waves (some of the lowest energy waves with the longest period and the lowest frequency (so they have less opportunity to be stopped by celestial bodies, or anything else, out there)). Light as opposed to refractor telescopes use a convex mirrors to collect light at their foci (much like a radio receptor disk).An Einstein Ring occurs when distant galaxies/black-holes gravitationally lens a galaxy hidden behind them.
Take a prism and look at sunlight. We see what we call a rainbow, or a rainbow of colors, but our sun (compared to other stars) is a G type star, usually cataloged as yellow (In the Constellation Orion, Betelgeuse is red and Rigel is blue. These colors can be seen with the unaided eye). What can’t be seen is our sun’s wind that usually impacts the Earth, especially when the sun is hot (lots of sunspots). Today the sun is cool (no sunspots and low solar wind).
Back to the prism. What we can’t see are all the waves that go through the prism–and us. When the sun is cool with no spots, then the solar wind cannot protect us from the strongest and most damaging energy waves–cosmic and gamma rays.
Any energy packet or wave that goes through us is diffracted in its path and so, in a way, we all are lenses for radio and analog TV waves. That’s how old TV sets got snow. The human body acted to disrupt broadcast waves.