The Message is Coming Through...
"Though most scientists did not at first appreciate
the significance of Jansky's demonstration, news
finally reached Wheaton, Illinois, where it inspired
Grote Reber, another radio engineer, to study cosmic
radio waves...So the world's second radio astronomer
built his own 32-foot-diameter parabolic dish antenna
in his backyard, while working full time for a radio
company in Chicago...Reber found that sparks in
automobile engines created too much interference
during the daytime, he therefore spent long hours
scanning the heavens at night."
[Above quote is from "The Edge of Infinity" by Fulvio Melia pp. 95-96.]
I recall a description about how to build a radio
transmitter. Complex, yes. You need a capacitor
to hold the charge and a switching circuit to
to run the current back and forth across the
antenna loop...mutually-perpendicular electric and magnetic fields "interlocking,"
generating an electromagnetic field, selfpropagating, to travel away from the antenna loop
at the speed of light. Interlocking fields moving away like a chain of links.
All those spark plugs in Chicago. I recall an FM
converter from Radio Shack which my dad installed
on the 1971 Ford wagon. If you used unshielded
spark plug cables, the "electrical interference"
sounded as a whining tone from the radio. The engine's
distributor was pumping a current through each
cable to the spark plug and moved on to the next
cable, through the entire V-8 cylinder sequence.
Now as I think about it: a current runs to a spark
plug and a magnetic field arises. The distributor
moves on to the next cable, the current dies in
the first, and on and on... Pulsing and dieing
magnetic fields, generating...radio waves.
All those spark plugs in Chicago, making radio
waves...All those hydrogen atoms in a galactic
gas cloud...The heat drives the electrons up
to a higher orbit, and, like the capacitor it
discharges. Electric discharge builds a magnetic
field and then dies, collapsing the magnetic field.
Billions of those hydrogen atoms: charging and
discharging. The hydrogen cloud glows, radiating its ruby-red
light. Just like all those spark plugs pulsing their
radio waves in Chicago.
The message is now coming through. Those spark plugs
in the 1930s were little radio transmitters, sending
their messages, just like the stars... Yes, now I
understand. I understand the light. The cones in
our eyes are little radio receivers, listening.
Listening to three different radio signals, hearing
the music of the optical world.
[Excerpt from a short essay on light by Craig Welch.]
Above, "Radio Tower"
and below is "Light Chain: the light ray."
page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 |
page 6 | page 7 | page 8 | page 9
Thanks to Bill Bruehl and David Welch for their contributions
understanding of both the poetry and the science
of light as it appears
to us in the natural world.
Light Beam Photographed in the Reno Art Museum, June 2003.
Below, shadows iluminated by daylight are bluish
and by incandescent are reddish in color.
Last updated January 2, 2007