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April 28, 2006

Art and science

Received an interesting response to our post with the rainbow in Loch Fyne. It just goes to show how different we all are when it comes to viewing a thing of beauty, no wonder Terry Pratchett can depict his "Auditors" in the "Thief of Time" as dismantling priceless works of art and reducing them to the individual paint atoms in an effort to "appreciate" what makes it "art". Someone that we shared the original photo with - it is, at 4 megapixels far to big to be posted in that form - read the time, date and other "technical" data from the original file (they obviously have a very sophisticated programme for this) and sent us the following comment!

mit dem Regenbogen kann was nicht stimmen! Nach der Bildinformation wurde er am 18. April um 16.37 Uhr aufgenommen. Aus der Höhe des Regenbogens ergibt sich, dass die Sonne 40° hoch über dem Horizont stand. In Schottland ist dies aber nur bis 14.10 UT = 15.10 Uhr Sommerzeit möglich! Bist Du sicher, dass Ihr Euch nicht verirrt habt und irgendwo im Atlantik unterwegs ward?

Translation: With the Rainbow, there is a problem. According to the photo information, it was taken on the 18th April at 16.37 hrs. According to the physics of rainbows, this is not possible for the location since the sun must be at an elevation of 40° relative to the horizon for a rainbow of this angle and magnitude. In Scotland this could only occur at 14.10 Universal Time which is 15.10 hrs British Summer Time. Are you sure of your location, as according to calculation you would have to be South of this position or in the Atlantic to obtain this photo?

Erm, actually, there is a simpler explanation. The camera is set to European Summer Time, one hour ahead of BST!

While most people went, "Oh, what a beautiful rainbow!" this correspondent actually sat down with pen and paper - or perhaps, knowing the person concerned, ran an analysis programme - and worked out the sun angles, the latitude and longitude and correlated this to the camera data. He is a very dedicated scientist, so I suppose we should expect a scientific analysis from him! Oh and he is a nice guy really - just extremely intelligent and possessed of a sense of humour that it takes a while to understand.

He's still working on the Terry Pratchett explanation of the "Big Bang" - "In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded!" - insisting that we are explaining the wrong thing with this......

The really scary thing is that he was absolutely right about the time the photo was taken ..........

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 28, 2006 07:33 AM

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