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Uploaded 23 Apr 2008 — 29 favorites
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© Steve Jurvetson
Views 833
Likes 7
Favorites 29
Comments 19
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

The moon reminds me of navigation... and one of my favorite stories, probably apocryphal, about the scientists who were interested in the question of why the moth spirals into the candle flame.

Part 1 THE MIND:

The neurologists mapped the entire visual pathway. Navigating by the moon, the flapping wings would occlude the light hitting the eye with each flap. Based on differential flashes driven by the cadence of the wings and angle relative to the light source, the moth would involuntarily turn toward the light to balance the input to each eye. Moths evolved without flames or light bulbs to confuse them (The moon is far away and served as a fixed beacon at night; the candle flame was bright but nearby - creating a death spiral). For some reason, they studied female moths.

Part 2 UNIVERSAL TRUTHS:

They thought they had the answer in studying the female moths. Every moth had the same pathway. Then someone looked at a male moth, and the eye-wing linkage was missing. That visual pathway was missing altogether. All moths exhibit the same behavior, so the neurologists looked for a similar pattern to explain the phenomenon.

And then it hit them. The male moths had a simpler involuntary algorithm: follow the female moth.

19 responses

  • Tim Foltz

    Tim Foltz gave props (23 Apr 2008):

    Great

  • Andrew Lorimer

    Andrew Lorimer (Deleted) gave props (23 Apr 2008):

    Amazing colours!!! amazing capture !!!

  • Ryan Baird

    Ryan Baird said (24 Apr 2008):

    great photo what did you take the shot with?

  • Michael Portugal

    Michael Portugal said (25 Apr 2008):

    what lens did you use for this?

  • TJ Randall

    TJ Randall gave props (25 Apr 2008):

    Love the shading at the terminus - really nice capture.

  • carolyn J

    carolyn J said (25 Apr 2008):

    I don't just appreciate the great photo i really enjoyed the story.

  • kansu doğan

    kansu doğan (Deleted) gave props (27 Apr 2008):

    A superb picture of great sharpness and excelent details with a very very interesting note attached! TFS! regards, Tibi!

  • Steve Jurvetson

    Steve Jurvetson said (31 May 2008):

    Thanks y'all!
    @Michael and Ryan: sorry for the delay in responding. It was a 2300mm lens. Here is a photo of the rig:
    http://flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/128666829

  • Javier Rodríguez

    Javier Rodríguez gave props (13 Dec 2008):

    This photo is amazing and the huge telescope is incredible! I'd like to know the price.

  • Josephine Sicad

    Josephine Sicad gave props (14 Jan 2009):

    I just salute people who are able to take this shot! AMAZING!

  • Tammy Rice

    Tammy Rice gave props (22 Jan 2009):

    WOW incredible!

  • Aaron Mythen

    Aaron Mythen gave props (29 May 2009):

    Amazing image well done :))

  • Dean Noble

    Dean Noble gave props (2 Aug 2012):

    nice - great detail

  • Pedro Teixeira

    Pedro Teixeira   gave props (3 Aug 2012):

    Wow...Great work here!

  • Pedro Teixeira

    Pedro Teixeira   gave props (3 Aug 2012):

    My vote...It´s completely amazing!Congrats for this amazing moon capture.its superb in lightbox.Wow!

  • Robert Larrazolo

    Robert Larrazolo gave props (16 Aug 2012):

    Awesome moon shot! Voted.

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (2 Sep 2012):

    Awesome! voted!

  • Jim Bennett

    Jim Bennett   gave props (21 Feb 2013):

    Great shot

  • Ewa D.

    Ewa D. gave props (6 Jul 2013):

    amazing!

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