Project Updates

The Aesthetics & Astronomy (A&A) project studies expert and non-expert perceptions of astronomy images across multiple platforms, and the possible effects of scientific and artistic choices in processing astronomical data. Keep tabs on the latest studies, publications, multimedia and other products and information with the A&A blog.


Is That Real? Understanding Astronomical Images

Our 2014 follow-up Aesthetics & Astronomy study examined what is believed to be “real” in images and how people – particularly non-experts – respond to and understand information that astronomical images attempt to convey. A convenience sample of 1,956 responded … Continue reading

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Two New A&A Papers

Here are two of the latest Aesthetics & Astronomy papers to peruse, both printed in 2015. The first is on the topic of false color and trust in astronomical imagery. The second paper analyzes data we took at a number … Continue reading

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Examining Perceptions Of Astronomy Images Across Mobile Platforms

In the first of two follow-up Aesthetics & Astronomy studies from 2010, an online survey and focus groups were used to explore whether mobile platforms affect perception of astronomy images. In the online study, participants on their mobile devices were … Continue reading

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Processing Color in Astronomical Imagery

A recent paper from some of the Aesthetics & Astronomy group team members in Studies in Media and Communication discusses the pipeline of creating astronomical images and related ethical issues in adding color to science data. Read the article free … Continue reading

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Wonder and Sublime in Space Imagery

Amanda Berry, an MFA graduate student at Kendall College of Art and Design in Michigan, is researching “space” as a visual knowledge field. She asked some great questions to the Aesthetics & Astronomy project, which Jeffrey Smith kindly answered. We … Continue reading

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A&A Goes to the AAAS

On Sunday, Kim Arcand will be talking Aesthetics & Astronomy (A&A) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with the A&A group’s latest poster on examining perceptions of astronomy images across mobile platforms. Below is a summary … Continue reading

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Aesthetics & Astronomy Awash in Crimson

Normally, the Aesthetics & Astronomy (A&A) project celebrates all colors of the rainbow and even beyond — including the invisible ones beyond like X-rays and radio waves. Recently, however, we have a slightly preference for crimson with two different articles … Continue reading

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SciTed by L & J Smith

Drs. Lisa and Jeffrey Smith, professors at the University of Otago New Zealand and members of the Aesthetics & Astronomy project at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory present a talk at SciTED New Zealand.

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Video Postcard: Aesthetics & Astronomy in 15-seconds

I submitted “Video Postcard: Aesthetics & Astronomy in 15-seconds” to the Ignite Smithsonian event for Monday, April 11, 2011, at the National Museum of the American Indian.

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Current list of papers and talks

Arcand, K.K., Watzke, M., Smith, L, Smith, J.K “Surveying Aesthetics & Astronomy: A project exploring the public’s perception of astronomy images and the science within” Communicating Astronomy with the Public. Issue 10 December 2010. http://www.capjournal.org/issues/10/10_13.php

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