Reviews; October 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Robinson, Panosian, Staff Editors; 4 Page(s)
Images, images, images-how easily the bounty of astronomy seduces us! What other science can showcase portraits as profound as the birth of the universe or the death of a star? It's all Galileo's fault. In 1610, through the newly invented telescope, tiny as it was, he began to sketch a realm beyond the ken of anyone who had looked before. The moon, he discovered, had mountains and plains; Venus cycled through phases; Jupiter sported four satellites; new stars were everywhere. Ancient ideas about our world's place in the universe started to crumble: science, religion and philosophy have never since been the same.
David Malin, it is fair to say, invented spectacular astronomical imaging-the kind that catches the eye of even the most disinterested modern passerby. He accomplishes it "the old-fashioned way," through laborious hours in a smelly darkroom. There he fuses multiple images of star-filled galaxies and glowing gaseous nebulae into colorful and scientifically valid artwork, much as a painter layers watercolors to create the perfect tone and ambience. He suppresses film's artificial harshness to reveal delicate celestial texture. In short, like Galileo, he unveils a hitherto unknown universe.