Between Worlds

Through participation in a science based module I met an astrophysicist and learned about discovering exoplanets through a method called Gravitational Microlensing. This exploits a phenomenon that occurs when a massive sun comes into the path between Earth and another sun. This causes the light passing through to bend and distort, allowing us to discover information about orbiting planets behind it. I became fascinated with the idea of this light distortion and began exploring it using photography and video. I began experimenting with an object from the University Museum Collections called a pyrheliometer. This is an old style of device for measuring the intensity of sunlight. I thought there was an interesting connection between this basic instrument of measuring our own Sun and our attempts to measure light from stars that are galaxies away. The resulting images are ones that blur the lines between macro and micro, discs of colour and shape that could easily be representative of a petri dish or a view through a microscope, creating an uncertainty that is mirrored in our own existence and knowledge about the Universe.