InSpiralling and Eddy-fying

«Spira Mirabilis»

2000-2006 - computer photo elaboration and shell 116x165x9 cm (LED internally lit) - Dedicated to Descartes, Jacob Bernoulli and Lord Rosse

detail of shellinspirraling and eddy fyne















Computer graphic free interpretation of the “Whirlpool Galaxy” M51/NGC594 (Spiral).
This galaxy is situated in the “Canex Venatici” constellation, 23 million light years from planet Earth, where, in the year 2000, the “Nautilus Pompilius” was fished out of the Indian Ocean.

A spiral is a curve that is wrapped around a given point or central axis, has a starting point and continues infinitely inwards and outwards.

In 1638, René Descartes studied the logarithmic spiral, distinguishing it from the spiral of Archimedes, because the distances between the arms of a logarithmic spiral increase according to a geometric progression, while in the Archimedean tradition the spiral remains unchanged.

Towards the end of 17th century, the mathematician Jacob Bernoulli discovered many properties of the logarithmic spiral, and was so fascinated by it that he wanted it carved on his tombstone, accompanied by the Latin inscription ‘Eadem mutata resurgo’ (‘Though changed, I was reborn identical’). By mistake, however, what finally appeared on his tomb was a traditional spiral.

In 1845, the astronomer Lord Rosse was able to see the spiral shape of the M51 nebula (the Whirlpool Galaxy) thanks to a 72inch telescope. Over the following five years, he discovered a further fourteen spiral nebulae.

Here, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as seen by the Hubble telescope, has been interpreted and enhanced via a computer generated image. We also see on the left a Nautilus Pompilius spiral shell, from which the spiral nebula appears to spring.