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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Apple 'Changed' the Universe with the Release of OS X Lion

Apple has reportedly modified an iconic picture of the Andromeda galaxy originally produced by astrophotographer Robert Gendler in order to use it as the default wallpaper of Mac OS X Lion.

The Universe holds many galaxies like our own, the Milky Way - a spirally thingy made up of hundreds of billions of suns, one of which is eight light-minutes away from our Earth.

One such galaxy is Andromeda, a spiral pool of stars approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Andromeda.

It was shot in all its splendor by astrophotographer Robert Gendler back in 2007.

His image is published in the 2008 Guiness Book of World Records as the Largest image (in pixel dimensions) of a spiral Galaxy ever taken.

David Kaplan, assistant professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, sent boing boing a gif image showing the differences between the original picture and the one that serves as the default wallpaper in OS X 10.7.

It shows quite a few differences between them.

So, Kaplan told the blog, “Apple has once again altered the Universe according to their whim. They moved/removed many stars, and got rid of a whole galaxy. This is M110, which is one of M31?s [Andromeda's] satellites. The other big satellite, M32, is still there.”

The observation, of course, isn’t bad intended.

Rather, it’s a humorous take on the fact that Apple decided to brush out an entire galaxy so the image doesn't look cluttered, or too asymmetrical, perhaps.

Kaplan said he couldn't guarantee whether or not M110 (the galaxy Apple erased from the photo) was still observable in the night sky (again, most likely as a joke). But he said he was pretty sure Photoshop had something to do with the way Apple's wallpaper shows.

As Apple fans will agree, the Mac maker’s version of the Andromeda is, by far, more attractive, considering the vivid colors, the gradient lighting, the hues, you name it.

However, for something as elegant as the Cosmos, I for one disagree with Apple’s decision to doctor the image to such extent that an entire galaxy had to be removed for the sake of a wallpaper.

Apple 'Changed' the Universe with the Release of OS X Lion

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