#189 Space & Time

Re-engineered Webb Telescope becomes first ampersand in space

A picture is worth a thousand worlds.”

I didn’t say that; Google did. On July 13, 2022, I saw this Google Doo­dle & imme­di­ate­ly clicked on it, for­get­ting what­ev­er it was that I was googling. I rec­og­nized the gold hexag­o­nal mir­rors & knew it had some­thing to do with the James Webb Space Tele­scope. Wow — it was announc­ing the first images sent to earth by JWST! Google’s phrase “a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand worlds” is a very clever pun, so I used it to blast off Amper­Art #189, Space & Time. The very first image sent, that of deep space, was used as the back­ground in my lat­est piece. Here’s the Google Doo­dle — click on it to see its amus­ing ani­ma­tion & read about its cre­ative development.

Google Doodle celebrating first images from Webb Telescope
Click the Google Doo­dle to see the ani­ma­tion & read about the artwork.

Have you heard of the James Webb Space Telescope? 

Ear­li­er this week I met a new friend who has been in tech­nol­o­gy through­out his career. I told him how excit­ed I was about the first images of space & time from the new tele­scope, expect­ing him to share in the excite­ment. Instead, he asked “You mean Hub­ble?” He was not even aware of the James Webb Space Tele­scope, Hub­ble’s suc­ces­sor. (He has since told me he Googled it, and said “it’s all over the news!” Yes it is.) 

I was amazed that some­one in tech­nol­o­gy had not heard of this tech­no­log­i­cal won­der. That alert­ed me to real­ize maybe not every­one has heard about the JWST — or oth­er inno­va­tions, for that mat­ter — even if it would be of inter­est to them. So I was com­pelled to add this video to intro­duce those of you (espe­cial­ly if you wit­nessed the first moon land­ing in 1969 on your black & white tubes) who have not heard of this suc­ces­sor to the Hub­ble tele­scope, which is mag­nif­i­cent in its own right & still in ser­vice. You just might be as awed as the rest of us are by the James Webb Space Tele­scope — espe­cial­ly after you see the spec­tac­u­lar first images that were revealed July 12, 2022.

This excel­lent video by Fras­er Cain at uni​ver​se​to​day​.com will explain & entertain:

(If the video does not appear, play it on YouTube.)

For those who pre­fer to read, there’s a good entry about JWST at Wikipedia.

Vis­it the web­sites list­ed below (includ­ing NASA​.org) for more infor­ma­tion about the James Webb Space Telescope.

Space is hard to comprehend…

I have been fol­low­ing the jour­ney of the James Webb Space Tele­scope since it was first launched on Decem­ber 25, 2021. For some rea­son I just feel a deep pride in this ven­ture & I’m thrilled at every task it suc­ceeds in func­tion­ing even bet­ter than expect­ed. It seems like a mir­a­cle that noth­ing has gone wrong when there is so much that could have. Even the traf­fic acci­dent (appar­ent­ly they hap­pen in out­er space, too) of a micro mete­or dent­ing the mir­ror last month was planned ahead & com­pen­sat­ed for. 

It’s hard to com­pre­hend how vast space is & what’s real­ly out there, but…

Planetary Nebula NGC 3132, one of first images from Webb Telescope

…time is even harder

It is beyond my com­pre­hen­sion that what I am look­ing at in these first images from the James Webb Space Tele­scope is from space & time 13 bil­lion years ago. I tru­ly can­not com­pre­hend that! I will just set­tle for admir­ing a spec­tac­u­lar image achieved through the vision & tech­nol­o­gy of bril­liant humans on earth.

The above image, Plan­e­tary Neb­u­la NGC 3132, aka South­ern Ring Neb­u­la, is cap­tured by JWST in dying star’s final moments (albeit very long moments). More fas­ci­na­tion about NGC 3132 here.

AA #189 features Galaxy Cluster SMACS 0723

James Webb Telescope first image: Galaxy Cluster SMACS 0723

This has been one of my favorite Amper­Art cre­ations to date. I am thrilled to design a piece that cel­e­brates the suc­cess — per­form­ing flaw­less­ly & far exceed­ing its expec­ta­tions — of this mar­vel of tech­nol­o­gy, which I have been fol­low­ing since its launch on Decem­ber 25, 2021. 

Not only does this Amper­Art #189 Space & Time back­ground fea­ture the very first image (at right or below) released by the James Webb Space Tele­scope, but the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the tele­scope’s gold mir­rors made for a sim­ple task of cre­at­ing the amper­sand by just mov­ing a few mir­rors around. (The amper­sand tele­scope turned out kin­da cute, don’t you think?)

The image above is the deep­est & sharpest infrared image of the dis­tant uni­verse to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy clus­ter SMACS 0723 is over­flow­ing with detail. You can see a larg­er ver­sion & read all the details on the NASA web­site. Here are some highlights:

✴ The image above shows the galaxy clus­ter SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 bil­lion years ago. 

✴ This deep field, tak­en by Webb’s Near-​Infrared Cam­era (NIR­Cam), is made from images at dif­fer­ent wave­lengths, total­ing 12.5 hours

✴ Thou­sands of galax­ies – includ­ing the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.

Now this should real­ly send your mind to infin­i­ty & beyond:

✴ This slice of the vast uni­verse — every­thing you see in the image above — is approx­i­mate­ly the size of a grain of rice held at arm’s length by some­one on the ground.

Alien lifeforms

I’m sure if JWST ever finds a colony of intel­li­gent beings out there, they will all be naked. & hap­py. Maybe that’s what it will take to enlight­en us earth­lings to final­ly strip away our prud­ish, igno­rant, sense­less cen­sor­ship against our own bod­ies. After all, as my favorite bumper stick­er says: 

There’s plen­ty of space & time for a bil­lion words or less, so please…

Explore the James Webb Space Telescope & Mission & Images

NASA James Webb Space Telescope mission

First images from Webb Space Telescope

The ultimate guide to the James Webb Space Telescope

Other “webbsites” about the Webb Telescope

Production notes for #189 Space &Time:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Tall Films

Ampersand: custom by Chaz DeSimone, based on JWST mirror array

Background image: NASA & deposit​pho​tos​.com (enhanced)
“A picture is worth a thousand worlds.” quote from Google​.com
Text about the JWST from Wikipedia​.org
Video: Fraser Cain, uni​ver​se​to​day​.com
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Visit DesimoneDesign.com

Chaz DeS­i­mone, design­er & typog­ra­ph­er, is the cre­ator of Amper­Art & own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat & his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing results. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com.

Thank you for sub­scrib­ing to Chaz’s per­son­al design project, Amper­Art. Please invite your friends — those who are fans of the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand — to sub­scribe at amper​art​.com.

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rants & raves by Chaz Desimone, otherwise known as Chaz the Spaz
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#132 Peas & Carrots

132 Peas & Carrots
#132 Peas & Carrots
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Well, that’s what hap­pened to those ear­ly TV din­ners after you took them out of the oven: the veg­eta­bles & mashed pota­toes (or what­ev­er that white stuff was) were hard­ly sep­a­rat­ed by the com­part­ments in the alu­minum trays, and would inad­ver­tant­ly cross over to mix with each oth­er. The gravy would also get into the act some­times, too. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner was Swanson’s original TV Dinner, 1953

Sumptuous, and how! Have you ever seen such a Thanksgiving spread? See how ultra-​white those potatoes look? They really were that color! Notice how the package resembles a TV screen. From the Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, January 20, 1957.

To me, that was the sec­ond best part of the TV din­ner fla­vor, where the dif­fer­ent foods would inter­min­gle. (It’s prob­a­bly why I like peas & mashed pota­toes mixed togeth­er.) But my favorite sen­sa­tion was the smoky fla­vor of the mashed pota­toes that always got burned on top, cre­at­ing a tasty, crispy crust. Of course, that meant that the veg­eta­bles got singed too, giv­ing them the fla­vor of today’s trendy roast­ed veg­eta­bles. (Were TV din­ners ahead of their time?) Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it also meant that in selec­tions such as “Roast­ed Turkey with Stuff­ing” the “stuff­ing” was more like toast where it got burnt, espe­cial­ly when it did­n’t even get mixed with the gravy in the pro­duc­tion line. (Is that why I also like my toast and Eng­lish muffins charred all the way to black?)

Named & marketed for an entertainment phenomenon

from Wikipedia:

The first Swanson-​brand TV Din­ner was pro­duced in the Unit­ed States and con­sist­ed of a Thanks­giv­ing meal of turkey, corn­bread dress­ing, frozen peas and sweet pota­toes[3] pack­aged in a tray like those used at the time for air­line food ser­vice. Each item was placed in its own com­part­ment. The trays proved to be use­ful: the entire din­ner could be removed from the out­er pack­ag­ing as a unit, the tray with its alu­minum foil cov­er­ing could be heat­ed direct­ly in the oven with­out any extra dish­es, and one could eat the meal direct­ly from the tray. The prod­uct was cooked for 25 min­utes at 425 °F (218 °C) and fit nice­ly on a TV tray table. The orig­i­nal TV Din­ner sold for 98 cents, and had a pro­duc­tion esti­mate of 5,000 din­ners for the first year.

The name “TV din­ner” was coined by Ger­ry Thomas, its inven­tor. At the time it was intro­duced, tele­vi­sions were sta­tus sym­bols and a grow­ing medi­um. Thomas thought the name “TV Din­ner” sound­ed like the prod­uct was made for con­ve­nience (which it was), and the Swan­son exec­u­tives agreed.

Wikipedia arti­cle (ver­ba­tim)

New & exciting: dessert!

Dessert was introduced in 1960. Note the 99¢ price. What’s interesting, is you can still find TV dinners on sale for 88¢, over 50 years later. 

In 1960 a small com­part­ment was added between the veg­eta­bles and pota­toes which con­tained anoth­er course: dessert! It was usu­al­ly some­thing like a choco­late brown­ie or fruit cob­bler. I always looked for­ward to the dessert, but some­times it was a total fail­ure when, unlike the deli­cious acci­den­tal com­bi­na­tion of peas & car­rots & pota­toes, it turned out to be peas & car­rots & apple crisp & mashed pota­toes. (The apple crisp was nev­er crisp, either — always mushy or down­right burnt.)

Innovation & end of a deliciously baked (or burnt) era

Around 1967 the microwave oven forced the TV din­ner tray to switch from alu­minum to plas­tic (unless you want­ed to destroy both your din­ner and your brand new appli­ance) . I miss eat­ing out of a met­al tray (I have no idea why), but the real down­fall for me was how the food tast­ed after it was cooked. No more over­baked pota­toes, no more scorched stuff­ing. Once in awhile I’ll pur­chase a TV din­ner (when they’re on sale for 88¢) and I still missed those fla­vors. (I almost placed a microwave TV din­ner in the oven once to relive that fla­vor but real­ized my dumb idea in time. Burnt pota­toes, yes; burnt plas­tic, no.)

Amana Radarange 1976

Amana Radarange circa 1976.
Image from the​hen​ry​ford​.org

To this day, peas & car­rots is one of my favorite veg­etable side dish­es. Some­times I even make it my main course. In fact, some­times I’ll fin­ish off peas & car­rots & mashed pota­toes in an oven to get that burnt fla­vor and crispy crust. Much as I love fresh & frozen peas, I detest the fla­vor of canned peas. (No, I don’t slice and dice my own like I should.) 

Do you remember the original TV dinners where all the compartments mixed everything together?

Or the excit­ing new dessert com­part­ment? Do you miss the old alu­minum trays like I do? Ever blow up your microwave like I almost did? Share your mem­o­ries with fel­low amper­sand fans & TV din­ner fans.

 Please comment here.

Production notes for #132 Peas & Carrots:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator (main illustrations and typography), Photoshop (to modify background watercolor paper)
Font: Desyrel (duplicate letters slightly modified)

Ampersand: watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com, pea & carrot shapes by Chaz, watercolor paper background by psd​graph​ics​.com
watercolor images deposit​pho​tos​.com
watercolor paper background psd​graph​ics​.com
Swanson Turkey Dinner package: boing​bo​ing​.net
Swanson Turkey Dinner print ad: thewritelife61​.com
Family with TV dinner tray (and TV): i0​.wp​.com/​w​w​w​.​m​o​r​t​a​l​j​o​u​r​n​e​y​.​com
Amana Radarange: the​hen​ry​ford​.org/​c​o​l​l​e​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​a​n​d​-​r​e​s​e​a​r​ch/
Articles about the TV dinner:
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

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