Intergalactic Lens Flares


i love that the headline on this story, "Hubble Directly Observes The Disk Around A Black Hole," has to be followed immediately by, "but it's not that disk."

The spectacular patterns and rays in the photo above of the double quasar known as HE 1104-1805 are apparently imaging artifacts from the Hubble Space Telescope, They're caused by the circular aperture and the structural elements of the telescope itself.

Meanwhile, the accretion disk is only visible at all because HE 1104-1805 is subject to gravitational lensing, distortions in the light caused by the gravitational pull of an intervening galaxy.

I can't quite articulate it yet, but there's something here about the appeal and limits of opticality; the utility and limitations of the narrow, visible part of the spectrum; and the documentation and characterization of distortion that I find very interesting. And then there's the inextricable relationship between the instrument and its object; which then collapses as the universe itself--the galaxy-as-lens--becomes the instrument for viewing itself.

Hubble Directly Observes the Disc Around a Black Hole [, via]
What's That Strange Disk Around That Black Hole? []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

post info

first published: November 9, 2011.

next older post:
Good Thing I Didn't Go To Art School

next newer post:
MoMA Sculpture Garden Fire Escape

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99