Every time I go by this ginormous art installation adjacent to the Tribune Building I laugh.
Because that is what it looks like: Abe Lincoln consulting with some suburban tax attorney or realtor.
The less interesting version — to my warped mind, anyway — is that the guy in the sweater (an annoying Tea Partier) is holding a copy of the Gettysburg Address, which 25-foot tall Abe Lincoln is trying to explain to him had nothing to do with the Republican Party of today and that he would have switched over to the Democrats long ago.
(OK, I embellished a little with that description.)
This Tribune article explains that the “[T]he large bronze sculpture — called “Return Visit” — was created by Seward Johnson, the 86-year-old artist who brought to Chicago the “Forever Marilyn” sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in 2011 and the “God Bless America” sculpture in 2008 of the farmer and his wife from the “American Gothic” painting.
You can see Marilyn below. I definitely prefer her, but Abe is cool, too.
However, if anyone in charge reads this: please bring Marilyn back. She was awesome. As you can plainly see.
Using a new technique called Background-Oriented Schlieren using Celestial Objects, or BOSCO, scientists at NASA are finding news ways to photograph moving objects against, in the case above, the sun:
Using this naturally speckled background,” said Haering, “we could make hundreds of observations of each shockwave, greatly increasing the acuity of the camera system.”
Researchers at Armstrong and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, have developed new schlieren techniques based on modern image processing methods. Shock waves, represented by distortions of the background pattern in a series of images, are accentuated using special mathematical equations. This method requires only simple optics and a featured background, that is one with a speckled appearance such as the cratered lunar surface or the mottled appearance of the sun when viewed through certain filters, such as the CaK filter.
One recent demonstration of this technique was called Calcium-K Eclipse Background Oriented Schlieren (CaKEBOS). According to Armstrong principal investigator Michael Hill, CaKEBOS was a proof of concept test to see how effectively the sun could be used for background oriented schlieren photography.
“Using a celestial object like the sun for a background has a lot of advantages when photographing a flying aircraft,” Hill said. “With the imaging system on the ground, the target aircraft can be at any altitude as long as it is far enough away to be in focus.”
Researchers found the ground-based method to be significantly more economical than air-to-air methods. Merely eliminating requirement for an airborne camera platform reduced operational costs and complexity, as did the use of off-the-shelf equipment.
“The CaKEBOS imaging system was very simple, consisting of consumer grade astronomy equipment we had from previous tests,” said Hill. He further noted, “Someone could probably build a system that would get similar results for around $3000.”
The Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards provided a supersonic T-38C to serve as a target aircraft. Air Force test pilots Maj. Jonathan Orso and Col. Glenn Graham worked with NASA in planning how to precisely align the jet’s flight path to capture the schlieren images. The aircraft needed to be in the right place at the right time in order to eclipse the sun relative to the imaging system on the ground. The pilots had to hand fly the airplane to hit a specific point in the sky to within approximately 300 feet, while travelling faster than the speed of sound. This had to be accomplished within a two-minute window as the sun’s relative position in the sky changed due to Earth’s rotation.