Friday Fractal LXXV: Top of the Atmosphere

What if you could escape this busy world, rise above the clouds, and see everything from a new perspective? From that astronauts-eye-view, you could see the greenhouse effect in action: Sunlight pouring in, some reflected off of clouds in the upper layers of the atmosphere, some filtering down below. The light that does manage to reach the earth is absorbed or reflected by the surface below. That reflected earth shine bounces off the clouds as well, in colors imperceptible to you or I. Would it be an alien sight? Colors we can’t see, our homes obstructed by that foggy greenhouse roof, with the only solidity in sight--the quiet moon--as cold and distant as ever. Would it change the way you felt about the Earth?

Would you wonder about the complexity of the patterns which make the world what it is? Would it seem like a fractal?


Top of the Atmosphere in Fractal Form
(Created using fractal Brownian motion and a 3-D sphere fractal)

Or a photograph?


The Top of the Atmosphere
(Photo taken by an astronaut in 2006)

This may be why I became a fractal artist. I can’t fly into space to change my point of view, or to inspire someone else to do the same. Creating fractals that mimic nature allows me to explore different perspectives, without ever leaving my desk. Originally, I thought this was just a nerdy hobby. Instead, it is turning into a career, merging art, science and mathematics. I’m proud to say, the fractal above is to be printed, mounted, framed, and sold... maybe even end up hanging in someone’s office or living room, inspiring someone to take a new perspective. (Send me an email if you are interested--most of my other fractals can be sold as well.)

I must confess, this is only the surface of what I’ve been working on lately. I’ve been juggling several projects which each grew into their own set of chaos, but luckily, the work is beginning to subside. Hopefully, I can start getting caught up on my writing and blogging. In the meantime, for anyone who has been anxiously awaiting an update here, I’m very sorry... I promise, I can’t keep my head in the clouds forever!

Image of the top of the atmosphere via NASA’s Earth Observatory. Fractal created by the author using ChaosPro.

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Nice to see you posting again.

Have the projects been succesful?

By Chris' Wills (not verified) on 18 Apr 2008 #permalink

Well, I'm kinda-sorta posting again. I'll need a new keyboard before I can get back to full steam. (Currently, I have to backspace every other word... a very slow process.) One of my projects--painting and remodeling my living room and kitchen--turned out to be more that I'd expected. Spraying our vaulted ceilings got paint in every nook and cranny of the house... including my keyboard! I've been fiddling with it for weeks now, and I'm still not ready to call it done.

Other things have turned out well, if not quite as expected. One involved a series of fractal art for a set of science textbooks. I can't share any of the images I created for them here, but I must say, they turned out wonderfully. Finally, I've been in the middle of an experiment for my ecology class involving the effects of mineralized soils and polluted water on plant growth. I will be describing the last project in greater detail, soon. Right now we're in that dreaded data entry stage. (Luckily, not using my keyboard!)

Anyhow, thanks for checking in, and bearing with my infrequency!

Thanks for the comment Steve. I actually wrote in a comment here a few weeks ago asking what was happening with this blog after the announcement that O'Reilly was dropping the Digital Media division. It's really refreshing to get an honest comment on what's happening. I really hope the blog picks up again.