The night sky as viewed by humans vs. owls

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

There are many types of owls with varying degrees of eyesight, but a visual accuracy of about ten times that of a human at night is the norm. This visual accuracy extends to the night sky as well, and so though it's doubtful that they are all that interested in what's that far above them, the night sky is much more impressive for them as well (not to mention the fact that they don't live in cities as most of us do). Here's a rough approximation of the difference. Clicking on the image will show it in a larger size.

Here's the Moon in the sky with a few stars.

With a vision ten times clearer than that we have though it could be seen in this amount of detail:

And here are the two side by side. The part on the left corresponds to the area inside the red box.

The same thing is true for a patch of stars. Here's a patch of stars with Arcturus visible in the centre.

And here it is with the superior vision.

Finally, the human vision superimposed with vision ten times sharper on the top right for comparison. In the tiny box on the left you can only make out Arcturus and two others, but with much sharper vision all of a sudden previously unseen stars leap into view.


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