The Similarities Between Sea Monsters and Black Holes

Wereldkaart, Gerard de Jode, 1555 (detail)

Dr Surekha Davies (Art History) compared the discovery of the ocean in the Middle Ages with the discovery of black holes now on the website of Aeon. 

"Imagination was essential to making and representing visual knowledge about sea monsters", Davies says. "These creatures couldn’t be easily seen in nature. Complete specimens were rare. The imaginative extrapolation involved in prediction and expectation is also crucial to the discovery of black holes." 

Visual image of a black hole

"Just as naturalists had to imagine the animal whose head had once sported a tusk, astrophysicists needed to think laterally in order to construct a visual image of a black hole, an invisible object as wondrous and monstrous as a being in a medieval bestiary or Renaissance Wunderkammer."

More information
Read the full article here