“The greatest scientists are also artists.” ~ Albert Einstein
Art and science are treated as separate disciplines, but they have more in common than is often realized. Creativity is critical to achieving scientific breakthroughs, and art is often an expression (or product) of scientific knowledge. And both art and science begin in the experience of awe, of seeing something spectacular. Experiencing a solar eclipse is a prime example of where these two human endeavors meet.
Eclipses are celestial events that we can predict with extreme accuracy, and their occurrence reveals fundamental truths about our place in the universe. Still, as many eclipse watchers will attest, you can’t predict how you’ll feel when you experience it. The emotional resonance of eclipses is underscored by their presence in art forms in cultures around the world for millennia.
To celebrate the special role of eclipses in connecting art and science, NASA artists will share their artwork inspired by the eclipses in anticipation of two solar eclipses that will cross the United States on October 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024 Mr.
Below are the first two works in the series with brief biographies of their creators.
Tyler Nordgren is a professional astronomer and artist. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy from Cornell University, where he studied dark matter. For two decades, he was a professional astronomer at the US Naval Observatory, Lowell Observatory, and the University of Redlands. Since 2007, he has worked with the National Park Service to promote dark-sky education and outreach, writing the book Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks. As an artist, his vintage-style “Half the Park is After Dark” posters are sold in state and national parks across the country.
“I have spent many years driving around the American Southwest, visiting many of the state and national parks that will be in the path of this upcoming eclipse. This view captures the feel of a number of these places that I loved so much. I chose the color palette and font style to reflect that mid-century moment when so many families first hit the road in the 1950s visiting these places for the first time. To me, the eclipse above and the landscape below represent a spectacular world waiting to be rediscovered.”
Kristen Perrin is a successful African-American mother of four and a senior multimedia and graphics specialist. She graduated from Villa Julie College (now known as Steven University) with a BA in Visual Communication, with coursework and certificates from the Johns Hopkins Computer Institute in web development. Kristen has designed digital and physical products with several Fortune 500 companies, the United States Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“I felt that the 2023 annular eclipse should be familiar, inspiring and welcoming to all demographics, portraying the spectacular dynamics of the event that is enjoyed by all. The three circles with multiple rings around them add a solar and planetary figurative dimension to the piece. The circles are reminiscent of the Moon, Sun and planets in our solar system, while the rings in turn represent orbital paths, as well as the ‘ring’ created during the annular eclipse.
There is often not enough cultural representation when solar or celestial events occur. Monumental events like these aren’t discussed directly in urban communities – but that doesn’t devalue the event. I felt it was important to choose people who represented a more modern and diverse audience to provide visual inclusion in the poster design. This event has an impact on the world we live in and should be shared and enjoyed by all.”