Eppur si muove

by | Apr 10, 2014 | Citizen Science | 0 comments

I found a thing on the internet and I HAVE to share.

yeah-scienceI love gifs. I didn’t realize how much I liked those little moving images until I became active on Google Plus, one of the first social networks to allow gifs to display in the wild. I also didn’t realize how much I loved gifs until I started getting amusing emails from DrRubidium, who uses them rather extensively for communication with hilarious results. (See one of her blogs to see what I mean… some NSFW stuff!) Heck, there is even a whole website dedicated to helping you find just the right gif for every situation.

However, gifs aren’t just for fun and play. (That’s ONLY 99% of the time.) Occasionally, gifs can be pretty useful little tools to quickly show something for which a simple 2-D image won’t do. For example, I was making some images of the radio source Cygnus A with a low frequency radio telescope in grad school, and specifically looking at how the ionosphere (the ionized, outer layer of the Earth’s atmosphere” might distort the image. I made lots of plots of the wandering position of the source, but then I realized I could use one of the MANY free gif-makers on the internet to show it in a more visually friendly way.


Not the most scientifically useful image, but it looks better in a powerpoint that yet more squiggly lines, IMO.

Later I learned that there were ways to make gifs using a webcam, like moving selfies. Of course I took advantage of this.

So when I went looking for a way to make gifs from screen captures, I was not terribly surprised that this, too, could be done with a simple free tool. And now, here is a way to show your mapping adventures with more than just a screenshot but without the complexity of a screencap video:


Gyazo is free and only lets you take 7 seconds worth of animation, but it’s pretty neat for a quick and dirty demonstration! So now, instead of just sharing my screen captures of mapping while watching Cosmos or doing other things, I can share a little bit of the process… and you can too!

So, I’m curious… what else can be screencapped with gifs? How might this help you with Mappers?

*Eppur si muove, or, “And yet it moves,” is a phrase that, according to legend, was uttered by Galileo after renouncing heliocentrism before the Inquisition.


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