PHYSICS | Pixels to Stitches: Embroidering Astronomy Images

(Credit: C. Bray)

Physics magazine

November 2020

While an emeritus professor at Harvard University in the 1970s, the astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin received an unusual request: Would she embroider an x-ray image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A? A practitioner of needlepoint embroidery as well as of stellar spectroscopy, she obliged. Now, decades later, many astronomy researchers and enthusiasts are translating pixels of screen light to pixels of colored thread, rendering astronomical data and images in cross stitch, another form of embroidery.