This is how they got it wrong.
Here’s yet another look at our eyes and the technology behind it.
What we see – the lens and the retina
With our eye alone, we get about 10 million pixels per hour. This is the amount of information we can view every second. If we can’t see it, we don’t have to.
If it’s the only way we can see that the sky, for example, then that’s how the eyes work.
You’d have to use a laser-beam to illuminate the sky, and it would take about 2 minutes to light the sky and return 1 photon per second.
Image copyright NASA
In its first phase of human evolution, humans didn’t have the ability to see. Until then they had to get out of the trees and go looking for food. But they did so by moving their eyes about. The first modern lenses appeared about 25,000 years ago, around the same time the first mammals went hunting.
They had a very, very limited amount of vision – no field of view which the human eye could extend past 100 miles away.
“We have never had to evolve to have much more vision – to have that high and wide field-of-vision, because we have the eye with the highest resolution,” explains Jim Curran.
The eye has two types of photoreceptors at each corner. In low light the left and right are covered, while when high energy light comes through, the top one gets covered. “In this case the light doesn’t penetrate through them much. So you end up with some very low resolution, very high contrast, very little clarity at close range.”
Image copyright NASA
We have a “cone of vision” (which shows up as white on a black object so you have to move the glasses to see it) which covers about 50% of the sky. So with that cone, we can see the sky in the daytime.
And then there is our “retina”. As we gaze at things further away, we don’t notice the detail of these little points of light, so our eyes adapt very quickly to the sharpness of the picture.
These two parts of our eyes work differently. The cones are in charge of detecting and grouping together things that have already been seen before. This is important for finding things in low light – finding people moving through the street, for example.
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