Dr O's Blog

Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle had a great article about the recently repaired Hubble space telescope. What was intriguing to me was what the refurbished cameras and instruments will now be able tell us about the nature of the Universe. “Astronomers will now be able to see galaxies and exploding stars billions of years older than ever seen before and speeding faster in the expanding universe than any galaxies ever observed.” Hubble will also be capable of studying the atmospheres of “exoplanets” (planets orbiting distant stars) that show signs of having oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. In other words – Life.

This reminded me of something most of us learn in school but quickly forget – that the speed of light coming from points in the Universe to Earth is measure in light years and that what Hubble can now record happened BILLIONS of light years ago. “The early universe” is what the quoted astrophysicist, Mario Livio, called it. That rocked my space time perspective at bit!

When I finished reading the article, a favorite Marcus Miller/Keb Mo’ tune of mine started playing in my mind:

Out on the edge of the Milky

Far from the paradigm, goin’ to school, servin’ time

On the edge of the Milky Way

Dropped us off, left us here, smokin’ up the atmosphere

The song is a statement about how our false self-importance is destructive in so many ways.

It’s so outrageous

It’s like Las Vegas

We’re all together

But so alone

Maybe if we all stopped to remember the astronomy lessons that taught us how vast the Universe truly is, we’d have a better appreciate for each other and our little Earth and Sun. Out on the edge of the Milky Way, it is both as precious and miniscule as an atom of a cell of our beating hearts. Over time, the cell can no longer regenerate itself and it dies. Maybe we’d all have a better appreciation for the power and vastness of the Universe and how everything that exists is a wondrous and unique microcosm of the Macrocosm that is God.

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