Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mah Rabu...

Take a look at the picture at right. This is an image known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) is a composite image of a small patch of sky in the constellation Fornax. The area covered is about 3 arcminutes square - or smaller than the amount of sky covered by holding a grain of sand at arm's length.

Aside from a few exceptions, all of the objects in this picture are not stars, but galaxies. A galaxy, very simply, is a large collection of stars, usually numbering anywhere from ten million to a trillion. Just about every little point of light in that picture contains millions, or billions, or trillions of stars -- and the whole picture is a miniscule portion of the sky.

A star, let us not forget, is not a trifiling thing. We have one pretty close to us - a mere 93 million miles or so. But as far as stars go, our sun is a pitzy little thing - not nearly as large as some stars, certainly not large enough to ever go nova (thank goodness!). The nearest star to us (aside from the sun, of course), is about 4 light years away - that's about 24,689,625,089,476 miles. If you took the space shuttle there, you'd reach there in about 150,000 years. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 80,000 - 100,000 light years across and contains about 200 - 400 billion stars.

In that little patch of sky, there are thousands of visible galaxies, each with it's billions of stars and each thousands of light-years across. Multiply this number by the number that would be visible if you observed the rest of the sky, and you see the wonderousness of Creation.

Of course, none of these observations would have been possible without science. Without science, mankind would never have bothered to explore the heavens beyond what is visible with the naked eye. Without science, we would have never discovered the extent of creation that we have: from quantum particles to galactic superclusters - and, I have no doubt, there is more out there to discover.

Personally, when I behold Creation - whether it be the image of a distant galaxy, a bird gathering sticks for a nest, a shooting star, a picture of an ameoba or the look in my children's eyes, I can only exclaim "Mah Rabu Ma'asecha Hashem."

Scientific observation does not have to lead us away from HaShem. Indeed, it should lead us to Him.

The Wolf

Note: You can download a high-res image of the HUDF here.


Goldilocks said...

"I do take life, mind and purpose seriously, and I concede that the universe at least appears to be designed with a high level of ingenuity. I cannot accept these features as a package of marvels which just happen to be, which exist reasonlessly. It seems to me that there is a genuine scheme of things - the universe is 'about' something. But I am equally uneasy about dumping the whole set of problems in the lap of an arbitrary god, or abandoning all further thought and declaring existence ultimately to be a mystery."

Paul Davies, The Goldilocks Enigma

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

i downloaded that HUDF picture and turned it into a set of computer desktop backgrounds. wow.