Tuesday, January 6, 2015

25 Years of Hubble Space Telescope

This year marks 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Here is an update on the “Pillars of Creation”. The image shows an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases, which cosmologists call a nebula. This one, called the Eagle Nebula is within the Andromeda Galaxy seven thousand light years away. The massive clumps of matter will attract and eventually become massive enough to form a star, planets, and other objects like our own solar system.

How big is big - almost 10 light years in length. How big is our solar system in light years - a mere 3.7 light years in diameter. And from the sun to the earth, eight minutes.

Eagle Nebula, original image NASA

Time enough for a little poetry by William Wordsworth. Ode 536 from Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.

 There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,    
 The earth, and every common sight,    
 To me did seem    
 Apparell'd in celestial light,    
The glory and the freshness of a dream.           
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—    
        Turn wheresoe'er I may,    
            By night or day,    
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:   
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,     
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,   
          And cometh from afar:   
        Not in entire forgetfulness,   
        And not in utter nakedness,   
But trailing clouds of glory do we come     
        From God, who is our home:   
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!   
Shades of the prison-house begin to close   
        Upon the growing Boy,   
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,     
        He sees it in his joy;