Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On the splendor of the universe

I was reading this morning about the recent discovery by the Hubble Space Telescope of a ring of dark matter surrounding a distant cluster of galaxies. All that may be a little too sciencey for some of you, but I hope everyone will take a look at this image and then try to express even the smallest fraction of your awe. (Call it a writing exercise.)

When you click on the photo link, bear in mind that you're not just looking at a bunch of pretty stars. You're looking at entire galaxies. Zillions of them. There are only a handful of individual stars visible in the photo; those are on the edge of our own galaxy (you'll notice their light spread out like + signs). But note the exquisite colors and structures of the galaxies. This is one of the finest astro-photos I've ever seen.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

--Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)


Katie said...

This puts me in mind of the Martin Luther quote: "If you could understand a single grain of wheat, you would die of wonder."

Shauna said...

Amen! Thank you, Brenda, for posting that picture. It took my breath away.

pacatrue said...

Aye. It is a tremendous photo. It looks like an artist's rendering in fact, the colors are so brilliant.

RoseMary said...

How beautiful. There are no words that can adequately describe it! What a perfect verse to go with it. Thanks for sharing it---I would have never seen it otherwise!

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm glad you all liked it.

Paca, I believe it's a composite photo that used six different filters to approximate what it would look like to the naked eye. Light's a tricky thing, as any astronomer or photographer knows, and what you see isn't always what you get on film.

By the way, that cluster of galaxies is FIVE BILLION light-years away.