12 Jan 2013

January 12th

In the news today, astronomers have spotted the largest known spiral galaxy—by accident. But they were shocked to see a vast swathe of ultraviolet light from young stars, indicating that the galaxy is actually big enough to accommodate five of our Milky Way galaxies within it.
For the normal person, space is just out there. Of no real interest except to astound the mind for a moment or two. Do we need to know how the galaxy formed? I can't imagine how much money the studies require, or where it came from.
Ancient world civilizations like those in England with their Standing Stones, the Aztecs with their stone tablets, and the Egyptians through their hieroglyphics, worked out calendars using the stars pathways through the heavens. So the study and importance of stars isn't a recent human pastime. What makes us wonder about things we cannot fathom?
Stars remind us how small we are—how lacking in luster. And, if only for a moment, we step back from our grand ideas and see them for what they are.


  1. The universe is a constant fascination for all of us (did you see Prof Brian Cox on TV this week?) but I have to admit that the thoughts panic me. My little mind can't conceive of such vastness that has no end because if it had an end there would have to be something beyond that end! Think I'll stick with my crochet lessons and leave those brain-aching issues to Prof Cox.

    1. I love listening to Professor Cox. His charming personality generates such enthusiasm.

  2. If we're ever going to advance beyond old terra firma, we have to study what's 'out there'. I follow NASA and read their newsletters. Hubs likes physics so he can translate what the physicists say for me. Better to spend money on science than military might. But then, all countries have to participate, don't they?

    It is mind-boggling though.


Please tell me what YOU think.