Quarters, grapes, and galaxies…

Take a close look at the pictures below and then tell someone what you think the picture is of.

Hopefully you only shared your guess with your pet hamster or fish. I wouldn’t want you to feel dumb if you guessed the same thing as me — footage for James Cameron’s next movie? (which, BTW, will be released in fifteen years) By then we’ll hopefully have had enough time to figure what these pictures are really of. It does appear, however, that the central region of our milky way and Mr. Cameron’s ideal forest share one thing in common: intense purple tones.

The second and third picture are actually the same pic, if you didn’t notice. But wouldn’t it be cool if there were actually two towers of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula?!? Okay, maybe not that cool… According to NASA, these towers are 57 trillion miles high. That would take 9.5 light-years to see the whole thing. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, so you do the math.

Speaking of math, I’ve heard all sorts of illustrations about the size of our earth. They usually go something like, “Okay, imagine that our entire solar system fits on a quarter. Then, while using it for a coin toss, you accidentally drop it in a football field. That same field is now the Milky Way, which is actually a grape. The Andromedia Galaxy is a fig on the other side of the United States. But don’t worry, because the Pinwheel Galaxy is more like a dime or a raisin.”

This approach doesn’t work so well for me as I’m now stuck in some football field eating grapes and raisins while looking for my quarter. I’d rather just see a picture and avoid the whole “get stuck in a field” thing. I don’t know about you. That’s just me.

Please note that in the next picture, I had to blow up the red dot to make it visible. It should look more like a piece of dust resting on a quarter, which is resting on a grape that’s hidden in the United States. Got it?

It’s obvious that we live in an infinitely large universe. My only problem with all this jazz from NASA and the gang is the whole “we’ve found stars that are billions of light-years away” thing. So you’re saying it took billions of years for the light to reach us?  Doesn’t the bible say that our earth is less than 10,000 years old? Hasn’t the bible been proven to be accurate through archaeology finds and fulfilled prophecies? Genesis says “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth.” Did God simply create an earth, as an extra planet in the universe? Or did God create the entire universe when he created our planet?

To answer these many questions, I thought I’d go to a website that could clarify things for me: clarifyingchristianity.com. They showed me it’s quite simple, really  –  just use the parallax method. Duh!!

You see, D=(3.262/p), where “d” is distance in light years, 3.262 is the constant that cares for the units, and “p” is the parallax, in arc seconds. Therefore, if d=4.28 light years, then p=0.762 arc seconds. Obvious stuff, I soon realized. The General Relativity Theory was the only thing I actually understood for why modern scientists could be wrong in our estimates.

I’m sure we could all sit around and argue about light years, Hubble Telescopes, and football fields for hours, but what would that accomplish? I started this post as a “sequel” to yesterday’s Pandora’s thoughts. Call me simple-minded, but I’m content to stare at these pictures and imagine flying through them like Flash Gordon.

I’m content to never understand why the creator of the vastness would send His best friend down to our speck of dust. It’s hard to imagine a love that spans entire universes, and for what reason? So God could have a bunch of losers to hang out with in Heaven? Why would God need us? I’d imagine that angels do the trick just fine. The only consolation I’ve found as I’ve thought about this is simple acceptance. I don’t need to understand it, but simply accept it as the truth. What a relief!

The earth He has given to man, but the highest heavens belong to the Lord.” Psalms 115:16

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2 Responses to “Quarters, grapes, and galaxies…”

  1. Jonathan Harper Says:

    Didn’t God create other planets before he created us? Not only does Ellen White talk about that, but in Job, there were the princes of the planets (or something like that). Then the universe had to be created before earth was, which would make sense why the stars are tons of light years away, wouldn’t it? Plus, I believe the earth was around for a while before Creation (formless and void), that explains why some (not all) of the rocks are so old. The supper old fossil dates are not actually made from the specimens themselves, but from the compounds from the rocks. I wish you could have been in my Biology class the last 2 months of last semester. Good post!

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