Saturday, October 12, 2013

First mathematics then optics!

NGC 891
Hubble image NASA APOD
Galaxies have been studied intensively ever since Edwin Hubble first realized that those "cosmic clouds" where in fact star islands in the Universe.

Astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists and other scientists used advanced mathematics with theories of gravity, time, matter and space to figure out more about different types of galaxies. Much of the work was and continues to be theoretical with assumptions made on the basis of known laws of Nature.

Hubble telescope has the optics and ideal environment to provide needle sharp images of galaxies. But also Earth bound telescopes can today achieve images like this edge on picture of NGC 891 which is a combination of several photos.

It must be very satisfying - or challenging - to see with own eyes something that has only been rather abstract results of complex mathematical formula.

Adam Block from Mt. Lemmon Sky Center of the University of Arizona has thus provided visual evidence about galaxies that has been summarized also for us lay people in the APOD site
The spiral galaxy spans about 100 thousand light-years and is seen almost exactly edge-on from our perspective. In fact, about 30 million light-years distant in the constellation Andromeda, NGC 891 looks a lot like our Milky Way. At first glance, it has a flat, thin, galactic disk and a central bulge cut along the middle by regions of dark obscuring dust. The combined image data also reveal the galaxy's young blue star clusters and telltale pinkish star forming regions. And remarkably apparent in NGC 891's edge-on presentation are filaments of dust that extend hundreds of light-years above and below the center line. The dust has likely been blown out of the disk by supernova explosions or intense star formation activity. Faint neighboring galaxies can also be seen near this galaxy's disk.


  1. Dear Mikko,

    I continue to enjoy visiting your site and am wondering if you have any thoughts on the following:

    I understand Genesis 1:1 to refer to the creation by God of not just planet earth, but also the other planets when we are told that he created "earth", as from my study of the Hebrew word 'aretz' (translated 'earth') I have found that it means 'to be firm' and therefore could refer to any place of physical 'firmness' in the universe, not just this planet.

    With this in mind, I am wondering if the use of the word 'aretz' in Isa 65:17 means that God will be re-creating the other planets as well as this one when Jesus comes back.

    Do you have any thoughts on this interpretation of Isaiah 16:17 as English translations of the Bible use the phrase "a new earth" which suggests it is just this planet which is re'created.

    Yours in Christ,

    Russell Bayliss
    Ashford, UK

    1. Dear Russell, good to hear from you!
      Your question raises such an important issue to us all Bible believing Christians that with your permission I raise the discussion from comment level to blog text level where it will be more visible to the followers of this blog. The text is titled The Truth and I am happy if you also would continue the discussion there.