Sunday, March 29, 2015

Homo sapiens and starlight

A reconstruction in silicone of "Chancelade Man" by visual artist Elisabeth Daynes,

 Fiat lux!

If you think of it, isn't it truly remarkable what we have learned just by looking at light?

The highly intelligent species homo sapiens sapiens inhabiting planet Earth looks today at starlight with very deep understanding. By learning about the physical nature of light cooperating human brains have been able to deduct an enormous wealth of information about the Universe.

It took its time, some 200.000 years, but today's homo sapiens has deciphered many mysteries of the Cosmos by analyzing visible light and other wave lengths of electromagnetic radiation reaching us from the space near and far.

The reason to the brilliant results humans have reached by looking at starlight through a variety of instruments he has built is photon, the fundamental building block of all creation.

It is also remarkable that among all the holy scriptures circulating among humans only the Bible puts light near the very beginning of God's marvelous works of Creation.

 ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי־אור׃

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς.
dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux

Abraham and Lord stargazing

Perseid Meteor Shower as seen in Mitzpe Ramon, Negev, Israel
Video The Jewish Press   
© 2013 Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,
    your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:1-6
Negev desert sky over Beet Sheba region where this took place must have been a brilliant and spectacular sight in antiquity. In summer time there no clouds and all year round  there is absolutely no light pollution.

Under such circumstances naked human eye can see thousands of stars (2,500 to 5000 on moonless night according to this estimation).

The beautiful story of Abraham and Lord stargazing in Beer Sheba is over 2500 years old. It is therefore truly remarkable in its total lack of any kind of star worship so prevalent in the science and popular cultures of Near East in those distant days.

But the really surprising thing that this story emphasizes is that Abraham actually believed what Lord said to him.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

meb qIb vo'

ghItlhvam nasa apod

- yuQ 'IH ghotvam'e'

- mIp yInSIp 'ej bIQ

- law' poch 'ej Ha'DIbaH

- neH naDev yIn DaSum Hov

- wej cha'DIch lumerlaw'lu'bogh nIv qI', wej

- mIgh yuQmey Qu' chaH

- chaH mIgh Hoch latlh

- Hoch latlh HoH

- DaH tar yuQmey mej

- HIja' DaH mej naDevvo'

- nuq vup

- HIja', vup, Qapla'

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spitzer image and insignificant AntZ

Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared image of the center of the Milky Way galaxy
Cropped out of the large NASA APOD image
Astronomic pictures naturally cause in us humans awe in front of something way bigger we can even comprehend. Such photos of Cosmos are in a healthy way also humiliating for us, the proud inhabitants of a planet rotating among one of the billion or so stars on its path around the gravitational center of Milky Way Galaxy.

In AntZ, the actor and philosopher Woody Allen expresses in classic way human feeling of insignificance when we face things of such magnitude in relation to ourselves that we find it difficult to grasp the scale of that reality.

"I feel so insignificant"
Woody Allen in AntZ

Friday, March 6, 2015

Educational Coma Cluster of Galaxies

Coma Cluster of Galaxies

A picture is worth a thousand words. Especially a picture of thousand galaxies!

Click on this link to see the original high definition Hubble image of  the Coma Cluster in which the intricate details of the bluish galaxy upper left part of the photo are visible. Most spots of light in the image are galaxies but those in the background do not belong to one of the densest clusters known to the human race living on Planet Earth.

Contemplate on the spectacular image as it is a highly educational experience - especially with the help of the short accompanying text in APOD. The vastness of the Cosmos is so difficult to grasp just by reading words. Seeing this picture, and others like it, with physical light reaching Hubble Space Telescope cameras from the deep space is therefore a unique educational tool in learning to grasp things in galactic scale.

Just looking and contemplating the view in the comfort of your own home and computer screen is studying Astronomy at its best - this is it, the real thing, genuine light from billions of stars organized into these mostly oval structures!