The above photograph, titled eXtreme Deep Field is considered the most zoomed-in photograph ever created by humankind.
Essentially, you are looking billions of years backwards in time because what this photograph displays is a myriad of galaxies, some as old as 13.2 billion years; galaxies that were created shortly after the universe came into existence.
Michael Zhang notes:
What scientists and physicists never broach, when discussing the notion of ‘singularity’ (the Big Bang and all it connotes) is of course what came before the Big Bang.
So what I like to do is contemplate the Big Bang and then hold alongside the theory of singularity the question of origin.
And then something peculiar happens. My mind stretches out to the endlessness of space, eliminating any sense of location, which, then, shortly thereafter does away with the concept of time.
If I do not have markers, locations, to designate any movement from A to B then, well, I don’t have any ‘time’. Because I’m not located in a particular place, neither are any of the galaxies, they might as well all be inside my head, which is the wild and poetic concept that the mystic Rudolph Steiner offered as a teaching.
Steiner suggested that human beings are a direct reflection of the cosmos and that our consciousness is imbued with the entirety of the universe.
In The Sun Mystery lectures he wrote: “Throughout a human lifetime, what happens in the head remains an image of the entire cosmos. The very fact that we have a head means that each of us carries an image of the entire cosmos around with us…”
If you want to amplify your mind being blown a wee bit more you can see the giant, hi-res version here.
So when I meditate on the amazing eXtreme Deep Field photograph that’s what I contemplate. How about you?
Black holes. We all ponder their mystery and often our life can feel as though we are living right on the edge of a black hole, shaking, shattering and ready to be sucked — in — to — smithereens!
There’s a scientific term for the edge of the black hole. It’s called the event horizon.
“Accretion discs are the beautiful tails of a black hole, formed by stars being dragged into that invisible thing that spells the end of matter, the observable universe, and known physics. They’re nightmarish, really. But from this distance they’re beautiful stationary things. By the time we look at them they’ll’ve already spiralled, changed, moved, chewed up who knows how many worlds.”
In fact as you’ve read this entry several stars have already gone down the rabbit hole. Where will they emerge?
You can watch the video above or read about the entire production here.
Several months ago NPR aired a special broadcast that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the photograph you see on the right.
I recommend listening to the report, especially now when the globe is challenged by the largest ecological holocaust in the United States’ history.
Listen, look, and then reconsider the words of the late, great astronomer Carl Sagan. A reaction that he shared with the world after studying the photograph. A photograph taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which at the time was nearly 4 billion miles away, drifting in space.
A photograph which displays, if you look closely at that little tiny speck of light within the band of universal dust, a god’s eye view of: Planet Earth.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Read more
“What about the existential whiplash that comes from being on the moon one week and in your living room the next — and having to find your own way to process the vast gulf between those two worlds? “I remember coming back to Houston after the moon, and my neighbors had a barbecue for me,” Dave Scott, commander of Apollo 15, told me. “I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ ”
From Time magazine’s excellent: Moon Walkers: The 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
Bonus: Google Moon. Explore the six missions of the Apollo Program, which lasted from 1963 to 1972.