Sunday, May 1, 2011


It's the birthday of the Hubble Telescope, and OH, the wonders it has to show us! 

Of all the pictures taken by the Hubble in all these twenty-one years of its epic-is-too-small-a-word Journey, this is the first one I ever saw, and it's STILL the most impressive. It still makes me shiver each time I see it.       I glimpsed it in a newspaper, gasped, then looked my eyes full, going over and over each and every curve, every shade, every light and depth and color and glow.

Somehow, I misplaced the paper, and in those days before I knew about Internet, I looked and looked for the image again, thinking of it as "Standing Wolf" in shape.   That's kind of how I described it to people, hoping they'd know whereof I spoke, so that I could once more see it and be amazed and awed by the great majesty and power of this portion of Creation.  I still think of it as "The Edge of Eternity."     The print had stated that these clouds were a place where stars were made, and each tiny point on the image could hold countless galaxies bigger than our own, forming and coming into being.

A friend later gave me the Hubble calendar with that very image on the cover, and I left the cover on, as I tore off page after page for posting on the fridge.     I looked at that picture almost every day.   No words WILL suffice, no sentences can convey, no verbiage could hope to describe the awesome unimaginability of what must be contained in this image alone, and it's just a drop in the ocean of the Universe. 

I look at the pictures, I seek out the beautiful images and gaze.  My friend Janie says it's "like looking through God's Kaleidoscope."


There are thousands upon thousands of the images, from the great depths of the Universe, and inside the enormous, unimaginable SPACE of  this one:

is the very first picture shown at the top.    That first-pictured immensity, incomprehensible in itself, is but a small corner of this vast realm.

I find it very hard, every time, to gaze without tearing up from the great unbearable Wonder of it all, and I always breathe a fervent, HOW GREAT THOU ART.

And on this Anniversary, whatever scientists and engineers and astronomers and hopers and dreamers and wizards of marvelous things put the Hubble together, plotted its path and sent it on its way through the vastness, I say "God Bless You, and Thank You."


Southern Lady said...

Oh, Rachel ... It's like looking through God's kaleidoscope, isn't it! I love all the images, but I believe the second from the bottom is my favorite. Thank you so much for sharing these mind-boggling pictures.

racheld said...

Janie, I'm still up, looking at them myself. And God's Kaleidoscope---what a wonderful thought!!! I think I'll go edit and put that in---quoting YOU, of course.

I just told Chris I think I'm addicted to looking at the pictures---I just go from one to the other online, enlarging and gazing and not quite taking in the immensity of it all.

steelersandstartrek said...

I assume you are already onto Astronomy Picture of the Day at since you say you are looking online, but I mention it "just in case."

These photos were a dream come true for me when they were released. I spent many many nights as a teen and as a twent sitting on the hood of a car in the darkest countryside pull over place I could find, sipping cold beer and pondering the big and small of what the night sky was able to whisper to me. Being of the star trek and real moon shot generation, my friend and I would talk about life on other planets and huge duistances and the possiblity of intelligent life on earth (the jury still being out on that one to this day, gods help us) and generally solving all the world's problems from the hood of a beat up Torino. We imagined what was out there, and the immensity of it somehow focused us on our place in the vastness, at least until enough beer kicked in that the conversation turned to women, football, and big dreams for the future (most of which also dealt with women and football.)

Decades later, Hubble showed us just a glimpse of what is really out there, hidden among the Nothing. Only a tiny fraction. The tiniest of teasers. And it was enough to validate what we already knew - there is a lot more in store for this universe than we can imagine or dream about.

racheld said...

I don't recognize that link, and I'll have a look in just a sec. I sat here so long last night---the wind-down of a long, lazy Sunday, with supper at five and the whole evening to get rested up for Monday, and looked at picture after picture as I grabbed some for the post.

My ten-street-lights little town afforded perfect on-your-back lawn viewing (we kids probably provided sustenance to half the chigger population, and coincidentally, our backsides probably resembled galaxies and constellations most of the time). I've been a sky addict all my life---watched Neil take that small step with my chin on a pillow on a pallet on the concrete den floor, and look on these pictures like rare jewelly marvels, imposing and so enormous (I think that mis-used word ENORMITY might well apply here).

Thanks for the link---and I hope you get enough night sky on your vacation to see what it looks like from "there."

Keetha said...

Thanks for the reminder of the anniversary. I had no idea, and it's definitely one that should be commemorated.

Patsy said...

Wonderful to see and think about.

Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, These photos are beyond my imagination. I agree with your post totally and love this unseen by me, ever before, photos. Science is amazing and this is a perfect example.

Have a wonderful rest of the day.
Hugs, Jeanne

Tonja said...

I remember that moon walk...I was in high school. But, it really didn't impact my thoughts much. I've never been very good at understanding how things like that work. Who decided that shooting a rocket into the air high enough and it would did they know? I'm thinking it all has to do with math and other yucky stuff like that!

Now these pictures, I can not even begin to fathom what they are or how big or what they are doing out there. However, something about these pictures really touch me. I read your beautiful words and looked at those images, and it really reminded me of how tiny and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. My God is so grand and mighty and all these beautiful things are gifts to us. Will we ever see them all? Or will I ever understand them? Maybe it is enough for me to just know they are there. I imagine when I am sitting in Heaven one day...maybe He will have a class on this and THEN maybe I'll get it!

Kim Shook said...

I've always thought that it was distinctly odd that some folks believe that faith and science can’t coexist. For me one just reinforces the other. Creation and evolution? Sure. Miracles? What could be more of a miracle and a gift from God than modern medicine – vaccines, antibiotics, stem cell research? And what, but the infinite mind of God could create or conceive of the fantastic panoramas that the Hubble has captured? Randomness exists, but it doesn’t create art and the universe and all its glories are surely ART.