Monday, November 22, 2010

The Invisible Made Visible

Someone wrote who had just seen the Hubble/NASA IMAX show over the weekend and said it was fascinating. It is worth a drive to see it if you can. The show is a film of the space shuttle voyage to repair a critical part of the Hubble space telescope and includes dialog of the astronauts living and working together on the vastly larger-than-life screen.

Among the most memorable to me is a segment on the star nursery, * a place where stars are born. Beginning with a bright star in the night sky that we might see from Earth, the film moves in for closer and closer shots, zooming in as only Hubble can do. Breathtaking camera work and never-before-seen photos fill the expansive screen as they drive the camera deeper into the nebula to let us, too, discover this place beyond our sight. Through this lens, we have the means to view this heretofore invisible world--a world completely unlike the the one we inhabit on Earth, but real just the same. We just cannot see it with our eyes, unaided.

How like the things of the Spirit this is! I stand amazed at this reminder. We are indeed blind to so much that exists in our world, both physically and spiritually. Through the lens of Hubble, we have the means to view a small portion of the majesty of this physical world that otherwise eludes us. God allows us glimpses of a spiritual reality as well that exists beyond the capacity of our sense of sight . Such glimpses of God's Presence transcend our physical senses. Is this other reality a function of our heart or mind or soul? Some profess an easy answer, but I cannot pinpoint precisely where this vision is processed. I only know that it happens.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I pray - imploring God to grant a vision far beyond our own limitations.

This star shot is described as the “largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood.” The image, taken in ultraviolet, visible, and red light by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, spans about 100 light-years.
According to experts, this group of stars is called the R136, which is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula. This Nebula is a “turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.” The 30 Doradus Nebula is the largest and most prolific star-forming region in our galaxy.

Many of what we see as diamond-like icy blue stars are massive constellations that can only be seen in the 30 Doradus Nebula since it is the only nebula that can house such amazingly large group of stars. These “hefty stars,” are believed to transform as supernovas in the coming years.
This shot of the R136 were taken between October 20 and 27 this year by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The blue lights are from the hottest and biggest stars, the green lights are from oxygen and the red lights are from hydrogen. Hubble /NASA photos are in the public domain.

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