Of course I am. Still wandering, still wondering, still marveling and chasing the light. Still looking for that moment that strikes awe in my heart and reminds me of my place in this vast universe. Sometimes its not anywhere to be found. Then at other times it just sneaks up behind you and smacks you across the head and says ‘Wake Up Dummy!’. And then there are those times when it can be seen coming from far off giving you the time to prepare to be wowed!
Such is the case when an eclipse of either the sun or the moon is pending. A few millennia ago seeing such an event struck fear in the hearts of the onlookers as they took such things as bad omens of pending tribulation. However, such phenomena are not causes but circumstances of the obedience of Divine law. The “laws of nature” that govern how our universe works, stated as such, makes it appear as if nature is in and of itself an independent and self regulating. That statement makes it appear as if nature controls itself. What we so casually call a law of nature should be called a Law of the Divine.
I find it amusingly interesting that we refer to the creation of the universe as creation without attributing to it a creator. Creation is an act, thus there must be an actor, who is that? That act of creation, bringing something into existence that was previously not in existence, is an awesome act. Seeing it is not enough to make one believe it, especially in today’s world. It has to be experienced wholly.
In addition, the act of creation is taking place at every instance in time. As I move my fingers across the keyboard typing, each minute movement comes into existence, a movement that a moment ago did not exist. The attribute of motion being attributed to my fingers is created and then as suddenly as it comes into existence, it becomes annihilated out of existence as well. Objects that are described using attributes that are created and destroyed are themselves as their attributes, namely created and destroyed likewise. Since we did not create ourselves nor, in most cases, annihilate ourselves, there must be something outside of us that does that. Dare I call that ‘The Creator’?
It was not all that long ago that most every person on our little planet believed in the Divine. An entity, spirit or power greater than ourselves that governed the known universe, brought it into existence and brings about its annihilation. We were reverently awed by the Divine such that we followed a path that would be pleasing to the Divine and beneficial to all of us. However, given who we are as humans, that seed of illness that sprouts into a myriad of destructive ills known as arrogance found a seat in the heart of one of us and took hold. It quickly spread infecting the hearts of those around and we began to see ourselves as better than others. Unable to see past our own hubris we slowly ascended to the illusionary throne of greatness crowning ourselves the masters of our own destiny, and the Divine died in our hearts. Lost and cutoff from the sustenance of our souls we wander in a make-believe world where things happen just because they do without any rhyme or reason. We do as we please as if our actions bear no consequences concerned with only our selfish gains. And when we are done destroying everything that crosses our path we will invent new virtual things to destroy so that our now covetous capricious self can revel in as being its master. Oh what we have become.
Then suddenly an act that we cannot control driven by forces we do not understand occurs that, if we have any semblance of life left in us, would put us back in our rightful humble place, the onset of an eclipse. Even though we can calculate the occurrence of an eclipse with our mathematical models the majority of us have no understanding of the models let alone the motions of these heavenly bodies. They occur in silence and, for the most part in today’s world, they go unnoticed because who looks up at the sky anymore? Furthermore, who has the time to watch a silent event that can take up to several hours from its beginning to its end? In a world where we have become accustomed to moving at megabits per second and if we have to wait a few seconds for some gratification, the eclipse is just too long and super-boring.
Here is the grabber. Whether we notice the natural world or not and whether we care for the natural world or not it is still out there adhering to the laws set in place by the Divine.
This photograph of the eclipse of April 14th, 2014 was made at near its peak at 12:53:20 PDT. The sky had a light veil of clouds that dimmed the vibrancy of the moon for most of the duration of the eclipse. There was s brief period of time when a break in the clouds occurred and this photo was the result. It could not have been captured as such if I was not willing to stand there in the dark for the entire duration of the eclipse. A minute or two later the clouds diminished the brightness of the moon and stars and remained that way until its end.
Again, just like with the eclipse photo made on the solstice of 2010, this photo is a combination of two exposures. Even though I could see the stars with my eyes, the camera needed a little help. Exposing for just the moon, produced a sufficiently dark sky where only Spica, the very bright star on the right side of the frame could be seen. When exposing for the stars, the moon was over exposed. Two exposures were made in rapid succession so as to minimize any variation in the positions of the heavenly bodies when they were combined in a single frame. Each bright “bit” in the dark sky can be identified using an ephemeris. Starting from the upper left and working clockwise the stars pictured are the following.
TYC 5545-1356-1: 367 light years (ly)
76 Virgins: 265 ly
TYC 5548-516-1: 682 ly
TYC 5548-294-1: 977 ly
TYC 5548-138-1: 370 ly
TYC 5547-392-1: 418 ly
Spica: 264 ly
TYC 5548-374-1: 187 ly
TYC 5548-1547-1: 213 ly
TYC 5548-392-1: 1212 ly
TYC 5548-193-1: ???? ly
TYC 5548-1468-1: 1320 ly!
Oh and the moon’s distance…well it only takes 1.2 seconds for light reflected from the moon to reach the earth. A light year is the distance that light can travel in one year’s time as measured here on earth. Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles/sec and so in one year’s time a photon of light can travel 5.86 trillion miles! The moon’s distance from the earth in light years is 0.000000038. Looking at the moon is seeing 1.2 seconds into the past. Looking at one of those stars is seeing deep into the past.
The creation is vast! The Creator, well, immeasurable! We are small, very small.
Till next time, Peace.