BEAUTY IN THE HEAVENS

 

Not “Heaven.”      “Heavens” with an S.      Lots going on in the heavens.

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Isn’t this beautiful!?

Aurora spiral aurora iceland

It was photographed recently over Iceland.  Maybe you saw it a couple weeks ago in the news.    It’s  the aurora,  but with a shape called a Spiral Aurora.    What a sight that must have been to see right over your head . . .  if you were in Iceland.

Activity on the sun’s surface is responsible for our beautiful auroras.

flare

Also a beautiful photograph, especially if you realize that this is not a static surface, but one that is crackling with movement,  writhing,  bubbling, bursting forth with little explosions.    Once that arc breaks,  gazillions of tons of highly charged particles will be released into space, and if they  hit earth — well,  that could be that big  EMP we’ve been hearing about lately.   (Our earth would be about the size of the smaller dot within that ring….)

 

One of the most surprising and exciting piece of space news that was published last week is that one of the big telescopes (not the Hubble)  focused on a small circle of the sky, about the size of a full moon.   That portion of the  sky didn’t contain many visible stars.

So . . . make a little circle with your thumb and forefinger about the diameter of an inch.   Hold it up to the sky at arm’s length, and look through it.    The scientists looked at an area like that  with that big telescope.

galaxies

They expected to see more stars with the telescope and some more galaxies.  What they found were hundreds and hundreds of galaxies!     So many unexpected galaxies in that one small circle of the night sky.

(This isn’t the LOFAR which in February discovered 300,000 more new galaxies  we didn’t know existed.  That telescope —  the Low Frequency Array —   didn’t confine itself to the diameter of the moon.)

The number of galaxies cannot be fully known,  but however many there are —  the number is incomprehensible!

 

Closer to the surface of the earth, if you were in Switzerland, at least,  you would occasionally see some very strange cloud formations.     The CERN complex is below on the earth’s surface:

At Sunset –

CERN sunset

 

Dusk:

CERN dotted cloud

 

Nighttime clouds.

CERN clouds above

That lighted complex on the ground below is  CERN.      Looks like that Large Hadron Collider is doing something to the atmosphere above it.

Several years ago I was driving home one night, through my nearby little city,  through its suburbs, and out to the “outskirts” where I live.    I was enjoying the bright and colorful city lights on all the signs.  So many different colors.

full over city

Suddenly I saw a new light in the sky.  It wasn’t as garish,  wasn’t as sparkling and colorful,  just a bright, luminous,  steady golden glow — and that’s all I wanted to focus on,  it was so beautiful.  For some reason it was emotionally touching.   The full moon had a far bigger attraction to my eyes than all those glittering commercial lights!

Why is that?

I sleep where I can see out the window, into the night sky.   All those stars up there probably contribute to my industrial-strength nightly insomnia!

A “point of light”   So compelling!

I wish for all of you soon a glimpse up into the heavens in the middle of the night, wherever you can find a very dark sky.

You could fall right into the stars!

 

 

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