We can trawl the web looking at space images, gaze through telescopes, binoculars or just lift our heads and look into infinity. Matter and energy are everywhere creating complex systems, order from disorder, integrating and disintegrating - the very stardust and energy that giveth and taketh life is near and far. Unlike any other life-form on this little blue planet we are able to take that information and transform it. We can describe it, make images of it, measure it and fit it into equations that attempt to explain it.
This image looks directly into the heart of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and leaves me bereft of superlatives. The rotational centre of the Milky Way galaxy is on our doorstep at about 25000 light years away.
This image [courtesy of NASA] combines three visions of the Milky Way's centre - a near-infrared image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, an infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope and an X-ray vision from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. It was created to commemorate the International Year of Astronomy, which marks 400 years since Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope upwards in 1609, and realised just how infinitesimally insignificant we all are.