Friday, 13 November 2009

The heart of the Matter

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.


  1. Do you mean you reject the notion that the earth is the centre of the universe? Might as well be here as anywhere else.

    I'm excited by the prospect of the imminent discovery of the Higgs Boson and Graviton by the Super Hadron Collider.

    Awesome pic BTW

  2. Not at all, and of course I also subscribe to the Flat Earth theory, Tarot Cards, Lunar Cheese and any other quackery that we are capable of wasting our neurons hypothesising.

    The LHC project is fascinating, my Particle Physics isn't up to making the minutiae of it as exciting as it is for some - but the engineering is astonishing. What concerns me is that if the LHC fails to confirm the existence of the missing elementary particle, the anti-science brigade will make a meal of it.

    The ITER tokamak fusion project on my blogroll is worth a look too.

  3. If they fail to find the Higgs Boson then the argument has been a massive deception and has no weight.

  4. Perused your ITER link - needs greater study - will.

    WV = irratom

  5. I have another use or two for a Milky Way, one of the quite normal.

    Have they spotted The Celestial Teapot yet?

    Time for more red biddy medication I think.

    wv = mingless; is that Ming Campbell or wee smellies?

  6. BL - evidence of the existence of the celestial teapot was discovered some years ago by NASA but covered up as it had this inscription on its side:

    "People of Earth - yer tea's oot!"

  7. @BL, tell me pray, what is the not-normal use?

    The good news is that the teapot is in my kitchen. Anybody for space tea?

    @scunnert, lol

  8. Well Clara, I'll send you an e-ail detailing the filthy activity.

    Publish it if you want or dare.

  9. Where's my e-ail then Mr Lugs? I was looking forward to perusing it...