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Wonder of the universe


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Thierry Legault planned well in advance. He wanted a photograph of the Atlantis and the space station passing in front of the sun. The entire event was going to last half a second. He had to travel to Madrid, in Spain, where he would be at just the right angle to the space station and Atlantis as they made their transit of the disk of the sun, at just the right instant.

The photo is amazing. You see the silhouette of Atlantis to the left of the silhouette of the international space station, framed against the backdrop of the sun’s disk. Atlantis had just started its pitch manoeuvre, designed to show its belly to the crew on the space station so they can inspect it for heat tile damage.

It is awe inspiring. And that’s just one sun. Best current guestimate is there are about 130 billion galaxies in the universe. 13 and ten zeros. Our galaxy has about 400 billion stars in it. Let’s assume ours is a pretty average galaxy. That means there are about 130 billion time 400 billion stars in the universe. About 50,000 billion billion stars. 5 followed by 22 zeros. There are certainly far more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on planet earth. Reality is awe-inspiring.

Recently I attended a lecture on brain development. One figure stuck in my mind. You probably have the idea that your brain is made up of 10 billion nerve cells, they are called neurons. Each neuron is connected to other neurons through about 10 000 synapses. What I hadn’t realised is that during adolescence the brain is trimming back synapses it isn’t using. Adolescents are losing about 30,000 synapses per second. Reality is awe-inspiring.

God is the source of all this awe-inspiring reality – from the unimaginable wonder of the nucleus of an atom, through the development of our thinking, to the incomprehensible vastness of the universe.

The photo is taken from here.

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3 thoughts on “Wonder of the universe”

  1. Bruce Marshall

    Thia is absolutely amazing! A picture for the ages… and we think that we are so all important? Just tiny grains of sand in the big picture of the universe.
    What is also almost impossible to grasp is that there are real people on that space station and in the shuttle out somewhere between us and the sun.

  2. Christianne McKee

    Absolutely, mind-blowingly amazing. Thanks for sharing that. And it doesn’t surprise me that adolescents lose synapses at such a rapid rate. It’s brain death from hormones. Well, not really, but sometimes you wonder. On a more serious note, God does incredible work!

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