© NASA From 2016, a ‘supermassive black hole’
If a thing winks, so it declares itself to be an eye. Today, the Hubble Telescope, a miraculous gazing object which sees into an infinite past, celebrates its Thirtieth birthday: it is also the start of Ramadan.
© NASA, ESA, M. Sun (University of Alabama) and W. Cramer and J. Kenney (Yale University) via Yale News The spiral galaxy D100, on the far right of this Hubble Space Telescope image, is being stripped of its gas as it plunges toward the center of the giant Coma galaxy cluster. Hubble’s picture shows a colorful and poignant scene – the last of the galaxy’s gas being ripped out from its center in a massive stream of star-stuff that’s twice the length of the Milky Way Galaxy.
“It’s a 200,000-light-year-long tail of gas that you can see is very narrow connected to the center of the galaxy. You’re really seeing this galaxy in the last stages of its lifecycle of producing stars.”
Scale is incomprehensible: 200,000 light-years long? 1 light-year stretches 5.6 trillion miles. If I understood what that meant, it’d make me weak at the knees: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment” (thankfully, happened on my behalf shortly before birth!)
With Ramadan, Rūmī waltzes and whirls to mind.
Persia brought early understanding of the Heavens. Rūmī, born in Afghanistan at the start of the Thirteenth century, would have had closer proximity to all things celestial than do we by virtue its principles informed the basis of life. Not surprising then, he stiffens the sinews with exquisite shatterings, en-couraging those who hear.
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
© NASA Hubble capture of “Pillars of Creation” The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars.
The dust and gas in the pillars is seared by the intense radiation from young stars and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. With these new images comes better contrast and a clearer view for astronomers to study how the structure of the pillars is changing over time.
In these uncertain days and weeks, I wonder if pondering the place of the heart in the universe of our soul might melt the barricades we build against life?
“The wound is the place where Light enters you.”
Quotes are Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī‘s, 1207 – 1273