Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cosmic silence

I mentioned here yesterday that a refurbished Hubble Space Telescope will almost certainly give us an Ultra Ultra Deep Field Photograph, the deepest look yet into cosmic space and time. This prompts a reprise of a post from three years ago.

As I calculate it, it would take 16 million Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photographs to cover the entire celestial sphere. At 10,000 galaxies per photograph, we are talking 160 billion galaxies that the same application of technology might potentially reveal.

Having taken aboard a universe of 160 billion galaxies, how would I answer the BIG questions?

Who am I? With Walt Whitman I say: I am the journey-work of stars.

Where did I come from? I am the product of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution.

Why am I here? The universe is silent. Each of us must decide for oneself. Some of us choose to take our answer from popes, televangelists, ayatollahs, or holy books. For myself: I am here to pay attention and to celebrate what I see.

And I didn't need the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photograph to come to these conclusions. With Whitman: "...the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren..."