Tuesday, 8 April 2003

Travel To Deep Space By Sitting At Your Computer

For many generations various human cultures have had great knowledge about the star constellations. However, these days most of the so-called modernized breed of human couldn’t tell you much about what’s around us in the infinite Universe. The funny thing is, technically we now know more about what’s there than ever before, we’ve even got photos. With the Hubble Telescope we now have access to the most unbelievable pictures imaginable: galaxies, nebulae and millions of stars close up. You don’t need to buy a book or DVD to see this stuff, just sit down at your computer and let the Internet take you on a galactic journey.

A lot of the images can be accessed for free just by finding the right sites. At [http://wires.news.com.au/special/mm/030811-hubble.htm#panup2] you can watch a stream of beautiful visuals that are literally out of this world. The beauty of the photos, the fact that they are moving, and the musical accompaniment makes the whole trip quite ethereal. The other great aspect is the information the scientists have uncovered, mind-blowing ideas like the fact that some stars are 60 times brighter than our own sun, or the idea that there are thousands of stars in one tiny spot in the sky. The concept that galaxies are 150 million light years away-do you know how fast light travels?

For the average human who spends their existence in one place working hard everyday to make ends meet, life can become somewhat monotonous and insulated. You forget that there’s a whole world out there. The Universe however might be a random thought that only appears once in a month or even a year. The stars seem so disconnected to our everyday reality, but the fact is that we are part of a much bigger picture-the biggest picture of all, infinite space. Maybe if we did focus a bit more ‘outside the box’ of our familiar routines we could grasp onto the magic and perfection that surrounds us all the time, the real neighborhood that we belong to.





These are a few more sites I discovered that give us more insight or ‘outsight’ into what is going on around us. Again I find the Internet has become a medium for discovering knowledge about life. Without leaving the office or my house I can travel to the most beautiful places-real places, we’re not talking Star Trek here people! I’ve seen many magical things in my life thus far: snow –capped mountains, rainbows over waterfalls, sunsets on tropical beaches. I’ve seen art, heard music, watched films; I’ve lived a very fortunate life indeed. But, to see these pictures and to learn about the incredible worlds outside our own…on a computer at home…it has taken me to a new level of understanding, a new level of reverence for what it is we are part of. The only way to describe these galaxies, stars, and giant gas clouds close up is to softly and humbly speak the word ‘magic’. You will never see real paintings like this, beauty that stretches for millions of miles.

My computer screen has become a looking glass portal.

Jesse S. Somer