20 September 2012

A flight through the universe

This is, on the surface, a "simple" video, presenting in visual form some of the data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey documenting the number and location of celestial objects.

It's "simple" until you realize - and personally I still have difficulty wrapping my mind around this - that those white specks you are "flying past" are not stars.  Each of those is a galaxy composed of billions of stars.
The movie starts by flying right through a large nearby cluster of galaxies and later circles the SDSS-captured universe at about 2 billion light years (a redshift of about 0.15) from Earth...
This was NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day several weeks ago.  It's not a "high-resolution" video, but for mind-boggling purposes I do think it's best viewed at fullscreen.


  1. Wow, that has to be the coolest thing I've ever seen! Thank you!

  2. Needs to be a screensaver like this.

  3. God seems to have forgotten to seed the rest of his stupendous canvas, if certain baptist preachers and their literal interpretations of ancient shepherd-god myths are to be believed.

  4. @misterjeff - right on cue, here is the baptist preacher - but, far more importantly, a Bible believer :D @Stan - Thank you for sharing this! I have been collecting material regarding the magnitude of the universe for a while. It is truly awe-inspiring. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." Psalm 19:1 I must agree, Stan, that I "have difficulty wrapping my mind around this." Here is a stunning statement from a book entitled, "Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe"(Giglio, Louie; Redman, Matt): "scientists say the size of our solar system relative to the Milky Way would be roughly the size of a quarter in an area as big as all of North America." (here is the link to their source - http://earthsky.org/space/where-is-the-ecliptic-in-relation-to-the-milky-way) Combine that thought with the video shown above . . . and . . . I'm speechless. This was no random accident. This was the creative act of an omnipotent God. These countless celestial bodies were placed into the vastness of space by the mere spoken word of God in one day! "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." Genesis 1:16 He also knows how many there are has a name for every one of those stars! "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names." Psalm 147:4 No wonder the next verse (Psalm 147:5) says, "Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." As Anonymous said above, "GOD is great!"

  5. A very admirable work. It appears the layers are sometimes sloppy with stars from deeper layers left in closer ones but still an enlightening travel.
    Back to god...
    My first 'real' telescope changed my perception of god and pretty much ruined the idea that in all of this -> the incredible magnitude of the universe, that my own day to day wants and needs are somehow important to whatever may have created/caused this. Earth, our Sun, even our Milky Way is not the center of this creation. How then can we believe that we are the focus of such a project? And why would unlimited power still be working on the size of this universe (was it not just spoken word and done?)
    Maybe a god is - but I've given up caring because it has no bearing on my life. I live as best as I can so that I am proud of who I am and who I have helped and if by some fluke there is an afterlife and a 'judgement day' and I am judged to be damned, I will gladly 'burn in hell' to be as far as I can from such a selfish egotistical tyrant (see the first commandment - not about loving or protecting us, it's about jealousy). There is only the ego of humans to blame for this 'me-centric' thinking that each us has 'their' god's complete attention 24/7...
    or that evil persons (in spite of many of them living fantastic fulfilling lives of luxury) are punished and repentant later...
    or that suffering has a purpose, etc.

    1. You have expressed something very similar to what King David expressed in Psalm 8:3-9, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" David just came to a different conclusion.
      Ultimately, it takes faith to believe in God. He wanted us to CHOOSE to believe in Him and love Him, not be automated robots who believed in Him because we had no choice. That's why He gave to us a free will to exercise as we choose.
      However, it is not a blind faith. His very creation demonstrates His power, His love and His creativity. Romans 1:20 says, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
      As to His jealousy, He has every right to it. A God Who can simply speak and create a universe as vast and intricate as we see has every right to demand that we not give His glory to another.
      Another of God's attributes is holiness. Our sinfulness is what separates us from this holy God. God has demonstrated that He is quite the opposite of selfish by sacrificing Himself in order to pay for the sin that separates us from Him. John 3:16,17 " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." He demonstrated the ultimate love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
      In the end, I understand the human logic that leads you to your conclusions. My human logic would lead me to the same thoughts. However, our human logic is as minuscule next to God's wisdom as our human frame is next to the magnitude of the universe. Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
      It takes faith. Hebrews 11:1,3,6 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

  6. Very Cool Video, I don't know if the video had a soundtrack, but I was listening to Led Zeppelin Rain song while watching this.


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