Psalm 19:1-4: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Upcoming Astronomical Events
December 13, 14 Geminid Meteor Shower - The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak the night of December 13, 14. This shower is one of the best of the year, it can produce up to 120 meteors per hour. This year, however, the Full Moon will be out all night and its brightness will wash out all but the brightest meteors. Because of this, there will not be as many visible as normal.
Transit of Mercury
I took the camera out to capture the transit of Mercury and was able to get a couple of shots between clouds. This was the first time Mercury crossed the face of the Sun as seen from the Earth in almost 10 years.
PERSPECTIVES OF PURPOSE
What is the purpose of those flickering points of light shining out of the inky blackness in the night sky?
For some they may only be a distraction as they rush inside to crouch before a glowing screen. The attention span they hold is too short to reach the stars. To them they’re only unchanging white dots on a motionless black veil. After all, the stars are there every night, right? And when something is repeatedly and endlessly presented before us we tend to become uninterested and unmoved by it.
Others see more because their sense of wonder is never satisfied. They have the intrinsic ability to soak in the reality of what they are observing. Things in nature are always more alive and realistic to them because they hold an acute awareness of what’s before them. All this culminates into a crescendo when they gaze upward into the expansive dome of the heavens. They are lost in wonder and awe, and are left feeling like a speck of dust that is swallowed up by everything, yet lost in nothingness in the middle of nowhere.
An astronomer with a fertile, imaginative mind will not see just white dots, nor will he simply see stars, but will be acutely aware of all the mysterious celestial objects that fill the glistening night like the superstar quasars, bizarre magnetars, pulsating pulsars, magnificent meteors, and boisterous black holes that seize unsuspecting stars. These all scattered through gargantuan galaxies that spout spontaneous supernovas and host hoards of parading planets which orbit the shimmering stars. This entire cosmic realm is inundated with intense radiation in the form of gamma rays, x-rays, and ultraviolet rays that erode dust veils, light up gas clouds, and shape nebulae. Although, at times this astronomer sees so many components that he misses the whole. So absorbed is he in the deeper specifics of the cosmos that he looks beyond and misses the allure of the simple beauty at the surface of this stellar dome.
Some miss the very point of the heavenly host reflecting the glory of their Creator, someone much greater than the shining lights, but consider the stars to be an end in themselves and imagine that they reach all the way across the empty void of space to touch them with a stealthy influence that controls their own lives. As the signs of the zodiac pinwheel overhead, these astrologers pore over their futile horoscopes in hopes of finding their fortune or fate locked up in the secrets of the stars.
There are still others that fearfully and suspiciously look for non-biblical prophetic signs in the heavens such as a “galactic alignment.” Such an event was supposed to coincide with December 21, 2012 end date of the Mayan calendar. It’s unfortunate that misinformed people had been hoodwinked by the doomsday prophets into believing that an apocalypse was coming to change the earth as we know it on that date. But this type of an alignment would have no effect on earth. What happened as a result of the alignment? Nothing. Like the Bible says, seedtime and harvest, day and night continue on as this planet awaits the return of its Maker.
So what are the flickering lights there for? It depends on who you ask. However, the one who made them gives the correct answer; He revealed to us they were made for His pleasure and to show His glory. What He takes pleasure in, He wants us to delight in as well! They were also made for our profit to show times and seasons. The earth was not made for the universe, but the universe for the Earth.
The Bubble Nebula
Image credit; NASA
The Bubble Nebula is 7 light-years across — about one-and-a-half times the distance from our sun to its nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri — and resides 7,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia.
The seething star forming this nebula is 45 times more massive than our sun. Gas on the star gets so hot that it escapes away into space as a "stellar wind" moving at over 4 million miles per hour. This outflow sweeps up the cold, interstellar gas in front of it, forming the outer edge of the bubble much like a snowplow piles up snow in front of it as it moves forward.
As the surface of the bubble's shell expands outward, it slams into dense regions of cold gas on one side of the bubble. This asymmetry makes the star appear dramatically off-center from the bubble, with its location in the 10 o'clock position in the Hubble view.
Stellar radiation jets
Credits: NASA and ESA
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed what looks like a cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber.
In the center of the image, partially obscured by a dark cloak of dust, a star shoots twin jets out into space.
This superheated material spills away and is shot outward from the star in opposite directions along an uncluttered escape route — the star's rotation axis.
Shock fronts develop along the jets and heat the surrounding gas to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. The jets collide with the surrounding gas and dust and clear vast spaces, like a stream of water plowing into a hill of sand.
Overall, just a handful of HH jets have been spotted in this region in visible light, and about the same number in the infrared. Hubble's observations for this image were performed in infrared light, which enabled the telescope to peer through the gas and dust cocooning the newly forming stars and capture a clear view of the HH objects.