My God, It’s Full Of Stars

Ian-Fortey by Ian-Fortey on Nov. 21, 2013

Take a moment to look here at the Messier 15 star cluster in this photo taken by the Hubble Telescope and provided by the European Space Agency.  Located in the constellation Pegasus, M15 contains over 100,000, densely packed into a space 175 light years in diameter.  It’s 360,000 times brighter than our sun, making it almost visible to the naked eye under good conditions and easily visible with even an amateur telescope.

This is just one cluster of stars in our on Milky Way Galaxy.  Just one of countless.  Each speck of light its own sun.  Each sun perhaps with its own system of orbiting planets.  Each planet potentially a world not unlike our own. 

It’s easy to get lost in an image like this, at this vastness, this massive, incomprehensible macrocosm of energy and light and to compare it to ourselves, to our fleeting lives.  You and I will live to be 80?  Maybe 100?  M15 has existed for 12 billion years.

In the greatness of the universe it’ easy to overlook one’s individual significance but it’s worth noting that we do exist.  Human life, rather than insignificant in the face of the immensity and age and stunning power an diversity of the whole of creation, is perhaps the most significant thing of all.  Because which of those stars is able to look back at us?  What else out there dares ponder its own insignificance? There may be life beyond earth, it’s almost certain, but will it have achieved the heights of human civilization?  Will other worlds know music?  Will they have captured the beauty and form of life in stone and on canvas?  Will they write moving works of drama and adventure?

Look at M15 in wonder of the greatness of the universe and not at how it makes us small in comparison, but how it makes us great.  Who else but us is taking photos of such amazing things?

Check out the Ultra High Resolution image Here.