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September 21, 2023

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    By Jay Grummel Poetry has a way of connecting us to the external and internal world. In poetry it is easier to feel a season and truly feel a piece due to this. Poetry has a subtle way of making the readers immersed into the world of the poem. With the air getting colder and […]
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Television show highlights Hubble Space Telescope, glimpses into past

If you have not seen this year’s new re-launching of “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, you should find a way to get your hands on it.

Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the adventure.

You won’t be


If you complete the series without at least once having your mind blown away by something you’ve learned, you were not paying any attention.

Or are beyond not only the show itself but also any column written here.

This is for those of us that enjoy these educational but no less enthralling journeys into the cosmos.

Expanding our understanding of astronomy, physics and countless other scientific fields that Tyson makes consistently fun and infinitely interesting.

If I haven’t yet lost your attention, perhaps you’ll find the following consideration as wonderfully astonishing as I continue to.

In 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope [HST] took a photograph of a galaxy, M51.

It has since become a favorite of mine [other than our own,

of course].

Messier 51 may be more widely known as the Whirlpool Galaxy.

It stands out with richly-detailed, sharp, deep red arms that appropriately mimic its namesake.

One of the most mesmerizing things is knowing that what we’re looking at here is roughly 25 million years old, relative to us.

The light the photo figuratively eternalized has literally traveled multiple tens of millions of light years prior to being in range of the Hubble.

In that way, technology like the HST acts similar to that of a visual

time machine.

To further illustrate the point, let’s briefly delve into the hypothetical and imaginary realm.

Consider this:

If some intelligent life at the distance of the Whirlpool Galaxy were to use similar technology with equivalent capabilities of the Hubble.

And point it in our direction and snap a picture today, the light captured from the Milky Way would be just as old, relatively speaking, as what we see

from M51.

On the Earth in that hypothetical photograph, although not remotely discernible on such a large scale, it would be 20 million years before any species emerged of even the same genus as humans.

It would take the mammals on Earth from the time period, the moment captured in the imaginary picture, another 25 million years of natural selection before it was capable of harboring human


And not until the final 12,000 of which will they develop


The last 200 of which they develop industry and the last 24 of which they develop the technology capable of snapping a photograph of the light from the Whirlpool Galaxy in as much detail as we’ve seen over the last decade.

“You see things not as they are, but as they once were.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2013.

Respond to Jon at

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