We just got back from watching “Hubble” at the IMAX. Yes, it was like being a kid again, with my telescope and notepad, surveying the heavens for all of the unkown. Only, I never did see much with my el-cheapo telescope, and consequently soon lost interest. In contrast, it seems we are allowed the sight of EVERYTHING with Hubble – the most powerful telescope in the world. Now, there were many wondrous things to behold within this film, but today’s source of fascination was the Orion Nebula…
The Orion Nebula is a perfect laboratory to study how stars are born because it is 1,500 light-years away, a relatively short distance within our 100,000 light-year wide galaxy. Astronomers have a clear view into this crowded stellar maternity ward because massive stars in the center of the nebula have blown out most of the dust and gas in which they formed, carving a cavity in the dark cloud.
“In this bowl of stars we see the entire star formation history of Orion printed into the features of the nebula: arcs, blobs, pillars, and rings of dust that resemble cigar smoke,” Robberto said. “Each one tells a story of stellar winds from young stars that impact the stellar environment and the material ejected from other stars. This is a typical star-forming environment. Our Sun was probably born 4.5 billion years ago in a cloud like this one.”
I am currently rendered speechless by God’s awesome splendor, and the most I can do is leave you with the words of another… “For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.”
~Richard H. Baker