This morning I have been reading the articles a friend of mine forwarded to our little Saturday study group. The particular article that I have read was on the stuff that is between stars, the interstellar dust and gases and atoms and molecules in space.
To say that it is fascinating would equal to saying nothing. It is incredible!
Something that amazes me the most is when the measurements come into the scene.
Our galaxy, one of a few hundred billion other galaxies, contains over 200 billion stars (they estimate the number between 200 and 400 billion). The average distance between stars is about 3.5 light years (closer to the black hole / center of the galaxy they are packed closer and further out to the rim, the distance grows to 10 light years). Even our own familiar solar system is humongous – if you assume that the Sun is 8 inches in diameter, the distance between the Sun and the Pluto would be half a mile. HALF A MILE!!! (And now transfer the Sun’s size to its normal diameter of 1.4 million kilometers. You could fit 109 Earths side by side to match the diameter of Sun.)
Those numbers are staggering… but that’s not all of it.
For those stars to exist, they need building material. Enter – interstellar dust.
DUST!!! Tiny (0.000001 of a meter) particles that fill the void, taking up more space than anything else (not including dark matter into this, however…)… And what is amazing is that scientists can now make observations and say that the dust particles in other galaxies are similar to the dust in our Milky Way. They can even talk about shape of that dust.
It used to be considered a drawback for studying the astronomy. Dust reflects light and changed its trajectory. Even the minuscule amount of that dust affects the research. When one thinks about the amounts… Around the Sun, there is on average one atom in a cubic centimeter. For every hundred billion atoms, there is ONE dust particle. Ergo, the distance between these dust particles is dozens of meters. The mass of the dust in our galaxy is about 1/10,000 of the full mass of the galaxy. Yet even that is enough to visibly “swallow” a lot of light.
Thinking of stars and galaxies along with atoms and dust particles makes me think – our God carefully designed all of it.
He designed the exact gravitational pull for everything.
He put in place perfect mechanisms for life support.
He is the God of humongous things like the galaxies and the Universe and super massive black holes… And at the same time, He’s the God who carefully shapes the dust flecks.
He is the God of the world’s creation and the God who knows me – someone who is a bit bigger than an atom, yet still infinitesimal compared to the Earth or even the Moon.
He is the God who formed us from the stardust and breathed His Spirit of life into us.
What is your favorite thing about this world we live in?
And I mean, physical world, not the Bible version of the word “world.”
(P.S. The nebula on the picture above is so-called Horsehead Nebula – it’s one of the dust nebulae.)