I am a sucker for science – Here is NASA’s eXtreme Deep Field image containing 5,500 galaxies

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Astronomy, Commentary, Excellent Photos by Others, Miscellaneous, Photography, Random Thoughts, Science
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I am a sucker for science - Here is NASA's eXtreme Deep Field image containing 5,500 galaxies

I am amazed by what science has brought us. I can’t get on an airplane without being thrilled that we are able to fly. Giant televisions that almost instantaneously bring events from around the world into our homes via a satellite that is in a geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above the earth are mind-boggling. “Telephones” with hundreds of apps that can do everything from telling me the price of gasoline at a hundred stations in a 50 mile radius, to playing my own personal radio station, to letting me shop or blog when I have a free minute, are astonishing. But for me, the most mind-blowing of all are the instruments that peer into the night sky to show us and tell us things about a universe that is unimaginably vast.
Last fall, astronomers at NASA assembled ten years of exposures (over 23 days of exposure time) taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field photo. The resulting image is called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF. The XDF is a window into the universe that is roughly 1/100th of the size of the full moon. This photo of a tiny dot of what looks to the human eye as an empty part of the night sky contains over 5,500 galaxies spanning back 13.2 billion years. What remarkable genius and dedication it has taken to bring us this knowledge.
It disturbs me greatly that while we have achieved the near miraculous through science, we now seem to be turning our back on it as we cut funding for basic research and development, we embrace views that have not withstood the test of the scientific method but instead are really nothing more than faith pretending to be science, and worst of all, we are not encouraging our young people to study science, nor are we adequately rewarding those who teach it nor, in fact, many of the scientists themselves.
I am not a scientist so I have no skin in this game, but it seems to me that we should, to borrow a metaphor, be dancing with the one who brought us and because we are not, the dance may be ending earlier and on a sourer note than many had been expecting.

  1. dmgartphoto says:

    Well put. What leads humanity forward is the scientific doubt, not the blind belief.


  2. oarubio says:

    Or as my deceased dad reminded me, “Don’t be like the ant — Look UP!”


    • beluga53 says:

      Your dad was right about looking up although in many population centers in the U.S. you can hardly see a star. It is a tough tradeoff – the wonders of light at night vs. light pollution.


  3. ideflex says:

    Nice to know there is someone else out there who still gets excited over the miracle of flight! Great last line – thanks for visiting.


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