Some say, “Go deeper”; others, “Come up for air!”

This post takes a break (note 2-word title again) from our philosophyreligion, science class

(Or does it?)

A Dozen Seconds boldly declares,

“When you look at the (cloudless) sky this evening,

you will DEFINITELY NOT see the sun

or the moon.”

 

[For MORE use the DOOR.]

 

 

[MORE]

 

And when I say “see,” I mean see a real, present, thing.

You see, when we look in the sky, we’re not seeing the present, but the past–sometimes very, very far back. The reason is it takes sunlight, traveling about 186,000 miles per second about 8 and 1/3 minutes to travel about 92,900,000 miles to reach earth. The moon is is only about 239,000 miles away, however, so light reflected from there also takes time, but only 1 ¼ seconds.

Point: We never actually see the sun; we see what the sun was about 8 minutes ago, and what the moon was a little over a second ago. In either case we’re viewing history*. Now with stars, things get more extreme. With many of them we see what they were like millions, even billions of years ago.

For the sake of argument: If you happen to think the universe is not that old, and was created much more recently, then, because of what science and the “numbers” convincingly show, you could suggest that light coming from these stars was “created on its way to Earth.”

What to take away from this?

Astronomers are basically “historians”–scientists with a very long reach from “seconds ago” to quite a bit longer.

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* I realize that some wish to limit “history” to “human history,” but it often may correctly refer to “cosmic history” as well. And that’s what we’ve done. In that spirit, one college recently offered an overall “big” history course called “From the Big Bang to Obama.” I’ll bet the homework demand was interesting.

[♠]  This can be a good intro to astronomy.