I greatly enjoy reflecting deeply on the theological and philosophical mysteries of our created world. When one gazes in wonderment at the world we live, it is natural to then wonder about the source of this stunning creation. The modern sciences have given us new, beautiful ways of experiencing this wonderment.
Recently, NASA has released images from the Hubble Space Telescope of all of the Messier catalog objects. Claude Messier was a comet hunter. Comet hunting was the astronomical rage in the mid to late 1700’s. As Messier looked for the faint, fuzzy celestial snowballs hurling through space, he found a number of objects that he thought might be comets, but were later catalogued as comet duds, helping other comet hunters keep from getting distracted by their presence.
In time, as astronomy advanced, Messier’s distractions revealed themselves as galaxies and nebulae. Through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope, these objects take on new vibrancy (along with a little color alteration) revealing that one astronomers “junk” observations can become another astronomers “treasure.”
As someone whose initial desire to get into astronomy was not scientific, but aesthetic, these images contain a childlike innocence for me, reminding me of when I would lay in the backyard of my parents farm, gazing at the clouds by day and the stars by night, simply taking in the Divine Canvas that was stretched before me. Though my interests and approach to astronomy have both changed and deepened, I still enjoy the simple pleasure of gazing at night objects such as the Messier images I have posted below. They help rekindle the simple wonder of God’s creation in me.
Here are some of my favorite “Canvases” from the Hubble Space Telescope. Enjoy, and may God bless you with a sense of awe and wonderment during the week ahead.