As many of you know I have an ongoing deep space quilt series. I am deeply moved by the glory of the deep space photography that shows what is out there we can’t really see with our human eye. And yes, I am aware they enhance it with colors and merge many photos to come up with the pictures, but the fact is, they are real. We are very blessed to be able to “see” some of this through the efforts of astronomers and NASA. I can just imagine there are even greater things in deep space than we will ever be able to see in this life. Sometimes when I look at such photos, I mentally hear the passage from Psalm 19, set to music by Haydn, that I sang so many times with several choruses. (Here is the Morman Tabernacle Choir version of this anthem)
The other day I saw this fabulous picture of our Earth home:
King David wrote this psalm specifically to be sung, according to the Bible. “For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” During the time of the birth of our Lord, there was a “Star” that caused men (and probably women and children accompanying them) to take a long journey from Today’s Azerbaijan to Bethlehem to see Jesus and what had come to pass. (my personal belief…I have no question that God caused this space event, whatever it was, to happen in conjunction with the birth of Jesus).
NOEL…completed in 2012. This quilt is currently missing, possibly stolen. I’m going to make a new Nativity quilt. This one had some design issues that I would like to correct anyway. (Good news: Since posting this blog, my quilt has been found…the church had it in their Christmas decorations…so now I can get it appraised and give it to the church).
Almost every week I see some picture showing a space scene I would like to create a quilt from. Do I think my quilts come anywhere near the photo–no I don’t, but I do enjoy trying.
Pillars of Creation
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe’s most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy’s hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat. At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth. Hubble easily resolves M104’s rich system of globular clusters, estimated to be nearly 2,000 in number – 10 times as many as orbit our Milky Way galaxy. The ages of the clusters are similar to the clusters in the Milky Way, ranging from 10-13 billion years old. Embedded in the bright core of M104 is a smaller disk, which is tilted relative to the large disk. X-ray emission suggests that there is material falling into the compact core, where a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides. In the 19th century, some astronomers speculated that M104 was simply an edge-on disk of luminous gas surrounding a young star, which is prototypical of the genesis of our solar system. But in 1912, astronomer V. M. Slipher discovered that the hat-like object appeared to be rushing away from us at 700 miles per second. This enormous velocity offered some of the earliest clues that the Sombrero was really another galaxy, and that the universe was expanding in all directions.
Merry Christmas my friends. I send this even to those of you who do not celebrate this time as the birth of Jesus, I hope you have an especially beautiful time during this time. Consider the heavens…