I could stare at this image forever. It is a snapshot of the galactic center of the Milky Way — our home in the universe. There are few sights as beautiful as this. The distance from side to side (in this image) is 900 light years, at a range of 26,000 light years.
Of course, this isn’t visible to the naked eye, and the colors are enhanced.
But the Milky Way can be seen from earth. At this NASA link, you can see a photograph that’s been taken from one of the darkest spots left in the USA — Death Valley. How much natural beauty has been stolen from us by light pollution from things like street lights? Can you imagine driving home from dinner and seeing that in the sky?
This post has really strayed from my original intention — to share my wonder of the stars. Instead, I ended up bemoaning our diminished ability to experience our existence on this planet. Maybe at the very least it’s a good reminder to try and take a deep breath and figure out what else you’re smelling besides pollution. Stop walking, be silent and take a long listen to hear what’s around you. Look up at the clouds and the stars and wonder what your ancestors saw when they looked up.