Someone sent these Hubble photographs to
me recently. Contemplating them, I realized that George Bush
stopped funding this project several years
ago for ideological reasons. He replaced it
with a program to land "real" rockets on Mars.
Christian fundamentalists abhor these photos. Why? Because they call
into question the naive and absurd claim, made by Biblical
literalists, that the earth is merely three to five thousand
years old. The photos depict living, organic, ancient mandalas
formed in the vastness of infinite space. They invite the viewer
into the experience of Beauty and stimulate the realization that
book-based religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam,
which describe a separate Creator/God, are, based on
the ostensibly violent fruits they have produced throughout history,
petty and dangerous dualistic fantasies. In beholding these photos
one may be ushered into a state of inner silence without the
accoutrements of "faith" or religion. They lead the mind to
the shining abode of the Self.
Hubble telescope's top ten greatest
10. The Trifid
Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light
years from here, it is where new stars
are being born.
9. The glowering eyes from 114
million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging
galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant
Canis Major constellation.
8. Starry Night, so named because it
reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a
halo of light around a star in the Milky
7. The Perfect Storm, a small region
in the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away,
described as 'a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of
oxygen, sulphur and other elements'.
6. In sixth place is the Cone
Nebula. The part pictured here is 2.5 light
years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return
trips to the Moon).
5. The Hourglass Nebula,
8,000 light years away, has a pinched-in-the-middle look because the winds
that shape it are weaker at the centre.
4. At four is the Cat's
3. In third place is Nebula NGC 2392,
called Eskimo because it looks like a face
surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of
comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light
years from Earth.
2. The Ant Nebula, a
cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using
The nebula lies within
our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from
1. TheSombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth
- was voted best picture
taken by the Hubble telescope.
The dimensions of the galaxy,
officially called M104, are as spectacular as its
It has 800 billion suns
and is 50,000 light years