Just this morning I was lecturing about the history of the big bang theory and (by way of a tangent) mentioned how technology has allowed us see things that we could not have imagined – I specifically used a contrast between Messier’s view of his deep sky objects and the views we now have because of the HST and other systems. Above (by way of Phil Plaitt) is a composite image of the center of our galaxy – near-infrared from the HST, infrared from Spitzer, and X-ray from Chandra. Wander over to Phil’s place to read his (as always) wonderful explanation of the image. I’d like the highlight the following which very much encapsulates what I wanted my students to realize:
But this is home for us. It’s a place of unimaginable fury but also astonishing beauty… and we see it now as we do because we have dared to examine the world around us, to use tools we invent to peer closer, to magnify the tiny, to extend our eyes into realms we once didn’t even know existed. And every time we do — every single time — we find more questions, more puzzles, more things to examine.
It’s at times like this you truly see the wonder of science.