Planetary Nebula NGC 2818 from Hubble
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)
I am a space junkie. Whenever I check out news websites, I scroll down to the science page to see if there are any new images from the Hubble telescope or NASA. And when I see a photo like the one above, my imagination runs wild.
What do you see when you look at this picture? Literally, it is Planetary Nebula NGC 2818, the beautiful, gaseous last breath of a dying star. It is around 10,400 light years away from here (or 61,137,705,628,983,464 miles away – roughly). In other words, if you left here traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), it would take 10,400 years to get there.
If we travelled in my Pontiac at 60 mph, without stopping (there are no gas stations or eateries or rest stops between here and there anyway), the drive would take 116,242,738,604 years. Also, my car gets about 30 miles to the gallon of gas. At $2.39 per gallon [as of yesterday], gas alone would cost $4,870,637,215,109,015. The US government spent around $3.5 trillion in 2014. The gasoline alone to travel in my Pontiac to Planetary Nebula NGC 2818 would require spending that much money almost 1400 times over.
Yikes! And I thought the drive back home to Indiana was long and spendy!
Anyone willing to chip in on gas money? I don’t know about you, but my credit limit doesn’t extend into the quadrillions.
So maybe we’re best to stay here on Earth and admire God’s creation from afar.
When I look at this picture, I imagine heaven opening wide. I marvel at the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. Stop and think about it. This huge, 6.5 light years (38,211,064,925,693.45 miles) wide nebula is only one very small (in comparison) feature in a universe filled with starts and nebulae and solar systems and…
Each and every bit of the universe was designed, created and placed by God. Think about that. He set everything in place, in motion, in harmony. Every thing. Every molecule.
And this is the same God Who is our Heavenly Father. Who loves us. Who loves me.
Who loves you.
When I try to take it all in, my brain feels as if it might explode.
My point is this: the next time you are troubled, anxious or worried, having doubts about God, or just feeling out of sync with the Lord and the world and wondering about purpose and meaning and life in general… believe the unbelievable. Accept God at His Word. Look upward. If God can create and sustain all of this, every detail of His creation from the greatest nebulae to the smallest sparrow, don’t you think He can – and will – take care of your needs?
And I thought the trips back home were long.