We are stardust...

This image, Messier 104, a spiral galaxy, was taken by Steve Mandel and Adam Block.

The first time I saw this galaxy, years ago, through a 12-inch Newtonian reflector, I was overwhelmed by the immensity of this vast sea of dust and the fine connection between I and Thou – as Martin Buber would say. Somehow, the view of something so beautiful 65 million light years from my eye gave me purpose. That first view, however, paled in comparison to my spotting it in my own 8-inch from the hill behind my house.

M104 – usually called the Sombrero Galaxy – is moving away from the Milky Way at a rate of 600 to 700 miles per second. Difficult to imagine. It's on the fringe of the Virgo Cloud of galaxies. This swirl of light is part of everything we are.


Arlene said...

what a breathtaking picture, sam. thanks for the book tip. i'm adding it to my list -- i've got the mind's eye which he co-wrote with dennett. always intriguing reads.

thanks for dropping by my blog. i've added you to my link ;)


Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Mind's I is a good one. The image of 104 is amazing, isn't it--

I've added your link as well.