The Real Secret

If a point has no dimension, and if a point, when seen from close to, itself opens into a space, then it follows that, at any level, micro or macroscopic: Each time we “turn our attention to,” this or that, i.e., each time we focus on (what appears to be) a single point in an infinite array of possible points . . . that point, when “seen through,” opens into an(other) infinite space in which an(other) infinity of points is embedded, each of which, when focused upon, opens . . . opens . . . opens . . .

No matter where you turn, there is here, now, expanding outwards and inwards from the center of all that is . . . Yogananda: “Center everywhere, circumference nowhere.”

We might want to ponder the implications of infinity, as well as our seeming preference for the illusion of limits.

Any frame of reference, even a galactic frame, turns out to be way too small. For full story and more photos, go to beforeitsnews.


The Star That Changed the Universe, Hubble Views

May 23, 2011 4:32

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been trained on a single variable star that in 1923 altered the course of modern astronomy. V1 is a special class of pulsating star called a Cepheid variable that can be used to make reliable measurements of large cosmic distances.Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)Though the universe is filled with billions upon billions of stars, the discovery of a single variable star in 1923 altered the course of modern astronomy. And, at least one famous astronomer of the time lamented that the discovery had shattered his world view.

The star goes by the inauspicious name of Hubble variable number one, or V1, and resides in the outer regions of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, or M31. But in the early 1900s, most astronomers considered the Milky Way a single “island universe” of stars, with nothing observable beyond its boundaries. Andromeda was cataloged as just one of many faint, fuzzy patches of light astronomers called “spiral nebulae.”

Were these spiral nebulae part of the Milky Way or were they independent island universes lying outside our galaxy? Astronomers didn’t know for sure, until Edwin Hubble found a star in Andromeda that brightened and faded in a predictable pattern, like a lighthouse beacon, and identified it as V1, a Cepheid variable. This special type of star had already been proven to be a reliable distance marker within our galaxy.

The star helped Hubble show that Andromeda was beyond our galaxy and settled the debate over the status of the spiral nebulae. The universe became a much bigger place after Hubble’s discovery, much to the dismay of astronomer Harlow Shapley, who believed the fuzzy nebulae were part of our Milky Way.

Video Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay, G. Bacon, and M. Estacion (STScI)

Nearly 90 years later, V1 is in the spotlight again. Astronomers pointed Edwin Hubble’s namesake, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, at the star once again, in a symbolic tribute to the legendary astronomer’s milestone observation.

Astronomers with the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hubble Heritage Project partnered with the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) to study the star. AAVSO observers followed V1 for six months, producing a plot, or light curve, of the rhythmic rise and fall of the star’s light. Based on this light curve, the Hubble Heritage team scheduled telescope time to capture images of the star.

“V1 is the most important star in the history of cosmology,” says astronomer Dave Soderblom of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., who proposed the V1 observations.

“It’s a landmark discovery that proved the universe is bigger and chock full of galaxies. I thought it would be nice for the Hubble telescope to look at this special star discovered by Hubble, the man.”

But Hubble Heritage team member Max Mutchler of the STScI says that this observation is more than just a ceremonial nod to a famous astronomer.

“This observation is a reminder that Cepheids are still relevant today,” he explains. “Astronomers are using them to measure distances to galaxies much farther away than Andromeda. They are the first rung on the cosmic distance ladder.”

The Hubble and AAVSO observations of V1 will be presented at a press conference May 23 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston, Mass.

Source: NASA

For images and more information, visit:
hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2011/15

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

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