Across the universe

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When we look up to the black sky at night
We see the stars and planets back in time
The moonlight's only one second old light
While sunlight, that's eight minute old sunshine
Eight minutes to reach Earth despite flying
As fast as light can. Alpha Centauri
The next nearest star, is - no point lying -
4.3 years old by the time we see
It from our vantage point. It's history
Look through a telescope at distant sights
Like Andromeda, you're seeing a time
When man was still evolving, odysseys
Still to come. What we see further out might
No longer exist. The whole thing's dying...

This was inspired by 'Journey To The Edge Of The Universe' which I saw last night. I love anything which helps to explain the nature of time - or the illusion of time, as I would (controversially) qualify. For instance, they say that we 'go back in time' the further out we go into the distant universe. No, incorrect. We go back in time the further out we LOOK into the universe FROM HERE, which is what they mean, and which is what I describe in this sonnet.

Incidentally, some (very) hot news. Andromeda, according to them, will crash into the Milky Way in about 2 to 3 billion years' time. That's in addition to the sun expanding into a red giant and burning the Earth to a cinder, of course. So it's no good talking as they did on the programme about finding new habitable planets within this galaxy or the next then, is it? Since they're 'about to' collide. Nah, better get our skates on and go a few billion light years further out, I reckon.

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Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

Thu 12th May 2011 19:22

Great thought in to this, though I find it hard to understand how light so old has not dissipated by now...

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Chris Co

Tue 25th Jan 2011 14:05

This is a subject of great interest to me.

I enjoyed the poem.


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Sun 23rd Jan 2011 14:22

Banksy, Let's face it, there's a black hole of knowledge - which was also a point I made last time! Dark matter for instance - that's a new idea with some circumstantial evidence to justify something being there - but 'something' is as much as we know. It's a bit vague. As is the link between Einstein's Theory of Realitvity and quantum physics - altho both are claimed to be 'right'...

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Sun 23rd Jan 2011 14:19

Dave, I might have misheard. I'd go with your version if it's down there in writing!

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Sun 23rd Jan 2011 14:13

BTW - given our past agreement on the illusion of time (ie it ain't real) - I thought I'd just mention that on a prog just t'other night (about "reality" this time) they said that Stephen Hawking predicted that black holes - once they get "big" enough - would just disappear - ie into nothing. Funny that - cos I came to the same conclusion quite a while ago! I dunno - that Hawking fella - nicking MY ideas, then taking all the credit !!

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Dave Bradley

Sun 23rd Jan 2011 13:19

Curious - my telly programme said the collision was in 10 billion years

8 billion years difference between TV programmes. Remarkable. Still, if time is an illusion, it doesn't matter

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