Saturday, August 18, 2012

the formation of giant star clusters or how Elizabeth got a peaceful feeling

Source: via Elise on Pinterest


I was listening to National Public Radio yesterday, partly because it was Science Friday and partly because I am secretly ninety-years old.

And while I’m not the science-iest of ladies, I was fascinated by this report on this gigantic new star formation called the Phoenix Cluster that’s been discovered in a galaxy far, far away. When they first started talking, I thought, “Ew, astronomy, not my fave,” but as I reached my hand  up to the car radio dial, the MIT fellow they were interviewing said, “All that a star needs to form is some cold gasses and to be left alone for awhile.” Obviously he went on to explain that it’s actually way more complicated than that (there’s like some gasses that get super-heat from the sun and then when they cool really quickly, there are a lot of stars forming at a very rapid pace and basically, science-people are freaking out with science-joy because it’s so different and interesting). And just the way he said it, it just gave me this feeling of peace about the future that I really have not been feeling lately.

And for some reason, I just knew I wanted to blog about that. I kept thinking about it all of yesterday and today, trying to figure out what exactly kept it inside of my brain when so many other relatively important things slip out like so many greased pigs on a flagpole.

I guess it’s the whole idea that this beautiful, incredible thing happens in solitude. Or maybe that it’s the stars don’t work to form clusters or even come into being. They happen. They go from being hot gasses in outerspace to stars in the sky because of something bigger than them. Sometimes it’s nice to rest in the knowledge that someone bigger than me shapes the universe. So if I go on being heated by the sun and doing my whole heated-matter-thing to the best of my ability, eventually I too can be cooled quickly and turned into a gigantic star cluster, not because of me, but because it’s part of the bigger picture I don’t have control over. And then maybe scientists will rejoice over me, too, and go on Science Friday and say, “we have no idea how Elizabeth turned into a star cluster so quickly but we’re fascinated.”

It’s a rambly kind of Saturday, I guess.

Thanks, Phoenix Cluster, for being such a rad metaphor. In my head.

love, elizabeth


Ashley @ A Recipe for Sanity said...

"And then maybe scientists will rejoice over me, too, and go on Science Friday and say, 'we have no idea how Elizabeth turned into a star cluster so quickly but we’re fascinated.'”

This made me smile. :)

S. Donald said...

I really liked this post, and the ideas you put forth. Wonderful reading on a quiet Sunday morning.

Liz Brown said...

Mkay. I loved this. It made sense to me, in an unexplainable sort of way.

Jenni@Story of My Life said...

Elizabeth, maybe it's the wine I'm drinking, or maybe not. But this was incredibly profound. I felt you on it, I really did. This made me happy.

jackie said...

I love this. So awesome when random things just kind of speak to us, isn't it?

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