Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

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Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by malickfan on Mon May 11, 2015 10:13 pm

A new thread to discuss the beautiful/ terrifying mysteries and images of outer space.

I don't follow developments in space exploration or futurology very closely and know much less than I'd like to about our solar system, but I do find it quite a fascinating thing to think about (if only for the sheer scale of space), so I thought I'd start a new thread.

To start with a few mind blowing images:


















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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon May 11, 2015 10:20 pm

It's damn fascinating, that's for sure. I wish I knew more about it, too. One of my favourite quotes from The Gunslinger seems fitting here Very Happy

The universe (he said) is the Great All, and offers a paradox too great for the finite mind to grasp. As the living brain cannot conceive of a non-living brain — although it may think it can — the finite mind cannot grasp the infinite.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by halfwise on Mon May 11, 2015 10:28 pm

You can just go to the Hubble telescope site and knock yourself out:

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire/

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by malickfan on Mon May 11, 2015 10:34 pm

Ringdrotten wrote:It's damn fascinating, that's for sure. I wish I knew more about it, too. One of my favourite quotes from The Gunslinger seems fitting here Very Happy

The universe (he said) is the Great All, and offers a paradox too great for the finite mind to grasp. As the living brain cannot conceive of a non-living brain — although it may think it can — the finite mind cannot grasp the infinite.

That is a very apt quote, I think the very fact that most of us can't comprehend the scale of the universe makes it that much more fascinating, it's permanently there in the sky, teasing us with the mysteries but forever out of our grasp all the same, Gravity and Interstellar though being ropey films in the script department certainly increased my interest in this subject...

I find that famous quote by Arthur C Clarke rather haunting for similar reasons:

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.


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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by malickfan on Mon May 11, 2015 10:35 pm

halfwise wrote:You can just go to the Hubble telescope site and knock yourself out:

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire/

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/

Well there goes an evening...

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 11, 2015 10:39 pm

I love ths sort of stuff, its so mindblowing.

This is one of the main reasons I keep going on about Elite Dangerous on the games thread- it conveys that sense of sheer scale so well, modelling as it does our entire Galaxy and over 4 billion star systems. You really do get a sense of the sheer eye watering scale of things- and its just one galaxy out of billions of the buggers out there.




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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon May 11, 2015 11:16 pm

that last one blew my mind.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon May 11, 2015 11:34 pm

Its amazing how long the crap we made and the shit we've screwed up lasts!

20,000 years before Cheobyl is no longer a totally fuck up- now thats consequences.
100,000 years for a Macbook to finally die Shocked

On the plus side my buckie bottles will last for a million years! I rather like the idea that after humans are all gone some future alien race discovers earth and all thats left are buckie bottles. Very Happy


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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by bungobaggins on Tue May 12, 2015 3:44 am

http://stars.chromeexperiments.com/ (and that's only the Milky Way Galaxy!)

I think it's great that all of this is going to collapse in on itself some day. Fascinating. Maybe it will start over. We'll never find out, but amazing to think about.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by TranshumanAngel on Tue May 12, 2015 11:28 am

Ah man, what a fantastic thread. I always love the scale comparison images. I didn't realise galaxies could be so disparate in their size. That IC 1001 super galaxy is simply beyond my comprehension. I'm an archaeologist so I'm often having to operate at a very human level. I'm looking at bits of glass and pot (woohoo!) but sometimes it's great to take a step back and see the ultra large context. I'm not sure how I feel about it all. Overawed at the immensity a la Pascal - "Le silence eternal des ces espaces infinis m'affraie" or overawed at the immensity of the human intellect.
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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 12, 2015 11:36 am

I didnt know you were an archeologist Trans- do you have a specialist area, or a period you study in particular?

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by halfwise on Tue May 12, 2015 11:51 am

bungobaggins wrote:http://stars.chromeexperiments.com/ (and that's only the Milky Way Galaxy!)

I think it's great that all of this is going to collapse in on itself some day. Fascinating. Maybe it will start over. We'll never find out, but amazing to think about.

Actually, as of 10 or 15 years ago it looks like it ain't gonna collapse back. The expansion seems to be accelerating rather than slowing as one would expect if gravity was the only force at work on this scale. Hence the concept of dark energy, which is really just a euphemism for 'WTF!'. We have the Hubble to thank for this conceptual bitch-slap.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Bluebottle on Tue May 12, 2015 1:07 pm

I'm a bit in two minds about this. As while I obviously find the scale and complexity of the Universe fascinating, I also find myself half agreeing with Sherlock. What purpose does it serve to know how many planets there are in the solar system, or perhaps rather to take pictures of galaxies 13 billion light years away? I'm not trying to say physics serve no purpose, physics in general obviously has practical application for the here and now, but does this staring into eternity part? Doesn't that leave you in risk of loosing sight of the here and now, of what's really important? Does it serve a purpose?

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 12, 2015 1:14 pm

Or it puts things in perspective and how petty and stupid an awful lot of what we humans do is, acting as we do as if we are all there is.

But no getting round it does seem unnecessarily big- especially from a religious point of view as its hard to see if humans are Gods sole creations and his children and he created the universe for us what He was thinking. We cant even see most of it let alone get there- its like building the whole solar system because you want somewhere to keep a microscopic grain of sand in. Only more so. Overkill doesn't even cover it. Maybe He just didn't know when to stop!

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Bluebottle on Tue May 12, 2015 1:25 pm

Hm, yes. There is that, I guess. But couldn't one just as easily say that the vastness of the Universe leaves all questions of morality and meaning mute. Every action becoming devoid of meaning in it's Universal insignificance?

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by halfwise on Tue May 12, 2015 1:39 pm

Staring into the universe and trying to understand it serves no more purpose than ... listening to music and trying to create it.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Bluebottle on Tue May 12, 2015 1:49 pm

True, it works as a purely intellectual effort with it's only goal and meaning being itself. And there's nothing wrong with that, of course. But there does seem to be this view that understanding the Universe is the be all and end all of understanding existence. And no one would claim that about music, surely? Not that this was meant as a specific attack against astronomy as such. My argument was more a nihilistic one, I think. And that it's probably easier to find meaning in the human condition, rather than by needlessly staring into the eternity of space.. or something like that. Smile

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 12, 2015 2:01 pm

But couldn't one just as easily say that the vastness of the Universe leaves all questions of morality and meaning mute. Every action becoming devoid of meaning in it's Universal insignificance?- Blue

I am reminded of some quotes from Carlos Casteneda, as spoken by Don Juan-

“Seek and see all the marvels around you. You will get tired of looking at yourself alone, and that fatigue will make you deaf and blind to everything else." - Don Juan

“The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.”

and two of my favourites -

“To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom to fly off into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve; to lift off; to be like the flame of a candle, which, in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.”

“For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.”




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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Bluebottle on Tue May 12, 2015 2:07 pm

So, it's a coping mechanism? scratch

(I'm sorry to reduce all those fine words to that. I liked those quotes. Nod )

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 12, 2015 2:13 pm

I think finding out just how Big the Universe is does help in some ways. When I get irritated by someone dropping a plastic bottle on the road, on one level it makes me realise how unbelievably trivial my irritation is in the big picture of Eternity, but on another hand that flipping plastic bottle will be there on that road for the next few millions of years as humanity flips the bird at itself and expires in a cloud of dust. Next time I think I should dust the bookshelves I will look at that chart and go for a nice walk instead. As Quentin Crisp said, 'lifes too short to dust'.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 12, 2015 2:19 pm

So, it's a coping mechanism?- Blue


No, not for me- its not about coping its about realizing our own potential as living beings in a universe.

Whats amazing about us is that despite the scale of what we face, despite the incomprehensibility of it all, despite all the unknowns like death and how it all started and where it all ends, despite there seemingly being no point to any of it other than to be, despite all that we still try to understand it, we still strive for those answers, we still reach for the freedom, even the freedom to be free of our own physical limitations, in a universe that doesn't have any freedom atoms in it.

We create new things that without us the universe would not have created on its own- we are capable of adding to the sum total of things in existence- think about that a moment- we have made new things in the universe that before us, and after us, will not exist naturally. Even set adrift on a planet in this vast scale we tiny, insignificant apes crawling about the surface are altering the very universe we live in.

The mystery of the universe should be embraced, because we can define ourselves against its mystery and appreciate the great mystery that is ourselves.
That's not something to help us cope, its something to marvel and wonder at and explore.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue May 12, 2015 2:22 pm

NASA Rover blue sunset on Mars.


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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Bluebottle on Tue May 12, 2015 2:22 pm

Yeah, it does serve some purpose, I guess. I just, as someone who would like to find meaning in existence to stave of this reluctant nihilistic feeling that there might not be any, would put more faith in finding it by human interaction rather than by staring off into space. If that makes any sense. Shrugging

Again as an intellectual exersise, even as art, there's obviously nothing wrong with it.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 12, 2015 2:32 pm

It doesn't matter though if there are no answers, no purpose, no reason to any of it- what matters as Don Juan says is that you are here, in this marvelous world at this marvelous time. And you are surrounded for as far as we can see and further than we can comprehend with even more wonders and marvels. Dont regret that, soak it all up while your here. Rejoice in it. You probably don't get another chance.

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Re: Space and The wonders/mysteries of The Universe

Post by David H on Tue May 12, 2015 2:37 pm

I think the trick, Blue, is in finding meaning in wherever you look.

If you look at human interactions, then you think of 7 billion people collectively having a billion interactions every day, and then multiply that by the sweep of human history you can just as easily get lost in nihilism if you're so inclined.

Or you can find meaning in being a part of the Grand Dance of humanity if you choose.

The same goes for looking at Universes or Subatomic particles. We've been given the wonderful gift of finding meaning or not, as we choose.

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