Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"You Are Here." Earth on February 14, 1990

"It was the very first time that our species was that far away from home and could turn around and look back at our own nighborhood," Jurrie van der Woude

Spacecraft Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world, taken from the fringes of our solar system. The scattered light rays are a result of taking the picture so close to the sun. Reflections of sunlight inside Voyager's camera created the gold-colored beam that frames our planet.
"Prevailing secular-scientific-cultural ideas can have a great impact on self-esteem. Prior to he 16th century, when it was assumed that the earth was the center of the universe and that all the heavenly bodies revolved around it, it was rather easy for one to feel important in being at the focal point of everthing. The Copernican revolution deprived man of this vantage point, and as astronomy progressed, we became increasingly aware that we inhabit one of the lesser planets revolving around a third rate star, and that the entire solar system would barely be evident on the celestial map covering unimaginable trillions of miles of space. Out planet is hardly a speck of dust in the known expanse of the universe.

"Having been deprived of his focal point in the universe, man could take solace in the fact that, for reasons known only to Him, G-d chose to place His special creation on this tiny speck of dust."
Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski

  • How does seeing these images make you feel about the myriad accomplishments of humankind down through the ages -- whether personal, national, or humanitarian?
  • What kind of perspective does this shine on our problems, squabbles, or worries?
  • In the pale blue dot that's Earth, where are you?

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