Galaxy Point of View

NGC 3628 is a beautiful galaxy to see. While it is faint and requires averted vision with a medium-sized telescope, astro-video permits a little better view and gives a little color since mine has a color-sensitive chip. You can see the sketch below that I did using an 8 inch telescope with video camera integration period set at 28 seconds. That means the little camera, put in the place where an eyepiece would normally go, accumulates all the light it can during that 28 seconds and makes the result visible to me on a screen.

However, it is the context of the sketch that is amazing but I want to explain it in steps.

First, I am sketching from a unique planet (the only one like it) in a protected atmosphere that is relatively transparent. On this night it was cool and clear at a mid-North lattitude, where temperatures extremes are so modest that I can observe in nearly any part of the year. There is no such condition anywhere in the universe except for earth, which the scriptures quote God as saying that it was specifically made to be inhabited. So, here I am looking through modest optics and a video camera in really protected conditions to see something. And, I have a few tools to help get a little more.

Second, I am looking through the atmosphere and through space in a direction outside the plane of the local neighborhood, the Milky Way Galaxy, on this particular night. So, in essence, I am looking far away from common nebulae and star clusters that are in our own galaxy. So this far-away galaxy just happens to be in a cluster of many more. But this one is nearly edge-on, because when you look at it, we can see the lighter area of the nucleus and the extended arms are split with a dark area or lane. The dark lane is comprised of the incredibly thin gases that are in the arms, but they are thick enough at this amazing distance from us so we see them block the light from the center of the plane of the galaxy. It is like looking at a sandwich on edge where the bread is white but the inside has something dark. This amazing view is hundreds of light years wide and magnitudes over that in length. Since my scope is only medium size, the extent of the length cannot be detected visually, so you will notice that I label it the Central View. You can also see some stars in the field that I sketched, but they are very “close” to us and in our own galaxy. They are in the foreground….a very close foreground compared to where the galaxy is located.

Third, I am seeing this because the way the Lord stretched out the heavens, which is the scripture quote in the sketch. Other scriptures say about the same thing. But it is a quote from God, which means eternal God communicates something from our local point of view–not from His eternal view but our local point of view. It is like an invitation from a father to a child when he says, “Son, let me show you something. Come to where I am looking and let me show you what I see.” So the heavens are like that, which is what Psalm 19:1-4 says clearly: God specifically wants us to view the heavens from our earthly position but goes further: He beckons us to appreciate that they point to His qualities of infinite power, majesty, and creativity. So little NGC 3928 is one litttle part of the celestial sphere where I can look and appreciate His handsome created heavens, knowing that He humbles Himself as He asks me to look from my standpoint. In short, He wants me to see what I see but see further, because it points to Him.

All this makes a little edge-on galaxy view a little different, wouldn’t you say?

20130405-NGC3628

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About Roland

We avidly enjoy teaching about and observing God's creation. We are active in Christian mission work that often takes us to the Philippines and Asia. the observation of God's creation in terms. Part of the outreach and work is to maintain a site: www.cwm4him.org [or use christworksministries.org]. This site includes inspirational blogs, free downloadable courses, and a history of the charity organization. We aim to share the love of Jesus Christ, who has graciously extended his love to us. Our faith is a walking faith, so faith and works, as much as we are able, are married together.
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