There are all sorts of names given to sky objects, and they usually relate to some object or thing on earth. The names sometimes stick but are often forgotten. When we spend time teaching children and teachers about the created heavens, we do an exercise in the sky. Each one picks a pattern of stars, draws the pattern to study it, and comes up with a name for their very own constellation. Like many names for sky objects over the centuries, they, too, will be forgotten. But the exercise causes a little one to remember what he or she has seen. They don’t forget it.
So a few weeks ago my lovely wife and I observed and sketched a well known object. I did it the first night, but she wanted to go back to the object and sketch it the next night. We both observed a small color screen, which was displaying the output of an astro-video camera that was put in place of an eyepiece on an eight inch telescope. The object has a name but we gave it another. Since we did a pair of observations, we named it “Rings for Each Other.” This planetary nebula is a soft ring of green with a little blue–almost like a soft ring of colored cotten that you could stick your finger through. In real size it is huge and shows the results of a stellar-scale explosion. But now we won’t forget it because it reminds us of exchanged rings or a sign of our commitment to each other. But the object is also the result of a stellar explosion, so it is a picture of the temporary and unstable universe that is winding down according to the biblical view that we hold. So the object and our observation also remind us of God’s grace over us while we live. We won’t live forever on this earth. But while we live, we can enjoy our commitment to each other and sample of His riches and grace, not forgetting that His commitment to us will keep us for life eternal when this life on earth is done.
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40