Sarah’s Galaxy, which is NGC-3628, is delightful to observe. The historical trail to the name is more obscure. One reference cites that the galaxy was named after a poet in the 1800s, but little else is apparent. The name sounds like there is a link to affection or love, but who knows?
Sarah’s Galaxy is high in the sky in Virgo during the Spring in Northern lattitudes. It is also the weakest galaxy among a triplet that includes the more prominent M65 and M66. The extra challenge to see NGC 3628 is worth the effort. With just an eyepiece on an 8 inch scope, it is a faint whitish line a little outside the field of view of the other two.
My observing sheet is below, which includes a sketch and some details about date/time/period of observation, equipment, a signature, and a scripture about the heavens. The scope is a modest 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain that is popular but I remove the eye piece and put a specialized astro video camera in its place. The “apparent” aperture is much larger than eight inches because I adjusted the camera to receive and integrate information over a 28 second period before changing it to a video signal. The video signal is sent to a monitor near the scope but also a monitor inside our home. The arrangement permits us to concentrate our study with all our drawing materials in front of monitors in our home. You need the concentration because the detail we see is ten-fold what we would see through an eye-piece.
The real delight of Sarah’s galaxy this time was more than its features; it was the fact that this galaxy and all the others proclaim the work of God’s hands. Galaxies are truly amazing and display a wonderful range of characteristics. Like clusters, they are star “cities.” Unlike clusters, which are normally inside galaxies, they have magnitudes more stars and those stars are arranged. Galaxies also appear in groups, but not all the time. Usually they turn one way, but not always. As measurement and imaging techniques have gotten better, the breadth of features has become more apparent. The array of characteristics as well as their placement is very hard to fathom from an evolutionary point of view.
Most evolution-based descriptions of galaxies, because people want answers really badly, jump to conjectures about the origins of the universe. But this world view demands that God not be a part, so what mechanism to self-gather and organize incredible and immeasureable amounts of energy is present? Even more problematic, what universe-sized vacum cleaner cleaned up the residue so that space, which is indeed the dominant characteristic of the universe, is truly nearly empty, cold, and transparent? If these things were not true, we could not see what we see.
Conjectures usually go even further because many descriptions take “hot” gas regions (it is extremely thin stellar gas) and label them birthplaces for stars. The mechanism to cause such a birth is not known and star birth has never been seen–even amongst the trillions of stars and thousands of galaxies that we can now see. Consider this: what does it take for us to organize and concentrate energy on earth for our various purposes? And, now, the universe did all this by itself billions of years ago, then automatically stopped doing it and cleaned up its act? All this by itself? Think about this! And the mechanism must, by definition, not include God or any hint of a Designer!
As long as one does not delve to deeply into the assumptions and the lack of verification of current evolution-based conjectures, small parts of evolution seem to tell a story. If one says “star birth” enough, one tends to believe it in the absence of any serious question about the assumptions required for inanimate objects giving birth to really big things…all by themselves–producing massive amounts of organized energy. But the elephant in the glass room is the grand assumption of a self-generation. There is none. Actual observations make the elephant bigger. We observe star death but not star birth. We observe decay processes but not birth processes (consistent with thermodynamic principles). The complicated array of conjectures gets so messy that philosophers of late jump in and begin talking about fluctuating universes or multi-universes. The same issue, however, arises. Where is the mechanism to make anything happen on a universal scale that yields the universe. Excessive time (billions of years) does not make the problem better; it makes it worse when it is decay processes are what we readily observe.
Sarah’s Galaxy got more attention since the middle 20th century (and it continues) because of better instruments that can see tantalizing detail. However, the conjectures go far further than measuring things. They talk about origins. So, the same questions of assumptions come up that were mentioned above.
On the other hand, God says He made the stars. Genesis 1 is clear, plain, and uses straightforward words regarding stars, when He commanded the action during part of the fourth of six days of creation. He comments that His work was good at the end of that day, which is what He does at the end of each of the other six creating days. The scripture from Psalms on the observing sheet, like several in some other books of the Bible, says that the skies proclaim something about His majesty and glory and power. Is that not obvious?
So if you decide to observe Sarah’s galaxy for yourself and you have never considered its origin has having the hand of God involved, you might want to consider it before assigning His work to a self initiating birth process that goes from stars to universes.