Credit & Copyright: Colin Legg.

This image should be enough to make anyone take pause for a few moments at the jaw dropping awe of what they’re witnessing.  Taken from Cottesloe Beach, Colin trains his camera which he had attached to a Celestron 8” Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope (SCT) hundreds of meters away to a lighthouse on Rottnest Island.  93 million miles beyond, that nearly million mile wide sphere of plasma with its fusion engine screaming away as it has done for billions of years, sets as the Earth rotates it out of view for a few hours.  Before it does, its light makes one last effort to reach us in the form of the beautiful “Green Flash.”  If you’re interested in the Green Flash here’s a write up I did a while back in my “Science in the Setting Sun” series:

If this image and video have you pondering life itself, here’s a small thought that I put into words almost two years ago now.  I suppose now is a fitting opportunity to share.

THE PATH TO YOU (Perspective) read slowly; almost Saganesque…..feel it, don’t just read it.

In the universe, energy can never be created or destroyed, only converted.  That means that everything that makes up you, who you are, has been here since the beginning of the universe itself.  You were born with the universe and that staggering fact allows you to come to the life changing realization that you aren’t just in the universe; you are the universe.  As Neil Degrasse Tyson so eloquently put it, “The universe is in us.”

In the billions of years that have passed since birth, your atoms have seen it all.  You have been a nebula that quite possibly some now long extinct civilization trained their telescopes to in awe like we do today with the Orion or Ring Nebulae.  Your atoms, through gravity, accretion and conservation of angular momentum; compressed, heated and spun themselves up into a star.  You lived inside of stars like newly evolved civilizations billions of years from now unwittingly live within our Sun today.

But you didn’t just live within stars as that wasn’t good enough for your atoms.  You’ve also been of one of the most powerful events in the universe, a supernova.  If there were civilizations living on planets around your host star when detonation took place, they looked toward you as they took their last breaths.  Other civilizations around other stars, billions of stars, millions of species, looked to you in wonder as they witnessed the event from afar, even from as far as other galaxies.

And don’t think that you experienced something as amazing as that without keeping something as a reminder.  You have mementoes of your experiences with you today as the iron in your blood, the zinc, copper etc. inside of you, in fact almost all of you was formed in that very blast; that fateful zero moment.

Some of your atoms were delivered to Earth by the creation of the Earth itself as your atoms accreted into the Earth from the leftover material that birthed the Sun……You are the Earth.

Some of your atoms were carried here via comets, asteroids and collisions with other major bodies in the solar system bombarding Earth through the millennia……You are the solar system.

Over the last 4.5 billion years your atoms have been very busy.  Your atoms have been in countless living things before us up to a few hundred years and to this day you shed them like a constant aura.   You have taken a breath containing atoms that quite possibly everyone on Earth through history has also had in their lungs up to a few hundred years ago…..We are all one.

As relativity fired you off on the arrow of time; chaos & entropy have afforded you the opportunity to have risen from the birth of the universe itself to becoming the only thing we know of in existence that even knows what the universe is.  We can view it, record it, interpret the information and stand in absolute awe as we realize the true nature of what we came from and in turn to be able to understand this solitary fact.

Asleep for 13.8 billion years, you awaken within yourself to wonder, experience life, the universe; yourself.  That experience lasts for only a few decades before the same arrow of time, chaos and entropy that allowed you to awaken, returns you to sleep.

Millions of years from now, you will walk again… every living thing on Earth.

Billions of years from now, you will be returned to the stars and……really let this sink in……some of your luckiest atoms will join the civilization whose atoms today lay within the sun.  Those atoms may find themselves within those inquisitive creatures that stand and wonder of their origins……and one day, they may realize as we do today…..that we; their origins, that were birthed with the universe, are actually still with them, as they are given their hand full of decades to experience the universe and become emotional over that fact…..

Colin Legg Photography:




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