If you go about your day feeling your omnipotence or you believe you know the secrets to life, death, or the hereafter, here is something new to think about.
NASA has reported the Hubble Space Telescope has imaged the light from the most distant star to ever to be photographed.
Icarus, as it has been named by the astronomers who found, magnified, and identified it, is reported to be so far away that, to be frank, our minds cannot grasp the distance.
Perhaps the late Stephen Hawking might have been able to put the distance of this great star so far away into a better perspective than can I.
But he is gone now, and we are left to more common understandings about such things so difficult to understand.
Icarus is estimated to be so far away that it has taken the light from the burning star 9 billion years to reach to the telescope!
Yes: 9 billion years.
Even to those of us who understand nothing about our planet, our solar system, or the vast emptiness of outer space, light coming to us while taking 9 billion years to get here gives a startling new perspective on just how big the Universe really is.
As we cannot see to the end of the Universe, it is impossible to predict with any accuracy where it begins and where it ends, except to say that it is an infinite space that some scientists believe is still growing.
The Universe and its origins or size is incomprehensible to me — the same way it is incomprehensible to me how a voter could be a Democrat or a Republican when both parties are morally, socially, economically, and politically bankrupt.
Back to Icarus.
Nine billion years for its light to reach us — and this new discovery isn’t even existing in the far reaches of the Universe, as we can see its light.
The distant stars are so far away that infinity is given a new meaning.
When I was a young man my father often had me look up at the stars on a clear night.
He would say to me:
“Those stars we can see are called the fixed stars. They are moving at a fantastic speed — something like 1 million miles an hour — and yet they are called the fixed stars. Why? Because they exist in so huge an empty space that watching them for 1,000 years, moving as they do, any change in their location is imperceptible.”
Icarus at 9 billion years for its light to become perceptible to the eye remains very close in terms of the vast emptiness where it exists.
Those of us all struggling on this earth to figure out how we got here, why we are here, and all those eternal questions, have no answers to the greater question — the ultimate question posed to us by locating Icarus.
How big is the Universe, how abundant are the galaxies, how enormous is the vastness of outer space?
And if we traveled 9 billion years in a space ship to Icarus, what else would we find in outer space but a bunch of rocks and burning stars?
Maybe there is a God.