On an Awesome Journey

Breaking News

I interrupt previously announced posting because of important news. Iceland posts will be delayed. The post about Reykjavik will publish Sunday evening (Eastern US), then the post about travel tips for Iceland will be Tuesday evening (Eastern US).

Long-time visitors know my fascination with images of deep space – such as those from the Hubble Telescope. After all, I use them as headers here. (Click here for past headers or click the Past Headers tab for my page dedicated to past headers.)

The magical and mystical nature of deep space image give me a special sense of the grand nature of creation – the universe we live in.

The Friday morning news featured a clip of a video from the Hubble Telescope team. I immediately knew I had to use it here. It is an animated fly-through of the Orion Nebula – a place featured in multiple headers. The video is a worthy 3 minutes and I recommend viewing it on full screen. Enjoy.

Addition (10:15 AM): For some, the video promotes reflection. If so, please share in your comment.

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On Exploring the Final Frontier

My Exploring series ends with a salute to what some call the final frontier.

Star Trek fans know these abbreviated words:

Space: The final frontier
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

The universe is a big place. Think about Earth as that pale blue dot in our solar system – which is only a speck in the Milky Way galaxy – which is a very small portion in a changing and expanding universe.

Long-time readers here realize my fondness for the programs studying deep space. Not only have I used those images as my headers, but I find deep space to be mesmerizing, invigorating, awe-inspiring, majestic, and more.

Watch this video, and then, tell us what thoughts come to your mind when you see images from deep space.

On Virginia and Santa Claus

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

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Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On a Trip Beyond

Yesterday’s journey took us into the microscopic world within our own body, yet it appears to be science fiction. The electron microscope provides many fantastic images – and years ago, some patterns appeared as captivating patterns on neck ties. Because I was unsuccessful in my quick search of the neck ties I had in mind, I have an idea for a future post.

Alright – if you didn’t know, I have a biology background – but I have a very conceptual look at my subject and it’s relationship with the other sciences – even that is another subject for another day.

In yesterday’s journey I mentioned images from the Hubble Telescope, yet posted a journey through the microscopic world. So I figured for today, why not focus on the microscope, then post about deep space.

Most of my headers are deep space images from Hubble. I stand in awe as they stimulate my thoughts about creation – and the fact that creation is still in process is amazing. And yes, Hubble images influence my thoughts about not only creation, but the fascinating subject of the interchange between religion and science (which I have written about numerous times). Thus it is fitting that I end this dedicated trip with a trip to deep space.

On Opening 2010

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe evening.

I start the year with a new banner and with a Past Banner page.

As I look at images from Hubble, I find myself in awe in the fact that we are simply a small speck of dust in a vast universe of continual creation.

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot video, one that I periodically watch (and embedded below), helps me understand the vastness. Coupled with my interest in theology and science, I continually wonder why creationists continue to give God so little credit.

Hubble images are so inspiring that I dedicate 2010 to these discoveries by not only starting the year with one of these images, but also occasionally switching to another. This image is of the Veil Nebula, so here is more information about these remains of a supernova.

Not only do I encourage you to visit the Hubble Gallery, also consider this reading with interactivity about how NASA transforms Hubble’s black and white images into colors.

Meanwhile, may 2010 bring you good health, a positive attitude, good friends, tolerance, patience, happiness, positive interactions with positive people, success, and continual learning.

On Hubble

The astronaut crew of the space shuttle Atlantis has safely returned home after what appears to be a successful restoration of the Hubble Space Telescope (Hubble). Designed in the 1970s and launched in 1990, Hubble should continue to deliver information for about another 5-10 years. Thank you Atlantis crew!

Without Earth’s atmosphere interfering, Hubble has taken us to the edge of the visible universe, while showing us that the universe is an ever-changing place – or as someone described – a cosmic dance; thus what a grand creation.

Many people may be like me – knowing of both Hubble’s existence and its successes, but only in the broad sense because I admit that my space science knowledge is weak. Nonetheless, I still marvel at the images.

Beside this link to NASA’s Hubble home, here’s a music video with images from Hubble. For those wanting more, the second video (10 minutes) tells the story of the top 10 Hubble images selected by astronauts several years ago.

Top 10 Hubble Images Selected by Astronauts