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Time and Space
19. June 2017 at 12:29
by Chaima Baztami
150 million kilometers is the distance between our Earth and the Sun; 8 minutes is the time needed for sunlight to reach us. The Sun is among the closest stars to our “obscure grain of sand called earth” (Giacomo Leopardi) and every time we observe its light, we are looking at how it was in the near past of 8 minutes ago.
Sirius, the brightest star in the firmament, of the constellation Canis Major, is 7 light years away: its light travels for 7 years just to brighten our nights. And if we were looking at a more distant star, time would be even more stretched, the glow even more ancient. The night sky, a muse to poets and lovers, is a mirror into the past, an exhibit of stars that travel through time to brush our eyes with their light.

The most distant object in the sky ever observed is 13.4 billion light years away, therefore, when we gaze at it, we are seeing how it looked like when the universe itself was only 3% of its age today. It is plausible to think that some of the stars still visible to this day in the night’s dome have actually exploded, ceasing to exist, but we are able to see their glow because of the time it takes for their light to get to us, as “it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities” (Khalil Gibran).

We are towered over by the glowing past of stars, a past sometimes so remote, before which we are nothing but fleeting lights headed towards the sunset of our night; we contemplate lights that stretch their glow from the deep, dark jaws of Cronus.
Cite This Article As: Chaima Baztami. "Time and Space." International Youth Journal, 19. June 2017.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/time-and-space

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