The Hubble Telescope has given us far-reaching views of the universe, but the Hubble itself has its own remarkable story. When the first images from Hubble were received in 1990, NASA scientists realized there was a very small, but significant flaw in the mirror. NASA was able to correct this mistake so Hubble could send amazing images from space; but it was an extraordinary achievement that required astronauts installing five pairs of corrective mirrors (Hubble’s corrective lenses) in a spacewalk in 1993.
Important lesson learned: Check, double-check, triple-check. It could save a tremendous amount of trouble! Happily, the flaw in Hubble’s lens was corrected and stunning images continue to be received from Hubble. “Pillars of Creation” is one of the most famous.
“Pillars of Creation” is a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of elephant trunks of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula some 6,500-7,000 light-years from Earth. NASA scientists named this nebula “Pillars of Creation”, because the gas and dust are in the process of forming new stars.
The phrase “pillars of creation” originated in a sermon given by an English Christian minister named Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) to describe the birth of Jesus Christ.
“And now wonder, ye angels, the Infinite has become an infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe hangs…he who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation.”
Bible Reading: Genesis 1
For centuries man has been trying to discover the origins of the universe, only to find that it is bigger, more complex and more amazing than we can comprehend and that the more we learn, the more there is to learn ~ infinitely more. Words fail to describe the enormity of the universe where distance is measured in light-years which are insanely fast ~ 300,000 kilometers/second ~ 9,460,800,000,000 kilometers/year. We live on a very small planet called Earth orbiting around a pretty small star that we call the sun. We are in an area of the universe called The Milky Way galaxy which contains approximately 200 billion stars. Andromeda, our neighbor galaxy, is 2 million light-years away from The Milky Way (so that would be 9,460,800,000,000 x 2 million). Andromeda and The Milky Way along with about 54 other dwarf galaxies are called The Local Group!
Theories abound about how the universe started; however, many theories fail to answer the ultimate question, “What existed before there was something? From where did the ‘something’ come?”
The first book in the Bible is called Genesis meaning “beginning.” Genesis 1 answers the five W’s ~ who, what, when, where and why ~ about creation.
- What theories have you heard about the origin of the universe?
- From reading Genesis 1, what phrases are repeated again and again? “And God _________…” (verses 3 and 6) “God saw that it was _______… (verses 10 and 12)
- How does Genesis 1 answer “who, what, when, where and why” about the creation of the universe?
- How do scientists who don’t believe in God answer these questions?
- What would you have to believe about God for Genesis 1 to be true?
- Have you decided what you personally believe?
significant flaw – a major imperfection
NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (an agency of the US government responsible for research in outerspace)
spacewalk – when an astronaut wears a special suit to work in outer space
interstellar – inter=between, stellar=stars
nebula – gas and dust in outer space
pillar – a column for support
minister – church leader
sermon – a message given by a church leader
infant – a baby
orbit – path of a star, planet or moon
phrase – a part of a sentence
verses – sentences in the Bible which are numbered
Read more about creation: