To make you feel humble

NASA is celebrating the one year anniversary of its Solar Dynamics Observatory, and they’ve been featuring this photo on their Web site: a photo of a March 30, 2010, solar eruptive prominence, taken in the extreme ultraviolet range. NASA has superimposed a photo of the Earth to provide a sense of scale.

Damn, are we tiny:

This reminds me of the extended monologue by Yhwh in the book of Job (ch. 38 ff.). Though framed in the cultural referents of the Ancient Near East, Yhwh’s monologue has the same effect on me as does this photo — both make me realize that we humans are insignificant when considered in terms of the vastness of the universe. Our essential insignificance seems to bother some people, but to be honest I find it comforting — I’m often not very impressed with humans, and it’s good to know that there is something out there which is much bigger and grander, and more permanent, than we are.

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