2018-42 Science and faith

The trail of the Creator – The Milky Way

Apr 17, 2018 LOA Editorial Office

“For centuries man has looked into the sky and recognized in it the Creator of all things. That was God’s intention – to show who He is through that which He created; to reveal his glory through His works” (Austin Sailsbury).

The more carefully we look at the universe, the more we recognize its wonder and mystery. It is clearly the work of an intelligent designer, and has an established beginning in time and space, which is in agreement with modern science, and not in opposition to it. This perspective is beautifully displayed in the album The Universe – the Splendor, Greatness, and Beauty of God’s Creation, which serves as our guide in getting to know the Milky Way.

The spilled milk of the heavens

Human understanding of the universe is subject to changes over time. The long-held view that the solar system was located near the center of the galaxy turned out to be wrong. An updated calculation puts the sun more or less halfway between the center of the galaxy and its outer edge.

One of the good things about being further from the center than previously thought is the possibility it gives us to observe other parts of the galaxy. With the earth being located right across from Sagittarius, (that is to say, the center of the Milky Way) we can take advantage of a wide perspective of the galaxy, which looks like a trail of milk spilled across the heavens.

A gigantic expanse

Even though it is our more distant “neighbor”, the Milky Way is hundreds of thousands of light years in diameter as well as several thousand light years of thickness. It is known as a ‘spiral’ galaxy, and is an immense and incredibly complex fragment of the universe. It is difficult to even imagine its size. According to estimates, the Milky Way is made up of more than 200 billon stars, one of which is our sun, and the total mass of the galaxy is around 400 billion times the mass of the sun. If we were to count all the stars in the galaxy, counting one every second, it would take 9,512,937 years to count them all. And that’s only in our galaxy!

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