For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” – Isaiah 45:18
You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. – Nehemiah 9:6
“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. – Jeremiah 51:15
The Old Testament prophets drew on heavenly imagery for a reason; God made the heavens and that means something for the confidence we ought to have in the sovereign goodness of his plans and his commands. According to Psalm 19, “the heavens declare the glory of God and the above proclaims his handiwork.” Well, if this is true – and it is – then some thousands of volunteers, called to sort through and categorize millions of galaxies, are in for a treat, whether they know exactly why or not.
From the Associated Press,
LONDON — Scientists want Internet users to help them sort through an unusual digital photo album: pictures of about 1 million galaxies.
In a Web statement Wednesday, astronomers asked for volunteers to help classify the galaxies, identifying them as either elliptical or spiral, and noting, where possible, in which direction they rotate.
It would the largest galactic census ever compiled, something scientists say would provide new insight into the structure of the universe.
• Click here to sign up to sort galaxies.
“We’re in the golden era of astronomy,” said Bob Nichol, an astronomer at the University of Portsmouth, in southern England, who helped develop the “Galaxy Zoo” Web site where the photographs are posted. “We have more data than we can assimilate, and we need help.”
Astronomers say computer programs have been unable to reliably classify the star systems.
Without volunteers, it would take researchers years to wade through the photographs, which were taken automatically by a massive digital camera mounted onto a telescope at the Apache Point Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico, Nichol said.
• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Space Center.
With 10,000 to 20,000 people working to classify the galaxies, the process could take as little as a month.
Volunteers would sign on to the Web site, complete a brief tutorial and pick through one galaxy after another.
The galaxies would be identified by several people to guard against errors, and scientists would rule on galaxies whose shape or spin was disputed by volunteers.
The catalog would help researchers understand how galaxies interacted and the way in which they formed, Nichol said, explaining that scientists still knew very little about galaxies beyond the fact that some were spiral-shaped while others were elliptical.
“It’s a bit of like knowing that there are men and women in the world, but not knowing where they come from or how they’re different,” he said.
If the volunteers’ data showed that galaxies close to each other spun in the same direction, for example, it would suggest that they were formed at the same time from a common source, a potential challenge to the current understanding of how galaxies — and the structure of the universe — came to be.
Thankfully, God didn’t leave his image bearing creatures to wait on such a project to learn about “the way in which galaxies are formed.” Of course, from a Christian vantage point, this is a worthy undertaking as it amounts to an exploration and enjoyment of the majesty of God on display in creation. The trick is, however, to see the Creator in this creation and not a Creation in his place. Matter is not ultimate, God is. God is before, bigger and better than a million galaxies sorted by thousands of web volunteers. And thanks to the Scriptures, we know not only where these stars came from, but for what purpose they were made; to provide a hospitable environment in which God’s image bearing creatures could explore and enjoy the greatness and the majesty of their Maker…and have a little light at night time as well.