Warning : Quick Geography lesson ending in History!
Look out at the sky tonight. Every night. Till you can shift your gaze from the waning (or waxing, depends on when you’re reading this) moon, to the dimming stars barely giving us a glimpse from the clouds, haze and dust these days.
The Sun is the nearest star to our planet. Go a little further and you have the Proxima Centauri which is 4.2421 light years away. A quick Google search indicates that the top ten nearest stars to the Earth are all within ten light years away from us.
Do you know what this means? There are a billion stars around us we can lay our terribly limited human eyes on. And the light coming from them that helps us see them is from a lot of years ago! 4.2421 years in case of the Proxima Centauri. Or 10.322 years in case of Ross 248, the tenth nearest star. Or ULAS J0015+01, the farthest star from the Earth which is 900,000 light years away.
As you look into the sky, you, my dear friend, are literally staring into the past! Every single night! Those stars may have long moved away or collapsed or given birth to black holes today, but you get to be a part of their history by simply casting a look at them.
P.S. : Maybe somewhere, from one of those celestial bodies, a past you could be staring back at the present you in the multiverse! I’ll stop right there. 🙂
Picture Courtesy : Martin Mark.