Saturday, December 9, 2006

47)Signs('Ayats') in the Universe: Astronomy.

This picture of a nebula in our Milky Way galaxy, not far from us at all, shows in an aesthetic way that matter, just like energy, has a dual particle-wave nature. The picture shows colours of green(representing hydrogen), red(representing sulfur) and blue(representing oxygen). In their particle-like aspects, these atoms represent either nuclei surrounded by electrons or nuclei(consisting of protons and neutrons) by themselves. In their wave-like aspects these atoms translate onto the electromagnetic spectrum and emit light of very characteristic wavelengths, many of which appear in the narrow band of wavelengths making up the visible light range on the electreomagnetic spectrum; hence green, red and blue. Other types of matter which exist in altered high energy states will release x-rays instead of visible light. X-rays cannot be seen with the naked eye and one needs special telescopes that detect x-rays to visualise matter in these altered energy states. Being able to visualize the spectra(colours) of atoms like this is what has enabled scientists to determine accurately not only the types of atoms and molecules that exist in stars, nebulae and space, but also their relative quantities. Telescopes that can capture light of different wavelengths, as well as the dual wave-particle nature of matter enable scientists to do this:

Turning the tables: The robotic Cassini spacecraft, currently orbiting near and monitoring the ringed planet Saturn, turned its cameras around and took a picture of earth. With the eye of faith one can also see how the gravitational effect of earth's moon slightly elongates the earth in the direction of the moon. Such are the forces of nature from which the inspirational ebb and flow of ocean tides are made:

Very "illuminating" picture of what our earth looks like at night based on human-made lights and a composite of hundreds of pictures taken from orbiting satellites:

This bejewelled picture represents an interesting experiment. It is a composite picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting about 600 kilometers above the earth and 200 kilometers above the International Space Station, which is pointing at about 180,000 stars in the Sagittarius constellation within our Milky Way galaxy. Each dot in this picture, no matter how tiny, represents a star or sun like our own sun. Technology has been developed to determine if any of these 180,000 stars have any planets orbiting around them. The concept is rather simple but the significance of finding a planet could be profound. The Hubble telescope captures light that is emitted by each star and that allows us to see the star. If a particular star has a planet orbiting around it, at some point this planet will totally block or eclipse the star and momentarily block the starlight from being seen by the Hubble Telescope. This eclipse of the star, if it is caused by an orbiting planet, should have a fixed period of time at which the blocking takes place for every orbit around the star. If the Hubble telescope picks up this pattern of regular periodicity and sees a flitting light pattern, one can safely conclude that that star has at least one planet orbiting around it. The enclosed picture picked up 16 such stars with orbiting planets from this composite picture, of which 11 are shown clearly(surrounded by green circles). This is one of the ways in which new planets are discovered. There are many such stars with planets, both in our own Milky Way galaxy as well as in other galaxies. The next question is: Do any of these planets have life on them?:

This remarkable picture shows, once again, that we live in a dynamic and not a static universe. It shows "tiny" polyp-like globules pinching off from a long pillar of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula, indicating the birth of new stars and possibly solar systems(stars plus planets). The Eagle Nebula is located in our own spiral Milky Way galaxy:

Worried about bad weather? Look at the size of a storm swirling over the south pole of Saturn and two storms on the planet Jupiter:

The hurricane swirling over the south pole of Saturn, as seen from the Cassini probe, is slightly larger in diameter than our earth and is therefore about the same size as the "small spot" hurricane on Jupiter. The large spot on Jupiter above the small spot represents a storm four times the size of our earth:


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3