In March astronomers discovered a high energy burst (gamma-ray burst (GRB) 110328A) from within the constellation Draco. It has been confirmed with the Hubble Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory that the source is the middle of a galaxy 3.8 billion light years away which gives creedence to the view that a giant star has fallen into the black hole at the centre of this galaxy and we are seeing it because the jet of particles emited just happens to be pointing at us. But this burst is unusual because of it's duration.
Astronomers have witnessed a cosmic explosion so strange they don’t even know what to call it. Although the blowup, discovered with NASA’s Swift satellite on March 28, emits high-energy radiation like a gamma-ray burst would, the event has now lasted for 11 days. Gamma-ray bursts last for an average of about 30 seconds. Also unlike a gamma-ray burst, the explosion has faded and brightened, emitting staccato pulses of energetic radiation lasting for hundreds of seconds.My mind follows a piwakawaka's fliting path with this knowledge. I am amazed and confounded by the distances and realisation that this is the past, here today. I marvel at the science, the telescopes, the cosmic coincidence of looking down the barrel of this event, the analysis and compounding effect of understanding. I doubt - how can we know really, with our imperfect instruments being observed through crude organs and intrepreted by spinning neurons, encased. Everything is constantly moving and nothing is still. Whether at the atomic or the galatic level - all moving, all adjusting, so any understanding is very fleeting. I find connections - science's continued build up of knowledge mirrors traditional knowledge building, being aware, in the right place at the right time, can illuminate, and there is beauty and mystery everywhere, all around us, within us - we are here.
As I said, I enjoy cleansing my mind with cosmic events - when cleansed, the issues of the here and now can be assessed more clearly, more cleanly, and ultimately that leads to better decisions and stronger action because of alignment and the lack of clatter. We must look up and out to be able to look down and in.