FREE OFFER: A Message from the Stars
Space! Immeasurable distances! Incalculable numbers! Incomparable speeds! Incomprehensible spheres! Inconceivable power! The magnitude of space is awe-inspiring. The sheer vastness of it, along with the trillions upon trillions of objects in the many billion galaxies of the universe is almost incomprehensible to the human brain.
For instance, there are more stars in space than grains of sand in the world. In fact, there are 10 times more stars in the night sky than grains of sand on all the beaches of planet Earth.
And then, in addition, there are probably more planets than stars. And, remember this, we can only see a small percentage of the universe from Earth, even with an optical telescope. The sheer size of space makes it impossible to accurately predict just how many stars we have – they’re really completely uncountable.
And just think of the immensity of space. For example, our earth could fit into the sun
1.3 million times. And one of the closest large galaxies to us is the Andromeda galaxy that is 5 million light years away. Yes, it’s all enough to boggle the mind, but by understanding our galaxy we may be able to better understand our place in it, and how this world came to be.
So, come with me on a journey through Space and make discoveries that are intriguing, and more amazing than you could ever imagine. Yes, spectacular adventure awaits the person who reads what is written in the night sky. Venture onwards with me to the farthest depths of our Milky Way Galaxy, and beyond to the biggest and brightest stars light years away. The stars have a message for us today, a message that will hold you spellbound!
Here, rising above wheat and canola fields, about 380kms west of Sydney, in central NSW, Australia, is the world-famous CSIRO Parkes radio telescope.
The Parkes Observatory was first officially opened on the 31st of October 1961, and is one of the largest single-dish telescopes in the southern hemisphere dedicated to astronomy.The telescope works 24 hours a day, and is now 10,000 times more sensitive to signals than it was when it was first built.
The Parkes Observatory is run by the CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency and is considered by many to be the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia, and was recently added to the national heritage list.
While it is operated primarily for astronomy research, the Parkes telescope has a long history of being contracted by NASA and other international space agencies to track and receive data from spacecraft.
It is affectionately known as ‘The Dish’ after the entertaining movie based loosely on the role of the Parkes telescope in one of humanity’s most significant achievements – the Apollo 11 moon landing.
At precisely 12.56 pm on the 21st of July 1969 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), mankind took its ‘one giant leap’ and 600 million people, one fifth of the world’s population at that time, watched as Neil Armstrong took his first step on the Moon.
The NASA facility at Goldstone, California, and Honeysuckle Creek near Canberra were the source of the first eight and a half minutes of the historic moonwalk TV pictures, until NASA decided that the larger 64-metre Parkes radio telescope was providing better images of the Apollo 11 astronauts exploring the Moon surface. So, for the following five hours, the live broadcast came from this telescope here at Parkes.
The signal was split in two; one went to the ABC, Australian Broadcasting Commission in Sydney for Australian distribution, and the other was sent half-way around the world to Houston, Texas for international broadcast, which added a slight delay. So Australian audiences can boast that they saw Neil Armstrong’s historic first step 0.3 seconds before the rest of the world. So, we were the first to see it all happen!
Now, distances in space are so vast that we cannot talk of them in terms of kilometres or miles. So, astronomers use much bigger units of measurements. They use a measurement which is called a ‘light year’ – it’s the distance light travels in one year.
A ray of light travels in space at a speed of 300,000 km per second, or 18 million km a minute, a speed so great that travelling at the speed of light we could circle the earth 8 times every time your heart beats. This is the measuring stick of the skies, of space.
Let’s ride on the wings of light to the Sun and from there take a journey around our solar system. The trip to the Sun is 150 million kms and will only take us 8 minutes traveling at the speed of light. The Sun is the star at the centre of our solar system, where it is by far the largest object. It’s so massive that it contains 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass and is roughly 109 times the diameter of the Earth — over one million Earths could fit inside the Sun.
The gravity of the Sun is what keeps all of the planets, moons, and bodies within our solar system together. The Sun is our nuclear power plant in the sky and provides the heat needed to sustain life on planet earth. Without the Sun we wouldn’t exist. It drives our seasons, ocean currents, weather, and climate.
OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
And now we continue our journey. Bidding farewell to the sun, we seat ourselves comfortably on a beam of light for our 18 million km a minute imaginary flight across the Solar System. After 3 minutes we reach the planet closest to the sun, Mercury. It’s the smallest planet in our Solar System.
Its surface is very much like our Moon – dry, dusty and pitted with craters. It has the most extreme temperature fluctuations in the Solar System. Temperatures vary between 400 degrees Celsius and -180 degrees Celsius. It’s hard to imagine a more inhospitable place.
Life couldn’t exist on this planet and so we are soon on our way again.
Another 3 minutes of travel on our light beam brings us to the second planet from the Sun, called Venus. It’s practically the same size as our Earth and is the third brightest object in our sky after the Sun and Moon.
Venus shines so brightly that it is the first planet to appear in the sky after the Sun sets, or the last to disappear before the Sun rises. It’s often called the the ‘Morning Star’ or
the ‘Evening Star’. Venus reflects the light from the Sun and is named after the Roman god of love and beauty.
Now, two minutes from Venus on our light beam brings us to the third planet from the Sun; Earth, our home planet. Earth is a world unlike any other. It’s the only place in the known universe confirmed to host life. This is because it has two very important things that living creatures need to survive –– lots of oxygen and lots of water!
Its distance from the sun means it’s not too hot and not too cold for creatures to live on, too. It’s the fifth largest planet in our solar system, and the only one known for sure to have liquid water on its surface.
Ahead of us now, 4 minutes away, is Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. Mars is named after the Roman god of war. It’s also known as the ‘Red Planet’ because, well, it’s red! Mars is the second smallest planet in our solar system after Mercury.
One of NASA’s latest projects that has captivated the interest of the world, is the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars on the the 18th of February 2021. And then on the 19th of April 2021, Ingenuity, the first robotic helicopter, completed the first powered controlled flight by an aircraft on Mars.
The rover carried science instruments to collect soil samples and to look for signs of ancient life. It even has audio-visual technology which captured the flight of Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter. This footage will let us see and hear what it’s like to touch down on another world for the first time ever. Mars has long intrigued us and has a special appeal. But we must move on.
We now head for the fifth planet from the sun, and by far the largest planet in the solar system – Jupiter. Travelling at the speed of light, it takes 30 minutes to get there. We are
awed by its size. It’s more than twice as massive as all the other planets in our solar system combined.
It would require 1,312 worlds the size of Earth to match the size of Jupiter. Fittingly it is named after the king of the gods in Roman mythology. It’s also the fastest spinning planet and has the shortest day of all the planets.
But the call of the outer planets beckons. Another 36 minutes into outer space brings us to Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun and the beautiful queen of the solar system. Saturn is the second largest planet after Jupiter and is adorned with a magnificent system of icy rings, composed of billions of tiny chunks of ice and rock. Saturn is named after the Roman god of agriculture and harvest.
Now the trip from Saturn to Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, takes an hour and a quarter – and remember, every minute we travel 18 million kms. Uranus was named after the Greek god of the sky and is a giant ice planet, four times larger than our earth. It’s the coldest planet in our solar system and makes one trip around the sun every 84 Earth years.
Rushing on, we travel for one and a half hours to Neptune, the eighth and last planet in our solar system. It’s the farthest planet from the sun – more than 30 times further from the sun than Earth is. It’s dark, cold and very windy, and is named after the Greek god of the sea. This planet is so far from earth that it can only be studied with the greatest difficulty using strong telescopes.
For many years we thought that there were 9 planets in our solar system. But in August 2006, the International Astronomical Union downgraded the status of Pluto, which used to be the ninth planet, to that of a dwarf planet. That means it’s a celestial body that orbits the sun but doesn’t meet the criteria of a true planet.
So, our journey across our solar system ends at Neptune. Now, it’s difficult to grasp just how many millions of kms we have travelled in such a short time. In fact, travelling at the speed of light, we’ve crossed our entire solar system in about five and half hours. And when we reach Neptune we are about four and a half billion kms from the Parkes dish.
But notice what we’ve discovered about our solar system. These eight planets and their moons swing majestically around the sun, all timed to perfection, moving consistently in their orbits and spinning perfectly on their axes. From little Mercury to far away Neptune, we find rhythmic perfection. We see that order and design – not chance and chaos – control the movements of the heavenly bodies.
OUR MILKY WAY GALAXY
Now that we’ve crossed our solar system, our journey through starland has only just begun. Our solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy. So now, let’s leave our solar system and set out towards one of our nearest stars in this galaxy, Alpha Centauri. Back onto our beam of light and travelling at 18 million kms a minute it takes us 4 years and 4 months. Now, that’s so far that it’s virtually impossible for us to grasp the immensity and glory of space.
So, consider this. We’ve just travelled through our solar system with its single sun. It’s a sun system. Our sun takes its entire family of planets and moons with it on its journey through space. Our sun and solar system belong to the Milky Way Galaxy. Now to help put
this in perspective, if the Milky way galaxy were the size of the continent of Australia, our solar system would fit in a coffee cup!
Now, try to get your head around this: just in our Milky Way Galaxy, there are over 200 billion stars like our sun, each with their own family of planets and moons. Our sun is just one of those 200 billion stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy. But that is not all. There are at least 10 billion galaxies in the universe. Our Milky Way Galaxy with its 200 billion stars, is just one of the 10 billion galaxies that make up the universe.
Now, our journey so far has taken us through our own solar system and far into our own Milky Way Galaxy. But can you believe that this is still only the beginning of the universe? So we now leave the Milky Way Galaxy and travel to one of the closest large galaxies, called Andromeda. Now, Andromeda is approximately the same size and shape as our Milky Way Galaxy.
THE DOORSTEP OF THE UNIVERSE
Travelling at the speed of light, it would take us 750,000 years to reach Andromeda – and we’re still only on the doorstep of the Universe! We are still only in our own neighbourhood, as it were. Now, Andromeda is a galaxy of mighty suns with cluster after cluster, sun system after sun system, all whirling in perfect balance and precision through space.
But our journey would not be complete without viewing Orion, the majesty of the heavens, a little closer to home. It’s one of the most recognisable patterns in the night sky, visible around the world. The appearance of the Orion nebula is one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens. It’s described as that of ‘light shining and glowing behind Herculean walls of ivory or pearl – walls studded with millions of diamond points and everyone a shining star. And these stars are giant blazing suns, many of them dwarfing our sun in size.
It is difficult for the human mind to comprehend innumerable worlds, immeasurable space, and the intricate design evident everywhere in the universe. Yet, this incredibly complex universe is as smooth-running as a delicate, finely tuned watch.
Just think! Billions of galaxies – travelling at phenomenal speed in their appointed course through the skies, with timing so precise that astronomers can predict the location of these heavenly bodies thousands of years in the future.
ASTRONOMY, SCIENCE AND RELIGION
It’s no wonder that humans have been fascinated and amazed by the beauty and precision of the stars. Since ancient times, for thousands of years, the beauty of the night sky has enchanted and mystified people all over the world. Astronomy was the first science of the ancient civilisations.
They created calendars and time measurements based on the movements of the heavenly bodies. And in a sense, their lives were governed by the seasons and the time measurements associated with the stars and planets. The heavenly bodies became so important to the lives of these people that they began to worship them.
The ancient Egyptians applied their astronomy knowledge to their immense building projects. They were able to construct their pyramids with amazing accuracy, and plan their lives and seasons according to the stars. So, they worshipped the stars.
This was also the case with the early Sumerian civilisation, who built temple towers or ziggurats for the worship of the moon.
Even further back in time, on the Salisbury Plains of England, the ancient British stargazers somehow moved stones 9 metres high and weighing 50 tonnes, to construct a centre of sun worship.
But it wasn’t just a temple, it’s a giant timekeeping device and a kind of observatory for studying and predicting the movements of the moon, as well as the sun.
Then, in Chichen Itza, one of the sacred cities of the Mayan civilization in Mexico, they built pyramids to the sun god. High in the Andes Mountains at Machu Picchu the Inca people worshipped the sun, and other heavenly bodies that played a major role in their lives.
But the ancient Hebrews, the Israelites, responded differently to the grandeur of the night sky. They saw and marvelled at the order and precision of the night sky, but instead of worshipping the stars and planets, they saw the heavenly bodies and their rhythmic perfection
as evidence of a higher power, a Master Designer. The Higher Power, the Master Designer, they called Jehovah or God and they saw the stars and the universe as a creation of their God.
WORSHIPPING THE DESIGNER
And so, rather than worshipping the stars as gods, as other civilisations did, the Hebrews worshipped the God who made the stars. They saw the stars as evidence that their God was the all-mighty Creator God. They believed the stars carried a message – a message concerning the origin and destiny of the human race. Listen to the words of the ancient Bible prophets,
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of His craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world.” (Ps 19:1)
This concept of a Creator-God coloured Hebrew thinking and life, and formed the foundation of Judeo-Christian thought which has underpinned our own civilisation.
This ancient wisdom is relevant to us today. Evidently, the heavens are providing the answers to questions many people are asking today. Answers about our origins and our destiny. People are asking. And the skies are talking back. They carry a message.
Many of us today are uncertain about where we are going, or why. Uncertain morally and spiritually. We wonder if the universe we live in is friendly or unfriendly. But we can find answers to our questions by looking to the stars, to the planned precision of their unfailing orbits – and discover who is behind it all. That’s what the Bible prophets advised. Notice these words:
“Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars?” (Isaiah 40:26)
Yes, ancient wisdom, but extremely relevant to modern people. You see, when we study the stars, we find rhythmic perfection. We see that order and design – not chance and chaos – control the movements of the stars and heavenly bodies.
Now, order and rhythmic perfection show design – and design means that there must be a designer – a Master Designer. And the very first sentence of the Bible pinpoints this Master Designer, this Creator, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
And here’s what’s really amazing. This great Creator God, cares about you. Listen to this:
“When I look up into the night skies and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you have made – I cannot understand how you can bother with mere puny man, and pay any attention to him! (Psalm 8:3,4)
Isn’t that astounding? This big and powerful God who made the stars, actually cares about you and the details in your life. The big things, the little things, everything. He really does! The Creator of heaven and earth is not a distant celestial being, He’s an intimate Father who loves you dearly. God cares more about the inner space of your heart than the outer space of the universe. You are most important to Him, and He really does care about you.
Sometimes there are periods in our life when we are uncertain, disoriented, off course and just not sure where we are going or why. It happens to all of us. If you would like to find certainty, assurance and direction in your life, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our Incredible Journey viewers today.
It’s the booklet, Message from the Stars. This wonderful little booklet is our gift to you and is absolutely free. I guarantee there are no costs or obligations whatsoever, so why not take the opportunity to receive the free gift we have for you today?
Dear Heavenly Father, today we have been reminded of the precision and magnitude of space. We’ve seen the work of Your hands and are left in awe by the beauty and wonder of it all. But even more amazing is your unconditional love for us. Please guide and direct our lives we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.