A few nights ago, Logan and his dad were watching NCIS on TV. One of the characters referred to a computer programme named "Celestia" that enables people to view the features of outer space as if we're close up. It piqued Logan's interest because it sounded fantastic. He looked up Celestia on Wikipedia and found that it does indeed exist. So he was quick to download the programme and we found he was right. It is fantastic.
First it gives a close view of Earth in real time, so we can see who has daylight and who is in darkness at any given moment. To me, this on its own is fascinating. But then we looked at the moon, each of the planets in our own Solar System and other stars and planets in the galaxy. As far as we can see, every celestial body that has ever been charted is available to look at.
We saw the Hubble Telescope whizzing close to the earth's surface. It was somewhere between Madagascar and the west African coast when we followed it yesterday. And there was a great space station way out in the cosmos somewhere that made me think how amazing it is that we, as a race on Earth, have developed the power and technology to be able to send exploring probes out there. Makes me think of the Tower of Babel and shudder. Mankind is really exploring zones that not so long ago, we thought were visible only to God.
It's brought up interesting conversations around here about whether Earth is really the only inhabited planet in the galaxy. At first, I took the presence of our space probes on this programme as fairly substantial proof. "If aliens from other planets were doing the same, surely we'd bump into some of theirs and say, 'We didn't send this one out!'" But as the boys reminded me, the Universe is a huge place. It'd be like two different people each dropping a coloured grain of sand somewhere on the beach and challenging each other to find them. Made us laugh to wonder whether at this moment, aliens are telling their little offspring, "Googaloop is definitely the only planet that can sustain life." But all jokes aside, this programme is awesome!
From the dusty rings of Saturn to the big storm spot on Jupiter, the red landscape of Mars and the shimmering blue beauty of our own Earth, it's a programme that makes me draw my breath in awe at the majesty of God. This is well worth downloading and having a browse of. Logan says he downloaded Celestia from PCWorld. While Google Earth is wonderful for looking at features close up on our beautiful planet, Celestia is awesome for anyone wanting to explore further afield.