Adam Block, Still Life with NGC 2170, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona
“In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines at the upper left. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a compact red emission region, and streamers of obscuring dust against a backdrop of stars. Like the common household items still life painters often choose for their subjects, the clouds of gas, dust, and hot stars pictured here are also commonly found in this setting - a massive, star-forming molecular cloud in the constellation Monoceros. The giant molecular cloud, Mon R2, is impressively close, estimated to be only 2,400 light-years or so away. At that distance, this canvas would be about 15 light-years across.”
Think about how much of our bodies and minds have archaeological traces within them from hundreds of thousands, and millions, of years ago. Think about how some objects—some grasses, some trees, the gaze of watching lifeforms, the open sky—conditioned our bodies and minds.
Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with our busy thoughts.
Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still.
And imagine if that moment were to go on and on,
leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision
which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy,
so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of illumination
which leaves us breathless.
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
—Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes
Anonymous, NYC Archives, 1937 [photo via The New York Times Lens Blog]
Yet another stunning photograph married to an equally remarkable quote from liquidnight, who is so devilishly good at this sort of thing.