Feel small.

Space. The final frontier. The deep, dark night. Someplace that exposes the Earth for the true gift of the cosmos that it is: a world full of life nestled in a cosmos that is on a grander scale than we can imagine, that is devoid of life besides that of which we are aware here on our own home turf. Science has made great strides to uncover the mysteries of that deep and NASA’s APOD (Astronomy Photo of the Day) webpage posted this brilliant gem of a photograph yesterday:

HL Tauri looks like a massive Saturn.

This is HL Tauri, a relatively nearby and young star that appears to have a protoplanetary disk forming around it. As you can see, there are gaps in the disk surrounding the nascent star, signaling gravitation interaction of some sort, potentially – if not likely – a sign of planets forming in the areas of the gaps. This is outstanding. Being able to actually witness and observe the process of star formation can provide us insights about our own solar system’s origins.

I’m reminded of a little thing that Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy said:

Science: take me to your lead... er... wonder.

Science: take me to your lead… er… wonder.

The universe, even the parts right near us, is a place more complex, more sublime, and more beautiful than most people can put into words. This ineffability of the universe should lead us to ask more questions and do more looking, because there exists so much more than what we sense alone.

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