In 1879 Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and is quoted as saying, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will use candles.” Today, we have so much cheap electricity that it has created light pollution that it hinders our ability to see the stars at night. Our ancestors looked at the night sky and marveled at the wonder of the universe.
Earth is part of a solar system that orbits around a minor star called the sun. The solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is now believed that there are over two hundred billion other suns in our galaxy and over one hundred billion other galaxies in the universe. Despite these numbers, outer space is mostly empty and its vastness unsearchable.
Traveling at six hundred seventy million miles per hour, the speed of light, it would take you eight minutes to reach the sun, twelve hours to cross our solar system, one hundred thousand years to cross our galaxy, and two million years to reach the Andromeda Galaxy.
Everything on Earth revolves around the sun. The sun warms us, lights our days, and fuels all life on this planet. It burns over four and a half tons of mass per second, and its interior temperatures are believed to reach four million degrees Fahrenheit.
Earth is ninety-three million miles from the sun. If it were twice as far away, we would receive one-fourth the heat and be too cold for life. If the earth were forty million miles from the sun, we would receive twice the heat, and it would be too hot for life.
Earth weighs six billion trillion tons. It spins on its axis, giving days and nights, tilted at twenty-three degrees, giving seasons—slipping silently through space at seventy-six thousand miles per hour. In the last one thousand years, Earth has not lost one one-thousandth of a second on its yearly journey around the sun.
In the night sky, hundreds of billions of stars move in complex yet systematic grace, living and dying in such intricate precision that their paths can be charted years in advance. But, we’re all watching television and don’t bother to look up to see the stars.
Thousands of years ago, before electricity, King David wrote, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word.” Psalm 19:1-3a (NLT)