Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer.

     Cosmology fascinates me, in fact my blog name derives from a very famous photo called the Pale Blue Dot, taken by the spacecraft Voyager 1. The photo shows earth as a little tiny blue dot surrounded by the vastness of space. Amazing how that little dot is where, as Carl Sagan put it: "Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives."

      Eversince the dawn of history, human beings had used the stars as a gateway of learning about the world - they noticed patterns and using that pattern our ancestors are able to tell where they are, sailors are able to tell their directions, and the nomads enable to predict the coming of seasons. This was long ago, in a time where the night is only lit by fire.

     I remember calling bollocks on all these constellation stuff until I learned about light pollution. Excessive artificial light especially in the large cities obscures all but the moon and the brightest of stars at night. I dream of one day to drift far away into the wilderness, where there is no light pollution and watch the stars like our ancestors do. Shenango Lake in Ontario, Canada is one place famous for stargazing, where it was told that during the night, one could take a boat to the middle of the lake, and if the lake is calm and collected the reflection from the sky makes it almost like you are floating in space surrounded by stars both above and below you. It sounds amazing.

    Distance. The sun holds all the worlds in the solar system with its gravity, to prevent the worlds from drifting away from its orbit. Our sun is relatively young when compared to the age of other stars in the universe, only 4.6 billion years young. Newborn stars are wrapped in blankets of gas and dust and only after 0.5 billion years will turn into so called adolescent stars, like those present in the constellation The Big Dipper. These numbers are staggering isn't it? And that is only scratching the surface of astrology, do you know that the massive planet Jupiter acts as the vacuum cleaner of the solar system? It is so massive that its gravitational pull is able to suck in all sorts of asteroids towards it, keeping the solar system clean.

    And me as a Muslim who believes in an omnipresent, omnipotence and omniscience God - it is just beyond human comprehension to imagine how great His powers are. He is watching me right now, while also watching a random asteroid or a random star being born several hundred light years away. Not to mention that He transcends time meaning that he is also watching the present, the future and the past all at the same time.

    These complexities of God makes for an interesting topic to dwell into, because much too often questions like these arise: If God is The Source of Peace (As-Salam), then why are there still many wars in this world? The Just (Al-Adil) but there are still crimes and poor people in the world? The Giver of All (Al-Wahab) yet why are there are many honest and hardworking people whom are poor?

     The motives of God are just not in the same spectrum of humanity's motive and morality. The story of Moses and Khidr in Surah A-Kahfi is an instance of this. His nature is not just confined to being The Loving One (Al-Wadud) and all morally white virtues, but also Al-Qahhar and Al-Mumit  which means the subduer, the destroyer and the One who brings death. Like most debates, there will be counter arguments, and we will provide a counter to that counter - but at one point in time these debates will just go in circles and turn into mindless arguments. I think the best thing that one can do is not to give examples, but lead by examples. 

To convey rather than expressing - that is what we all should do.

April The Stargazer.

Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer 6

April looks up -  towards the sea of stars above. 

Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer 3

When April turn on the lights, something precious are lost - the stars.

Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer 2

If only she could leave the ground and break through the clouds - but gravity holds her.

Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer 1

But maybe it is not just gravity, but bounded by life and all things around her as well.

Yearbook 05: April The Stargazer 7

In many ways, life is also a man's own little universe.

Yearbook 05: April The Stargazer 8

Tuned by the intricacies of all that is around us. We may never know who we are, but the journey is finding what we are not.

Yearbook 05: April The Stargazer 9

Writing allows us to save our thoughts and send them farther than space and time.

Yearbook 05: April The Stargazer 10

But space and time can make angry and violent things and turn them into something kind.

Yearbook 05: April the Stargazer 4

And kindness is something akin to a bright star, that shines the darkest of skies.

Inspirations, passions & motivations.
1. Y'know when I first mapped my yearbook project, I was so sure that my April entry would be filled with pictures of my then planned trip to the White Dessert, to complement this entry's stargazing theme. But as luck would have it, my camera broke down so those plans falter.
2. The beach and rock photos were taken in Mersa Matrouh, which was hands down the most beautiful beach that I had ever been too. The color of the sea there was so stunning, like a rainbow only that all 7 colors were different hues of blue.
3. Listen to the instrumental Moon by Sleeping At Last. 
4. I lost my by then very long draft of my London travelogue as such I kind off stopped blogging for a month. It's hard to get the motivation to rewrite all those details man.
5. The "red dot" in my blog refers to a camera brand named Leica. Leicas are not cheap, one camera costs RM25,000 and a lens made by them can be more than RM30,000. So in this entry readers will know the 2 inspirations for my blog name.
6.I highly recommend watching the documentary series Cosmos hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I could listen to him talk for days without stop - he has such an awesome voice. This series is a sequel sort to a series of the same name hosted by Carl Sagan more than 2 decades ago. The first episode of this new series has a very touching tribute by Neil to Carl Sagan who had a very large influence in his life.