On most clear nights between the Pegasus and Cassiopeia constellations lives the light of a trillion suns. This light must travel 2.5 million years in order to reach the Earth, giving a glimpse into the past if we only choose to look up and search for it. This group of stars, now called the Andromeda Galaxy, has been hovering over Earth for silent millennia, waiting to be recognized.
Astronomers from long ago looked upon the Andromeda and thought it a celestial cloud. Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi wrote about Andromeda in 964, calling it a small cloud. For centuries it was included in star maps, even before the advent of the telescope in the 17th century. It wasn’t until 1925 when Edwin Hubble correctly identified the Andromeda as a galaxy entirely separate from our own, instead of a cluster of stars held within our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Chasing the Light of Yesterday
Our own light can appear to the world as easily as the stars appear to us in the night sky. It can be just as easy to miss though. If the world doesn’t know we’re there, or know where to look for our story, we’re invisible and become just another dot scattered in the sky. Only when we focus our light – our goals, dreams, passions – forward with purpose, can we shine and be found and admired.
Perspective is everything. If the Andromeda Galaxy appeared to the naked eye as it does to a large telescope, it would be six moons wide in our night sky, a small space for a galaxy that contains an estimated 1 trillion stars. What’s more amazing is that the galaxy we see is 2.5 million years old, as the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away from Earth. Perspective gives us balance, and helps us know what should hold our focus, and what shouldn’t.
You could spend your life looking in the direction you think is forward, doing what you think is dreaming, and working towards what you believe to be your goals, only to ultimately find yourself stationary during the whole affair. Life moves fast and the ideas within us are fluid. Move with them. Don’t be stationary. Let yourself live and let your ideas shine everywhere.
The light from Andromeda left its source long before you or I were ever a thought in the world. Two and a half million years later, only those who search for Andromeda see its light or ever truly appreciate its significance. For centuries, the greatest minds looked through their naked eye at this faraway celestial body, thinking it merely a part of our own galaxy.
Only recently, in the grand scope of our history, has the truth come. And now we realize that we are but small granules of sand in an ocean of stars. We’re made of carbon, of the very stardust that sends pure light two and a half million years to our Earth, only to beg to make it to our searching eyes. Our Creator intended us to be explorers, to live for the light of yesterday but chase the light of tomorrow.
Our lives are meant to be lived as explorers today, not as people chasing yesterday. If you’re stuck, there are inspirations everywhere you look – stand outside on clear night, and let the ancient light of a trillion stars wash over you.