As some of you may know, Charlotte is into astronomy and the other year purchased a telescope. Looking through it at the Moon and recently Jupiter and its moons has inspired me as well; seeing these heavenly bodies with such detail for myself was breathtaking. I’ve recently discovered FutureLearn.com, a website that offers free short courses on a whole variety of topics. They’ve just started one on moons and I jumped at the chance to learn more. I never realised there was so much too them. I knew that we have our moon, the Moon, and that other planets had them too, but I had no idea that in our solar system there were over 60 counted so far and increasing! Some of them are vast in size, Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons partly made of ice, is bigger than Mercury. Satan’s largest moon, Titan, has rivers leading into lakes on its surface, only they are made of liquid methane rather than water. Jupiter has a moon, Europa, which is slightly smaller than our Moon, and we believe it has ice on it under which could be liquid water. This makes it the most likely candidate out there to contain life in our solar system alongside Earth. Some moons came into being alongside the body they orbit, others are asteroids or comets that have been captured by the body’s gravitational pull as they passed by. Some believe our Moon is the remains of another large body that crashed into the earth in its early days, much of it absorbed into our planet’s core and the rest thrown back out into space. Out of this wreckage, the Moon came together. As you can probably tell, I have found the course totally absorbing and fascinating so far.
As a family last weekend we went to a talk about creatures found in dark remote caves underground, in many ways the other end of the spectrum. The small creatures that survive in these caves are perfectly adapted to their environment and are both bizarre and marvellous in their appearance and nature, often only existing on one single cave on the planet. Again how wonderful is our God that he has brought onto being such a myriad of varied creatures!
For me learning these things and reflecting on them is an act of worship; what does such a vast, magnificent and varied universe containing such diverse and detailed life say about the God behind it? It certainly moves me to awe and worship. The Psalmist says it perfectly, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands’ (Psalm 19:1)
Church newsletter article 23.03.14