Monday, May 25, 2009

The Stars

Recently, one of my projects has had me thinking a great deal about the stars and the universe that we live in. As a writer, one of the things one has to do is keep a big picture in ones head so that the story relates the proper scale of things, but this can get a bit difficult when you try and think of anything much larger than say... a small island.

To help put things in perspective for things on a galactic scale, I use a program called Celestia. Just viewing our solar system is a head trip. Zooming out far enough from Sol just to take in the whole of the solar system renders the inner planets nigh on invisible. Distances out side are damned HUGE. Its amazing and more than a little bit humbling.

What amazes me even more, is the fact that every day those distant stars grow just a wee bit closer. With each unmanned probe, and each new ground based advance, we inch our way out of the protective shell of Terra, and reach our fledgling hands towards those closest of objects.

It is enough to set the imagination aflame of even the most incurious of peoples. This introduces the second problem with writing about space: namely that it is so varied and alien to the senses that it is almost too big of a sandbox for the imagination to play in.


One of my favorite themes inside of science fiction, and one that I don't feel has been explored enough, is the idea that we are so damned small in a universe so big that our minds can't even visualize it. It is so beyond our sense of scale! Yet we strive towards it in our imaginations so much, that we make it into as much a reality as possible!

Whew. Sorry, was getting a bit excitable. It is late, so I will just leave you with a video narrated by one of my heroes:

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