THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE
We are all fascinated by endless spectacles of stars lighting up the sky at night, but these are just snapshots of the distant past. We consider our planet Earth gigantic, but it is just a tiny planet among many others that make up our solar system. Such solar systems combine to form galaxies, which then combine to form the universe as we know it. All this makes our home, a tiny blip in the fathomless entirety of the universe.
Looking up toward the sky, we often find ourselves wondering how vast the universe really is. The answer to that very question is so mind-boggling that our mere human brains cannot manage to comprehend the expanse of space.
To put it in simple words, we don’t know how vast the universe truly is, and neither can we begin to estimate it (for reasons mentioned ahead). However, we do know one thing for sure, that the universe is as elegant as we can possibly imagine.
The grace and the expanse of the universe can be split into its two components that have shaped the universe since its origin, and are the key to understanding of how it works – one being space, and the other time. The entire universe in fact exists due to a correlation between these components.
Humans have come a long way in understanding the universe; from considering the Earth as the center of the universe, to now sending satellites to observe it from places far off in space. Yet all that we know and observe is just a tiny bubble. And what’s outside that? We may never really know.
And to compound our ignorance, we have recently learned that the universe has been expanding ever since it began, making any attempt to measure its vastness turning out to be completely futile. So, all we can do is look into the hollowness of empty space and wonder what really exists out there!
It is not only the vastness of space that boggles our minds; it is also the vastness of the timescales on which events in space occur. According to our best estimate, the universe came into being 13.8 billion years ago. Human civilization has been around for just 6,000 years. This may seem a lot, but in reality it is just a fraction of the span of the universe.
A startling comparison of human history and the universe can be visualized by the concept of the “Cosmic Calendar”. It summarizes the entire time of the universe into a single calendar year. Starting from the Big Bang as the 1st January, it assumes the current time as the end of December 31.
According to this scale, the entire human history takes place in just the final one and a half hour of the whole year. Such is the littleness of space and time we humans occupy in the universe!
So, the more we delve into the ceaseless universe, the more complicated our understanding becomes. We have surely made extraordinary progress in our limited time, with limited resources. And who is to say we won’t one day be able to decipher the secrets that compose the cosmos?
But for now, we have to acknowledge the incomprehensible universe created by the Almighty Allah. The sheer elegance of the universe and everything in it is a proof of His Divinity and unlimited Power. We should take time out from our busy lives and ponder upon the vast and immense universe created for us.
As Jeb Bush points out
“Who among us has never looked up into the heavens on a starlit night, lost in wonder at the vastness of space and the beauty of the stars?”