Monday, August 10, 2009

Really Old Dust Grains, a Galactic Collision, and a Lively Interest in God's Creation

"Meteorite Dust Hints at Solar System's Origins" (July 30, 2009)

"Where do we come from? The answer varies depending on how far back you want to look. Researchers are studying the oldest meteorite grains to figure out the origin of our solar system. Some of the planet-making material may have resulted from another galaxy smacking into ours.

"Around 4.6 billion years ago, our yellow star and its planet-filled disk arose out of a dense molecular cloud. Most of the details about this pre-solar environment were lost to heating of the primordial gas and dust, but some rocky grains escaped alteration and therefore preserve clues of our solar system's distant past.

" 'Presolar grains are the oldest materials in the solar system,' says Philipp Heck of the University of Chicago. 'The ages of the grains clearly indicate that they are older than the solar system.'..."

Astronomy? Science?! 'Where do We Come From?' in a Catholic Blog?!!

Yeah. I'll get back to that.

'Where do We Come From?

There's a standard joke about the little girl who asked, "Daddy, where did I come from?" She waits, patiently, while her father squirms with his unwillingness to discuss such things. Then she cuts him short and says, "Billy says he's from Topeka: Where do I come from?"

As the lead in this article says, "Where do we come from? The answer varies depending on how far back you want to look...."

Right now, astronomers and cosmologists are pretty sure that the Solar system is around 4,600,000,000 years old. These presolar grains, found in a particular meteorite, are older than that.

It looks like they formed after a smaller galaxy collided with our Milky Way galaxy, about 6,000,000,000 years back: which makes the grains a lot younger than the researchers were expecting.

Long story made short, it looks like something rather energetic (the article says, "dramatic") happened right before our Solar system formed. And that this event may have had something to do with the Solar system's formation.

I'll let you read the article for yourself: it's a pretty good, and fairly non-technical, overview of what's been going on.

I've discussed faith and reason, religion and science, in another post. (March 20, 2009) I'm not going to go over that too much today - it's getting late in my time zone, and I've still got a task or to I want to finish.

What Kind of a Christian Goes Around, Being Interested in Creation?

A person doesn't have to have a keen interest in what God put together, to be a Christian. But I think it helps.

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I'm of the opinion that you can learn about a person by looking at what that person makes. You might discover that the person like ducks or the color blue, is careless or meticulous or prefers very simple (or complex) things.

My starting assumption is that God created the universe. The Catholic church doesn't insist that I believe that the universe started on a particular date, at a particular time of day, in 4004 BC. (That's not likely, considering who came up with that particular 'Bible truth.' (March 5, 2009))
The Church is Insistent About a Few Details
I knew about the idea that God continually keeps His creation going. But, for many years I liked the 'clockwork universe' idea: the notion that God set things up, wound up his universe, and set it going - on it's own. Turns out that's a no-go notion. (June 8, 2009) So be it.

Now I have to think more about free will and sin - but nobody said this was going to be easy.
So, God Created the Universe: What Can I Learn from That?
For starters, God's sense of scale is more than a trifle more flexible than mine. The universe, what we've been able to observe of it, is big both in space and time. It's also built out of units that can be divided into smaller units until we start running into what's been called quantum foam.

So: God thinks big, and with an attention to detail that I can't match. (Big surprise.)

What else?

I think - and this just my perceptions, nothing official - that God likes to play with patterns the way that a composer plays with a theme in a symphony.

For example, we see spirals everywhere - in water as it drains out of a basin, and in hurricanes, snail shells, sunflower heads, and many galaxies. Same general pattern: repeated at different scales in different media.

There's more. Someone quipped that God must like bats: there are so many species of them. Cultural antipathies aside, I can see why that might be so: I've seen the critters in good illumination - and, rarely, in daylight - and the ones we have around here have beautifully fine, shiny fur. Sure, those leather wings take a little getting used to: but there's a delicate beauty to those, too.

Still, I don't think they'll supplant parakeets, cats, and dogs as generally-accepted pets.

Back to Those Dust Grains

We're in the process of learning more about 'where we came from' - more precisely, about the mechanisms by which the Solar system formed. I'm looking forward to learning more about what cosmologists, physicists, and astronomers think has been going on.

Vaguely related posts: More stuff:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.