moreshortstuff

Life, kids etc.

A true wonder of the universe

on March 9, 2012
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, is an image of a ...

The Hubble Deep Field Image puts spitting in context

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOLTON NEWS, FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2011

WHEN I hit my mid to late teens, acid house and giant, illegal parties were the thing. They weren’t known as “raves” for another few years. Cool, eh?
Hot on the heels of that came the Madchester scene – Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Hacienda, that sort of thing.
Needless to say, my weekends tended to be a bit crackers.
Last Saturday night I was back in a wet field late at night, joining a select few for a semi-secretive event under the stars.
But this time round there was no bouncing PA or police raid breaking up the action at dawn.
Instead, there were lots of people with high-powered telescopes who were really keen – I mean really keen – on stargazing. I am now officially a middle-aged geek. Cool, eh?
It was my first time out with an astronomy club – and it was an eye opener in more ways than one.
There were a couple of talks beforehand, on the life of a star and on the solar system. You know pretty-boy professor Brian Cox and his “Wonders of..” series? Well this was like seeing the covers band version down the pub.
But it was just as fascinating. You start to wonder about the miracle of our tiny blue planet teeming with life, almost alone in the vastness of space.
And there were enough amazing facts to make your head explode. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what would happen if you got a hole in your spacesuit it turns out.
But no fact was more remarkable than this one: we are all made of stardust. The dust and debris in the far reaches of the universe that collects to eventually form stars – well it’s fundamentally what we’re made of too. The things that made us came out of the Big Bang. In essence, we‘re all made of stuff that it 13.7 billion years old, give or take a year.
Maybe calling it “stuff“ is doing it a disservice.
Anyway, the amateur enthusiast who enthused about this fact ended his talk then informed us there was tea and coffee at the back of the room. So off I toddled to get a cuppa.
When the nice lady in the queue in front of me finished stirring her brew, she promptly turned round, smiled, then gobbed in the bin next to me before sliding off back to her seat.
So we‘re all made of stardust, eh?
I’ll be honest, I was a touch shocked at seeing a grown woman hacking a docker’s omelette at an astronomy club do, of all places. Although I suppose she had a bit of class – she flobbed in a bin.
I see so many people spitting in the street though.
I can handle bad habits. Lord knows I have enough of ‘em myself. Pick your nose? Bite your own toenails? Not bothered. But spitting? Gah. When did it become socially acceptable?
Yet when you pull them up about it they get a bit, well, shouty.
It amazes me. The fact that there are people going round who think giving strangers a chance to contract their Hep C is absolutely fine and dandy really is a wonder of the universe.
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