The News

Today my newsfeed opens with a picture of a velvety deep dark sky, filled with twinkling stars of various sizes, and dozens of fireflies shooting across the frame in a sparkling summer night. Except its not that at all, but the first view from the Webb Telescope, and what I am seeing – a guarded secret, only revealed to the public today- is actually light from many galaxies traveling through the universe for billions of years to reach us. It is as if, scientists say, you held a grain of sand out. That is the amount of space we are seeing here, but we are poised to see it more deeply than ever before.
Launched into space six months ago, the telescope found its location and unfurled a 21 foot diameter mirror. They say there were 344 possible points of failure, and yet it worked. Scientists are giddy with the promise of what it could teach us.

Also in the newsfeed of my family and my heart is the birth two days ago of my grandson. Launched nine months and nine days ago and eagerly anticipated, he has finally been revealed to us. With way more than 344 possible failure points, I argue his creation is even more miraculous. As I gaze upon his velvety skin, curled feet, rosebud, seeking mouth and soft dark eyes as they open and close, to I think, I am seeing only a grain of sand’s worth of his life and its potential.

Zerbuchen of NASA says,”It’s clear that the light finds a really complex way to us…it just takes your breath away.” Like him, I am poised to follow the light, to study, to see what will be revealed.

We are open to the miraculous.

Webb Telescope Image, NASA

6 thoughts on “The News

  1. I heard a piece on NPR last night about this new telescope. Truly amazing, as is your new grandson. Such a wonderful link you’ve made Fran. Congratulations on the birth of your grandson and wishing you, and NASA scientists, many powerful observations.


  2. I also loved the connections you made. When we pause and reflect so much to notice and wonder at, eh? Great to see you “in person” this morning writing!


  3. Oh Fran. This might me my most favorite science writing you have ever done. As I started reading, I predicted you might choose this news item as I also read about it and thought of you as I read it, my favorite science teacher!! But then you so perfectly connected it to your grandson’s arrival. I especailly like how you reused words like lauched and velvety. This is such a pwerful piece. Thanks for sharing it today. Now go enjoy your grandkids and Spain!!


  4. What a wonderful moment for both you and for us as we witness these moments of light and life. I can’t help but think about Mark Twain’s birth and death corresponding w/ the appearance of Haley’s comet! Now it’s your new grandbaby’s life full of possibility and promise. Congratulations!


  5. The connection between what is profoundly personal is ironically what makes it universal holds the mystery of writing itself. Thank you for sharing these simultaneous miracles separated and bound together in your writing.


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