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Space and Time
by Wayne Blank
Space and Time
We think of light as being instantaneous - turn on a light switch and you instantly have light. But even light takes time to travel from place to place, particularly the incredibly vast distances of space. Astronomers must deal with this reality every day of their working lives.
Although light travels incredibly fast (300,000 kilometers per second / 186,000 miles per second), the light that is continuously radiating from stars takes measurable times to travel the incomprehensible distances of outer space - often, vast amounts of time. Like water from a fire hose, the flow is continuous, but any given drop of water in the stream takes time to fly from the end of the hose (i.e. the star) to the fire (i.e. your eyes). Astronomers measure distances to stars not by kilometers or miles, but by "light years" - the distance light travels in one year.
Any star that you see tonight is actually just how that star looked way back when that particular light image left the star many years ago (the same applies to the star that we see during the day - starting at 93 million miles away, light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to travel to earth i.e. at any given moment, the sun appears as it actually looked about 8 minutes ago). An interesting example is "Mintaka", one of the three-in-a-row stars in Orion's belt (the constellation Orion, mentioned in Job 9:9, 38:31, and Amos 5:8 is visible from both the northern and southern hemispheres). Astronomers have calculated Mintaka's distance to be about 2,000 light years. That is, the light from Mintaka that strikes your eyes tonight left that star about 2,000 years ago - when Jesus Christ walked the earth.
Your eyes are like little time machines - when you look out into space, you are also looking back into time.
Fact Finder: Does God experience time the same as we do?