Free Essay

The Distance to Andromeda


Submitted By Jathleen
Words 1193
Pages 5
The Distance to Andromeda by Gregorio C. Brillantes
The Boy Ben, thirteen years old, sits there and wide-eyed before the screen of the theater, in the town of Tarlac, his heart thumps in awe and excitement, and his hands are balled into unconscious fists, as the spaceship burns its blue-flamed journey through the night of the universe that is forever silent with a high metallic hum.
Enclosed in time within the rocket, the ship itself surrounded by timelessness, which is in turn framed by the boundaries of the cinema screen, the last men and women and children of Earth watch the asteroids, the stream of cosmic dust, the barren planets drift past the portholes like luminous flowers at once beautiful and monstrous, floating in the ocean of space. The traveler search the night for another world of air and greenness, remembering the end of the Earth, the Final War, the flickering radioactive fires upon the lifeless continents. Beyond the dead seas of Mars, and beyond the ice-bound tomb of Neptune, past the orbit of Pluto and out into the black immeasurable depths, the rocket flashes onward, through years of space and time: a moving speck among the twinkling stars, propelled by the flame of its engine and a certain destiny. A sun looms up from the blackness, more golden and more gentle than the star they have always known; and as a globe of shining water and green-shadowed land appears through the viewports; they break out into jubilant cries and dazed whispers of thanks to God. Cradled by a final blast of power, the spacecraft lands on the meadow: a quiet moment before the airlocks open, a sigh of wind in the nearby trees. The survivors of the Earth climb down onto the grass, and the filmed prophecy ends with them gathered as on a pilgrimage beneath the vertical cylinder of their rocket, looking out across the plain to the hills green in the light of the new sun.
The curtains close the window of the screen; an amplified phonograph scratches out a tired rhumba; there is a brief scramble for vacated seats, the usual reluctant shuffling towards the exit after the show. Ben thinks of staying for one more screening but his friend Pepe stood up to leave, waving to him from the aisle.
He and Pepe go up the aisle, stepping on brittle peanut shells and candy tinfoil; in the diffused light, the audience waits for the lovely and terrible dream.
The two boys linger before the moviehouse and look up at the photo stills tacked on the display board: the nuclear-bombed cities, New York and Paris and London, where no man would ever breath and walk again; tomorrow’s spaceship, flaming meteor-like in the night ofspace; the faces of the last people, brave before the unexplored night.
Ben looks up at the pictures, and he feels again, deep in a silence within him, like the vibration of invisible wires, the hum of the universe, the movement of the planets and stars. He turns to his friend in a kind impatience, his eyes bright, his chest tightening; he begins to speak, but the hum and movement cannot be uttered. “C’mon, Ben,” says Pepe, and they cross the street away from the sound and glare of the theater, through the small belling tinkle of the calesas and the warm gasoline dust, while the strangeness within him strains almost like a pain for utterance.
They saunter down the main street in the manner of boys who have no immediate reason for hurry, lazy-legged and curious-eyed. They come to the plaza; children are roller-skating around the kiosko, and the stars are clear in the sudden night over the town.
The two boys get up on the bench and sit on the back rest and watch the skating children. In the white light of the neon lamps, the continuous rumbling sound of the skaters rises and falls with the quality of the cemented rink: now hollow and receding, now full and ascending, going around, seemingly unending. Tito comes by and join them atop the bench; and they talk of a swim in San Miguel tomorrow morning; they agree to meet here, at the kiosko, after the lastMass. After a few random topics, from basketball to the new swept-winged jets that passed over the town during the day, the talk shifts to the movie Ben and Pepe have just seen. Tito does not go for that kind of picture, so fantastic he says, so untrue to life.
With every second the night deepens in the sky. As though in obedience to some secret signal, Ben looks up at the stars. The Southern Cross hangs in the meridian; the half-man and the half-horse in Centaurus rides over the acacias, and the Milky Way is a pale misted river dividing the sky. The stars are faraway suns… The strangeness stirs in silence within him: the unknowable words die stillborn in his mind, and the boy joins in the casual conversation, while the rumble of the skates rises and falls, around and around, as if forever, and the stars swing across the sky.
“I wonder if there are people on Mars – like in the comics.”
“If there are any,” says Tito, “they’d look like Mr. Cruz.”
“Just because he flunked you in algebra.”
“Do you think people will ever get to the moon?”
“Ahh, nobody’s going to land on the moon,” says Tito, “there’s no air up there.”
“They’ll bring their oxygen in the rocketship.”
“Moon, rocketship, Mars – what kind of crazy talk is that?”
With comic farewells, the three boys part ways, Ben walks home alone, back across the plaza, past the skaters and the lamp-posts of kiosko, the border of trees and the town hall. The empty house on Romulo Street stares at him through a vein of vines, like a sick old woman abandoned by her children. The electric plant by the river thunders compressedly as he goes by, the massive dynamos producing heat and light; it is as though he were discovering the power of the machines for the first time, quivering in the air, trembling underground. On the bridge, he stops to gaze at the sky; the far edge of the river, without trees or houses, planes into a horizon; the stars seem to rise from the dark land and the water.
He stands alone on the bridge, and he is suddenly lonely, the vast humming turning within him, waiting: for a streak of blue flame, a signal flare among the stars. Where and why … Thousands of years away by the speed of light, the other worlds… He recalls the view of the heavens through the port holes of the rocket, and the photographs of the galaxies, the whirlpooled suns in the book his father gave him one Christmas. The rocket, an atom wandering in the outer reaches of unknown space: to be lost and lovely forever in the starry night… He feels very tiny, only a boy, shrinking, helpless, standing between the dark river and the lights in the sky.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Edwin Hubble Research Paper

...inside our own galaxy the Milky Way. However, Hubble was able to prove it wrong by using his observational data he gathered from the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory. Hubble took many pictures of the same galaxy over and over again as multiple images were needed to analyze how the galaxy was changing over time. A few years later, while he was comparing pictures of the Andromeda galaxy, Hubble found a Cepheid variable star inside the Andromeda galaxy. A cepheid variable star is a periodic star that has a cycle of brightness with a frequency corresponding to its luminosity. This was an incredible discovery because Hubble could measure the distance from the earth to the cepheid variable star with the help of Henrietta Leavitt. In 1908, Leavitt discovered a relationship between the period and the brightness of cepheid variable; the longer the period, the more bright a cepheid variable is. Hubble observed the cepheid variable in the andromeda galaxy for a few months to determine the period of the star. He determined that the cepheid variable was 900,000 light years away and since the distance of the Milky Way was about 100,000 light years, Hubble was able to prove that the our galaxy was not just the universe, instead our galaxy was just one of many other galaxies in the universe. By discovering that there are other galaxies, Hubble was able to extend the size of the universe by a hundred fold. But Hubble did not stop here. A decade earlier than Hubble, an astronomer named...

Words: 1334 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Constellation and Astrology

...constellations defined by Ptolemy in his Almagest (2nd century). The remaining ones were defined in the 17th and 18th century; the most recent ones are found on the southern sky, defined in Coelum australe stelliferum by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1763). * There are also numerous historical constellations not recognized by the IAU, or constellations recognized in regional traditions of astronomy or astrology, such as Chinese, Hindu or Austral Aboriginal. * Are the Stars in a Constellation near each other? * Not necessarily. Each constellation is a collection of stars that are distributed in space in three dimensions – the stars are all different distances from Earth. The stars in a constellation appear to be in the same plane because we are viewing them from very, very, far away. Stars vary greatly in size, distance from Earth, and temperature. Dimmer stars may be smaller, farther away, or cooler than brighter stars. By the same token, the brightest stars are not necessarily the closest. Of the stars in Cygnus, the swan, the faintest star is the closest and the brightest...

Words: 2095 - Pages: 9

Free Essay


...We have seen no 'edge' to the universe and there are an equal number of galaxies in every direction. Also, galaxies can move relative to space, but at times gravity can accelerate one galaxy toward another faster than space expands. When light waves travel through space, they are stretched by expansion and this increases the wave's wavelength, making it appear redder. Using the Hubble Law, we can estimate the age of the universe. At some point in the distant past, matter in the universe must have been densely packed. From this point, the universe would have expanded at some high speed to become today's universe. Assuming a constant expansion over time, we find that the age of the universe is around 14 billion years. Over very large distances, galaxies in the universe are more or less uniformly distributed. If there are galaxies in every direction we should see a star in any direction we look and if there is an edge to the universe, we should be able to see our way out. In a sense, there is an edge to the universe, an edge in time. Light travels at...

Words: 1341 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Hubble's Theory

...telescope at the time, was able to make measurements of spectra from galaxies much further away than Slipher ever could. After several years of very tedious work, Hubble and his team at the Mount Wilson Observatory had accrued a considerable amount of spectral data for many galaxies with known distances. A linear relationship interestingly emerged when the distance to these galaxies was plotted against their redshift-determined velocities: the further a galaxy is from earth, the faster it is moving away from us. This implied that virtually every point in space was getting further from every other point in space as time progresses. A useful visual analogy is to think of the universe as a loaf of bread being baked in the oven. Imagine the bread has some raisins placed on top of it in a line, and each raisin symbolizes a galaxy in space. Now, as the bread is baked (symbolizing the passage of time), the bread expands, and each raisin gets further apart from every other raisin, but the raisins at the end of the line will spread apart the fastest while raisins right next to one another will spread apart the slowest, just as galaxies farthest from earth will move away the fastest. This distance-velocity relationship transformed humanity’s view of the universe from a static one to one of expansion. This discovery simultaneously answered one question but opened up many new ones for...

Words: 1472 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Chapter 1 Question

...Chapter 1 Problems 1, 2, 3 = straightforward, intermediate, challenging Section 1.2 Matter and Model-Building Note: Consult the endpapers, appendices, and tables in the text whenever necessary in solving problems. For this chapter, Appendix B.3 may be particularly useful. Answers to odd-numbered problems appear in the back of the book. 1. A crystalline solid consists of atoms stacked up in a repeating lattice structure. Consider a crystal as shown in Figure P1.1a. The atoms reside at the corners of cubes of side L = 0.200 nm. One piece of evidence for the regular arrangement of atoms comes from the flat surfaces along which a crystal separates, or cleaves, when it is broken. Suppose this crystal cleaves along a face diagonal, as shown in Figure P1.1b. Calculate the spacing d between two adjacent atomic planes that separate when the crystal cleaves. [pic] Figure P1.1 Section 1.3 Density and Atomic Mass 2. Use information on the endpapers of this book to calculate the average density of the Earth. Where does the value fit among those listed in Tables 1.5 and 14.1? Look up the density of a typical surface rock like granite in another source and compare also to it. 3. The standard kilogram is a platinum-iridium cylinder 39.0 mm in height and 39.0 mm in diameter. What is the density of the material? 4. A major motor company displays a die-cast model of its first automobile, made from 9.35 kg of iron. To celebrate its hundredth...

Words: 4296 - Pages: 18

Free Essay

Mission Control

...3-minute radio drama written by Woody Allen and Ray Bradbury (Introduction for “Mission Control” radio dramas) Announcer over gallimaufry of theremins: From the far horizons of the unknown come tales of new dimensions in time and space, all postage paid. These are stories of a future – stories that you may live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe-worlds, that’ll have a definite lack of affordable dry-cleaning. The National Broadcast Company, in cooperation with Pimple-Faced Magazines, presents “Mission Control” . . . Our story tonight brings you into times of desperation and war. The growing conflict between the Andromeda galaxy and our own has propelled more out of control than my great-nephew’s goiter, and Earth men are being conscripted to fight for their planet. The wives and mothers wave their husbands and sons goodbye as they board the space craft for the long journey ahead, dreading the idea that there mightn’t be any in-flight entertainment. Each craft has a crew of six men: a captain, a navigator, a cook, a mechanic, a robot helper/prestidigitator, and a Groucho Marx impersonator, who is also trained to incorporate passages from Finnegan’s Wake into his stand-up routine. Of the five-thousand nobel ships that left planet Earth, all but one returned. That one was the craft Dyssebeia X, with Captain R. J. Strickland, navigator Peter Venkman, mechanic Abraham S. Christ, chef Emily “Beelzebub” Dickinson, a robot helper known as Ebert the Magnificent...

Words: 920 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Study Guide

...Big Bang? * The event that marked the beginning of the expansion of the universe * What do we mean when we say that the universe is expanding? * Average distances between galaxies are increasing with time. * Based on observations of the universal expansion, the age of the universe is about _________. * 14 billion years * A television advertisement claiming that a product is light-years ahead of its time does not make sense because _________. * it uses "light-years" to talk about time, but a light-year is a unit of distance * The term observable universe refers to _________. * that portion of the universe that we can see in principle, given the current age of the universe * On a scale in which the distance from Earth to the Sun is about 15 meters, the distance from Earth to the Moon is _________. * small enough to fit within your hand * On a scale where the Sun is about the size of a grapefruit and the Earth is about 15 meters away, how far away are the nearest stars besides the Sun? * About the distance across the United States * The number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy is approximately _________. * a few hundred billion * An astronomical unit (AU) is _________. * the average distance between Earth and the Sun * This distance is about 150 million...

Words: 15299 - Pages: 62

Premium Essay


...scales are so different from one step to the next that they are incredibly hard to comprehend all at once – no “everyday” experience to refer them to * If the Earth were a basketball how big would the moon be? Tennis ball * How many Earths would fit into the Sun? ~ 1 million * How many Jupiter’s would fit inside the Sun? 900 * How many Moons would fit inside the Earth? 50 * If we say the distance from here to Toronto (71 km) represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun, how far are we from Pluto? From Hamilton to Mexico, or from Hamilton to Calgary * If we say the distance from here to Toronto represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun, how far is the Earth from the Moon? From here to the edge of campus (Sterling and Forsyth) * If we say the distance from here to Toronto represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun, how big is the Earth? 3 meters * If we say the distance from here to Toronto represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun, how far is the Sun from the next nearest Star? 1/10th the distance from the Sun to Earth Lecture 3: The Earth: * Our starting point and only home * Both land and water * The only planet to have liquid water at its surface * Atmosphere: dense at sea level and then thins upwards * Clouds + weather * Temperature range: from -90 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius The Moon: * Earth’s only natural satellite * Rocky, ancient surface (powdery) ...

Words: 18912 - Pages: 76

Premium Essay

Scin 136 Midterm Exam All Possible Questions

...loss of life. A. dumping of waste in the oceans B. tsunamis C. fish populations D. oil drilling E. tidal cycles F. surfing championships Question 5 The two types of technology that are mostly used to monitor deep-water oil drilling and to locate and recover deep shipwrecks are: A. AUV’s and compasses B. ROV’s and Side-scan sonar C. GPS and radar D. Chronometers and sextants E. B.P. stock price forecasts and FEMA bureaucrats. Question 6 The reason that ancient sailors had trouble calculating their LONGITUDE is that they did not have reliable A. sextants B. astrolabes C. clocks D. compasses E. all of the above Question 7 Our Sun is but one of billions of stars in the ________ galaxy. A. Andromeda B. Milky Way C. Almond Joy D. Nebular E. Ursa Major Question 8 Earth is approximately how old? A.2500 years B.120 million years C.4.6 billion years D.8.4 billion years E.10 billion years F. It is a tie with Larry...

Words: 2936 - Pages: 12

Free Essay


...Universe From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). Part of a series on Physical cosmology • • • • Early universe[show] Expanding universe[show] Structure formation[show] Future of universe[show] Components[show] History[show] Experiments[show] Scientists[show] Social impact[show] Universe Big Bang Age of the universe Chronology of the universe • • Astronomy portal Category: Physical cosmology • • • V T E The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of existence,[1][2][3][4] including planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy.[5][6] Similar terms include the cosmos, the world, reality, and nature. The observable universe is about 46 billion light years in radius.[7] Scientific observation of the Universe has led to inferences of its earlier stages. These observations suggest that the Universe has been governed by the same physical laws and constants throughout most of its extent and history. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that describes the early development of the Universe, which is calculated to have begun13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago.[8][9] Observations of supernovae have shown that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.[10] There are many competing theories about the ultimate fate of the universe. Physicists remain unsure about what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang. Many...

Words: 12085 - Pages: 49

Free Essay

Proposal on Hr

...SERMON -- WE BELONG TO ABBA! by Eddie Lawrence Alternate Title: YOU ARE ADOPTED! Galatians 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. ROMAN LAW CONCERNING ADOPTION Source-- Backgrounds of Early Christianity, by Ferguson, page 51. 1. Taken out of his previous condition. 2. All old debts were cancelled. 3. He started a new life as a son. 4. He took the family name. 5. He was entitled to the family inheritance. 6. The new father owned the adoptee's property. 7. The new father controlled his relationships. 8. The new father had the right of discipline. 9. The new father was responsible for his support. 10. The new father was liable for his actions. 11. The adoptee was viewed as natural born. 12. Could not be reversed. WHAT THE FATHER DOES FOR US: 1. A Father gives his children life. A. A New Nature     (2 Cor. 5:17; John 1:12) B. Receives God's life  (Jo. 3:36) C. Receives new desires  (Gal. 5:22) D. Recieves a new family  (brethren) 2. A Father loves his children. Luke 11:13  "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" 3. A Father protects his children. John 10:28  "And I give them eternal life, and...

Words: 5293 - Pages: 22

Free Essay


...THE UNIVERSE When we look up in the night sky we can see the stars and the moon. And because it is natural to be curious, we ask questions and we want answers. When our view was limited by what our eyes could see, the sky was our Universe. Then the telescopes deepened our view, photography enhanced it, and spectroscopy broadened it. The universe grew from a sky of stars to a realm of galaxies, to an expanding universe of galaxies. Many people believe that nature, the sun and moon, the star, even human beings never had a beginning. There is an endless, external cycle of birth, life and death that constantly repeats itself and it never began and will never end. In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, it was written that at first the world did not exist and that God is the only one who existed. So He created the world. The universe is the totality of everything that has ever existed. It is so large that it contains billions of stars, and all of the planets, galaxies and all of space. The study of the universe is called Cosmology. Traditional Views about the Universe 1. Geocentric Universe Greeks believed that the earth was a sphere that stayed motionless at the center of the universe or the geocentric (Earth-centered) view. Orbiting the earth were seven wanderers (planetai in Greek) including the sun, the moon and the known planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Greece was centered as the “Golden Age” of early astronomy. Claudius Ptolemy created the book Almagest...

Words: 13032 - Pages: 53

Free Essay


...Bibliographic Citations I. Each of the following resource citations has three parts. ❑ The first part is the type of resource (for example, “Book, one author”). The BOLD Comic Sans font in 14 pt identifies this part of each citation. ❑ The second part is a template containing the components needed to cite the resource. The grey boxes       identify the template in each citation. This part is in 12 pt Times New Roman. ❑ The third part provides an actual example of a resource found in a Lexington County District One Library Media Center. The red font in 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced lines and hanging indent identify this part of each citation. II. To use the citation template, highlight the template for the resource you need to cite, then copy and paste into your paper. 1st_Author's_LastName, 1st_Author's_FirstName, and 2nd_Author's_FirstName 2nd_Author's_LastName. Title. City_of_Publication: Publisher, Date_of_Publication. III. Select one of the grey boxes and type the correct information. As soon as you click on each grey box to select it, it is highlighted—do not delete the grey box—just start typing. Notice in the sample below, “Warhol” has replaced the grey box that said “1st_Author’s_LastName” in Step II above. Warhol, 1st_Author's_FirstName, and 2nd_Author's_FirstName 2nd_Author's_LastName. Title. City_of_Publication: Publisher, Date_of_Publication. IV. The punctuation, italics, and underlines will be inserted automatically...

Words: 5909 - Pages: 24

Premium Essay

Ancient Greece

...Ancient Greece The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, is one of the most representative symbols of the culture and sophistication of the ancient Greeks. Part of a series on the | Modern Greece.Septinsular Republic.War of Independence.First Hellenic Republic.Kingdom of Greece.National Schism.Second Hellenic Republic.4th of August Regime.Axis occupation (collaborationist regime).Civil War.Military Junta.Third Hellenic Republic | History by topic.Art.Constitution.Economy.Military.Names | History of Greece | | Neolithic Greece.Neolithic Greece | Greek Bronze Age.Helladic.Cycladic.Minoan.Mycenaean | Ancient Greece.Homeric Greece.Archaic Greece.Classical Greece.Hellenistic Greece.Roman Greece | Medieval Greece.Byzantine Greece.Frankish and Latin states.Ottoman Greece | | Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BCto the end ofantiquity (c. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in ancient Greece is the period ofClassical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Hellenistic civilization flourished fromCentral Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Classical Greek culture...

Words: 17888 - Pages: 72

Premium Essay

Lab One Physics

...Chapter 1, Introduction CHAPTER 1 Conceptual Problems C1. A room in a house has a floor area of 120 ft2. Which of the following is most likely the approximate volume of the room? a. 3 m3 b. 30 m3 c. 300 m3 d. 3 000 m3 C2. When SI units are plugged into an equation, it is found that the units balance. Which of the following can we expect to be true for this equation? a. The equation will be dimensionally correct. b. The equation will be dimensionally correct except sometimes in cases when the right hand side of the equation has more than one term. c. The equation will not be dimensionally correct. d. All constants of proportionality will be correct. C3. How long has it been that scientists have accepted that the nucleus of the atom consists of neutrons and protons? Think of your answers in terms of order of magnitude. a. about a decade b. about a century c. about a thousand years d. since Aristotle C4. Consider the sine of any angle between 30° and 40°. If the angle were doubled, what would happen to the sine of the angle? a. It would double. b. It would more than double. c. It would increase but be less than double. d. In different cases, it could do any of the above. C5. There are other ways of expressing uncertainty besides significant figures. For example, suppose a quantity is known to have a value between 20.4 and 20.0 and our best estimate of the value is midrange at 20.2. We could write the number as 20.2 +/- 0.2 and say that the number has a 1% uncertainty. We would...

Words: 66672 - Pages: 267