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2012-05-20 00:47:22 (UTC)

THE UNIVERSE: And then there was light….

Section 1:

The Universe(1) is an American documentary television series which first appeared in the UK in 2007 and it continued to the end of 2011. I did not begin watching the series in Australia until 2012. Computer-generated imagery and computer graphics of astronomical objects, as well as interviews with experts in the fields of cosmology, astronomy and astrophysics make this series fascinating for people like me whose knowledge of these fields has always been minimal.

I have had a fascination with these subjects since the start of the space age in the late 1950s and early 1960s, since my becoming affiliated with the Bahá'í Faith back in the 1950s during my adolescence, and since having the influence of a maternal grandfather who was also interested in these fields. It is difficult not to be interested in the subject being in the first generation to see the movement of man into space in the last five decades. But I have never followed-up that interest in any serious way other than: (a) to attend two or three of those planetariums that dot the landscape of the cities of the world, (b) to browse through a few books and (c) to listen and watch the occasional special on astronomy in the electronic media like the one to which I refer above.-Ron Price with thanks to (1)7TWO TV, 25-26 February 2012, 11:45 p.m. to 12:50 a.m. and The Universe(TV Series) at Wikipedia.

Now that I am retired from
the world of jobs, meetings
and what now seems like an
endless amount of socializing,
I can give myself to learning &
the cultural attainments of the
mind. I really got going with the
fields of astronomy, cosmology
and astrophysics in the year ’09:(1)

(1) The International Year of Astronomy 2009 was a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day-and-night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. In 2009 astronomy celebrated four centuries of its modern existence, beginning with Galileo in 1609. In December 2010 a National Geographic video-documentary was televised. It was entitled: Journey to the Edge of the Universe. I have written about this before.

In the first years of my retirement from FT, PT and volunteer work, 2005-2012, there has been an increasing range of stimuli that have turned me toward astronomy of which the series I mention and that National Geographic video above are but two. It will be interesting to see the development of this interest in these middle years(65-75) of my late adulthood, the years from 60 to 80 according to one model of human development in the lifespan.

The cosmic dark age, perhaps as long
as 180 million or more years, is but
one of the mysteries of astronomy.(1)

(1) John Mather who won the Nobel prize for physics in 2006 said this. He is a senior astrophysicist at the U.S. space agency's (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

What brought this cosmic dark age to an end was the birth of the first stars and galaxies. "Suddenly light was everywhere," says Abraham Loeb of Harvard's Centre for Astrophysics. "The Universe lit up like a Christmas tree."

Ron Price
29 February 2012