Space is the ultimate getaway. Whenever the world is too much with me in the form of bad news either near or remote, I draw an odd sort of comfort from musing about stars and recalling that the Universe really could care less about us.
A million dyspeptic tweets on Twitter are as meaningful to the Universe as a million grains of moon dust. War, elections, hurricanes, police shootings. The Universe is unmoved by what moves us Earthlings.
No matter the latest headlines from Washington or elsewhere, the black hole at the center of our galaxy, its mass several million times that of our Sun, disappears anything getting too close -- interstellar dust and gas, stars, planets. Billions of stars -- red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars -- turn nuclear fusion into light. Billions of galaxies zip away from each other under the influence of dark energy, whatever that is. Like "Ol’ Man River" from Jerome Kern’s famous “Showboat” musical, the Universe “just keeps rollin’ along.”
That the Universe is indifferent to us is actually positive. I prefer my Universe to be pure physics and math without the emotion or illogic that endlessly trip up us humans, causing so many of us to inflict misery on so many others of us. Maybe if we truly understood our place in the cosmic scheme, we’d show each other more mercy.
The Universe doesn’t take sides. It doesn’t condescend. It’s not hypocritical or driven by passion. It is, quite literally, above it all. That’s what makes learning about it, wondering about it, marveling over it, a welcome respite. An imagination that leaves Earth’s orbit can find a sanctuary so big that it would take 13.7 billion light years before you reach the edge of it.