Pizza and Boom

It’s Spirit Week here at Redwood Christian Schools. It’s a festive and colorful time of celebration, games and school spirit. All kinds of things going on around campus; truly an explosion of color, fun, and bright, booming voices cheering on their classmates in head-to-head competitions between grade levels.

But as you twist and shout in a melee of adolescent abandonment and take in the aesthetic splendor of your classmates’ spirit this week, consider the hugeness of the light, color (and most likely deafening sound) of what a few students in London discovered this past Monday while casually eating pizza during their study time.

You just never know what you’ll find when you’re doing homework.

Student Tom Wright explained it this way. “One minute we’re eating pizza, then five minutes later we’ve helped to discover a supernova.”

That’s right. Pizza and boom.

Hubble Space Telescope close-up of the galaxy known as M82. This isn't the actual explosion, but the galaxy itself. Stunning in its own right.

Hubble Space Telescope close-up of the galaxy known as M82. This isn’t the actual explosion, but the galaxy itself where the supernova took place. Stunning in its own right.

A supernova!

A supernova is nothing short of a massive – very massive – explosion of a dying star. It’s actually the death of a star. And from these stellar explosions, new stars are born. But the fantastic thing is that these events are rarely seen by us.

Monday night, a small group of astronomy students were huddled about as the weather began to get a bit foggy over the glowing city lights of London town; not exactly the ideal location for observing the heavens in great detail. They ordered the standard fair of collegiate life and settled in for what promised to be a rather ordinary evening. Before the night sky had been completely immersed in cloud cover, however, the group decided to spend some time using some features on one of their telescopes.

That’s when they saw it.

In a galaxy far, far away called M82. Not too far from the bucket of the Big Dipper. In a really dark sky, astronomers say this supernova is visible with a small telescope or binoculars.

It’s quite rare to be able to catch a glimpse of an exploding star. As one of the other students said of their discovery on Monday, “The chances of finding anything new in the sky are astronomical, but this was particularly astounding as it was one of the first images we had taken with this telescope.”

You just never know what you’ll find. And usually it’s when you’re not looking when such remarkable discoveries come your way.

So whenever your skies look a bit cloudy, just take a bite of pizza and just do the next thing. Finish your homework. Listen to your parents. Do your chores. Read the chapter. Study for your test. Stay the course. One step at a time. Don’t quit. And be ready.

You just never know might happen in the course of your everyday routines. You have no idea what the Lord Jesus might reveal to you.

Boom!

Like finding a supernova.

As the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah to King Cyrus, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.” (Is. 45:3)

We just don’t have any idea what God’s going to do. What seems impossible to us is possible with God.

So be faithful in the little things to which the Lord Jesus has called you. Stay in His light, remain in His house. Father Abraham has many sons. I am one of them and so are you. Long ago, God told Abraham his descendants would be more numerous than the stars of heaven.

And each time a star dies, many more are born.

And because of the death of the Lord Jesus, we are children of Abraham, by faith.

If you don’t have the ability to see the supernova for yourself this evening (or for the next week or so) here are some recent images of M82’s newest “BOOM!”

The Big Dipper (part of Ursa Major) and M82 in the top right corner.

The Big Dipper (part of Ursa Major) and M82 in the top right corner.

Image from Earthand Sky.org and Tom Wildoner. The supernova is white dot between the two lines.

Image from Earthand Sky.org and Tom Wildoner. The supernova is white dot between the two lines.