Saggitarius

Want the podcast episode?

I find it stabilizing to orient myself with respect to a few places that I find meaningful. One of them is akin to a pilgrimage site; another one is comparable. But the third one is in the sky, near Saggitarius: it is called the Great Attractor. It is the gravitational center around which everything else orbits. The earth orbits around the sun, the sun around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, the galaxy around the center of the Local Cluster of galaxies, which orbits around the center of the Virgo Supercluster, which is being attracted by the Great Attractor. The scientific story is more complex, and it becomes harder to establish orbits toward the end of the story; but the main idea is that there is scientific evidence of a centered universe.

If we take relativity physics as our ultimate theory of space, it is meaningless to speak of a center; but I would like to see cosmology develop a way to honor relativity physics without marginalizing the fact of the Great Attractor.

Why does the idea of the Great Attractor matter? Because it fits perfectly with the idea that the Creator has a heavenly home, a Paradise of perfection, a residential dwelling place beyond the evolutionary realm that comes within range of our telescopes. Said the Psalmist, “The Creator covers himself with light and stretches out the heavens as a curtain” (Psalm 104).

At any time of the day or night, if I want literally to orient myself to the highest heaven, I turn on my phone, open my sky map, find Saggitarius along the ecliptic, near Pluto, in order to enhance my feeling of being anchored in the center of all things.

 

Photo credit: http://www.absoluteaxarquia.com/nightsky/sagittarius.html