When a Supernova
Sent Us Its Lights
The most recent collapse, visible by the naked eye, of a blue supergiant star into the SN 1987A Supernova happened 29 years ago today. Or rather, the light of its explosion reached us in 1987; the event took place 168,000 light years from Earth.
It didn’t change anything, except advancing our knowledge of the universe, just as Kepler’s Supernova had done, back in 1604. Galileo Galilei observed that explosion using an instrument that became known as a telescope only a few years after that.
Neither George Frederic Handel, W.E.B.DuBois, Peter Fonda, or Johnny Winter, all born on this day, were particularly affected by the 1987A. In fact, even including those left out of this list, mankind remains mostly oblivious to what’s going on above us.
How could it be any different? Heaven is so vast that, even considering our herculean efforts to populated it with myths and legends, paradise and hell, it remains so utterly powerful as to be touched only by our flawed, ever so dimmed, eyes.
And yet we try, century after labored century, to uncover the veil of ancient secrets, only to be challenged by new mysteries, to forge personal connections, even if they’re one-sided, self-attributed fantasies, bound to be unmasked.
The year of that supernova also marked a personal ephemeris of my own, as I picked New York as my coordinates on this world. And today’s date, as it’s been for decades, signals that I’m one year older and none the wiser. So it is in our mostly small existence.
The stardust that we all share with galaxies and clusters, with nebulae and quasars, will in time turn into ashes too. Except that we mostly wilt and pass away, while they explode into spectacular cosmic energy, seen across the millennia.
Supernovae will keep on popping up, even if we can’t see or record them. But our footprints will fade and be washed away by the elements. It doesn’t matter; what really counts is what happens between our first and last step. I’m closer now, I’ll get there.
* You Say It’s Your Birthday
* Good Morning To All