God’s Snowglobe Collection

Day 7 of the A-to-Z challenge. G is for globular cluster, a spherical star cluster, sometimes containing hundreds of thousands of stars per cubic parsec at its core.

After the blaze of light subsides, you notice the collection immediately. Orbs of stars, swirling in a blizzard of chaotic patterns against a velvet backdrop. There are too many to count: all alike, yet each unique as a snowflake. Time melts away as you watch these globular clusters, transfixed as their stars circle the spiral galactic disks, scattering, merging with the galactic halo, burning out in the coldness of space.

Your eyes are drawn to one called Messier 5, and the closer you look, the more stars you see. Hundreds of thousands of pinpoints of light, older than the Earth, older than the majority of stars in the universe, but not eternal. Nothing lasts forever, you realize. A few tens of billions of years, and then the stars fade away.

As the dance of the stars settles down and the stellar embers disperse throughout the galaxy, you reach out with your insubstantial hands. Just once more.

M5. Public domain Hubble photo from NASA, via WikiMedia.


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