|"Foundations of the Universe" Metaphysical Map detail, by Holmes.|
He told about an idea they were working on, a project now well-known as Hubble Deep Field, where they found a particularly dark part of the night sky and photographed a tiny patch of it (what amounts to as much as a tennis ball viewed at 100 yards) for several nights in a row. Then they piled the photos on top of each other to see what was there. To everyone's surprise, the field was crammed full of distant galaxies! It must have been my dropped jaw that prompted him to take me up to one of his kid's rooms and crank up a small personal computer with a book-sized screen, as I recall.
He pulled up an image––a white screen with a bunch of faint black dots––and he explained to me what we were looking at: every one of those dots was a distant galaxy, in fact the most distant objects humans had ever seen! I had to pause a moment to take stock of my situation: Here I was, lucky enough to live in a time when humanity had invented and deployed this most amazing eye in all of history, which my friend was in charge of, and which results I was now getting to witness first hand: the most distant, oldest images in the whole universe ever seen by humans! And among the few of those who got to see that first image, I was now one! ...Thank you, Harry.
I recall as a 5-year-old lying on my back in the yard, looking up into the night sky and seeing the light moving across the sky that was the first satelite, Sputnik. I've watched the moon landing on TV and the Chellenger shuttle explosion and now even a guy's private car in space... I've witnessed the whole arc of the space age. It's astonishing to me to live in this particular window in time!