(Via Bad Astronomy.)
This video made me think of us. We’re the only ones here. And we’ve only recently become capable of seeing planets dance with their moons. We strapped cameras to rockets and flung them to the heavens.
We aimed for these specks of light that have traveled among the stars our entire existence. We’ve watched and traced and slowly figured out how to anticipate them. And in the process, we’ve found that we’re one of them. They’re our family.
Now we’ve taken so many pictures that we can watch them move, watch them dance. They’re out there in the depths of cold beyond cold, held onto by the invisible marionette strings of our single, lonely star.
They always would be moving, even without us watching. But we get to, in all the glory of a simple flickering video, like watching experiments with film at the end of the 19th Century. Knowing that this has gone on for time beyond comprehension, yet we finally are seeing it.
Since we are who we are, we will keep looking. Not only do we get to watch our ancient family dance here, but we search on to see how many other dancers there are in the skies.
And since we are who we are, we will never stop. We can’t. Give an animal some thumbs and plenty of time and its progeny will crack rocks into axes and build fires and eventually run around strapping cameras to rockets.
Maybe those animals would start seeing the faintest traces of those marionette strings pulling on our dancers spinning around our single, lonely star.
The planets would still be out there without us. The tree would definitely fall in the woods and vibrate the air. Those planets would be moving with their moons, nameless and silent. But we are the ones who get to see them dance.