Our galaxy, or, in other words, the Milky Way - a huge space city in which we live. Familiar us earthly city can not possibly compete with this giant universal neither in size nor in terms of population. After all, to reach the opposite edge of the star of the city, a ray of light will require more than 300 thousand years, and that inhabit Cosmopolis hundreds of billions of stars. All together the cities of the Earth did not live so many people, none of the spacecraft does not develop these velocities, which would allow us to fly beyond our galaxy, and look at it from outside. But the idea quickly luminous flux and we can make a mental journey to the furthest edges of space in our city. Closing his eyes, us move on an uninhabited mountain plateau, where the crystal-pure air does not hide from us shine the starry sky, and raising his eyes to the stars begin our fantastic journey where no one was...
In a few moments we have overcome the limits of gravity, have left the solar system. Soon lost in the labyrinths of star and the Sun and the nearest star. Our path lies through the thickly populated hoses in our galaxy, through the dark and light gas nebula, where stars are being born, the speed of thought while flying past the star clusters and planetary nebulae are doing steep turns, get out of the plane of the Milky Way and typing speed are heading to the pole of the Galaxy, where She has the most spectacular view. We are surrounded by extraordinary panorama. There is only the sky, the sky in all directions, but there is absolutely no stars. It was black as coal, and only in the infinite depths beneath us slowly revolving, floating huge stellar disk. It sparkles just like sparkles on a clear day the January snow. That countless stars, not so long adorned our sky, now merged in one unfathomable flicker. With such a large distance the eye can not consider them separately. But well see the streets of this city. Emerging from the luminous center they tend to edges, twisting in a spiral. It is a spiral galaxy hoses lives most of its young population. From this they have a bluish color.
From a distance the life of the star of the city seems quiet and measured, but actually it is not. Life is just full of galactic cataclysm. Here, birth and death stars, exploding supernovae in space throwing billions of tons of hot gas collapses into a black hole devouring its surrounding matter bottomless depths. Speeds on the highways of the galaxy stellar reach hundreds of kilometers per second, and all the space our Cosmopolis permeated all kinds of radiation, which only exist in the universe.
Continuing the tour of the stars of the Milky Way avenues in our view falls into the more remote parts of the galaxy. Here the stars live freer, more peaceful rhythms of their cosmic life. Somewhere in the cosmos is invisible boundary, beyond which begins intergalactic space. There are no stars and nebulae. Look around - we are surrounded by emptiness. Black sky everywhere and the only thing that is present here, so this is a weak stream of light emanating from the abandoned our stellar city. But the emptiness is not nothingness. It from the void 20 billion years ago, our universe was born.
Look carefully - this starless sky can still find two or three stars. Where did they come here? This is a star - the fugitives. With great speed, they managed to escape from the gravitational field of the Milky Way and is now directed their course to others, like ours, starry islands. But even with their speed - thousands of kilometers per second, they will need hundreds of millions of years to get us into unknown worlds.
However, for stars not too long after the stars live and billions of years. By human standards it is terribly much, but probably not for nothing that the ancients said - "... Stars like people ..." - Assuming that the life of a star is the continuation of human life in another incarnation, and, perhaps, is the rapid intergalactic journey is still ahead.
But now, admiring view of our galaxy, it's time to go back. For us, nothing could be simpler - we just have to find in this city familiar light in the window - a ghostly light of the distant Sun.
released November 4, 1997
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