Wonders of the Universe (2011–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - On Beams of Light(#1.4) - full transcript

In the last episode of Professor Brian Cox's epic journey across the universe, he travels from the fossils of the Burgess Shale to the sands of the oldest desert in the world to show how light holds the key to our understanding of the whole universe, including our own deepest origins. But first we need to understand the peculiar properties of light itself.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it - foodval.com
---
Why are we here?

Where do we come from?

These are the most
enduring of questions

and it's an essential part of human
nature to want to find the answers.

And we can trace our ancestry back
hundreds of thousands of years

to the dawn of humankind,

but in reality, our story extends
far further back in time.

Our story starts
with the beginning of the universe.

It began 13.7 billion years ago.

And today, it's filled with
over a hundred billion galaxies,

each containing hundreds
of billions of stars.



In this series, I want to tell
that story, because ultimately,

we're part of the universe,
so its story is our story.

It's a story that we wouldn't be
able to tell,

were it not for the one thing
that connects us vividly
to our vast cosmos.

Light.

Light reveals the wonders of
the universe in all their glory -

stars that shine with
the light of a thousand suns,
and vast swirling galaxies.

But light is also a messenger
from a long-forgotten era,

and contained in the light
from these faraway places

is the story of our
universe's origin and evolution.

Through light we can stare back

across the entire history
of the universe

and discover
how it all began,

and ultimately see how light
breathed life into us.



This is Karnak Temple in Egypt.

Built by the ancient pharaohs,
this vast complex

was erected to honour Amun Ra,
god of all gods, god of the sun.

This worship reaches its peak

during one fleeting moment
in the solar calendar,

an event so brief it lasts
for little more than a minute.

This temple is built to align
with an astronomical event
that happens just once a year -

the sunrise at the winter solstice.

"Solstice" is Latin
for "sun stands still"

because as the Earth orbits around
the sun and the year passes,

the point at which the sun rises
above the eastern horizon moves,

so here in Egypt in summer, the sun
rises over in that direction,

and then as summer turns to autumn,

turns to winter, the sunrise point
drifts along, until today

on December 21st, at 6:30am
in mid-winter,

the sun rises exactly
between the pillars of this temple.

Just once a year,
for over 3,000 years,

the sun has risen
between the two pillars,

and casts its light into the temple.

There it is, the light from our star

cascading down
this magnificent structure.

I mean, you can literally
feel the history of this place,

so it's easy to forget
that this is 3,500 years old,

so in 1500 BC, the most powerful man
on the planet,

the Pharaoh of Egypt,

would have stood here on
December 21st every year,

just to greet and experience
the light

from Amun Ra.

This moment that the Egyptians
worshipped instinctively

we now understand
in exquisite detail.

As the Earth journeys
through the Solar System,

it's bathed in the light
of the star that sits at its centre.

This light has travelled
some 150 million kilometres

from the surface of the sun.

And at the winter solstice,
that light pours into
the temple at Karnak.

Well, this building is honestly
the most magnificent structure
I've ever seen.

Now, it's not built
on the scale of men.

It's built on the scale
of gods, of one god,

Amun Ra, the god of the sun.

As the sun sinks below the horizon
and night falls,

the whole universe
of suns fades into view.

We no longer build temples
to our sun, we build machines

that allow us to peer deeper
into space than ever before,

to far distant suns
out there in the galaxy, and beyond.

On a night like this,
there are about 2,500 stars

visible to the naked eye,

but when we started building
telescopes instead of temples,

we discovered
that there are billions more.

Every star we see in the night sky

is a sun that sits within
our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

As we step away,
our sun gradually fades

to become just one dot
in a sea of stars.

We now know that we're about
halfway out from the centre

of this beautiful cosmic structure,

but even though these worlds are
many millions of kilometres away,

we know them intimately
by their light.

These waves of light are
messengers from across the cosmos,

and through them, we've discovered
the wonders of our galaxy.

This is the Lagoon Nebula.

From a distance,
this cloud of dust and gas
appears beautiful and serene.

But this is a furnace
where new stars are forged.

The Lagoon Nebula sits about
5,000 light years from Earth,

but it can still be seen
with the naked eye,

because it's 100 light years across,

and brightly lit by the hot, new,
young star that sits at its centre,

a giant called Herschel 36.

This newly born star is over
20 times more massive than our sun,

and burns much hotter,

which makes the light
that pours from its surface blue.

And there are even
bigger stars in our galaxy.

7,500 light years from Earth is a
star that dwarfs even Herschel 36.

Its name is Eta Carinae.

This monster star is over 100 times
more massive than our sun,

and burns about
four million times brighter,

making it one of the most
luminous stars in the Milky Way.

All we know about these incredible
worlds has been brought to us

on wave after wave of light.

Our galaxy is a symphony in light.

The Milky Way is home

to 200 billion stars,

but our galaxy
is just the beginning.

For each of these stars, there are a
billion more in the universe beyond.

Across the unimaginable reaches
of space, light has allowed us

to journey
to the most distant galaxies,

to see the births and deaths
of stars.

No matter how far we follow
the light, no matter how many
billions of miles we cross,

the nature of light itself allows
us to go on a much richer journey,

because to look up, and to look out,
is to look back in time.

Those ancient beams of light are
messengers from the distant past,

and they carry with them a story,

the story of the origin
of the universe.

In order to read this story,

to see how light can transport us
to the past,

we must first understand
one of its fundamental properties -

its speed.

Everything in our universe
has a speed limit,

even intangible phenomena
like waves of sound and light.

These speed limits
are very real physical barriers,

and they have profound consequences

for our understanding
of the universe.

Today, I'm going to try and break
one of those barriers.

This is a Hawker Hunter.

It was built in the 1950s,
when breaking the sound barrier

was at the very limit
of our technical abilities.

A sound barrier's an incredibly
evocative term, you know,

it has an almost legendary status
in the history of aviation,

but there's nothing fundamental
about it -

it's something that you can overcome
with some extremely
clever engineering,

and in the early days,
quite a lot of courage.

The reason we don't usually think
about sound as having some kind
of speed limit, a limit in speed,

is because it is incredibly fast
compared to the things
we're used to in everyday life.

But today,
we're going to try and break it.

I'm going to try and break it,
sat in this marvellous machine.

On Earth, the speed of sound,
depending on altitude

is around 1,200 kilometres per hour,
known as Mach I.

This jet isn't designed to fly
that fast in normal flight,

but there is a way to make it travel
faster than sound, and for that,
we need to fly high.

As the plane flies faster, it begins
to catch up with its own sound.

The sound waves simply can't
get out of the way fast enough,

so they begin to pile up
at the front of the jet.

But to outrun our sound waves,

we need to push this jet
to its absolute limit.

In just seconds, the jet smashes
through the sound barrier.

This can be heard
from the ground as a sonic boom.

It was a doddle, actually.

Well, you know, having said that,
it was inverted full throttle

at 42,000 feet, but it's
a different definition of "doddle".

So this magnificent piece of
engineering is fast enough,
if you just push it a little bit,

to outrun its own sound,
so the sound barrier is negotiable.

You can smash your way through it.

But the speed of light,
the light barrier,

that's a very different story.

Sound has a definite speed
that we can measure,

but for thousands of years,
the world's greatest minds

thought that light was different,

that it travelled instantaneously
from object to eye.

Then, around 350 years ago,

the truth about light was revealed
through a combination

of one man's genius and the
clockwork orbits of the heavens.

Ever since Galileo
discovered that Jupiter had moons,

astronomers realised that
you could use Jupiter and its moons

as a very precise clock in the sky.

So here's the Solar System,
there's the sun, there's the Earth,

here's Jupiter, and here
is Jupiter's innermost moon, Io.

It was known that Io takes precisely
42.5 hours to orbit Jupiter,

so if, from the Earth, you see Io
emerge from behind Jupiter at say,

midnight on a Tuesday, then you know
that it should re-emerge again

at 6.30 on Thursday afternoon.

Beautiful. Now one of the men
charged with making precise tables

of exactly when Io should be seen
to emerge from behind Jupiter

was the Danish astronomer Ole Romer,

but he noticed something surprising.

See, depending on the time of year,

Io emerged later than expected,

or earlier than expected.

Now, Romer's genius was to realise

that had nothing to do at all
with the orbit of Io around Jupiter.

It was to do with the orbit
of the Earth around the sun.

See, what Romer noticed was that
when the Earth was in a position

in its orbit so that it was close
to Jupiter,

then Io emerged earlier
than it was expected to.

Then, as the year passed
and Earth moved around the sun

and got further away from Jupiter,

Roma noticed that Io then emerged
later than it was expected to.

Roma realised that it takes time
for light to travel from Jupiter

to the Earth, so when
the Earth is far away from Jupiter,

it takes longer for
the light to travel, and therefore

you see Io emerge from behind
Jupiter later than you'd expect.

Then, when the distance is small,

it takes less time for the light to
travel and you see Io emerge earlier

than you might expect.

So Romer had discovered that light
doesn't travel instantaneously.

It moves through space
with a finite speed.

This remarkable insight led to
a measurement of the speed of light.

We now know that light travels

at precisely 299,792,458 metres
per second.

That means in the time that it
takes for me to click my fingers,

light has travelled
around the Earth seven times,

or that it travels ten million,
million kilometres in one year,

and that's the yardstick
that we use to measure the universe,

as ten million, million kilometres
is approximately one light year.

The speed of light
is the speed limit of the universe

built into the very fabric
of space and time itself.

But because light travels
at a finite speed, a light year

isn't just a measure of distance,

it's also a measure of time.

The further away an object is,
the further back in time we see it.

The distances that light travels
on Earth are relatively short,

so the time it takes light to travel
to our eye is imperceptible.

But when we look out to space,

over astronomical distances, to the
stars, planets and galaxies beyond,

then light's finite speed
has profound consequences.

This is Tanzania in eastern Africa,

the cradle of humankind.

It's here that some of our
earliest ancestors walked
2.5 million years ago.

And our evolutionary journey from
the distant past to the present day

ran in parallel with the journey
of the light from the stars.

The sun
is 150 million kilometres away.

Now, that's very close
by cosmic standards,

but light travels at only
300,000 kilometres per second,

so that means that we're seeing
the sun as it was in the past,

actually eight minutes in the past.

But when we look beyond our sun
to far more distant stars,

we reach further back in time
across the whole of human evolution.

And the deeper into space we look,

the further back in time we see.

As the sun dips below the horizon
and night falls,

the universe just fades into view,

and at first, you see
the bright planets.

I can see Venus over there, and
then the stars appear one by one,

thousands of them
shining in the sky.

And then, as it gets darker and
darker, the Milky Way appears,

a vast swathe of billions
and billions of suns as you look out

towards the centre
of our Milky Way galaxy.

But I think, for me, the most
magical thing you can see in the sky

with the naked eye is just below
the constellation of Cassiopeia,

the W of stars in the sky.

There.

Look at that. Actually,
I've got to say that's amazing.

See, that misty patch of light
is not a cloud in the sky,

it's not even gas and dust in
our galaxy, that is another galaxy.

It's the Andromeda galaxy, which is
roughly the same size as our own,

an island of hundreds of billions
of stars,

25 million million million
kilometres in that direction.

Like the Milky Way, Andromeda
is a spiral galaxy, two ringed arms

circling a light-filled centre.

The core of Andromeda is packed
with millions of old red stars.

Very few new stars are born here.

In contrast, its spiral arms shine

with the light from clusters
of hot young blue stars.

The light that pours
from this stellar city

connects us to a remarkable time
in the story of human evolution.

The light that I've just
captured in my camera began
its journey 2.5 million years ago.

At that time, on Earth,
there were no humans.

Homo habilis, our distant ancestors,

were roaming the plains of Africa,

and as those light rays travelled

through the vastness of space,
our species evolved, and thousands

and thousands and thousands
of generations of humans lived

and died, and then 2.5 million years

after their journey began, these
messengers from the depths of space

and from way back in our past,

arrived here on Earth, and I just
captured them and took that picture.

Light's finite speed opens a window
onto the past and shows us Andromeda

as it looked when our early
ancestors walked the Earth
2.5 million years ago.

But by peering further than the
naked eye will allow, we can journey

to a time way before human history,

so far back, that we can read

the entire history of the universe.

In the last 20 years, powerful
space telescopes have carried us

ever deeper into space,

and we have become
virtual time travellers.

This is Centaurus A, one of our
nearest neighbouring galaxies,

only ten million light years away.

That means that
the light began its journey

from these old red,
and young white and blue stars,

only ten million years ago.

And stepping out a little further,

just 14 million light years, there's
this beautiful barred spiral galaxy,

and again you can see just lanes and
lanes of bright young blue stars,

and this blue light has taken
14 million years to journey

across the universe to my eye.

This is NGC 520, and it's the
product of a cosmic collision,

but this galaxy
is 100 million light years away.

That means that the light began its
journey from this galaxy to my eye

when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

I think it's a beautiful thought

that by capturing this faint light

and rebuilding these spectacular
images, we are in a very real sense

connected to these galaxies,
no matter how far away they are

across the universe, connected
by the light that's journeyed

billions of years to reach us.

But these spectacular galaxies

are not the end of our
journey into the past.

In 2004, we peered further back
in time than ever before,

and captured the light from the most
distant galaxies in the universe.

The image is called
the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

It's a picture taken by
the Hubble Space Telescope
over a period of eleven days

and it focused its camera
on the tiniest piece of sky

just below the constellation
of Orion.

Now, it's a piece of sky that
you'd cover if you took your thumb,

held in front of your face and
then moved it 20 times further away.

But the Hubble captured
the faintest lights from the most
distant regions of the universe,

and it took this photograph.

Now, almost every point of light
in that image

is not a star, but a galaxy
of over a hundred billion stars.

The most distant galaxies
in that image are over
13 billion light years away.

That means that the faint light

from those galaxies
began its journey

to Earth 13 billion years ago.

That's over three times
the age of the Earth.

Hubble allows us to peer back

almost to the beginning
of time itself,

and out here in deep space,

it reveals a clue
to how our universe began.

When the space telescope stared
across the cosmos, it saw galaxies
glow in all different colours.

But when it peered to the very
edge of the visible universe,

it captured these images...

..and saw that every galaxy
glowed red.

Written in the red light from these
distant worlds

is the story of
our universe's origin and evolution.

To reveal it,
we must explore one of the most
beautiful qualities of light.

For centuries, people thought that
light just illuminated our world,

allowed us to see,
and nothing more than that.

But we've since learnt
that there is a vast amount

of information and detail contained
within every beam of light.

And that information
is written in colour.

To reveal how colour can unlock the
secrets of our universe's creation,

I've come to one of
the most spectacular
natural wonders on Earth.

This is Victoria Falls in Zambia.

This waterfall stretches
for almost two kilometres,

making it the largest curtain
of falling water in the world.

But I'm not here to marvel
at the scale of this wonder -

I've come to see a much more
delicate feature that appears

above the water.

These magnificent rainbows

are a permanent feature
in the skies above Victoria Falls.

Now, rainbows
are a beautiful phenomenon,

but I think that they're even more
beautiful when you understand
how they're made,

because they are a visual
representation of the fact

that light is made up of...well,
all the colours of the rainbow.

Rays of light from the sun bend
as they enter the water droplets,

the light beams then reflect off
the back of the droplets,

and are bent for a second time,
as they leave.

This bending and reflecting
splits the light

and the colours hidden inside
the white sunlight are revealed.

But colour can tell us much more,

because understanding
the reddening of the galaxies

has given us a profound insight
into the nature of the universe.

What we see as different colours
are actually different
wavelengths of light.

So blue light has a relatively
short wavelength,

and then you go through green and
yellow, all the way to the red end
of the spectrum,

which has a very large wavelength.

Starlight is made up of
countless different wavelengths,

all the colours of the rainbow.

When light is emitted by a distant
star or galaxy, its wavelength

doesn't have to stay fixed,
it can be squashed or stretched,

and when light's stretched, its
wavelength increases and it moves

to the red end of the spectrum.

So the interpretation of the fact
that the most distant galaxies
appear red

is that the space in between them
and us has stretched

during the time it's taken the light
to journey over that vast distance.

That means that
our entire universe is expanding.

Now, just think about what
an expanding universe implies,

because if the galaxies are
all rushing away from each other,

that means that if you rewind time,

then they must have been closer
together in the past, and actually,

if you just keep rewinding,
then you find that at some point

in the past, all the galaxies
we can see in the sky

were quite literally
on top of each other.

The universe was squashed down
to a point.

That implies that the universe
may have had a beginning,

and that is the Big Bang Theory.

Well, that's probably many people's
picture of the Big Bang, you know,

this vast explosion
that flung matter out into the void,

but that's completely wrong.

As we understand it at the moment,

all of space was created
at that moment.

So the Big Bang didn't just happen
somewhere out over there

in the universe, it happened
everywhere at the same time.

It happened here. So this space here
was at the Big Bang.

So when we look at the
distant galaxies and we see that
they're flying away from us,

that's not because
they were flung out in some massive
explosion at the beginning of time.

It's because space
itself is stretching,

and it's been stretching
since the Big Bang.

The universe we see today
is a network of galaxies

spanning almost
a hundred billion light years.

But remarkably, the blueprint
for this astonishing structure

is written into the very first
light released into the universe.

Even more remarkably, it's
a blueprint that we can read today.

This first light is no
longer visible, but it's there.

You just need to know
how to look for it.

This sea of shifting sand
is the Namib Desert,

the oldest desert in the world,

and, as the wind blows the sand
off the top of the dunes, this
landscape is constantly changing.

This world has been
sculpted by the sun.

It drives the winds that shape
the dunes, and its light
paints this place a deep orange.

But even when the sun
disappears completely

this desert is still awash
with light and colour, we just
can't see it.

Visible wavelengths of light

are just a tiny fraction
of all the light in the universe.

Beyond the visible spectrum,
our world is illuminated
by invisible light.

This sand has been under the full
glare of the sun all day and I
can feel the heat radiating off it.

Well, heat is nothing more than
a form of light, although we don't
normally call it light.

It's actually infrared light,
and the only difference between

infrared and visible light
is the wavelength.

Infrared has a longer wavelength
than visible light.

Infrared isn't the end of the story.
There are even longer
wavelengths of light.

Throughout most of human history
we've been blind to these more
unfamiliar forms of light,

but to detect them you don't need a
billion-pound satellite

or a telescope built into the side
of a mountain,

you just need

one of these, a radio,
because...

STATIC
..when we tune a radio,

we're tuning in to a form of light,
radio waves.

MUSIC PLAYS THROUGH STATIC

But detecting them
and understanding them

provides the key to understanding
the origin of the universe.

And when you detune the radio a bit
you can just hear static,

but about 1% of that static is music
to the ears of a physicist,

because that is stretched light
from the Big Bang.

So that sound is the sound
of the first light released at
the beginning of the universe.

? Carry him home safely to me... ?

The reason we can't see
this ancient light is because,
as the universe expanded,

the light waves
were stretched and transformed
into radio waves and microwaves.

This first light is called the
Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB.

The CMB fills
every part of the universe.

Every second, light
from the beginning of time is

raining down on the surface of
the Earth in a ceaseless torrent.

If my eyes could only see it, then
the sky would be ablaze with this
primordial light,

both day and night.

These waves have been travelling
towards us for over
13 billion years.

They are messengers,
carrying information
about the origin of our universe.

In 2001, a satellite called W Map
took a photograph of our entire sky
to capture this ancient light.

The image reveals that the blueprint
of the entire universe was created
moments after the Big Bang.

Well, this is one of the most
important images of the sky ever
taken in the history of science.

It doesn't have the beauty of
a spiral galaxy or a nebula

but to a scientist, to a
cosmologist,

it is the most beautiful picture
ever taken,

because it contains a vast
amount of information about the very
earliest history of our universe.

When the CMB was first detected,
it appeared that the universe was
exactly the same in all directions.

But W Map shows us that the early
universe was far from uniform.

Some areas were denser than others,

and it's these ripples that seeded
all the structure in the cosmos.

The explanation for those
ripples in the CMB is absolutely
mind blowing,

because it's thought that
they originated in

the first billion-billion-billion-
billionths of a second after
the universe began,

when the whole observable universe
was billions of times smaller than
a grain of sand

and little fluctuations called
quantum fluctuations made little
bits of the universe a bit denser.

Those dense regions then got
denser and denser as the universe
continued to expand

and they seeded the formation of
the first stars and the first
galaxies in the universe.

The early universe was a hot,
almost uniform, sea of matter
and radiation.

As the universe expanded,
the slightly denser regions
became increasingly dense.

Atoms clumped together
to form the first structures.

Over time these structures
grew so massive that they collapsed
under their own gravity.

Hydrogen fused, releasing
enormous amounts of energy.

200 million years after
the Big Bang, the first stars
in the cosmos burst into life.

Darkness was banished and the cosmos
began to fill with light.

Planets formed and fell into orbit
around the stars and these young
solar systems orbited the galaxies.

And the only reason why any of this
exists is because of those tiny
density fluctuations

that appeared when
the observable universe
was smaller than a grain of sand.

Without them there would be no
planets or stars and no galaxies.

Our universe would look the same
in every direction.

For billions of years,
generations of stars lived and died.

And then, nine billion years after
it all began,

in an unremarkable piece of space
in the Orion spur of the Persius arm
of a galaxy called the Milky Way,

a star was born that we call
the Sun, that illuminated our
embryonic solar system with light.

So the light from the star that
bathes the Earth has its
ultimate origin

in the tiny ripples that
appeared in the first moments
of our universe's life.

By capturing the light from
the skies,

we've been able to tell the story
of the universe's origins and
evolution,

and it's worth reflecting on what a
remarkable thing that is.

You know, little beings like me
scurrying around on
the surface of a rock

on the edge of one of the galaxies

have been able
to understand the very origin
and evolution of the universe.

But there's one more twist
to this story,

because that ability
to use light, to capture it,
and use it to understand our world,

may have played a key role in the
emergence of complex life on Earth.

This is the Yoho National Park
in the Rocky Mountains of Canada,

one of the most spectacular
mountain ranges in North America.

100 years ago, a fossil field was
discovered here at the Burgess Shale

that may reveal how light
shaped life on Earth.

Well, this is one of the most
important fossil sites in the world,

but actually it's one of the most
important scientific sites of
any kind,

and it's not just because of the
number and diversity of animals

you find fossilised in these
rocks, it's because of their age.

These fossils
are over 500 million years old.

There is virtually no record
of complex life on Earth
before this time.

It's as if, at one instant in this
time we call the Cambrian Era,

complex multi-cellular life suddenly
emerged almost intact on the planet.

It's called
the Evolutionary Big Bang.

This is one of the beautiful animals
you find up here in the fossil beds.

It's called a trilobite.
It's a very complex organism.

It's got an external
skeleton, it's got jointed limbs,

but, perhaps most remarkably, these,
because these are compound eyes.

They were very sophisticated and
this was one of the first predators

to be able to detect shapes
and see movement

and it could
successfully chase its prey.

These creatures were among the first

to harness the light that
filled the universe.

Before they emerged,
the rise and fall of the Sun

and the stars in the night sky
simply went unnoticed.

Now, there is a speculative theory
that the emergence of the eye

actually triggered
the Cambrian Explosion,
this evolutionary Big Bang,

because, once one species got eyes,
then other species had also to
develop eyes

to either chase them as predators or
evade them as prey, and that led to
an evolutionary arms race.

More and more complex
life forms developed.

So the evolution of the eye
may have played a fundamental role

in the emergence of
complex life on Earth...

..and could have led
to the evolution of our species.

See, this little thing, although
it looks unimpressive,

may be the most important animal
that we've ever discovered
in our history.

It's called a Pikaia and it's a
little wormlike creature

but it's thought
that this is a core date,

and that is the branch of life that
we're in, so it could that this is
our earliest known ancestor.

What's also fascinating
is it's also thought that this

may have been able to detect light,
it may have had primitive cells
that were sensitive to light,

and allowed it
in a very loose sense to see.

But if that's true then this little
guy may be our direct ancestor

and those little cells may be the
things that evolved,

over hundreds of millions of years,
into our eyes.

Without Pikaia we may never have
evolved and developed the ability
to see how this story unfolded.

Understanding the universe is like
a detective story

and the evidence
has been carried to us across
vast expanses of space by light.

We've even been able to capture
the light from the beginning of time

and we've glimpsed in it
the seeds of our own origins.

? Come with me, and you'll be

? In a world of pure imagination

? Take a look and you'll see

? Into your imagination... ?

And we've seen things
our ancestors wouldn't believe.

Stars being born in distant realms.

Alien worlds created by gravity.

And spectacular galaxies
frozen in time.

But we're not mere
witnesses to these events...

..because the story of the universe
is our story.

We've learned how
the dust of the stars makes
each and every one of us,

how a simple universal chemistry set
makes everything we see.

We've explored how the secrets of
deep time shape the destiny
of the universe

and marvelled at
the brief flickering moment
in which life can exist,

and we've seen how stardust falls
to build the grandest structures
in the universe.

We know all this because of messages
carried on beams of light.

And isn't it a wonderful thing that
these biological light detectors

that first emerged
half a billion years ago
in the Cambrian Explosion

have evolved into those most human
of things,

our green, blue
and brown eyes that are able
to gaze up into the night sky,

capture the light from distant stars
and read the story of the universe.

? Come with me, and you'll be

? In a world of pure imagination

? Take a look and you'll see

? Into your imagination

? We'll begin with a spin

? Travelling in a world of
my creation... ?