The Story and Lesson.
About 2000 years ago Jairus and his wife, filled with a mixture of intense emotions, ushered Jesus Christ to the bedside of their daughter, who lay lifeless. Her dying process had precipitated a rush to find Jesus in time, so He could come and heal her. The circumstances, however, were beyond their control. Their daughter died about the time Jairus reached Jesus. Later, when Jesus arrived at family’s home, he forbade anyone to go into the house except for the parents and three disciples. Jesus took the little girl’s lifeless hand and uttered an incredible phrase that was accompanied with power that only comes from God: “My child, get up.” Her spirit returned, warmth instantly returned to her body, color returned to her face, and the gleam in her eyes that death had captured was restored. It would have been a sight to behold the eyes of this child as her gaze danced around the room at her mother, father and a few strangers. Jesus, the creator of the universe (and the Trifid Nebula), had raised her from the dead. (Bible references: Luke 8:40-56, Hebrews 1:2)
My observation of the color of the Trifid Nebula in July 2009 reminded me of the event with Jairus’s daughter. While the Trifid is a beautiful and well known sky object in the southern skies, it is faint when a small telescope is employed. It appears to be a relatively lifeless misty spot that is a little uneven. With a larger scope, it becomes a little more defined. Even with a 12 inch aperture scope, the Trifid Nebula’s features seem lifeless–a ghostly white and grey with faint dark lanes.
I replaced my eyepiece in the telescope with a color astro-video camera and adjusted the camera settings. By the time I moved to the front of a high resolution color monitor to see the video camera output, the view of the Trifid had exploded into color. It was this view that I chose to sketch.
The Trifid’s gleaming features included reds, pinks, blues and purples that were interlaced with dark lanes and beautiful stars. The change from a small telescope view to a more sensitive color-filled view using astro-video tools on a telescope reminded me of the change in Jairus’s daughter, who went from the deathly grey color and dead eyes to the fresh flushed color of a living child with gleaming eyes. The miracle was incredible, like the life and color he puts in our soul when he touches us.
It was a good night to give thanks.