Stars are formed through a long process, as gas drifting in the universe is drawn together by the force of gravity. However, even though they live a very long time, stars begin to cool down meaning generate less heat as their fuel begins to run out, and without the heat to counteract their gravitational pull, they begin to contract. And such continues process of contraction results in the eventual collapse of their mass. Ultimately they die forming what is called a black hole.
The stars beyond their ecstatic utter brilliance and beauty have the utmost significance in science. Looking up into the stars in the night sky is not only looking at far distance in space but also looking back in time. The distance of stars is so great that it takes several years to reach the earth and so when we look up the stars in the sky in the night, we not only see stars that are burning at present but also those that have already burned out, dead. Here is how. Light travels at 300,000 kilometers per second and the time it takes for light from stars to reach us is the distance to the star divided by this speed. The sun is the nearest star to our world it is about 150 million km. Dividing this distance by the speed of light gives us 500 seconds, or 8 minutes and 20 seconds. The second nearest star to our planet, Proxima Centauri, however is so far that its distance is only convenient to be expressed in ‘light years,’ distance traveled by light in one year. Proxima Centauri is 4.3 light years away which means that light from it takes 4.3 years to reach to our eyes.
Other stars however are so much further in the space. For example, the Deneb, farthest star that can be seen without any great difficulty under the contemporary light polluted skies, is about 1550 light years away from Earth. However, under favorable conditions, in dark clear skies, we are able to see stars that are much more distant than Deneb, even stars out of our galaxy. Nonetheless, it can take tens of thousands of years for light from some stars even within our own galaxy as our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across. And for the light of stars in nearby galaxies that we can see it can take millions of years to reach earth. The farthest objects we can see are quasars. They are so distant that the light we see from them today was left billions of years ago. This is why it is said “when we look up at the stars we are looking back in time, because when we look at very distant objects we can see what the Universe was like a long time ago.”
Man has explored the deepest mysteries of nature, learned and solved infinite enigmas and accomplished a great many astonishingly miraculous glories of triumph throughout human existence. Myriad personages of valor, mettle, hard work, and aptitude whom we remember as warriors, leaders, philosophers, inventors, innovators, scientists, artists and saints have left lasting impress over the history of mankind. Thinking of the possibility of the light of stars left thousands, millions and/or even billion years ago being visible on today’s skies allures one into the examination of one’s or even the entire humanity’s existence in this world or in the universe for that matter. Indeed, so intriguing is the analogy among the existence of the stars in outer space and people on earth, and at the same time both stars and humans as part of the universe. And such curios phantoms are bound to lead to the realization and feeling of how paltry and of less consequence human achievements really are in the light of the whole universe, no matter how colossal and momentous they seem here on earth.
Nonetheless, considering the overwhelmingly mighty, vast and mysterious nature of the universe in general and the earth in particular the resilience and ingenuity of humanity in its quest of conquering the natural environs is meritorious. Mankind has challenged nature and came out exultant. Man has mastered terrestrial life and is growing more and more efficient by the day in bettering life on land. Furthermore, despite his land-dwelling nature mankind has found the way to explore and make a use of the surface and the bottom of the untamable seas and oceans of the planate and fly over the wonders of the skies among birds. Neither did man’s telluric creation stopped him from exploring the space through satellites and various sophisticated equipment planted in various space stations here on earth or on other planets, nor from flying up to outer space in person and even walk on the moon. Humanity has been able to master a great many natural barriers and has made life on the planet easier and more comfortable for the species. However, still a few secretes of nature still remain to be mysteriously unfathomable, and one of such inexplicable conundrums of nature is the enigmatic of time.
Time still is out of human control. It is not only that man has a meager life span in comparison to other things in the universe but also because of man’s failure of using that life span most efficiently. Without exceptions, everybody makes mistakes. People repeatedly do what they were not supposed to do and fail from doing what they were. Hence is the commonly shared feeling among humanity, regret. Regret is an obsessively powerful feeling which within it bears a wish to go back in time and do what were not done, undo and/or redo what were. However, it is not only going back in time and fix the past that people are wishful of but also controlling the present. Many among those whom their contemporary present have blessed them with what they want and are loving and enjoining their wish that they could slow down time or even pause it. On the contrary, many among those whom their contemporary present have deprived them of the things they want and are therefore in misery wish that they could rush time or even forward it to the future they hope for. What’s more, a lot of people wish that they could have some means of knowing what the future will have hold. Indeed, deep inside a lot of almost every one, at least at some or another time in their lives, wish that they could somehow travel to the future and see what the future will have looked like.
The powerful and obsessive feeling of regret, the yearning to control the present and foresee the future on one hand and the untamable wildness of time on the other may be the reasons behind the fascination and hang up of humanity on the idea of time travel and the invention of time machine. Ever since the times of the ancient Greek civilization philosophers have been theorizing the nature of time and hypothesizing the possibility of time travel. Although they have not come to definite judgment on the issue physicists have also been pondering, theorizing and experimenting possibilities of time travel from the early days of science till the present. Some suggest that there is a possibility of time travel providing different theories of possibilities meanwhile others argue that time travel is impossible. One of the most prominent physicists of our time Stephen Hawking for instance has suggested that the absence of tourists from the future is an argument against the existence of time travel. For the most part however, the fancy of time travel and time machine have been the realm of science fiction. In 1881 Edward Page Mitchell published a book that involves a clock that allowed three men to travel backwards in time titled ‘The Clock That Went Backward.’ However, arguably it was ‘The Time Machine’ a book by H. G. Wells that played the prominent role in bringing about widespread public consciousness on about the idea of time travel through time machine.
One way or another, however, the fact remains that mankind has always been conscious about the value of time. So far, the attempts of man to master time whether through time machine or other means haven’t bore any success. Therefore, the plausibility of manipulating time through travel remains to be a science fiction fantasy. For this reason, from where we stand, for all mankind, the only possible way to master time doesn’t seem to go any further than making the best out of the time we have got here on earth.