Yesterday was the last presentation of “Olhar O Longe. Olhar O Antes”, held simultaneously on the Pedro e Inês Pedestrian Bridge and on the terrace of the General Library of the University of Coimbra. The sessions took place in August 29 and 30, and also in September, on 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 22. This initiative was part of the celebrations of the International Year of Astronomy, which in 2009 will mark the 400th anniversary of the first time Galileo pointed a telescope at the sky.
This show was an artistic object that, based on Astronomy concepts, reflected on our knowledge of the world and of ourselves. Telescopes pointed at distant galaxies, whether those we might have on our balcony, or those, like the Hubble, that we have placed in space, gather information about the universe’s past. The faint blue light coming from galaxies millions of light years away from our planet shows us those galaxies as they were millions of years ago.
Looking at the sky through a telescope is therefore using a time machine to see the universe’s past. Many of the questions that arise in science, especially those about the origin of all things — man, life, matter, light — are related to events that took place billions of years ago, when some scientific theories consider that there was an unimaginable explosion from which the universe began its expansion, the “big bang”.