Boomerang Nebula in constellation Centaurus, 5000 light years from earth, the coldest object found in the universe so far, with a temperature of -272C (one degree above absolute zero): Hubble Space Telescope image, 1998 (ESA/NASA)
The ghosts who have returned
from a wide wilderness of stars, unrecompensed
for all that tiresome interstellar
rushing about, that iterative treading of
the endless colorless galactic dust
lanes, may well lament, from great sky-sized porches,
the unreality of a wished-for heaven.
Now they are lost, now they are no longer alive.
But the truth is, they had their chance.
They would have wept and been happy, perhaps,
if they had it all back to do over again.
Then again, maybe not, with those thin,
withered hearts, lacking in so much of everything.
What right have they now to expect more?
Who do they think they are, these nagging,
demanding ancestors? Our coevals?
NGC 7049 in constellation Indus, with a family of globular clusters appearing as glittering spots dusted around the galaxy halo: the halo is made up of diffuse stars, and the faint points of light are globular clusters, densely packed groups of stars that orbit the galactic core, some of which are among the first stars born in the galaxy: Hubble Space telescope image by W. Harris, 1998 (NASA/ESA)