The object shown in this beautiful Hubble image, dubbed Messier 54, could be just another globular cluster, but this dense and faint group of stars was in fact the first globular cluster found that is outside our galaxy. Discovered by the famous astronomer Charles Messier in 1778, Messier 54 belongs to a satellite of the Milky Way called the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy. Messier had no idea of the significance of his discovery at the time, and it wasn’t until over two centuries later, in 1994, that astronomers found Messier 54 to be part of the miniature galaxy and not our own. Current estimates indicate that the Sagittarius dwarf, and hence the cluster, is situated almost 90,000 light-years away -- more than three times as far from the centre of our galaxy than the Solar System. Ironically, even though this globular cluster is now understood to lie outside the Milky Way, it will actually become part of it in the future. The strong gravitational pull of our galaxy is slowly engulfing the Sagittarius dwarf, which will eventually merge with the Milky Way creating one much larger galaxy. This picture is a composite created by combining images taken with the Wide Field Channel of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Light that passed through a yellow-orange (F606W) was coloured blue and light passing through a near-infrared filter (F814W) was coloured red. The total exposure times were 3460 s and 3560 s, respectively and the field of view is approximately 3.4 by 3.4 arcminutes: image by ESA/Hubble & NASA, 7 November 2011
Not having been born an animal is a secret nostalgia of mine. They sometimes clamor for many generations from afar and I can't respond except by growing restless. It's the call.
This free air, this wind that strikes me in the soul of the face leaving it troubled in an imitation of an anguished ever-new ecstasy, anew and always, every time the plunge into a bottomless thing from which I fall always ceaselessly falling until I die and achieve at last silence. Oh sirocco wind, I do not forgive thee for death, thou who bringest me a damaged memory of things lived that, alas for me, always repeat themselves, even in other and different forms. The living thing scares me as the future scares me. That, like things that have passed, is intangible, mere supposition.
I am at this instant in a white void awaiting the next instant. Measuring time is just a working hypothesis. But whatever exists is perishable and this forces us to measure immutable and permanent time. It never began and will never end. Never.
I heard about a she who died in bed but screaming: my light's going out! Until there was the favor of a coma inside which she freed herself from her body and had no fear of death.
Before writing to you I perfume myself all over.
I know you all over because I have lived you all over. In me life is profound. The early hours find me pale from having lived the night of deep dreams. Though sometimes I float on a visible shoal that has beneath it dark blue almost black depths. That is why I write to you. On a waft of thick seaweed and in the tender wellspring of love.
I'm going to die: there's that tension like that of a bow about to loose an arrow. I remember the sign of Sagittarius: half man and half animal. The human part in classical rigidity holds the bow and arrow. The bow could shoot at any instant and hit the target. I know that I shall hit the target.
Now I'm going to write wherever my hand leads: I won't fiddle with whatever it writes. This is a way to have no lag between the instant and I: I act in the core of the instant. But there's still some lag. It starts like this: as love impedes death, and I don't know what I mean by that. I trust in my own incomprehension that gives me life free of understanding, I lost friends, I don't understand death. The horrible duty is to go to the end. And counting on no one. To live your life yourself. And to suffer as much to dull myself a bit. Because I can no longer carry the sorrows of the world. What can I do when I feel totally what other people are and feel? I live them but no longer have the strength. I don't want to tell even myself certain things. It would be to betray the is-itself. I feel that I know some truths. But truths have no words.
Clarice Lispector (1920-1977): from Água Viva (1973), translated by Stefan Tobler, New Directions, 2012