England (Height 20ins 50cm)
HEIGHT 20INCHES (50CMS) STAINLESS STEEL 1996
"Round through the vast profundite obscure"
John Milton. Paradise Lost
I have talked already about my debt to Professor Fred Hoyle's book Frontiers of Astronomy with Star Burst.
Years ago when I was a sheep farmer in the Ninety Mile Desert of South Australia, I spent many happy hours on the front lawn of the Homestead, gazing up at the Heavens through my 7.5 inch Reflector Telescope, which I had bought after reading Hoyle's book. The desert air was crystal clear, and one really did feel that you could touch the dazzlingly bright stars. The Milky Way was like a great white Python, snaking across the Heavens.
With the naked eye I could see the two small Irregular Galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. To know that the light I was receiving into my eyes had taken 160,000 years to reach me was an astounding thought. I would then think about the Galaxy Andromeda, our neighbouring cousin, who's light takes 2.2 million light years to reach the Earth ! Next I would think about the distant Galaxies that are speeding away from us faster than the speed of light, so we will never receive their light. But think about the fact that there are more Galaxies in the Universe than the number of Stars I could see above my head in our own Milky Way Galaxy. It is then that one starts to comprehend the vastness of the Universe.
Galaxies are so spread out it is believed that it is possible for them to pass through each other as they spiral through Space. But sometimes they collide, to form a gigantic Black Hole. This is what I have tried to capture in Cosmos, a cosmic catastrophe.