“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.”
So you can buy Dove bars from the Mars corporation in the UK, but they call them Galaxy bars there. And with good reason. It was not just a pun, involving the astronomical nature of company founder Forrest Mars’ name. The word galaxy has an etymology, which means milky.
From early times, people had noticed a band of sky, where, even when the Moon was not out, there was a white glow, which they described as milky. But being ancient people, they did not use English. The term in Greek for a milky band is galaxia kyklos (γαλαξίας κύκλος). The Romans changed this “milky band” to Milky Way (via lactea). But notice that the Greek word for milky is galaxia. In 1610, Galileo Galilei used his telescope to look at the Milky Way and found that it was comprised of stars, very close together in his viewpoint. In 1917, Heber Curtis realized that the Andromeda Galaxy – which he could see had a double-spiral form – was actually a collection of stars, not a cloud of gas. Eventually, it was realized that our own collection of stars has a similar double-spiral shape and, hence, the word galaxy was coined to describe all such objects. It turns out that the Milky Way is our view of more densely packed stars towards the center of our galaxy.
Now that we know there are many such galaxies throughout the universe, we have even more reason to praise God for His glory.
Prayer: We love to look at Your heavens, Lord, and marvel at Your greatness and creativity. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, < https://www.britannica.com/place/Milky-Way-Galaxy >, accessed 2/1/2020. Image: European Southern Observatory, CC BY-SA 4.0 International.
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