I remember looking out from the hill on which the Blue Coat School in Oldham town centre is built (by the famous ‘Owdham Edge’) and thinking what it was that was standing proud on the flat horizon. This is with the naked eye.
Well, what can be seen distinctly on a clear day is the Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank, all the way from Oldham. It really is a giant in a flat landscape.
I’ve been there once, and it is not particularly inspiring to see it these days. It competes with many modern exciting feats of engineering. And it doesn’t really seem to do very much.
It is actually well out of date, and it has been considered for moth-balling, but these days radio telescopy is done by linking radio telescopes across the globe, so you get ones that work as if they are as wide as the earth. So it still has its uses.
Jodrell Bank allowed the scientific community to see to new horizons, by standing on the shoulders of giants*, giants like Bernard Lovell who died yesterday and effectively built it. I guess this maps the Ascent of Man (anyone remember Jacob Bronowski), his technological and intellectual progress.
But then again, we also have the Descent of God, Jesus comes to reveal to babes the wisdom of God, and rejoicing, the horizon of the kingdom of God having come among them. Permanently, to those who cross it. We’d never have got even close otherwise. Praise God.
*used a an album title by Oasis, by Newton to acknowledge his debt to those who had gone before, and originally coined by Bernard of Chartres.