Stories of infinity | Alone in the sky

It is a dark night, a man looks through his telescope toward the black empty sky. He writes down on his paper, “nothing at location 26 hours, 14 minutes and 26 seconds, declination 24,8 south. That location has nothing” he writes it down. He steps from his telescope and rings a friend that is doing the same thing in a different location and is looking at different part of the sky.

He calls his friend, “Hello” she answers, “did you find anything?” he asks her. “No, it was the same as before, nothing, just black and dark sky” she replies. “Shame”, he replays, “I am going to continue until dawn and try to find a star, they are out there. I just have to find them”, he tells the women, “I am going to sleep” she tells him “I got things to tomorrow and I don’t have time for this”, “fine, fine” he answers in a bit annoyed.

He does this night after night, week after week and month after month. This turns into years and he find s nothing but dark empty skies. Soon this job is passed down to one of his children. A women and her husband, she does the same thing for years and continues to find nothing but dark and empty skies. This continues for two more generations.

One summers day a researcher is at the old telescope, that is now surrounded by new telescopes that are trying to find the answer to the question. “Why is there darkness?” The second question was “Where are the stars?”. Both question had driven the science community to search for answers, but only question remained.

Large radio telescopes had been built, they found a lot of nothing for longest of time. One day a faint signal appeared on one of them. This signal was so faint that it was discovered by a chance. After a lengthy investigative process the signal was found out to be a error in the hardware. The scientists that found the signal protested but the committee that did the investigation refused to accept his protests.

Few months later the scientists that found the radio signal is working on a optical telescope searching for theoretical stars. One night he is working with the telescope and is looking at his computer screen that shows the output from the telescope, as all nights before it’s just black and nothing shows up. Then suddenly a small white spot appears on it. With that the software stops the telescope and starts focusing in on this white dot that is faint but can be seen on the computer screen. The software alerts the man and his other colleagues that are also searching for stars so they can point their telescopes to the exact location.

They had found a star, a real star. It was a strange star for sure. It only visible for few days and then it fainted away into the darkness. It was all recorded and every telescope that they had was focused on it. Months passed and the data was checked, re-checked and researched, papers were published and the news media coverage continued for several weeks. This discovery did mean that the old ideas were wrong, even if they didn’t see it there were stars out there in the universe. The research finally did come to the conclusion that this was a star that was ending its life. How far it was a mystery since ways to measure stellar distances had not been developed. That work was now starting. The search for the next star had already started, new telescopes were being built, new technology developed and ideas about placing telescopes into space had appeared.