Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Rainwater Observatory Video

Here is a new video that was recently produced for us here at Rainwater Observatory. Hope you will enjoy it and feel free to pass it along to anyone who might be interested.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Billy Graham on Science and the Bible

How old is the Earth? Is it 6OOO years old like the Bible says (or so I have been told) or is it billions of years old like my teacher says? How do you reconcile the two or is the Bible out-of-date? —RB.

No. The Bible isn’t out-of-date. Although the Bible is not a science textbook, it is accurate in what it says about the phys­ical world (which God made) and when we understand it cor­rectly there is no contradiction between what it says and what science has discovered. Students of the Bible have stu­died the meaning of the opening chapters of Genesis for centur­ies — especially since the advent of modern science. Many of them have pointed out that the word "day" which is used to de­scribe the periods of creation in Genesis I is also used to the Bi­ble to describe an indefinite pe­riod of time. The most important thing is not how long creation took, but that God is the Creator of every­thing, including life. "In the be­ginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). We are not here by chance or by accident; we are here because God created us and put us here. I have met many scientists who have realized that science has its limits, and they have come to a deep faith in Christ be­cause they see the evidence of His power, wisdom and love even in the created world. We need the Bible's message of forgiveness and salvation and Christ's transforming power.


"It is important to note that there can be no real conflict between the facts of the Bible and the facts of science, since God was the Author of both. The problems arise when we begin to interpret those facts. Since Christians hold various views, it is important to keep an attitude of humility and charity toward others in these complicated areas. One fact is absolutely clear from the Bible — God is the Creator!"


"I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God."

BILLY GRAHAM: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74

The Heavens

This is an absolutely beautiful image compilation of the heavens I found on YouTube the other day. It has the music of Vangelis's Heaven and Hell Part 1. He is one of my all time favorite composers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rainwater Observatory

I had a wonderful time last evening observing through our Sangre Astronomical Research Telescope at Rainwater Observatory. It was around 11:00 p.m. and we began viewing the Lagoon Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius, the globular star clusters M15 in Pegasus and M13 in Hercules.

What a magnificent site! It is hard to describe seeing these wonders live through this powerful telescope. So much detail and unimaginable beauty. Thousands of stars forming these tight spherical clusters and deep reddish clouds of illuminated gas in the nebula. What a majestic sight to see on the control room monitors as the telescope scanned in microscopic increments across the heavens.

As David said in the Psalms a few thousand years ago, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars You have set in place, What is man that You are mindful of him?...."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

French Camp Rainwater Observatory

Many people have been asking about my new job and I wanted to let you know that after an extensive application and interview process I was offered the position as Assistant Director of Rainwater Observatory at French Camp MS. I accepted the position and will begin moving over the next couple of weeks. I went down there for my final interview process and stayed in some of the homes with the other staff and worked with the kids and began to feel that this was where the Lord wanted me to be at this time. It is a unique, unusual and incredible place and I will be serving there in full time ministry with the observatory. I have been going down there lecturing and exhibiting my work for many years and never thought I would actually be working down there someday. It is in a beautiful historic setting in a remote area off the Natchez Trace.

They now have one of the largest observatories in the southeastern United States and their largest research grade telescope is massive and weighs over 4000 pounds! Part of my job will be doing public outreach for the observatory and planetarium with donor events, presentations and coordination of observing events with schools, universities, churches, civic groups, tourists, website design and a lot of other things. I am familiar with much of the job but some of it will be totally new to me.

I have a great deal of mixed emotions about leaving Memphis and my friends but I will be close enough to visit often. I desire your prayers as I begin moving, closing my business and taking care of a lot of details here in Memphis and at French Camp. It is going to be a major change and way of life living down there but the Lord has been closing the doors here in Memphis and my current work for a long time and preparing me for this transition. It will also be a great place to hopefully start painting again as He wills.

Thanks so much for your prayers during this transition and I look forward to seeing you all again soon! Hope you have a great day!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Science and Religion

I ran across this very interesting article in Christianity Today regarding St. Augustine and Creation. I love his writings and his work has greatly helped me get a better understanding of the relationship between science and religion.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Titanic Exhibition

Over the years I have been blessed with the opportunity and privilege to work with some really fascinating people on exciting projects. I was interviewed recently by a magazine here in Memphis and asked what was one of the most memorable projects I had worked on as an artist. Without hesitation I said the world premiere of Titanic: The Exhibition, which was seen at the Pyramid here in Memphis and then moved to the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg.

I was given the coordinates of where the ship went down in the North Atlantic and commissioned to recreate the night sky and an ocean mural as accurately and realistically as possible. The view would be off the side deck of the ship where the lifeboats were launched. This was quite a challenge and we tested several different types of paint and even considered running fiber optic lines behind the wall. We even mixed metallic powder with some of the paints trying to create a realistic star light effect. Nothing seemed to work right and finally we decided to try some ultra violet sensitive paint with UV lights behind the viewer. This seemed to do the trick and I mapped out the constellation coordinates and star magnitudes on the wall, which was 16’ high and 65’ wide! I was later flown to St. Petersburg and commissioned to recreate an even larger mural for the same exhibit that was 18’ high and 85’ wide! It was a real challenge working on high scaffolding and hanging on to rafters in the ceiling with one arm while painting with an airbrush in the other all under low light levels. One unexpected and unintentional effect that occurred with the mural was the stars seemed to twinkle subtly caused by tiny dust particles floating in the gallery. This really made the effect much more realistic.

During the course of the project various regional, national and international news crews came in and filmed the exhibitions progress. As we neared completion, the whole exhibition slowly came into focus and I began to realize that I was essentially painting a grave scene. This became a very sobering and emotional experience for me because I realized the stars were probably one of the last things the people saw as they looked up and perished in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. I remember seeing a painting on the wall that depicted a husband and wife on the deck of the ship preparing to separate and get into the remaining lifeboats. The entire exhibition was a very powerful and emotional experience.