Fractions of a second, Billions of years

There's something extra special about this image from NASA's Astronomy Picture Of The Day, downright poetic to me.

The light from the aurora came into existence a mere moment before the photo was taken, just fractions of a second ago. The light from our Milky Way, though, started its journey to the camera up to a hundred thousand years ago, while light from the Small Magellanic Cloud (the little blob, center right) typically began its journey twice as long ago. Finally, in the background, light left their stars anywhere from decades, to millennia, to millions and even billions of years ago.

It's such a wonderful display of timescales, from fractions of a second to billions of years.

Think, too: these photons began their journeys so long ago, from unimaginably distant sources, all to wind up captured simultaneously by a thumbnail sized piece of silicon.