What you see isn’t real.
Ok that’s over egging it a little.
What you see is not reality now.
When you look in the mirror that’s not exactly how your face looks when you see it. The light took just over 1 billionth of a second to reflect from face to mirror to eye. Frankly you’ve changed.
Everything you can see, what you perceive as now, is actually the past. You stand at the tip of a history bathed in light unable to actually see what is truly in front of you.
Ok, stretching the point perhaps. Essentially true, but perhaps meaningless in everyday experience.
The Sun is 8 minutes away, but that matters little to most.
Light has a speed limit so incredibly fast that it is essentially instantaneous when you are rubbing your eyes in the mirror on Monday morning.
This is true. But not the star we saw die.
Last week we saw a star die, but it’s death was an ancient event.
Last week we finally received news of a star’s death.
Some stars we still see shining in the sky are dead. Like watching historical footage we are seeing their light stream towards us and following behind is a grand finale, perhaps an incredibly bright flash or a dramatic change in shape and colour.
We look at Betelgeuse and know that it is a star near its end. Swollen, deep red, even to the naked eye you can imagine that it looks angry.
Is it still there?
Racing towards us at 299,792,458 meters per second somewhere in the space between us the light from the catastrophic death of this familiar star may already exist.
Or maybe what we see is still reality.
(Can I recomend a little follow up read here, did you know your brain compensates for some of the time delay!?)