What is it about astronomy that so captures the imagination? For some it is the idea of someday traveling to a distant star, for others it means an evening spent under the Milky Way with a telescope, star chart and ancient photons (particles of light from stars).
We asked our Night Sky Network astronomers to tell us what draws them to astronomy and here are some of their thoughtful (and sometimes even poetic!) answers:
"After retiring and finding myself with a lot of unstructured time, I started looking for a constructive way to both relax and learn something new and exciting and found both in visual astronomy." Keith Mullen of the Huachuca Astronomy Club of Southeastern Arizona.
Joan Chamberlin of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England explains
why she is so obsessed with astronomy:
"Astronomy is simple yet complex
Serene yet explosive
Lucid but nebulous
Romantic yet scientific
Expansive yet precise
Astronomy is an 8 minute solar trip or a journey into light years.
Astronomy is enriched with my heroes--Galileo, Kepler, Newton,
Einstein, Hale, Hubble, and Steven Squyres
It's populated with children, rich folks, poor folks, passionate amateurs,
And approachable scientists
Astronomy makes me feel like
I'm on a rocketship of discovery.
Nothing else quite makes it!"
For many, the passion for astronomy turned to a desire to share such wonders with others as explained by Mark Brown of the River Bend Astronomy Club:"Astronomy has always been a passion of mine...Just as my eyes lit up when I observed Saturn for the first time in a telescope, I enjoy watching that same expression on the face of others.....knowing that I was a part of it and the possibility that I was somewhat responsible for changing how they look at things in the night sky. Whether I convey information to 1 to 100, my excitement for astronomy is evident. I've made astronomy an important part of my everyday life...both as a hobby and as a profession. It is true... I eat, drink, and sleep astronomy."
Are you curious about astronomy and why it is such a draw for so many people?
Contact an astronomy club near you and ask an astronomer in person! Click
here to find a club near you!