All I ever have to do to prove that is just set up a telescope on a sidewalk somewhere, anywhere, and people will gather around in no time. A miniature crowd develops full of questions; a little sea of pent-up curiosity that has finally found an outlet.
It's not all that surprising though, is it? Most of us have an innate curiosity about the planet we live on and the universe surrounding us. It never fails that someone will walk up and ask me a question that's been on their minds for years, and heave a great sigh of relief. "Wow, that's amazing." or "See, I knew it!". The thing is, most people think about these things, but they don't always get a chance to actually find out the answers. Life seems to always get in the way.
It is my firm belief that a small portion of time taken out of your life to explore the universe is an investment that brings back enormous returns. What kind of return?
It's the difference between a mere 'existence' and a life well lived.
Looking at the crowds that gather around my telescope, feeling their gushing appreciation for the simple act of letting them look through the eyepiece and my willingness to answer their torrent of questions, re-affirms to me that people are hungry to learn about astronomy, about the universe and about our place in it.
Looking into the night sky and appreciating its beauty comes naturally, we all have a hard-wired curiosity that compels us - whenever we get the chance - to get more information about what's up there. We are innately interested and more than a little uncomfortable about the sheer size of the cosmos. Does it give you pause to think that our sun, this one small, rather ordinary star, is literally a drop in the cosmic ocean?
You have found a home here if ANY of the following apply to you:
Perhaps you may even have wanted to major in astronomy in college, but for whatever reason (wanted a good-paying job, had to raise kids, pay bills, live your life, afraid of the math), you chose another, more practical course of study.
But throughout your life, whenever you looked up at the night sky, you silently wished you had chosen the astronomy major.
This site is dedicated to you, the person who's always been curious about the universe, but for one reason or another, has never had the time or life circumstances to pursue this inner passion. My main goal in creating this site is to provide you with a place to go to learn about the night sky without fear or intimidation. Many people feel they aren't smart enough to understand astronomical ideas and concepts. My experiences with the crowds at the telescope tell me otherwise, people do themselves a great disservice by thinking that way. The simple fact that you're curious about astronomy at all is a signal that you can not only learn it, but that you must because your brain is hungry for the information. I promise you can understand everything here, it is above no one.
There are many excellent sites on astronomy (this site hopes to become one of them), all of them providing wonderful facts, news stories, and up-to-date information gathered by many of the world's foremost minds in the field. There are also many sites lovingly and passionately constructed by amateur astronomers as well as ordinary people, with no motivation other than they love looking at the night sky. I invite you to visit my Links page for a listing of what I consider to be among the best.
Here you will find a unique perspective that strives to help you understand (sometimes complicated) astronomical ideas and concepts with an eye toward making them relevant to your life. I believe that learning about the universe we live in can be one of the most mind-expanding and spiritually rewarding activities a person can embark on, and this site will strive to make that journey as complete as possible. For example, we'll discuss all the usual topics like the age of the universe, black holes, colonizing space, life in the universe, constellations, planets, space missions... all the stuff people at my telescope have asked about for years.
We'll also journey into some thought-provoking realms as well, such as: did you know that scientists have no idea what makes up 95% of the universe? The Hubble Deep Field, the single most important image ever taken by humanity (in my opinion), shows us beautifully and at a glance, our place in the universe. It stared at one, tiny patch of sky that contained almost no stars, and returned an image full of galaxies.
Learning astronomy opens and expands your mind. It tunes your thoughts in ways that allow bigger ideas to pop into your head, ideas that wouldn't have had a place before, can now nest in your brain and incubate, possibly becoming life changing, world-improving actions.
Grappling with ideas like the scale of the universe, the possiblility of life on other worlds, the gravitational energy of black holes, etc. trains our minds to have big, sometimes disconcerting thoughts about our life and our place in the universe. I believe these thoughts mark an important stage in our intellectual, as well as spritual, growth.
It's fun to be smart. When you're smart, people need you.
It is time to feed your brain...
There's a lot of information I like to get out to people that don't warrant an entire article.
I've been posting things like astronomy news and answers to questions I get from people who watch my astronomy videos or read this website. Think of it as a supplement to your love of astronomy!
Please check out the new DeepAstronomy Blog here!