Many perspectives on the pleasures of the night sky.
So much can be summed up in a single line. I have collected several thousand quotes in my files relating to astronomy and stargazing, many of which I’ve sprinkled throughout my books Celebrating the Universe! and Celestial Harvest.
Here are a few favourites that speak to getting back to basics and the joy visual observing:
The celestial actors are in place, a serene majesty washes over the stage, and I can almost hear the music of galactic trumpets in their opening bar.
Walter Scott Houston
I would rather freeze and fight off mosquitoes than play astronomy on a computer.
To me, astronomy means learning about the universe by looking at it.
All galaxies deserve to be stared at for a full fifteen minutes.
Every tint that blooms in the flowers of Summer flames out in the stars at night.
I became an astronomer not to access the facts about the sky but to see and feel its majesty.
The feeling of being alone in the universe on a starlit night, cruising on wings of polished glass, flitting in seconds from a point millions of miles away to one billions of light-years distant is euphoric.
. . . the fun of sight-seeing, the sheer joy of firsthand acquaintance with incredibly wonderful and beautiful things.
One gentle dose of starlight to be taken each night just before retiring.
The study of the heavens from a purely aesthetic point of view is scorned in this technological age.
To me, telescope viewing is primarily an aesthetic experience.
Time spent with 2-billion-year-old photons is potent stuff.
I am because I observe.
When you’re in the observer’s cage of the 200-inch . . . it’s romantic, beautiful, marvellous.
[Visual] observing all seems so natural, so real, so obvious. How could it possibly be any other way?
A night under the stars rewards the bug bites, the cloudy skies, the next-day fuzzies, and the thousands of frustrations with priceless moments of sublime beauty.
And there’s always that special pleasure in knowing that, when you look upon that distant light, it has travelled all those light-years — such an incredible journey — just for you.
To gaze into space is to embark upon a spiritual quest, an experience of awe and wonder.
How can a person ever forget the scene, the glory of a thousand stars in a thousand hues . . .
Walter Scott Houston
Gazing into the beginning of everything, we are young once again.
Do you have a favourite brief quotation you’d like to share? Feel free to add it in the comments section below.
James Mullaney has logged over 20,000 hours of observing time, and published more than a thousand articles and 10 books on stargazing. His latest is Celebrating the Universe!