Stargazing is a really interesting hobby. For one thing, it requires that you stay up late into the night (especially during the summer when longer days are common in places farther away from the equator). I often wonder what it would be like to be an astronomer. Would they ever get any sleep?
Anyway, aside from these ponderings, I’ve always admired their ability to speculate, theorize, and generalize truths about our universe based on what they see so far away. They gaze into places no human has ever really experienced, and yet they now know so much about the world beyond our small planet.
It’s interesting to see how children react to seeing the stars up close and personal through a telescope, too. Although not very scientific, they often see things we adults cannot see, appreciating the abstract beauty of the world around us in a whole new way.
Take, for instance, children partaking in a “star party” of local astronomers! In Santa Clara, California, Amanda Brown and her two kids (6- and 8-years old) explored the night sky through some powerful pieces of equipment.
They were staring at the sun, which is 90 million miles away, seeing it as a blazing sphere. And instead of describing it as the stellar phenomenon we all know and love, they imagined other things of the sun, much like we often do with the stars. One said it looked like “a big red ball with trees on it” while the other described it as “a bunny rabbit with a huge head.” Funny!
It’s great to see little amateur groups like this encourage people in their communities to take a fresh look at the stars, and in the process, educate them about the diminishing view of the night sky. This particular group, like many others like it, is trying to encourage their community to adopt dark sky lighting ordinances. Perhaps someday, Amanda Brown’s kids will be adults in a world where this isn’t an issue any more, and then they can speculate about bunnies and balls with their children to their heart’s content.