Astronomy Quotes


Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

Nature and Selected Essays

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature and Selected Essays
Astronomy    Beauty    Heavens    Nature    Night    Night sky    Religion    Sky    Stars

The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject... And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them... Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.

I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that's what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it's only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing "tail" behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they're shooting stars! That's why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it's during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I'm like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn't know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn't know existed in me... I see myself. I'm a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I'm not going to die out. I guess I'm more like a comet then. I'm just going to keep on coming back.

Stars are beautiful, but they must not take an active part in anything, they must just look on forever. It is a punishment put on them for something they did so long ago that no star now knows what it was.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

[
The Old Astronomer to His Pupil
]
Reach me down my
Tycho Brahe
, I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.
Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.
I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.
You 'have none but me,' you murmur, and I 'leave you quite alone'?
Well then, kiss me, -- since my mother left her blessing on my brow,
There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;
I can dimly comprehend it, -- that I might have been more kind,
Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.
I 'have never failed in kindness'? No, we lived too high for strife,--
Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;
But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still
To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!
There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,
To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;
And remember, 'Patience, Patience,' is the watchword of a sage,
Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.
I have sown, like
Tycho Brahe
, that a greater man may reap;
But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleep
So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;
See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.
I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;
Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:
It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,--
God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.

Astronomy    Awe    Beauty    Brahe    Calculations    Fame    Goddess    Humble    Kindness    Love    Mars    Math    Mathematics    Patience    Poem    Poetry    Science    Sight    Stars    Strife    Taint    Tycho brahe    Venus    Weeping    Wisdom

He insisted that stars were people so well loved, they were traced in constellations, to live forever

My Sister's Keeper

Jodi Picoult

The knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up- many people feel small, cause their small and the universe is big. But I feel big because my atoms came from those stars.

Astronomy    Atoms    Life    Science

who knows if the moon's
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
( and if you and I should
get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people
than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where
always
it's
Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

Astronomy    Balloon    Flowers    Hot air balloon    Luna    Lunar    Moonlight    Spring

And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don’t even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in you life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means they are so small you don’t have to take them into account when you are calculating something.

The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.

Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course but there was more to it than that. Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away.

Interviewer: Didn't
Sagan
want to believe?
Druyan:
he
didn't want to believe.
he
wanted to know.

Agnosticism    Astronomy    Atheism    Belief    Carl sagan    Knowledge    Sagan    Science    Truth

Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns.

Love is only one fine star away.

Astronomy    Hope    Love    Stars

Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.

Astronomy    Experience    God    Sunlight    Woods

Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are patches of Godlight in the woods of our experience.

Astronomy    Experience    God    Sunlight    Woods

National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.

Alien    Astronomy    Conceit    Earth    Folly    Human nature    Nationalism    Pride    Science    Space

Maybe you who condemn me are in greater fear than I who am condemned.

The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space.

Astronomy    Cosmology    Eschatology    Physics    Science    Stars    Sun

Our universe grants every soul a twin-
a reflection of themselves -the kindred spirit - And no matter where they are or how far away they are from each other- even if they are in different dimensions, they will always find one another. This is destiny; this is love.

Astronomy    Capricorn    Paranormal    Romance    Soul    Soulmate    Zodiac

My dear
Kepler
, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?

At the very moment that humans discovered the scale of the universe and found that their most unconstrained fancies were in fact dwarfed by the true dimensions of even the Milky Way Galaxy, they took steps that ensured that their descendants would be unable to see the stars at all. For a million years humans had grown up with a personal daily knowledge of the vault of heaven. In the last few thousand years they began building and emigrating to the cities. In the last few decades, a major fraction of the human population has abandoned a rustic way of life. As technology developed and the cities were polluted, the nights became starless. New generations grew to maturity wholly ignorant of the sky that had transfixed their ancestors and that had stimulated the modern age of science and technology. Without even noticing, just as astronomy entered a golden age most people cut themselves off from the sky, a cosmic isolationism that ended only with the dawn of space exploration.

Contact

Carl Sagan

Contact

When we look up at night and view the stars, everything we see is shinning because of distant nuclear fusion.

The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church.


Napoleon
, when hearing about
Laplace
's latest book, said, '
M.
Laplace
, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its creator
.'
Laplace
responds, 'Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. (
I had no need of that hypothesis
.)

My days I devote to reading and experiments in chemistry, and I spend many of the clear nights in the study of astronomy. There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.

Astronomy    Heaven    Hope    Inspiration    Stars

This century will be called
Darwin
's century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers.
Write the name of
Charles Darwin
on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance--at the instigation of fear
. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer
Charles Darwin
, and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest.
Charles Darwin
conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts. His light has broken in on some of the clergy, and the greatest man who to-day occupies the pulpit of one of the orthodox churches, Henry Ward Beecher, is a believer in the theories of
Charles Darwin
--a man of more genius than all the clergy of that entire church put together.
...The church teaches that man was created perfect, and that for six thousand years he has degenerated.
Darwin
demonstrated the falsity of this dogma. He shows that man has for thousands of ages steadily advanced;
that the Garden of Eden is an ignorant myth; that the doctrine of original sin has no foundation in fact; that the atonement is an absurdity; that the serpent did not tempt, and that man did not 'fall.'
Charles Darwin
destroyed the foundation of orthodox Christianity. There is nothing left but faith in what we know could not and did not happen
. Religion and science are enemies. One is a superstition; the other is a fact. One rests upon the false, the other upon the true. One is the result of fear and faith, the other of investigation and reason.

The lifetime of a human being is measured by decades, the lifetime of the Sun is a hundred million times longer. Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their lives in the course of a single day.

The reappearance of the crescent moon after the new moon; the return of the Sun after a total eclipse, the rising of the Sun in the morning after its troublesome absence at night were noted by people around the world; these phenomena spoke to our ancestors of the possibility of surviving death. Up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality.

I thought to myself: if it’s true that every person has a star in the sky, mine must be distant, dim, and absurd. Perhaps I never had a star.

Science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without. Owing to the similarity of our construction and the sameness of our environment, we respond in like manner to similar stimuli, and from the concordance of our reactions, understanding is born. In the course of ages, mechanisms of infinite complexity are developed, but what we call 'soul' or 'spirit,' is nothing more than the sum of the functionings of the body. When this functioning ceases, the 'soul' or the 'spirit' ceases likewise.
I expressed these ideas long before the behaviorists, led by Pavlov in Russia and by Watson in the United States, proclaimed their new psychology. This apparently mechanistic conception is not antagonistic to an ethical conception of life.

The wreckage of stars - I built a world from this wreckage.

I esteem myself happy to have as great an ally as
you
in my search for truth. I will read
your
work ... all the more willingly because I have for many years been a partisan of the
Copernican
view because it reveals to me the causes of many natural phenomena that are entirely incomprehensible in the light of the generally accepted hypothesis. To refute the latter I have collected many proofs, but I do not publish them, because I am deterred by the fate of our teacher
Copernicus
who, although he had won immortal fame with a few, was ridiculed and condemned by countless people (for very great is the number of the stupid).
{
Letter to fellow revolutionary astronomer
Johannes Kepelr
}

We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes. The perfection that the human mind has been able to give to astronomy affords but a feeble outline of such an intelligence.

Analysis    Astronomy    Certainty    Comprehension    Data    Determinism    Eyes    Formula    Free will    Human mind    Intelligence    Lack of free will    Mind    Motion    Naturalism    Nature    Omniscience    Past    Perfection    Physics    Present    Science    Space    Time    Universe

Two thousand years ago the night sky looked completely different, and so when you get right down to it, the Greek conceptions of star signs as related to birth dates are grossly inaccurate for today's day and age. It's called the Line of Procession: back then the sun didn't set in Taurus, but in Gemini. A September 24 birthday didn't mean you were a Libra, but a Virgo. And there was a thirteenth zodiac constellation, Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, which rose between Sagittarius and Scorpio for only four days.
The reason it's all off kilter? The earth's axis wobbles. Life isn't nearly as stable as we want it to be.

My Sister's Keeper

Jodi Picoult

By looking far out into space we are also looking far back into time, back toward the horizon of the universe, back toward the epoch of the Big Bang.

Astronomy    Big bang    Science    Space    Time

Orion is above the horizon now, and near it Jupiter, brighter than it will ever be ... But i expect you can see it too. Some of our stars are the same.

The more of us that feel the universe, the better off we will be in this world.

A circle has no end.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Astronomy    Earth    Home    Humankind    Humility    Preservation    World

If the people of Europe had known as much of astronomy and geology when the bible was introduced among them, as they do now, there never could have been one believer in the doctrine of inspiration. If the writers of the various parts of the bible had known as much about the sciences as is now known by every intelligent man, the book never could have been written. It was produced by ignorance, and has been believed and defended by its author. It has lost power in the proportion that man has gained knowledge. A few years ago, this book was appealed to in the settlement of all scientific questions; but now, even the clergy confess that in such matters, it has ceased to speak with the voice of authority. For the establishment of facts, the word of man is now considered far better than the word of God. In the world of science, Jehovah was superseded by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. All that God told Moses, admitting the entire account to be true, is dust and ashes compared to the discoveries of Descartes, Laplace, and Humboldt. In matters of fact, the bible has ceased to be regarded as a standard. Science has succeeded in breaking the chains of theology. A few years ago, Science endeavored to show that it was not inconsistent with the bible. The tables have been turned, and now, Religion is endeavoring to prove that the bible is not inconsistent with Science. The standard has been changed.

Some Mistakes of Moses

Robert G. Ingersoll

Some Mistakes of Moses

Your Excellency, I have no need of this hypothesis.

Astronomy    Atheist    God    Humor    Mathematics    Napoleon    Science

Let's grant that the stars are scattered through space, hither and yon. But how hither, and how yon? To the unaided eye the brightest stars are more than a hundred times brighter than the dimmest. So the dim ones are obviously a hundred times farther away from Earth, aren't they?
Nope.
That simple argument boldly assumes that all stars are intrinsically equally luminous, automatically making the near ones brighter than the far ones. Stars, however, come in a staggering range of luminosities, spanning ten orders of magnitude ten powers of ten. So the brightest stars are not necessarily the ones closest to Earth. In fact, most of the stars you see in the night sky are of the highly luminous variety, and they lie extraordinarily far away.
If most of the stars we see are highly luminous, then surely those stars are common throughout the galaxy.
Nope again.
High-luminosity stars are the rarest. In any given volume of space, they're outnumbered by the low-luminosity stars a thousand to one. It's the prodigious energy output of high-luminosity stars that enables you to see them across such large volumes of space.

Medicine rests upon four pillars—philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, and ethics. The first pillar is the philosophical knowledge of earth and water; the second, astronomy, supplies its full understanding of that which is of fiery and airy nature; the third is an adequate explanation of the properties of all the four elements—that is to say, of the whole cosmos—and an introduction into the art of their transformations; and finally, the fourth shows the physician those virtues which must stay with him up until his death, and it should support and complete the three other pillars.

The near side of a galaxy is tens of thousands of light-years closer to us than the far side; thus we see the front as it was tens of thousands of years before the back. But typical events in galactic dynamics occupy tens of millions of years, so the error in thinking of an image of a galaxy as frozen in one moment of time is small.

Cosmos

Carl Sagan

Cosmos
Astronomy    Awe    Galaxy    Science

The optimization of cosmic darkness and of Earth's location within the dark universe that sacrifices neither the material needs of human beings nor their capacity to gain knowledge about the universe reflects masterful engineering at a level far beyond human capability- and even imagination. It testifies of a supernatural, superintelligent, superpowerful, fully deliberate Creator.

Astronomy to the selfish becomes astrology.

Bien que les étoiles ne parlent pas, même en étant silencieux, ils crient.
Although the stars do not speak, even in being silent they cry out.

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