Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Like Astronomy

I've always liked astronomy. I particularly enjoy reading about new discoveries or trying to understand the physics (as, apparently, so are the astrophysicists...), but that's not really the basics of why I like it.

I like astronomy because it reminds me that I am teeny-tiny and the universe is mondo-gigantor. More specifically, I think the problems of my life can always be put into perspective by realizing that somewhere out there, an unthinkably huge sun is exploding. Ones problems are always small in comparison to exploding suns. Flat tire? Exploding sun. Lonely? Exploding sun. If you want to trump an exploding sun, you'll have to find something else astronomical to compare it to.

Also, the sun is orbiting around the galactic center at about 220 km/second. Wherever you are now, it is 792,000 kilometers away from where you were an hour ago.

The point is it helps me maintain a perspective. My problems are not the end of the world.

Unless my problem is a giant meteor, in which case it might be the end of the world.

But anyway, I also like to look up at the stars whenever I get a chance because it reminds me that there are endless possibilities. We are on a small rock, hurtling through a massive universe. What will tomorrow bring us? Who knows! Science isn't even entirely sure what the majority of the mass in the universe is. Anything could happen tomorrow. Anything. It's hard to hold onto despair when you know that tomorrow could bring you anything.