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Do you ever feel like

  1. Dec 13, 2007 #1
    everyone is hypnotized by their own small lives on this small planet?

    I find it amazing that someone could NOT briefly look up at the sky on a clear night. Yet, many people do just that, and have probably never in their lives contemplated places beyond Earth. I had an ex-girlfriend who literally thought it was “stupid” to raise a pair of binoculars to the sky.

    There’s just so much more beyond this planet, and yet so many remain transfixed on their own personal lives and petty issues. It’s sad that very few people even know how small we are in this vast universe.

    I simply sit content knowing that they are missing out. We’re all going to die, I’d rather die having at least glimpsed places beyond Earth, even if only through the eyepiece of a small telescope.
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  3. Dec 13, 2007 #2


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    Why is that sad? Who are you to judge if a meaningful life consists of looking at the sky?

    I'll probably never bother to look at the sky to see Saturn's rings or anything like that. I don't care to do so myself. If the time comes, then I'll do it. And I bet you that everyone with me at the time will come and look at the sky with me even though they think it's dumb. Why? Because I'm having fun and it rubs off onto everyone else and they end up having fun. That is the great thing us humans are capable of doing and that thing is something they do everyday. That is meaningful.
  4. Dec 13, 2007 #3


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    I agree. I do think it's fun to stargaze sometimes, but for me, it's something fun to do with someone else. If I can ever get Russ to show me his telescope, I'll enjoy looking, but it doesn't mean I'm going to live a sad, miserable life if I never get a chance to do that.

    I could equally ask, why do you spend so much time staring up at the sky when there are so many interesting things you have yet to explore down on the ground below you? When's the last time you turned over an old rotten log and sat fascinated watching all the critters it reveals? Or walked through the woods identifying individual species of wildflowers? Or went to see a play? It's all about your personal interests, what you enjoy doing and seeing and observing, and that doesn't mean someone else has a sad life because their interests are different. I'd probably think staring at the sky with binoculars was pretty pointless too...you're not going to get much more (if any) benefit compared with just looking with the naked eye.
  5. Dec 13, 2007 #4
    False. Any quality pair of binoculars will reveal far more than the telescopes that were available in Galileo's time.

    Anyway, I'm not saying we must spend every hour of every day looking at the sky. I'm just surprised how many people don't even care. Imagine being born in a room with one window, spending your entire life in that one little room, and never even looking out the window. As outrageous as this notion seems, that is exactly the position we are in, if we consider how small the planet is compared to the rest of the observable universe. It's just strange that people don't at least think of these things.

    For what it's worth, I don't stargaze that much at all; I don't even own a telescope. But not to at least briefly look up on a clear night, that to me is strange.

    Anyway, I do a lot of other things. I fly airplanes, ride motorcycles, skeet shoot, etc...

    I never claimed anyone’s life is "meaningless" if they choose not to look at the sky. All I'm saying is that it's strange how many people will never even bother to take a few minutes.
  6. Dec 13, 2007 #5
    I'm like that. I always gaze at the sky whenever I get a chance. This time of year it is winter, snowy and cold. When I wake up in the morning to go to work, I will catch that gray crescent of the moon against a crystallized sky. In the silence disturbed by crunches of snow made by my steps, I experience colorful feelings of awe and astonishment. Or during sunset in summer, Venus with its brilliance will illuminate the sky. I always recognize the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and will try to find constellations when I'm driving or am outside. I contemplate about vastness of space like that. Since this matter strikes subject of philosophy and origins of man, it is may appear to you that it is more important. (may actually be I don't know) But I suppose the same mechanism in the brain responsible for awe, is causing other people to be amazed by crickets or bird watching. The gist of it, enjoy what you like to do.
  7. Dec 14, 2007 #6


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    Ooh err missus. So that's what he calls it.
  8. Dec 14, 2007 #7
    Most of us don't really know what to look for, hence the lack of interest.

    http://www.physicallyincorrect.com" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. Dec 14, 2007 #8


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    As i work nights i am lucky, i usually have time to look at the stars, it makes up for being covered in jelly, custard, grease and various other things, going home in the morning theres plenty of wild life about, some times i take the long way home along an old gated road, it is well worth it as wild life is less disturbed, and some times the vista of the morning sky can draw me into it, it would be difficult for an artist to capture the colours and mood, one morning last week the sky was banded orange, yellow, blue grey, the fields white with frost shinning silver in the cars head lights, the trees and hedges ghostly shapes, who could want more.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  10. Dec 14, 2007 #9


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    Well, I've been looking at the stars since I was about 1 or so. Growing up, I'd look at the sky during the day as well as night, part of which is to study the weather, and the other part is the sheer beauty of the stars and cosmological objects. At university, I studied astrophysics, which included observational astronomy with a 14-inch telescope.

    I think many people are engaged in their lives and various diversions, and in some or many cases, people are simply overwhelmed by life, hence the need for TV or movies or internet or some form of entertainment or distraction/diversion.

    I don't see that it's necessarily sad that very few people even know how small we are in this vast universe. That should be the least of worries.
  11. Dec 14, 2007 #10
    I recently obtained a really stinky pair of binoculars and have been looking for stuff to look for. Besides my neighbors' bedrooms I mean. Light polution in my area is a major issue. I don't see the point in looking at a star since the only thing I see is the point. So I concentrate on planets, clusters and nebulae. I never saw the galaxy in Andromeda or comet Holmes naked eye, but I did see them with my inverse microscope. I have yet to see the nebula in Orion, but it's on my list to look for. I have it in mind to shell out for a decent pair, but I'll exhaust the capabilities of what I have first.
  12. Dec 14, 2007 #11


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  13. Dec 14, 2007 #12
    I don't think you really need to. A clear night sky would do to appreciate the grandeur.
  14. Dec 14, 2007 #13
  15. Dec 14, 2007 #14

    Shooting Star

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    How do you know they're missing out? But you can say...

    I am reminded of the story of two Chinese philosophers who were standing on a bridge overlooking a stream in which the fishes could be seen swimming about. One of them remarked, "Look how happy the fishes are, playing about in the water." The second one asked, "How do you know, not being a fish, that they are happy?" The first one said, "How do you know, not being I, that I do not know that the fishes are happy?"
  16. Dec 14, 2007 #15
    Staying closer to Earth, I find it amazing that people don't care less why things are the way they are. Isn't it aggravating that the geologic records tell us things we can't begin to understand? I want to know and figuring out a wee bit of that is the most rewarding I can think of.
  17. Dec 14, 2007 #16


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    This thread reminds me of a bit of advice/warning given to me by someone who had been married to a physicist...The difference between physicists and other men is that when the physicist invites you to go stargazing with him, he really means he wants to gaze at the stars. :biggrin:

    (I'm not even touching brewie's comment. :rofl:)
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