TODAY’S NATIONAL DAY, 4/28/24 – INTERGALACTIC ASTRONOMY DAY!

Starry Night Van GoghJust in case you’re not feeling small and insignificant enough, today is

INTERGALACTIC ASTRONOMY DAY!

That’s right, it’s star gazing time, and we search the boundless heavens for beauty and wonders, never disappointed.

The same system that works in atoms, a central rotating nucleus with orbiting electrons, also works on the molecular, the planetary and the solar level, with a central star (the sun) surrounded by orbiting planets (ahem!), moons, planetoids, asteroid belts and other cosmic debris.

This is repeated billions and uncounted billions of times in our own Milky Way Galaxy, which, as it turns out, is but one of nobody-knows-how-many galaxies in the observable universe spread over unfathomable distances of parsecs and light years.

Now do you feel teensy weensy? But don’t worry, just enjoy being a part of the spectacular light show that is the universe, and let the scientists worry about the particulars.

Ours is to marvel and gasp at the wonder of it all, and to thank, in no particular order, those who pioneered Astronomy and opened our eyes to the almost painful beauty of the natural universe, and those who keep expanding the boundaries of what is knowable: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Hipparchus, Erasthones, Messier, Hubble, Einstein, Newton, Kepler, Brahe, Hawking, Halley, Rahman al-Sufi, Huygens, Herschel, Sagan, Tyson and, what the hell, Vincent Van Gogh for his “Starry Night,”  which eerily mimics the swirling and churning “star factories” of deep space as revealed by the Webb and Hubble telescopes.

Is it any wonder we build rockets and dream of visiting the stars?

•Suggested Activities: Look to the sky, always look to the sky.

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