This week we look at astronomers, those who face the unnerving prospect of seeing on a daily basis humanity’s existence in a reality far removed from what us regular folk consider ‘normal life’. For that, we salute you.
Astronomers care not for trees, car parks, fun fairs or even the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre. Rather, astronomers have higher interests than that.
So high, in fact, that every year they peer further and further away from Earth.
Copernicus is one of the fathers of astronomy, the first man to establish the positional makeup of our solar system back in 1543.
Obviously he followed in the footsteps of numerous historical figures, and preceded loads of geniuses after, but since then there have been so many advancements it’s futile to even try and list them. Put it this way, in the past few decades we have sent hundreds of satellites into space.
We’ve achieved quite a lot
We have sent spacecrafts so far outside our scant knowledge of space that we’re waiting, any day now, for some of them to pack it in (Voyager? You still working, buddy?).
We’ve even created our own interstellar photographers, enjoying constant work from Hubble, Cassini et al, with the impending arrival of New Horizons on the porch of Pluto a particular highlight.
We’ve landed spacecrafts on flying comets, put some remote control cars on Mars, and even made plans for a floating city to hang around outside Venus.
What do astronomers do?
What they do: Astronomers seek out a better understanding of how the universe works: planets, stars and the properties that make up galaxies.
What they don’t do: Star signs. Astronomers don’t do star signs.
Educational requirements: Getting a BSc in physics, astronomy, astrophysics or a related field should be a bare minimum. Astronomy studies incorporate things like algebra, statistics and physics.
Here are a few bits and pieces, memes and videos, that might explain it all a little better.
Some may say, for example, that the true achievement in astronomy is playing lead guitar for one of the greatest bands of all time:
But it’s important to establish, first of all, if you fully understand the difference between astronomy and astrology.
A little tip, astronomy is of far greater importance, yet astrology is the one that commands a daily column in every newspaper around the world:
The nuances of space, though, should not be lost on some of our colloquialisms…
Once on their feet though, astronomers dedicate huge amounts of time to the measurable, fascinating relationship between mother sun and her nine messers:
If you’re not sure where the sun is, just stare up into the sky and play the waiting game:
There are always a few elements of space that look like they’re showing off. But they can’t actually show off, because they were merely created by an omnipresent being:
When using telescopes, though, you must always consider scale:
Pretty soon, though, the futility of your own existence becomes harrowingly apparent:
This realisation can come back and hit you, again and again:
But why get bogged down in such dour thinking. Instead, enjoy this tremendous, NSFW in some parts, ‘interview’ of Buzz Aldrin by Ali G.