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Andymack

Emotional Astronomy

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The other night found me standing in my back garden, Ipod on, looking at an object 25000 light years away,The great globular cluster in Hercules. Through my reasonably small telescope (114mm) it looks like a smudge, a round blob, a fingerprint. You cannot pick out individual stars, in fact if you were just scanning the sky, with no prior knowledge of it's existence, you could easily think it was a puff of cloud and skip past.

So how come when I was looking at it, I felt a lump in my throat and almost a tear in my eye? I've found this quite a common occurence with me. A quick view of Jupiter or the craters of the moon, and off I go. Looking through the eyepiece of a telescope is a very singular experience. It gives you a sense of being alone with whatever is in your field of view. Everyone else is watching TV, while you are staring at things that ancient eyes once viewed,live and in real time. No matter how bad your day has been,take a quick scan of the Universe and for a while all problems seem to disappear. I think it's the sense of permanence. The phrase 'This too will pass' springs to mind, your problem is put into perspective, at least temporarily. It's just a tiny blip in something so vast you can't really comprehend it no matter how much you read on the subject. As a mood enhancer it should be on the NHS. Is it just me?

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I think it's one of those things you can get emotionally involved in. People laugh when I say this effectivley about balls of gas light years away... Your definatly not alone, it's one of those things the affect people who are responsive to it. I've seen people get upset about the X Factor, but personally it does nothing for me, and anyways, faced with Albireio, TV dramas pale into insignificance IMHO!

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Last night it was just me and the cosmos and we had a two hour silent conversation.

Simply magical :o

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I think you have articulated something I have been feeling very well. I am new to the hobby but last night I didn't even THINK of watching Casualty - the promise of a clear sky had me out there and happy as a pig in muck. The joy of finding the Dumbell Nebula for the first time......wow!

And I think the way the sky changes over time, both nightly and seasonally, makes you more in tune with nature and the world. I have felt this for a couple of years now as I make home made wine, so I am constantly aware of what is out there and eagerly anticipating the next fruit to come into season. I can see that astronomy will have a similar effect on my life, and I am looking forward to that :o

Steph

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You are sane.

I have a neighbour who doesn´t even want to look through the eyepiece. In her words: "Esto me da miedo" (That scares me).

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If we had Post of the Week, this would have been a worthy winner!

I know where you are coming from.

Ant

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Not alone, its nice to get away for a few hours, makes you think how small we are in the big universe.

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I think we've all felt this, but not been able to put it so eloquently.

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Yes, very well put. I have felt this way for more than thirty years, so if "This too will pass" and "all things must pass," (I love GH) it can take a long time.

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I belief that observers who keep looking up at and learning about the night sky must feel this emotional as well as scientific involvement. Last night I just used the binoculars and looked at open clusters, globulars, galaxies, nebulae, double stars and planets - and smiled back at the 'smiley face' in Auriga and looked at the 'coathanger' asterism. Time meant nothing. I was a citizen of the Universe, not a mere Earthling and felt very priviledged. The many, many hours I've spent locating DSOs seemed to finally be paying off and everything just seemed to fall into the eyepiece easilly and naturally. At last I felt I was part of it. Magical - I didn't want it to end. 'When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you' - Friedrich Nietzsche.

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Couldn't agree more. You can look at something and not really think about what it is you are looking at. But when you know what you are looking at, how far away it is, how big it is, it is indeed very humbling.

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aye, well said people. For me it's the whole process, being out on my own in the quiet dark night, finding things, looking at things, not finding things, not being sure whether I've found something or not, and then, I'm lying in bed afterwards, with freezing toes, shutting my eyes, and seeing it all again, only bigger and brighter and sparklier...

swimbo likes it when I stargaze cos I' always in a good mood the next day...:o:):)

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Nice to see that it's not just me then! Thanks to all of you for your comments. I've been meaning to get that off my chest for ages.

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Me too, and it is the very thing that those outside astronomy do not understand while us inside astronomy usually find it hard to explain.

I feel almost the same when I see the AV-8B flying oddly enough, but that's a pride thing :o

Arthur

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Is it just me?

Is there any other way to be?

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Andymack, I couldn't agree more ......Int' astronomy brilliant.....:o

regards craig

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A few friends and family popped round the other night when I had my scope out and whenever I found something interesting i.e. Jupiter or M31 I would call them to come and have a look. A few would come out and have a quick 3 second look and go back in again not really even thinking about what amazing things they were looking at. So unless you are really into it as we all obviously are it is hard to appreciate astronomy and all the wonderful things out there.

Personally I feel I belong to a very exclusive club and everybody else is seriously missing out .

Clear skies

Vlebo

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You are not alone believe me :o

Cue music from Close Encounters ( G, A, F, (octave lower) F, C) !

My two neices visited a few weeks ago, one evening I set up the Dob to look at Mizar and Alcor to show them their first Double.

The youngest one ( 7 ) said " I didnt know stars were round" She was hooked and this was her topic to talk about when she got back to school.

You just cant help but be moved by whats up there. I remember the first time I saw Andromeda. A pale smudge against a velvet black sky and total silence all around.......

Goosebumps are coming back.....

Allan

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... No matter how bad your day has been,take a quick scan of the Universe and for a while all problems seem to disappear. I think it's the sense of permanence. The phrase 'This too will pass' springs to mind, your problem is put into perspective, at least temporarily. It's just a tiny blip in something so vast you can't really comprehend it no matter how much you read on the subject. As a mood enhancer it should be on the NHS. Is it just me?

Hello Andymack :)

Yes, all problems seem to suddenly become trivial and make no sense at all.

'Mood enhancer' as prescribed by the NHS: I like that :o

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Well, I think one can only "worry" about one's equipment (FNAR) etc. so much. :D

Recently e.g. I had (serious! LOL) plans to "Commission" this 'ere GoTo... Until I was diverted into simply LOOKING at Jupiter. And then (worse still) sweeping random areas of the "Milky Way" at low power...

Back to reality: I have been a bit "miffed" that, since then, I haven't had a REALLY decent sky to do the "setting up thing". But this is tempered with the memory that therin, I would have missed out on something (probably) more... <ahem> Edifying? :o

P.S. That said, I am well aware that "spiritual experience", don't pay the rent. :)

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Whether i'm at the eyepiece or just looking up, the night sky has a way of making me feel infinite and microscopic at the same time. Quite pleasant, actually... like getting a soul-massage. :o

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Me too - Once a particularly fine view of the double cluster gave me a lump in the throat.

I thought I was just being a wuss!

Richard

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Me too Andy, sometimes the wonder of it all leaves me feeling emotional in a giddy kinda way, other times I want to wake up all the neighbours and say "You just gotta see this!" :o

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