Why We Love Astronomy

To celebrate Astronomy Day on September 26, Astronomers and staff from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona share why they love astronomy with stories and some of their favorite images.

September 25, 2020
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Photo By: Canon T4i/C11 2800mm f/10 60fps

Photo By: Canon T4i/250mm

Photo By: Canon T4i/C11 2800mm f/10

Photo By: Massey/Neugent/Dunham/Lowell Obs./NSF

Photo By: Massey/Neugent/Lowell Obs./NSF

Photo By: Neugent/Massey/Lowell Obs/NSF

Photo By: Baade Magellan telescope in Chile. Massey

Dr. Amanda Bosh, Observatory Operations Manager

I’m fascinated by observing through a telescope, being able to see out into the universe and back in time. My love of astronomy really started in college- even in the light-polluted skies of Boston, I couldn’t peel myself away from the telescope eyepiece!

Dr. Amanda Bosh, Observatory Operations Manager

It was only bright objects that we could see well, but with the help of the 8-inch telescope, the moon and planets became real worlds that I explored from afar.

Victoria Girgis, Educator

I love astronomy for many reasons.

Victoria Girgis, Educator

One in particular is that it really connects us all as people.

Victoria Girgis, Educator

We all look up at the same sky, we all see the same stars and planets.

Victoria Girgis, Educator

People across time and space see the same (or a similar) night sky.

Stephen Riggs, Development Manager

My earliest memory of astronomical curiosity occurred at age five or so when I saw my first lunar eclipse from start to finish with my parents in rural Tennessee. I asked myriad questions about what was causing this to happen, how often did it occur, will it happen again, if so, when, etc. My parents could not answer all of my questions, but we looked them up the next day and found answers to most.

David Noble, NPOI Project Manager

ISS (International Space Station) is roughly the size of a football field and passes overhead at a distance of 250 miles. Orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes, it transits the surface of the Moon in less than 1 second and is only visible within a zone a few miles wide. Transits can be predicted using the website transit-finder.com.

David Noble, NPOI Project Manager

Located near the tail feathers of Cygnus the Swan, this solid mass of stars packed shoulder to shoulder covers an area more than ten times the size of the full moon. The reddish blush is due to glowing hydrogen gas, excited by intense UV light from hot young stars. But easy to overlook are the sharply defined curves and gaps between fields of stars, composed of intervening bands of dust, blocking the light from areas otherwise filled with stars.

David Noble, NPOI Project Manager

This beautiful example of a face-on spiral galaxy can be found just below the last star in the handle of the Big Dipper. The soft, delicate, fog-like appearance is the collective light from more than 100 billion stars. Its spiral pattern hints at an object in motion as does the collision with a companion galaxy viewed from a safe distance of 23 million light-years.

Stephen Riggs, Development Manager

Since then I have been looking up at the sky and looking up answers to my questions about what is there. I am but an amateur astronomer, though I am now fortunate enough to work at Lowell Observatory where I have much opportunity to look up, usually through a variety of extraordinary telescopes. I have even more questions now, but I am in a place where answers abound. May my wonder of the night sky never cease.

Dr. Phil Massey, Astronomer

“I decided to become an astronomer back in 5th grade one evening when a friend showed me Saturn through his 2-inch refractor. I’ve had no regrets.

Dr. Phil Massey, Astronomer

The Moon

Dr. Phil Massey, Astronomer

Globular cluster M15

Dr. Phil Massey, Astronomer

Helix Nebular

Dr. Phil Massey, Astronomer

Baade Magellan telescope in Chile.

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