An Astronomer’s New Year’s Message

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Canis Major with Sirius and other notable stars and objects. Image courtesy, the author, 12/1986, Everglades, Florida.

On this cold, clear night when the stellar jewels are alight above, take the time, if just for a moment, to gaze upwards, to make that visceral connection with that from whence we all came. Regardless of your religious persuasion, if any, we are all connected at the deepest level to those stars; that grand firmament above us is our origin and our destiny. If, for only a day, may true peace reign in our hearts and in our homes; may the guns, bombs and weapons of destruction fall silent, may the sentiment expressed by all the world’s great religions be realized if only for one night.

At the close of the year and the decade, and as you look to the east upon the brilliant jewels of Orion, Sirius beckoning with a clear blue-white light, brilliant Venus and tonight’s waxing crescent moon both following the sun after sunset, know that there are others too who are gazing as you do; that this is the nexus that binds us all together, the oneness with that great canopy of stars above, fellow travelers upon this beautiful blue miracle in orbit about our home star. We, bound by a common origin, composed of elements forged in the nuclear cauldrons of long-dead stars, look up at the stars and, in humility, connect with each other. Having almost completed yet another circuit around that star, we are reminded that, in our smallness, we are great in that we have this common bond; let us concentrate on that, be one and be at peace.

Imagination is more important than knowledge

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