A Sense of Wonder
December 2, 2012
I couldn't express it better than Rachel Carson did in her essay of the same name. "It was a clear night without a moon. With a friend I went out on a flat headland that is almost a tiny island, being all but surrounded by the waters of the bay. There the horizons are remots and distant rims on the edge of space. We lay and looked up at the sky and the millions of stars that blazed in darkness. ..... A few lights burned in cottages. otherwise there was no reminder of other human life; my companion and I were alone with the stars. I had never seen them more beautiful: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the pattern of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. Once or twice a meteor burned its way into the earth's atmosphere. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century or even once in a human generation, this this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be see many scores of nights in any year and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night perhaps they will never see it".
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.