Seeing is Believing
November 26, 2013
My story does not have a specific, famous image ... more an image in my head that is as vivid now as it was 30 years ago. When I was about ten years old I was already a huge fan of science fiction thanks in large part to Star Wars, Star Trek and the influence of my mother as an amateur astronomer. One night mom took me out to our backyard with her powerful pair of binoculars and pointed up at a large, bright star in the sky. She told me that wasn't a star, but was in fact the planet Jupiter. I looked, hoping to see the famous big red spot, but alas I didn't see it. Then she asked me if I saw the black dot on top of the star. I looked closer and there it was! A dot on top of a star! She told me that was one of Jupiter's moons passing between me and the planet causing the dot I'd just seen. No movie, no TV show, no book solidified in my mind the grandeur and wonder of space then my mom did that night, showing me a planet and a moon all within my view. I couldn't take my eyes off it, and I haven't been able to stop looking at the starry skies since. I look for planets, moons, comets and even satellites with the wonder of a child, and all because I have that image of that little dot on the top of the planet Jupiter. Thank you, mom!
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.