Personal experiences

Why do you love astronomy?

Most astronomers that I come across on a daily basis – be them undergraduate students, graduate students, or professors – have a never-ending love for astronomy.  It can be seen in the late nights worked and their incessant need to talk about their research.  I think all authors, here at astrobites, fit this category well.  We love astronomy.  We love doing research and we especially love talking about it.  So I wanted to dedicate a post to this single question: why do you love astronomy?  Here’s what a few of the authors have to say.


I get to play a part in stitching together the story of the universe, a story that has been built chapter by chapter for a very long time. The telescopes I get to use are some of the largest, most beautiful, most impressive feats of human engineering. I get to share my career with everyone, because by understanding what is out there, we understand what is down here. But most importantly, I love astronomy because it is hard and challenging, but always rewarding. – Josh Fuchs

I came to astronomy by accident when, as an aspiring science fiction writer, I wanted to thoroughly research the details and caveats associated with ending the world by throwing Earth into a black hole.  As I learned more in high school and undergraduate courses, it was partially the big questions in astronomy – what is the universe made of?  is there anyone else out there? – but more so the possibility of answering them within my lifetime that got me hooked on research.  I discovered that I love analyzing and interpreting data.  Every time we make a new measurement, there is the potential to learn something new about the universe.  Yet one of the major reasons that I have stayed in astronomy is the people.  I love working in a place where I can discuss project results and future ideas with people who have different skills and different knowledge from me.  Graduate school has made this more possible than ever before for me, since I am continually surrounded by loads of amazing scientists! – Lauren Weiss

A general interest in astronomy led me to gradate school, which is where I’d say I found my love for astronomy. I took my first visit to a beautiful mountain top observatory, I used a telescope to gather my own data for the first time, and a friend showed me the first constellations I’d learned since the Big Dipper. But the first time I realized that I loved astronomy was one night last semester, when showing undergraduates these constellations I’d just learned while talking about stellar evolution and sharing my experiences of grad school. – Elisabeth Newton

Take a moment to imagine standing beneath a beautiful starry sky.  You peak out into the Universe as a single player in a vast cosmic play.  That feeling of incommensurable beauty and awe is at the root of my love for astronomy.  But it also extends far beyond this.  We, as human beings, have the potential to understand those points of light, scattered so far away.  We have built instruments that peak into the far distant corners of the Universe, and labs that can recreate the conditions immediately following the big bang.  Driven by sheer curiosity, we are beginning to understand the unfathomable. We are answering questions left and right. But what is even more exciting, what drives all astronomers forward, are the questions we haven’t even thought to ask yet. – Shannon Hall

Astronomy is a subject with a natural gift for inciting international collaborations and for exciting the public about science.  We use world-class tools — observatories, high-performance computers — that are the result of years of collaboration between scientists, engineers, and diplomats from many countries.  With these big tools, we can tackle the biggest questions about the Universe.  For my own research, I enjoy traveling to observatories, which I consider to be in the most beautiful places in the world.  In the future, I think I’d like to be involved in building the next big observatory.  - Adele Plunkett


Feel free to comment and tell us why YOU love astronomy.

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Shannon Hall

While writing for astrobites I was a graduate student at the University of Wyoming working on exoplanet research. Previously, I graduated from Whitman College with two degrees: one in physics-astronomy and one in philosophy. I am now working toward my career goals in science journalism and education. Feel free to visit my website.

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