We live on a small blue orb traveling through a vast universe. When it is a clear we get to have peek outside of our home planet. During the day we see our star and sometimes the moon. On a clear night many stars and planets surround us.
Only since recent times do we have some understanding what we are looking at when we look up. We learned that our sun is a star and that earth is a planet orbiting the sun. We have learned about the origin of the universe, the Big Bang. We are able to tell the universe’s age; it’s 13.8 billion years old. We have recently discovered that the universe is not only expanding but also doing so at ever-greater speeds. Astronomy as a science is quickly developing.
At the same time, we still have many riddles to solve. Where is all the mass that keeps galaxies together? What makes the universe expand? Is there life outside of earth? How would we prove that?
Amateur astronomers are fascinated by these riddles. Even with a modest telescope they can see many of the universe’s natural wonders. Moons orbiting Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, star clusters, some almost as old as the universe itself. Nebulas in which stars are born, nebulas of stars that die. It’s even possible to see numerous galaxies.
Amateur astronomers play an important role in astronomy as a science. They help out with discovering new asteroids, comets and planets orbiting other stars. With the help of amateurs, mysteries of stars that vary in brightness are unraveled. Amateurs help map craters on the far side of the moon and the planet Mercury. It has never been a better time to explore the universe than now!