The Universe’s WOW Factor


It’s difficult to say when in our lives each one of us becomes conscious of “astronomy.” But it is okay to say that at some point in time in our lives, each and every one of us has that instance when we are immediately stunned when we come face to face with the enormity of the cosmos that we see in the night sky. For those of us that live in the city, we hardly notice what lies beyond our atmosphere, even when driving or walking under a night sky. The lights of the city do a good job of masking the gorgeous mystery that is all around us, albeit far above us, all of the time.

So it might be that on an annual vacation to a camping location or a visit to a relative’s house in a more rural area that we are finally outside, under the night sky with very little surface or artificial light to smother the stars, planets, shooting stars, and other galaxies above us. If you experience had that moment, you’ll suddenly be struck breathless and almost immediately want more of it. You never want that moment to end, and you find yourself gazing in awe, eyes dashing up, down and around for longer than you ever intended.

That “Wow” moment is what astrology is really about. For some, that wow moment becomes a zeal…a passion…that results in a career mastering the stars. For a lucky few, that wow moment becomes an overwhelming obsession that leads to them traveling to the stars in NASA’s or other country’s space program.

But for most of us else, astrology becomes recreational time or a hobby. Although, a deeply passionate hobby…a leisure time activity it is. Why? Because we never really let for of that “wow” moment. It’s embedded in us. We can’t let it go nor does it want to leave. Our minds, wonder, and curiosity seem to want more. Like a drug. It’s a powerful experience, and you’ll always carry it. Does that make it sound scary? I hope not. It’s a good thing. Nay, a GREAT thing.

To get started learning how to observe the stars much better, there are a few standard things we might need to take a closer look at apart from just what we can see with the naked-eye and begin to learn the stars as well as enjoy them. The primary thing you need isn’t one of these telescopes at all, but literature or (nowadays) software such as apps and downloadable star maps. A good star map will show you the major constellations, the position of the important and interesting stars that were used to navigate the sky as well as the planets…and how to tell them apart from stars and where to look. Many of the telescopes that we review on come with specialized software that is intended for this purpose. If in need of more, there are plenty of online celestial resources, downloadable content, and even good ole’ books.

Of course, with all those resources then next thing you’ll need is a quality telescope. Even if it’s labeled as a “beginner” or “novice” telescope…or if your wallet won’t let you buy a top of the line star gazer, then it is imperative that you have something other than the naked eye to look. Don’t get intimidated or disheartened by that neighbor who has a $400 to $1000 telescope set up on a hill every other night and plotting way points on a star map. Even a $200 telescope from a reputable brand will do wonders to catapult your hobby forward.