Last night was a great opportunity to pull out the trusty telescope and explore the night sky as the moon and a few planets, including Saturn, were all visible. Stargazing is a hobby I truly enjoy, probably because I am an explorer and dreamer at heart, but also a night owl - the perfect combination for an amateur astronomer! Truthfully, I'm not even an amateur as I am less concerned with orbiting patterns and other scientific data and more interested in simply viewing stars, constellations, and planets. The alarm system alert beeping as I walk out the front door on a given night has become a rite of passage for my wife to fall asleep, or to wake up and come watch with me. I love her for that! She has minimal interest in outer-space and yet many nights she will come out and sit with me and ask me to show her what I'm viewing. The picture above is a shot of the moon from last night using my cell phone through the telescope. I wish you could understand the level of precision and focus required in matching up the iPhone camera to the telescope eye-viewing piece. You don't really care, do you? I understand! However, I've been thinking lately about all this stargazing and I'm convinced it's not just a hobby for nerds, I think it's something that everyone can benefit from, especially children.
Top 10 Reasons You Should Stargaze:
Keeps us grounded
I always feel so small when looking through a telescope, this is a healthy experience for me personally. Understanding that my entry-level telescope is not even scratching the surface of the universe is hard to fathom, anything in my life that I could possibly boast about simply pales in comparison.
After feeling initially overwhelmed, you may feel a greater sense of gratitude begin to set in as well. Thankfulness that God cares about individuals hearts just as much, if not more than the moon itself.
You may feel closer to God
It's awesome that the same moon God created, and the same moon David wrote about in Psalms, and the moon that Jesus slept under while on earth is the exact same moon I get to view. I never want to take that for granted. There are 41 verses in scripture about the moon. It tethers us to scripture, and ultimately the Creator. It strengthens my faith to know that the "lesser light" that He created to "govern the night" still remains. The consistency of the moon and planets reminds me of God's faithfulness in my life and it draws me to Him. I've had some of my best "talks" with God while being outside at night with Him.
The kids will love it
David in scripture wrote about God revealing His glory to us through nature. I want my kids to know that I am enthusiastic about God's creation. My hope is that they will develop a passion and love for the world around us. We don't always need a playground, cartoon, or video game to entertain us. Simply observing creation can be fun.
It is something different
I wonder, would this be a fun hobby of mine if I had never tried it? Sure, your typical routine is more predictable and may be guaranteed short-term satisfaction, but what if you are missing out on something new you may enjoy?
You get to lay down
This is my fav! Laying down is welcomed by all at night, but laying under the stars is even better, plus it's romantic. Disclaimer: It's only romantic if you have been married/dating for < then 5 years, anything beyond that and it's a total toss up, largely dependent on the mood of your significant other.
If you already value quiet and alone time at night, you may get lost in reverie as you explore the heavens.
How many times have you paid for something to only feel more stressed afterward? You never have to worry about this happening while stargazing.
You can do it with your spouse
Have you ever noticed that if you go on a walk with your spouse or get out of the house the communication improves? Stargazing is restful and creates a clearing of space and mind, sometimes leading to very open, free-flowing conversations.
You can do the hokey-pokey with your spouse under the stars
Maybe your mind was in the gutter on the previous topic, so I will let you decide what this means. Also, I needed a 10th stargazing reason and desperate times call for desperate measures. This may be a harder feat to pull off, but listen, you only live once. Your neighbors are asleep anyway so go for it!