We tend to move expeditiously throughout our lives and neglect our own well-beings as we forget to stop for a break. However, with school ending and summer amidst us it is not surprising to see many students traveling to wondrous cities, discovering enjoyable hobbies, or simply getting cozy in bed after weeks of all nighters during the school year. With so many possibilities for this year, it is definitely challenging to undertake everything, but what is the one thing you must engage in before summer comes to end? Well, I can effortlessly announce that the most awe-inspiring, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious adventure that this summer has to offer is most definitely the night sky!
Wait a minute… did you read that correctly? Did I seriously proclaim that the sky, something that is available to us every day and night, is an incredible aspect of this summer? Well, to put it unambiguously, yes!
However, before we can dive into the phenomenons occurring this summer what exactly is a star? Why do I believe that a myriad of them can be immensely better than anything else happening this summer?
In regards to the science behind stars, comets, asteroids, and everything else within the galaxy, they typically consist of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur (1).Most, if not all, stars are born within the clouds of dusts found in most galaxies and as the cloud collapses, a dense, hot core forms and begins gathering up substances such as dust and gas. The remaining dust can remain as dust or become planets, asteroids, or comets (2).
Some scientists even choose to group many of the resulting matter together as “they are all basically the same thing: small pieces of rock and/or ice that aren’t part of a major planet” (3). In spite of them being made up of nearly the same substances found on Earth, why don’t each of us have our own star? Well, although we may have the necessary substances to “birth” our own galaxy, the complexity of a single star can be considerably dangerous if it were to explode. Despite this possibility, observing the night sky is still a tremendously magnificent event to partake in for innumerable reasons.
Through its countless amount of remarkable, astronomical phenomenons such as the Perseid Meteor Shower, Full Strawberry Moon, and Total Lunar Eclipse occurring this summer (4,5) you can expect to find me outside with a blanket, some snacks, and simply gazing above. Doing so has proven to result in numerous benefits as the night sky will not only be breathtaking, but research completed at the University of California-Irvine has shown that it promotes us to be more altruistic (6). The sense of simultaneous tranquility and awe that blooms within us as we view the stars initiates a feeling of diminished importance when compared to the captivating “presence” around us. We realize that there is so much in the world that we have yet to explore, experience, and even learn about. Rather than focusing on one’s self, we are encouraged to have a different perspective on the potentially impactful dilemmas that come our way. By choosing to love and care for the world and those around us everyday, we gain an exceptional quality that many have seemed to have lost–– simply being kind.
Additionally, one may begin to contemplate the importance of life, how Earth came to be, what we may truly want to achieve, and so much more. As this occurs, our deadlines, vast amount of work, and etc. will seem so minuscule and we will slowly feel more substantially calm (7). Completing one’s assignments and projects will always be crucial to a certain degree, but it is completely acceptable to take a short breather and relax. Furthermore, with the human body being created of nearly 97% of the same material as stardust (1), observing the night sky can be thought of as a time where one visits their “long lost relative” which will practically always be pleasant (with the aforementioned “relative” being millions of miles away and what not). In all seriousness, with the possibility of 100 billions of galaxies holding 100 billions of stars (8) and unexplored universes out there, we need to realize that there is so much more to being human than the amount of sleepless nights we can go through in order to accomplish a task.
With the multitude of the populace choosing to rush past the glorious sights around us every night, I adamantly encourage you to join me in stopping to just ponder and re-collect one’s self. Let us look up and aim for the stars— toward a brighter, better future.
(1) Howell, Elizabeth. Humans Really Are Made of Stardust, and a New Study Proves It. Space.com. Jan. 10, 2017.
(2) How Do Stars Form And Evolve?. NASA Science.
(3) Comets, Meteors & Asteroids. The Curious Team.
(4) Fazekas, Andrew. Top 8 Must-See Sky Events for 2018. National Geographic. Dec. 28, 2017.
(5) Vaughan, Chris. Best Night Sky Events of June 2018 (Stargazing Maps). SkySafari Software. June 1, 2018.
(6) Freeman, Sophie. Want to be more selfless? Try gazing at the stars: Feeling a sensation of awe from the world around us could make us kinder. Daily Mail. May, 20, 2015.
(7) Jared. Benefits Of The Night Sky. Yūgenlab. Aug. 6, 2017.
(8) Stars. National Geographic.