Astronomical Quotes


The following quotes are from Edwarde Younge, noted British astronomer who lived in the 1700's. He wrote the long-forgotten "Night Thoughts," which were a compilation of his observations both astronomical-wise and philosophical-wise.

"One always looks to the heavens for
solutions to one's problems...but
many times one finds the simplest of
answers to the most sublime questions
in one's very own backyard."

-- Night II, Line 507


"When that Sirius fliccticculates upon the brow
of a cold winter's snowy-scope,
When the geeses have forsaken yon goose-pond
for warmth of southern haven,
When supple goose-pimple arrives to bid ill-will
to gently caressed skins of men
That I light flame with wooden kindling and stay in the
house until spring doth cometh.

-- Night VII, Line 38


"An undevout astronomer is mad."

-- Night IX, Line 771


Edwarde Younge on the love of his life, his telescope:

"O thou round and genuine instrument of the Noble,
The object of my humble attraction and knowledge.
You are but a carbuncle upon the life of my life,
A reason for the knowing and the realising of why
O why must this be if it is not but to love?"


"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here,
it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
- Douglas Adams

"If thou follow thy star, thou canst not fail of a glorious heaven."
-Dante Aligheri (1265-1321)

"There are many things that are known and things that are unknown; in between is exploration."
-Anonymous

"When it is dark enough you can see the stars."
-Charles A. Beard

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."
-William Blake (1757-1827)

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
-Robert Browning (1812-1889)

"Ye stars! Which are the poetry of heaven!"
-Lord Byron (1788-1824)

"The universe is moved by a power which cycles endlessly from day to day.
Such greatness endures for all time. As in heaven, so on earth."
-I Ching (B.C. 1150?)

"Man hath weaved out a net, and this net throwne upon the Heavens, and now they are his own."
-John Donne (1572-1631)

"Today gives us a chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars."
-Henry Van Dyke

"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius
- and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"The important thing is not to stop questioning."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"The ideals that have lighted my way and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully,
have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited,
Imagination encircles the world."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
-T. S. Eliot

"Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven...
Build, therefore, your own world."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836

"No one reguards what is before his feet; we all gaze at the stars."
-Quintus Ennius (239-169 B.C.)

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
-Michael Farady (1791-1867)

"Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens.... My grandfather would say we're part of something incredibly wonderful -
more marvelous than we imagine. My grandfather would say we ought to go out and look at it once in a while so we don't lose our place in it."
-Robert Fulghum

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
-Van Gogh

"Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards."
-Sir Fred Hoyle

"The explorations of space end on a note of uncertainty... we measure shadows... we search among ghostly errors of measurement."
-Edwin Hubble (1889-1953)

"Stars, in your multitude, scarce to be counted, filling the darkness with order and light."
-Javert, Les Miserables

"The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a machine."
-Sir James Jeans (1877-1946)

"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."
-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

"The treasures hidden in the heavens are so rich that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment."
-Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

"The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days."
-Robert Leighton (1611-1684)

"We walk up the beach under the stars. And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the sand under a bowl of stars."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh (b. 1901)

"Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature."
-Albertus Magnus (1193-1280)

"To consider the Earth as the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd
as to assert that in an entire field of millet, only one grain will grow."
-Metrodorus of Chios (4th century B.C.)

"I don't know what I may seem to the world, but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore,
and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
-Sir Isaac Newton

"By thought I embrace the universal."
-Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

"For everyone... must see that astronomy compells the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another."
-Plato (427-347 B.C.)

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.
If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living."
-Jules Henri Poincare

"The realities of nature surpass our most ambitious dreams."
-Rodin (1837-1868)

"Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come... Our universe is a sorry little affair
unless it has in it something for every age to investigate..."
-Seneca (8 B.C.-65 A.D.)

"Thoughts... which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams..."
-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

"The stars hang bright above, silent, as if they watched the sleeping earth."
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

"The stars are the jewels of the night and perchance surpass anything which day has to show."
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"Many men walk by day; few walk by night. It is a different season."
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight,
and see the dawn before the rest of the world."
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot remain in the cradle forever."
-Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)

"I smile because I haven't the slightest idea what's going on."
-Unknown

"Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them."
-Jules Verne

"Life begins perpetually.... Life, forever dying to be born afresh, forever young and eager,
will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars."
-H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

"We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
-Oscar Wilde

"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
-Sarah Williams (1837-1868)

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."
-Earl Wilson

"Astronomy is a very dangerous occupation: hundreds of tons of moving metal, high voltages, total darkness,
and people who haven't slept much - not a good combination."
-Nigel