Astronomers and stars

June 15, 2014

As I received this image (in B&W), together with a fine poem by W. Whitman, I could not but try imagining how this world must have looked in colors. I spent a quiet moment painting it according to my own wishes.DSCN1543 WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams,

to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer,

where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

” Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, 1867

stars quilt   Have you ever stopped and looked up at the sky on a clear night ? Have you ever taken time to search for stars, the brilliant ones and the more dimly-lit ones ? Have you ever felt dizzy while looking up, your head pulled back and you neck sore from observing the vastness of the sky ? Dizzy, amazed and feeling so small under the celestial vault. We obviously need to be grateful to science and scientists to research and explain all kinds of phenomenons. Don’t we also need taking time to look behind the charts, figures and diagrams ?


Here is something I liked and felt like sharing with you ? 😉


18 Responses to “Astronomers and stars”

  1. Ángela said

    I certainly have.

    • Glad you do Angela. The sky and its galaxies still remain a great mystery to me. Although we know a lot about it, I like imagining what lies behind, further… Thanks for the visit.

  2. Carsten said

    Sometimes I lie in a hammock, looking up at the stars and feeling very small.
    Often one of the numerous sattelites draws its line of light on the sky. Then I remember when my father took me out in the night to see Sputnik, the first human object in space, quickly crossing the firmament.
    Then I feel I’m part of a great world.

    • That is a wonderful feeling, isn’t ? to be part of such a great world. It is a nice memory you shared, you father and you looking at Spoutnik. How absolutely amazing it sounded at the time ! Iouri Gagarine ? Thanks for visiting and telling us of your star gazing experiences.

  3. Ah oui, Isa, je suis tout à fait d’accorde avec toi. Je crois que cette monde moderne se concerne trop avec les sciences. Parfois on n’a pas besoin des explications. Et parfois les sciences sont mal. Je n’aime pas cette philosophie ‘one size fits all’ qui s’appelle ‘Newtonian Cartesian’. Il reste des phenomènes que, jusqu’au présente, nous – la race humaine – ne comprenons pas.
    Bon été! x

    • Merci de ton commentaire très Sage, Janice. La science ne peut pas tout expliquer – et ne doit pas absolument expliquer. Je ne suis pas un esprit scientifique et l’inconnu n’est pas toujours dérangeant. Je l’accepte. Nous avons tous nos limites humaines face à certains phénomènes qui nous dépassent. Un très bel été à toi aussi et merci de ta réaction.

  4. That image and Walt Whitman are familiar to me, as are the stars. Here the night sky is best viewed from the salt marsh, far away from city lights.

    Nature is such a wonder to behold, from the smallest salamander to the constellations in the heavens above.

    I love your quilt. Star quilts are among my favorites 🙂

    • Thanks Amy-Lynn, I like the image of the salamander and the constellations, for there seem to be myriads of tiny constellations on the salamander’s skin. I sewed this quilt years ago and thought it would fit in this blog. It is the “Friendship Star” as you may well know. Wish you a pleasant weekend.

  5. Truels said

    Science, art (and especially your qiults!) and all the human activity activity – is impressive. But nothing beats our nature – here on earth and in the universe!

  6. shoreacres said

    The stars quilt is beautiful, and I do love the Whitman poem. An acquaintance who is quite an accomplished amateur astronomer tells me some astronomers don’t like the poem. They feel it’s an attack on their science, or something. That makes no sense to me, as I think there are many ways to “know” anything. That’s all right. We’ll just enjoy the poem.

    I do love the stars. I’m really quite astonished — the post I have up right now is about stars, and darkness, and how people experience them. Perhaps now that summer is here — the solstice tomorrow! — we’re all getting out more, and enjoying the pleasures of the evening.

    Did you know that Urania was one of the nine Muses? She was the Muse of Astronomy! One of these days I’m going to finish a post about her — everyone knows there were Muses for poetry, drama and such. But astronomy? No one thinks of that any more.

    It truly is summer here. I went blackberry picking tonight, and came home with six pounds of beautiful berries — as big as your thumb. There’s a pie or cobbler coming up this weekend!

  7. Hello dear Linda, it is always so nice to read you and know more on any subject. I had heard about some astronomers’ dislike of this poem. Without denying at all the great merits of science, there are, as you say, other ways to know and feel about anything. Very enlightening for all.

    No, I did not know about Urania being the Muse of Astronomy. Not later than yesterday I was clearing out a cellar at my Dad’s home; I found very old books belonging to his mother who was a teacher. Amongst them a book – mice seemed to have appreciated too 😉 – about Cosmology. I put it aside and plan to have a closer look at it.

    I love blackberries but they are far from being ripe over here. Red currants are almost ready to be picked and raspberries are starting to blush. Delicious Season ! Pies are my favorite and I will have a look at the meaning of “cobbler”. Thank you Linda.

  8. Tammy said

    So beautiful Isa. I often go out into the yard at night to view the stars. I love the colors that you’ve added to your black and white and of course, your starry quilt.

    • Thank you very much, Tammy. Isn’t it beautiful to look at the stars at night, listening to the occasional nightbirds, seeing the light of a plane traveling somewhere and above all being aware of the silence. I am glad you enjoyed this quilt I sewed for my sister years ago. Hope all is well with you.

  9. sybil said

    I love the night sky. My dad (gone 10 years now) and I used to stand and gaze at the sky together in shared wonderment. I recall looking through his telescope as we tracked the moons of Jupiter crossing its face.

    You are so talented to produce such a lovely quilt !

    • Hi again, sybil ! What a lovely memory to think of your dad and yourself gazing at the sky in wonderment. Telescopes and astronomical observatories are magical places.
      Thanks for your compliment about this quilt. Not so difficult really: each star is made of four two-colored squares and five plain ones. Place them in the right place and that’s it : a star is born 😉

  10. Oh yes. I often lay down on the grass and look up at the stars. It always brings to mind that wonder of how vast the world must be and I find myself wondering how many others might be doing the same thing right now, gazing at the stars. Excellent post!

    • Thank you Leslie, I share every word you wrote. Do you paint stars or your feeling of them ? I hope your sky is clear enough these days for you to continue wondering of this great mystery of the galactic universe.

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