If I tell you to celebrate astronomy day, most likely you will ask me, what is that? I will not blame you because that is the exact question I put my colleague a few days ago, when he asked me to celebrate astronomy day. I did not know anything about astronomy day - about astronomy yes, I had a vague idea of what it involves, but about astronomy day, this did not ring absolutely any bell.
I decided to educate myself and started searching for information on how and why people celebrate astronomy day, what it is about astronomy day that has any importance to humans.
Looking here and there I first found out when people celebrate astronomy day - this year it is celebrated on May 6th, 2006. Actually there is a whole week dedicated to astronomy this year, and that it called astronomy week. This week is between May 1st and May 7th 2006.
So far, so good. Now I started looking for more information. Among the few bits and pieces I picked through different sources is that this day was first celebrated somewhere in 1973 with the specific aim to draw people's attention to the subject called astronomy. Well, if it is any good - the aim really worked. It made me look up on information about astronomy, isn't it?
It is mentioned somewhere that the astronomy fraternity plan to bring the facts of astronomy to the public through discussions, shows, displays, pamphlets, exposure to telescope and other things which should generate enough curiosity among the common people to want to know more.
Today this subject is dying because the modern man does not really have the time to gaze into the universe chasing stars. Youth today do not find it important enough to make a career out of it. They like to fly supersonic jets, research cloning and stem cells, create artificial intelligence and so on. Who has the time of gaping at the stars?
But 'gaping at the stars' is a very important aspect in our lives actually. It is the way to find out more about our Universe, our position, role and future in our galaxy and in relation to other galaxies. It is a vast subject which is covering very little ground because of lack of interest.
From this angle, I agree that to celebrate astronomy day is a good idea. This would indeed open a small window to the normal population out there to ask questions, to want to know more. Some youngsters may turn and tell their mum or dad who holding onto their hands tightly, "Mum/ Dad I will grow up to be an astronomer!" This is the aim of celebrating astronomy day and if this happens to even five children in the world - it is on the right path.
There are a lot of people that do enjoy astronomy and they believe that their lives do revolve around what the stars say. They will read the horoscopes everyday, thinking to themselves OK what will happen to me today. The fact is that while many people believe in their horoscopes there will be others that don't. All you have to do is decide which way you fall under. Do you believe in your stars or not? But there is one thing that many people can agree on, that is that astronomy can be very interesting and maybe there are aliens just waiting to be found.