Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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Twinkle & The Power of a Single Star – I

Part I – Stargazing from Earth

In my recent amateurish astronomical exploits, my observations and ruminations over objects gobular, circular and spherical, ecclesiastical and celestial, I arrived at some conclusions.

On an almost nightly basis, we may catch a glimpse of meteors which are also called shooting stars. Sometimes, we get to see comets.

In our night sky, the most noticeable body is the Moon. 

Next brightest to the moon are small bright specks which appear to be stars but are actually the neighbouring planets in our solar system. e.g. Venus, Jupiter, Mars.

Last in the line are the stars from our galaxy – the Milky Way – these are scattered across the sky.

Though it would seem that the moon and the planets outshine the stars, the truth is that our moon and the planets do not emit light. They look bright because they are closer to us and they reflect the light from the sun.

Save for the moon, these bodies are invisible to us during daytime and they become visible only at dusk, they appear as darkness sets in when the sun sets.

The stars and the planets are masked during daytime. The “masking” comes about because light from our sun illuminates the entire sky, the stars and planets being relatively dimmer, they are outshone and are “masked” by the sunlight.

Thus the power of the sun illuminates and yet masks the sky at the same time. Ironic it seems, as it is.

In as much as our sun prevents us from seeing the planets and the stars during daytime, it’s presence combined with the earth’s rotation creates night and the illumination of the planets and the moon which makes our observations of the planets and the stars possible.

Whilst the sun illuminates our lives during daytime, it’s temporary obscuring gives us night.

Even at night, it illuminates the moon and the planets and is actually still providing half of the earth with daylight.

We blame the sun for the warm weather. This is but a miniscule fraction of the sun’s power filtered by our atmosphere. The full brunt of the unmoderated radiation from the sun is lethal to us but yet, without the sun, we would be cast into an eternal winter.

However, because of the Sun’s omnipresence (in that never failed to rise at dawn and has always stuck around us and has never disappeared save for occasional solar eclipses), we take it for granted and expect it to be there all the time. Our minds then revolve around our own little concerns and worries.

Even as we forget our own concerns and worries and gaze at the faraway stars at night, we often forget that our sun is actually also a star, and not unlike the stars in our night sky which we gaze at.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star which every child knows reflects the human fascination with the distant stars. 🙂

In contrast to the hundreds of thousands of stars scattered all over the night sky – in outer space, the star most important to us is the star that is nearest – that which shines our day and that which also gives us night including the night for us to gaze at other stars. 🙂

It is only when light disappears and darkness sets in, do we then seek light again. Ironic it seems, as it is.

Contrast humans with nature. Nature has its impeccable way of correctly and aptly paying tribute to our sun in setting the established positions in relative importance.

We strain to spot shooting stars, scrutinise the moon, search for the planets, marvel at the occasional comet and be dazzled by faraway stars.

The moon outshines them all.

Yet the moon orbits our earth. And meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The earth and the planets and comets in turn orbit the Sun.

In astronomy and astrology, the other stars may be no lesser than our sun and the planets may be no lesser than our earth and whilst all may be instructive as to the origins of our universe and our own coming, they are simply too far away to be of any importance or to have any effect on our daily lives. 🙂

The conclusion of all of this is …. one should not spend too much time stargazing … 🙂 🙂 🙂


May 21, 2012 Posted by | Amateur Astronomy, Life | Leave a comment