It’s the International Year of Astronomy

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. Astronomy isn’t just about studying things in the sky that have nothing to do with our life here on Earth. Discoveries of extrasolar planets allow us to have an insight into our own world, and other discoveries such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy serve as a reminder of how little we know, and how profound and wondrous the universe really is.

However, there are a lot of things we do know. One of the most amazing is the fact that we know with accuracy the components that make up the universe (even if we don’t understand the nature of most of it). We also know the age of the universe to within 1%. Another fact which is not only amazing but also has the added benefit of upsetting creationists is the fact that we can even extract energy out of a complete vacuum–literally getting something from nothing!

So, enjoy the Year of Astronomy, and keep enjoying it for many years to come. You don’t have to spend any money, or do any studying, and there’s no math involved if you don’t want to do it. You don’t even have to buy a telescope. Just spend a little more time outside at night looking up.