Top 166 Quotes & Sayings by Famous Astronomers

Explore popular quotes by famous astronomers.
Pseudoscience is like a virus. At low levels, it's no big deal, but when it reaches a certain threshold it becomes sickening.
Men have had the vanity to pretend that the whole creation was made for them, while in reality the whole creation does not suspect their existence.
As a scientist I must be mindful of the past; all too often it has happened that matters of great value to science were overlooked because the new phenomenon did not fit the accepted scientific outlook of the time.
Being a scientist is like being an explorer. You have this immense curiosity, this stubbornness, this resolute will that you will go forward no matter what other people say.
No one trusts a model except the man who wrote it; everyone trusts an observation, except the man who made it. — © Harlow Shapley
No one trusts a model except the man who wrote it; everyone trusts an observation, except the man who made it.
Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism - it's turning God into a nature god. And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not be a good thing to do.
Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.
It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science. It is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence.
There is a river in the ocean. In the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows. Its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Sea. It is the Gulf Stream.
Of course, if one ignores contradictory observations, one can claim to have an "elegant" or "robust" theory. But it isn't science.
Man is too quick at forming conclusions.
The determination of the average man is not merely a matter of speculative curiosity; it may be of the most important service to the science of man and the social system. It ought necessarily to precede every other inquiry into social physics, since it is, as it were, the basis. The average man, indeed, is in a nation what the centre of gravity is in a body; it is by having that central point in view that we arrive at the apprehension of all the phenomena of equilibrium and motion.
The intrinsic brightness of theSun is fully 5,000 times as great as if the whole surface were formed of the molten steel just issuing from the Bessemer converter.
Knowing how hard it is to collect a fact, you understand why most people want to have some fun analyzing it.
Like buried treasures, the outposts of the universe have beckoned to the adventurous from immemorial times. Princes and potentates, political or industrial, equally with men of science, have felt the lure of the uncharted seas of space, and through their provision of instrumental means the sphere of exploration has made new discoveries and brought back permanent additions to our knowledge of the heavens.
Do not undertake a scientific career in quest of fame or money. There are easier and better ways to reach them. Undertake it only if nothing else will satisfy you; for nothing else is probably what you will receive. Your reward will be the widening of the horizon as you climb. And if you achieve that reward you will ask no other.
[Otto Struve] made the remark once that he never looked at the spectrum of a star, any star, where he didn't find something important to work on. — © William Wilson Morgan
[Otto Struve] made the remark once that he never looked at the spectrum of a star, any star, where he didn't find something important to work on.
It is remarkable that the elements diffused through the host of stars are some of those most closely connected with the living organisms of our globe.
Our knowledge of stars and interstellar matter must be based primarily on the electromagnetic radiation which reaches us. Nature has thoughtfully provided us with a universe in which radiant energy of almost all wave lengths travels in straight lines over enormous distances with usually rather negligible absorption.
The evidence at present available points strongly to the conclusion that the spirals are individual galaxies, or island universes, comparable with our own galaxy in dimension and in number of component units. [Stating his conviction on the nature of nebulae during the Shapley-Curtis debate on 26 Apr 1920 to the National Academy of Sciences.]
Jupiter was very large and bright. Apparently, there was a small reddish star appended to its side. This is called "an alliance."
There is no better boat than a horoscope to help a man cross over the sea of life.
If someone says they shouldn't have to follow regulations because they're making food in their home, I'd say, 'Why is your home so safe that it doesn't need that level of oversight and control?'
Space travel is utter bilge. I don't think anybody will ever put up enough money to do such a thing. . . . It is all rather rot.
Mankind has tried the other two roads to peace - the road of political jealousy and the road of religious bigotry - and found them both equally misleading. Perhaps it will now try the third, the road of scientific truth, the only road on which the passenger is not deceived. Science does not, ostrich-like, bury its head amidst perils and difficulties. It tries to see everything exactly as everything is.
Comets are like cats: they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.
Knowledge will appear in turn the merest ignorance to those who come after us. Yet it is not to be despised, since by it we reach up groping fingers to touch the hem of the garment of the Most High.
The popular mind often pictures gigantic flying machines speeding across the Atlantic carrying innumerable passengers in a way analogous to our modern steam ships. . . it seems safe to say that such ideas are wholly visionary and even if the machine could get across with one or two passengers the expense would be prohibitive to any but the capitalist who could use his own yacht.
Many things they sawe with us as mathematicall instruments, sea compasses... spring clocks that seemed to goe of themselves - and many other things we had - were so strange unto them, and so farre exceeded their capacities to comprehend the reason and meanes how they should be made and done, that they thought they were rather the workes of gods then men.
The nineteenth century will ever be known as the one in which the influences of science were first fully realised in civilised communities; the scientific progress was so gigantic that it seems rash to predict that any of its successors can be more important in the life of any nation.
Variable behaviour of the sun is an obvious explanation, and there is increasing evidence that Earth's climate responds to changing patterns of solarmagnetic activity. ... If you look back into the sun's past, you find that we live in a period of abnormally high solar activity. ... It's a boom-bust system, and I would expect a crash soon. ... Having a crash would certainly allow us to pin down the sun's true level of influence on the Earth's climate. Then we will be able to act on fact, rather than from fear.
Sir, The Planet [Neptune] whose position you marked out actually exists. On the day on which your letter reached me, I found a star of the eighth magnitude, which was not recorded in the excellent map designed by Dr. Bremiker, containing the twenty-first hour of the collection published by the Royal Academy of Berlin. The observation of the succeeding day showed it to be the Planet of which we were in quest.
We must look to the heavens... for the measure of the earth.
Audiences forget facts, but they remember stories. Once you get past the jargon, the corporate world is an endless source of fascinating stories.
Never deceive a friend.
A straight line can readily be drawn among each of the two series of points corresponding to the maxima and minima, thus showing that there is a simple relation between the brightness of the variables and their periods.
In my estimation it was obvious that Jansky had made a fundamental and very important discovery. Furthermore, he had exploited it to the limit of his equipment facilities. If greater progress were to be made it would be necessary to construct new and different equipment especially designed to measure the cosmic static.
The effect of a concept-driven revolution is to explain old things in new ways. The effect of a tool-driven revolution is to discover new things that have to be explained.
Coaches build teams, parents build players.
Contrary to the popular notion that only creationism relies on the supernatural, evolutionism must as well, since the probabilities of random formation of life are so tiny as to require a 'miracle' for spontaneous generation tantamount to a theological argument.
For many years I have been a night watchman of the Milky Way galaxy. — © Bart Bok
For many years I have been a night watchman of the Milky Way galaxy.
A single discovery within a lifetime is a very remarkable thing. Two over the course of a career-why, you'd be very lucky indeed.
Nature is a book of many pages and each page tells a fascinating story to him who learns her language. Our fertile valleys and craggy mountains recite an epic poem of geologic conflicts. The starry sky reveal gigantic suns and space and time without end.
The world is too complicated in all parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified at conception? The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some type of organizing principle-an architect.
Everyone speaks of himself with regard to his ownself, "I am above and the others are below," whilst all of them are around the globe like the blossom springing on the branches of the Kadamba tree.
Studying the universe engages us in something bigger than ourselves. Science tries to describe, in terms we can only grasp intuitively, things that are beyond our intuition. . . . all we can hope for is that our physical descriptions, like a song or a good painting, are a faithful evocation of some ineffable truth.
Every 12 years Jupiter returns to the same position in the sky; every 370 days it disappears in the fire of the Sun in the evening to the west, 30 days later it reappears in the morning to the east...[Observation in 4th century B.C.]
The problem that first demands solution is to discover the disruptive agent which would be potent enough to rip the Cloghvorra Stone from its parent bed, to bear it down the valley for miles, and to cast it on the mountain side.
Classification is now a pejorative statement. You know, these classifiers look like "dumb fools." I'm a classifier. But I'd like to use a word that includes more than what people consider is encompassed by classification. It is more than that, and it's something which can be called phenomenology.
Astronomy may be revolutionized more than any other field of science by observations from above the atmosphere. Study of the planets, the Sun, the stars, and the rarified matter in space should all be profoundly influenced by measurements from balloons, rockets, probes and satellites. ... In a new adventure of discovery no one can foretell what will be found, and it is probably safe to predict that the most important new discovery that will be made with flying telescopes will be quite unexpected and unforeseen.
A lot of them complain because they say the word denial puts them in the same bin as holocaust deniers. That's too bad. But the thing is, they do have something in common: a denial of evidence and of scientific consensus.
Just like people, stars can be important without being terribly bright. — © Phil Plait
Just like people, stars can be important without being terribly bright.
In the year of chan yan..., Jupiter was in [the Zodiacal Division of] Zi, it rose in the morning and went under in the evening together with the Lunar Mansions Xunu, Xu and Wei. It was very large and bright. Apparently, there was a small reddish (chi) star appended (fu) to its side. This is called "an alliance" (tong meng).
The chief contribution of such a radically new and more powerful instrument would be, not to supplement our present ideas of the universe we live in, but rather to uncover new phenomena not yet imagined, and perhaps modify profoundly our basic concepts of space and time.
Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God - the design argument of Paley - updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.
It seems to me that the evidence ... is opposed to the view that the spirals are individual galaxies comparable with our own. In fact, there appears as yet no reason for modifying the tentative hypothesis that the spirals are not composed of typical stars at all, but are truly nebulous objects.
Nature is so varied in its modes of action, so multiple in the manisftations of its power, that we have no night to set any limits to its capabilities.
Were getting closer and closer to finding a habitable world.
Ridicule is not a part of the scientific method and the public should not be taught that it is
The present inhabitation of Mars be a race superior to ours is very probable.
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