Finding Inspiration In Space

What is inspiration? That is one of the questions that will be addressed in this post. To me, inspiration is a combination of two things: motivation and creative stimuli. Another word for it would be enthusiasm.

When you're inspired, work flows naturally and you're eager to complete it. The opposite would be the author that struggles to write a single paragraph.

Inspiration is highly individual, so what inspires you may not work for someone else. Many people get inspired by nature, movies and art. Ultimately, it's a matter of finding out what motivates and lifts you up.

Direct Space Observation

Not everyone is inspired by space exploration, but it certainly works for me. Here, I will share my experiences and some pointers with you. There are basically three ways of exploring space; I call them direct space observation, indirect space observation and reflecting on space.

Direct space observation simply means that you observe space first-handedly. There is no need to go and buy an expensive telescope in order to observe the night sky. You'll be surprised what you can see with the naked eye. Having said that, there is nothing wrong about using a monocular, binoculars, a telescope or even a camera with optical zoom, which enhances the observation dramatically.

The naked eye can easily see the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Never look directly at the bright Sun though, since that quickly could damage your eyesight. The Moon and the planets are relatively near the Sun and reflect the sunlight which makes them much brighter than most stars.

However, in the beginning it's not that easy to discern the planets from the stars unless you have an optical instrument. But with some experience, you'll be able to recognize the beautiful light of Saturn for example.

I get truly inspired while looking at Saturn. The planet is really far away, yet so full of warmth.

Here is a link to a free planetarium software with quite an intuitive interface, that tells you exactly where thousands of space objects are located in relation to your town.

From a reasonably dark spot, the naked eye can even see the Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy. To be able to observe a galaxy that is estimated to be about 2.5 million light-years away, is completely mind-boggling. It makes you realize how small and insignificant Earth is.

Observing the night sky mindfully, adds another dimension to the experience.

Indirect Space Observation

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken many fascinating images of distant objects in space. In my experience it's almost as inspiring as observing the night sky directly. At the same time, I'm against the fact that vibrant colors have been added to the Hubble images, which doesn't belong in science.

At NASA, Google Search and Wikipedia you can find inspiring photos from the Cassini-Huygens Mission that sent a probe to one of Saturn's moons called Titan. Even old pictures of Earth taken from the Moon are inspiring and thought-provoking. What is the meaning of life?

Indirect space observation also includes documentaries and reading.

Reflecting On Space

It's awe-inspiring to think about space. For example, you can visualize Earth's orbit through the solar system or the enormous distances between the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.

We know so little about space. Human beings have not even traveled beyond the boundaries of our solar system, which is nothing on a cosmic scale. What is out there?

Inspiration is often short-lived. So, regardless whether you find inspiration in colorful nebulas or a tiny snowflake, make the most of it...

Best of luck!

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