I would like to know...how can someone gaze at the night sky filled with stars and find a new one...Ooh look...not seen that star before!
And how is it that the space people...those who spend their days working out how we can go to Mars...how can they send a rocket from earth which will eventually land on the Red Planet. How do they do that? How do they know when that rocket zooms away from its launch-pad that'll it eventually end up...billions of miles away...on another planet.
And another puzzle...how do they work out how far away another planet or galaxy is...I stand in our backyard sometimes, on a frosty winters night, huddled up in my cardie with cold feet and I gaze upwards until I get a crick in my neck...and I watch satellites sailing past intent on sending us television pictures or information about the weather or maybe they are spying on a secret camp for training terrorists...sometimes there are shooting stars...the souls of babies who have died travelling to Heaven...or the more mundane fact they're bits of space rubbish coming into our atmosphere...I haven't even in my wildest dreams been able to imagine how far away those stars are...
Himself once had a decent telescope and he belonged to a little club who met on a deserted airfield in Norfolk...to star gaze. One of the group had a serious telescope with all the bells and whistles and he brought it the night I went along...he adjusted and twiddled and fiddled about for a while...then he said, come and see the Mexican Hat galaxy. And the half dozen of us queued up to have a look. I was awestruck when it came to my turn...totally gob-smacked by the sheer beauty of the Mexican Hat galaxy...millions upon billions of stars...blue stars and bright green ones and purest silver...all of a sparkle and a glitter...so immensely far away from us that the distance could not possibly be grasped.
And your man explained that this is a galaxy close to us...not able to be seen by the naked eye...but close enough to be called a neighbour...and what was interesting was his telescope moved along with the movement of the earth so once he'd homed in on the Mexican Hat he needed to do no more re-adjustments to keep it in sight...
The telescope moved slowly around until it came to full circle and then began again and all the while I was aware the earth herself was moving too...I don't begin to understand light years...I can't grasp the concept of space travel, but what I learnt that cold and frosty night out in the middle of an airfield in Norfolk, was that we are so awfully small and insignificant.
You don't need a telescope and you don't need any knowledge either to stand and gaze at the stars...but should someone suggest you may like to look through their telescope one evening when the skies are clear and there's a hint of frost in the air...when your feet are cold and you shove your hands into coat pockets...take that opportunity to look at galaxies way beyond our ken...look at icy blue stars and those that glimmer red...sparkly white ones and those that are true silver and wonder...and wonder again.