Get OFF your phone and LOOK UP! – an Editorial

Astronomy is about OBSERVING! You’re supposed to use your eyes and notice key details. But you can’t observe if you don’t use your eyes!

Unfortunately, people don’t look up anymore! Whether by choice or circumstance, people don’t take the time to see what is looking back down from the sky. If you just took that time, even for a few seconds, you’d already have a better grasp on things!

Now understand this!

I do not expect people to know the celestial features.

Unless you have an interest, chances are you don’t always know what that bright star is, or you don’t know what constellations are in the sky.  There’s things you are taught in grade school, but you’ve forgotten it all because it doesn’t apply to your everyday situation. As such, people like us are more than happy to point out the notable stars, the asterisms like the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt, and the constellations.   

Realistically, most people don’t know where the planets are; and they don’t know the planets change positions over time thus are never in the same exact spot each night. Again, people like us are happy to explain that fact, and tell the eager public if any planets are visible at that given moment.

But seriously, how can you miss the Moon?

We get asked all the time if the Moon is up when we know it’s not.

Not being able to tell if the Moon is up in the sky is like being unable to see oceans on a map of Earth. The moon is so big and bright compared to every other object in the night sky, that a simple glance at the open sky will help you find it! And if you can’t find it, then it’s NOT VISIBLE!

I don’t expect you to know the phase for the day, or when and where the Moon is supposed to be visible in the sky, but seriously, TAKE THE TIME to look up and figure it out!

I get dumbfounded on those nights when the Moon isn’t visible, and people ask me where the Moon is, or ask “is anyone showing the Moon?” Only for me to reply, “do you SEE it?” To me, it simply tells me that the person asking didn’t bother to look up!



Of course, overcast skies is another matter. It’s comedic how many people I’ve encountered who don’t do the math:

sky + clear = stuff is visible

sky + clouds = stuff is NOT visible

Some people just assume that telescopes can see through the clouds with ease… nope! Not with any visible light instrument!

Sure, sometimes the clouds are just thin enough and the object is just bright enough for my telescope to pick up. But most of the time, it’s a lost cause. If the Sun or Moon aren’t visible, then there’s absolutely nothing I can pick up!

Me: “I’m sure you understand we can’t view anything tonight.”
Patron: (with a confused look) “No why?”
Me: “It’s too cloudy!”
Patron: (a light bulb turns on) “Ohhhhh.”


Patron: “excuse me, why are you not pointed to {this planet}?”
(I click on bright green laser pointer and shines it at the clouds)
Me: “Here is where {that planet} is, do you SEE it?”
Patron: “no…”

Then there’s nights when the large telescope is on display inside the dome and not pointed at anything in the sky.

Patron: “What is it pointed at now?” or “What can you see through it now?”
Me: “There’s a ROOF in front of it!”

They say a full moon brings out the crazies; if that’s the case, then when it comes to astronomy, overcast skies bring out the ignoramuses. I try not to be too harsh to people in these situations, but when this is a frequent occurrence, it just makes you realize that people just don’t look up!

Sadly, nobody wants to observe anymore, and because of that, people are ignorant of the things around them… things that can easily be resolved and learned!

It’s not just Astronomy, it’s life. The desire for the quick answers and everything readily available at your fingertips has left people not using their eyes the way they’re designed to do. Your eyes are meant to notice details and help you process what’s going on, not give you a glance and then you swipe for the next image. There’s an entire world around you that you’re unaware of because you’re too busy looking at everything through tunnel vision!

Just because you’re not in school anymore doesn’t mean you can’t relearn things you forgot. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things that you’ve always wanted to know!

All it takes is a few seconds and consistency!

Do you know how people like us know where things are in the sky? WE OBSERVE IT!

People often tell me, “every time I see you step outside you always look up.” That’s because I’m using those few moments to observe. Nearly all of the knowledge that I have of the sky, such as the stars and positions of the planets, are all from repeated observations! You don’t need a special degree or proficiency in science to gain this knowledge!

Just try it!

Take a few moments as often as you can to observe. You will eventually find yourself able to know where certain objects are; soon you too will have a better understanding!

And then you learn to appreciate everything around you!

All you have to do is LOOK UP!


One thought on “Get OFF your phone and LOOK UP! – an Editorial

  1. I often get asked the same questions:

    “Can I see the American flag on the Moon?” – No.
    “Do you believe we landed on the Moon?” – Yes.
    “Are there aliens” – We don’t know.
    “Is the Moon made of cheese?” – Well, you tell me….

    ….but the two I really hate:

    “I’m just going to take a selfie of myself with your telescope………” <>
    “I know I turned up really late – but can you reassemble your telescope thingy, so I can see something?”

    Thanks for a great read! ✔

    Liked by 1 person

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