What do the stars mean to you? Why do humans always find themselves looking up at the vastness of the sky, searching for the tiny twinkling lights, even in the midst of complete darkness? What is it about these balls of gas that captivate us, that inspire us, and move us?
Where Stars Come From
Stars are born inside a nebula, a massive cloud made up of dust and gas, mostly hydrogen and helium. Nebulae are not just where stars are born, they could also be remnants of dead stars.
Inside, the dust and gas can eventually clump together with the help of gravity. As they get bigger and the gravity gets stronger, they begin to collapse from all that pressure that the center begins to form a white-hot core. Scientists call this phase a protostar.
Millions of years later, the protostar will enter a brief T Tauri phase. This happens when the protostar gets smaller but increases its temperature. What comes next is the star’s longest phase, called the main sequence. The sun in our solar system is at this phase: a stable state of nuclear fusion that converts hydrogen to helium.
One of the fun activities to do when the stars are out is to go stargazing. This practice originated thousands of years ago, but not necessarily as a hobby for young astronomers. Rather, many people back then, particularly farmers and sailors, used imaginary patterns created by the stars to guide them during their activities. Farmers for instance, used constellations to help them determine planting seasons.
If you’re learning to stargaze for the first time, one of the first patterns you’ll identify is the Big Dipper. Note that this is NOT a constellation! But it will serve as a starting point to help you recognize actual constellations. For example: if you trace a line from the bowl of the Big Dipper past the North Star and see a cluster of stars that form a letter W or M, then you may have just stumbled upon Cassiopeia.
During winter, don’t forget to look for one of the most prominent constellations: Orion the Hunter. Known for his belt made up of three bright stars, the twinkling dot beneath it is in fact, not a star at all – but Orion’s nebula. You’ll soon become familiar with this figure thanks to the red Betelgeuse and the brilliant Rigel stars at opposite corners.
Why We Look Up at the Stars
The universe is an awfully big place. Perhaps it’s that curiosity that makes us turn our eyes skyward towards the stars every night. Maybe we’re wondering if we’re alone. Maybe we’re thinking if maybe we’re the only one.
There’s just something about all that space: that vast dark sky that stretches out into a horizon you can only imagine, that gives us a sense of smallness. In cities, where most of us live, roads and buildings can feel suffocating at times. But in wide, open fields where only the twinkling of the stars is our guide, suddenly, all our senses spring to life. You can almost feel your pupils dilating to take in all that light.
Maybe there’s a bigger connection out there that we can’t see. But for now, make these quotes about stars and stardust your source of inspiration.
Shining Star Quotes
- “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
- “Remember to look up at the stars and now down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Professor Stephen Hawking
- “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh
- “Not just beautiful, though – the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” – Haruki Murakami
- “The stars are the land-marks of the universe.” – Sir John Frederick William Herschel
- “New stars offer to the mind a phenomenon more surprising, and less explicable, than almost any other in the science of astronomy.” – George Adams
- “I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.” –Augustine ‘Og’ Mandino
- “Each star is a mirror reflecting the truth inside you.” – Aberjhani
- “Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.” – R.R. Tolkien
- “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” – Sarah William
- “There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.” – Frances Clark
- “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- “May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling, Silent as though they watched the sleeping earth!” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- “It is reasonable to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be competent to understand so simple a thing as a star.” – Arthur Eddington
- “It shows you exactly how a star is formed; nothing else can be so pretty! A cluster of vapor, the cream of the milky way, a sort of celestial cheese, churned into light.” – Benjamin Disraeli
- “It’s the kind of kiss that inspires stars to climb into the sky and light up the world.” – Tahereh Mafi
- “We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened-Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.” – Mark Twain
- “If the earth were flat from east to west, the stars would rise as soon for westerners as for orientals, which is false. Also, if the earth were flat from north to south and vice versa, the stars which were always visible to anyone would continue to be so wherever he went, which is false. But it seems flat to human sight because it is so extensive.” – Ptolemy
- “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
- “The number of fixed stars which observers have been able to see without artificial powers of sight up to this day can be counted. It is therefore decidedly a great feat to add to their number, and to set distinctly before the eyes other stars in myriads, which have never been seen before, and which surpass the old, previously known stars in number more than ten times.” – Galileo Galilei
- “But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.” – Madeline Miller
- “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking
- “The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment!” – Henry David Thoreau
- “We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.” – Arthur Eddington
- “Second star to the right, and straight on till morning.” – Peter Pan
- “The glitter in the sky looks as if I could scoop it all up in my hands and let the stars swirl and touch one another but they are so distant so very far apart that they cannot feel the warmth of each other even though they are made of burning.” – Beth Revis
- “When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe.” – Vera Nazarian
- “Not just beautiful, though-the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.” – Haruki Murakami
- “I am aware that many critics consider the conditions in the stars not sufficiently extreme … the stars are not hot enough. The critics lay themselves open to an obvious retort: we tell them to go and find a hotter place.” – Arthur Eddington
- “There is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars” – John Green
- “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” – Carl Sagan
- “The real friends of the space voyager are the stars. Their friendly, familiar patterns are constant companions, unchanging, out there.” – James Lovell
- “Maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.” – Jack Kerouac
- “Look at the stars. See their beauty. And in that beauty, see yourself.” – Draya Mooney
- “I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” – JoyBell C.
- “I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” – Stephenie Meyer
- “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “One thousand brilliant stars punched holes in my consciousness, pricking me with longing. I could stare at the stars for hours, their infinite number and depth pulling me into a part of myself that I ignored during the day.” – Maggie Stiefvater
- “The stars look like they’re so close, you could reach out and touch them. But you can’t. Sometimes things look a lot closer than they are.” – Kami Garcia
- “There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.” – Frances Clark
- “He counts the stars and calls them all by name.” – Psalm 147:4
- “If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” – Bill Watterson
- “It is the stars, the stars above us, govern our conditions.” – William Shakespeare
- “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” – John Green
- “Ye stars! Which are the poetry of heaven.” – Lord Byron
- “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius
- “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow