Strongly Celestial

Looking outward; looking backward in time...


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My name is John Strong, and I am on a journey... into the universe.

My normal philosophy of life is to keep moving forward, not looking back to fret over the mistakes of the past. However, what I find fascinating about astronomy is the fact that what we see in the sky is essentially a view of the past.

When you look at the sun (not directly!), you see it as it was about 8 minutes ago….that is when the light left on its journey from the sun to our eyes. When you look at Jupiter, you see it as it was about 40 minutes ago. Similarly, the light from Saturn is about 1.5 hours old.

Looking farther away…you look farther back in time. The nearest and brightest stars are on the order of 10-50 light years away. Polaris (the North Star) is 430 light years away. Imagine, when the light you see today left Polaris, it was the late 1500's, and Leonardo da Vinci had recently lived his life!

Now look at the Andromeda galaxy (the farthest naked eye object), and you leap to 2.4 million light years distant. So the light you see now is what Andromeda looked like at about the time humans (genus Homo) evolved into existence here on earth!

And with special equipment (telescopes, etc.) you can look out deeper and deeper into the universe…and farther and farther back in time. Ultimately, we can now see the microwave background, which is believed to be the remnants of the Big Bang itself, some 13.7 billion years old!


My vision for this website will no doubt change over time. Today, I view it as an "open lab book." I want to explore the universe through astronomy, and I will use this website as a means to document that journey. Beyond a place to showcase (hopefully) pretty pictures, I will share my ideas, projects, successes, and learnings along the way. My hope is that by sharing, perhaps I can help others on their journey into the cosmos.

If you have comments or questions about any of the content in this website, I'd love to hear from you! Use the "Contact" button at the top of any page to send me a note. I will do my best to respond.

Wishing you clear skies!