11 Famous Astronomy Quotes (Sagan’s, Twain’s or Plato’s)

When you have a hobby like astronomy that has been around for centuries, there is every chance that someone will have said something about it that lingers through time and becomes famous in its own right. Read on to discover some of the most famous astronomy quotes.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde.

The famous writer has nailed it here – everyone is in the same place, but some are looking up to the skies, some of us in the literal sense, looking at the stars, others in a more metaphorical way and heading for fame and fortune. Either way, what better way to lift yourself out of the gutter than to look up?

“It is far better to grasp the universe as it is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying it may be.” – Carl Sagan.

This is very true. However happy people used to be with their complacent “knowledge” when they thought that the earth was the centre of the universe and all the planets revolved around us, how much more satisfying is it now we know the truth?

“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.” – Mark Twain.

Everyone has memories of gazing up at the stars in wonderment, not knowing what they were or how they got there. This childlike wonder can continue for as long as it takes before a child gets their first telescope and learns the truth! And even then, the wonder persists…

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.” – Lawrence Krauss.

A wonderful part of being more aware of what goes on in this world is that so much of it comes from other worlds. Without studies of space we would never know this particular romantic piece of information about what makes up each and every single being on this planet.

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Despite the persistence of the Flat Earth movement, most sensible people are aware that there are certain facts in this world. Continue to believe the earth is flat and the other planets revolve around us if you like; your beliefs won’t make it true!

“If there is anything that can bind the heavenly mind of man to this dreary exile of our earthly home and can reconcile us with our fate so that one can enjoy living, then it is verily the enjoyment of the mathematical sciences and astronomy.” – Johannes Kepler.

Knowing that we are truly all tiny, insignificant specks, with tiny, insignificant lives, can really put things into perspective. If you’re worrying about that massive pile of ironing or the bill you haven’t yet paid, maybe a quick dip into some interesting astronomy will take your mind off it.

“We live in a changing universe and few things are changing faster than our conception of it.” – Timothy Ferris.

As a concept, how exciting is this! It’s a fantastic thing to be learning new things, developing more and more sophistication along the way. Just have a look back at some ancient texts about astronomy and you will be amazed at how far we’ve come.

“Astronomy is useful because it raises us above ourselves; it is useful because it is grand. It shows us how small is man’s body, how great his mind, since his intelligence can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity, where his body is only an obscure point, and enjoy its silent harmony.” – Henry Poincare.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and realising how small we actually are is great for putting things into perspective. It is also rather wonderful to know that the combined efforts of centuries’ worth of great minds have got us to the point of knowledge about space that we have today.

“I have… A terrible need… Shall I say the word? Of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars.” – Vincent Van Gogh.

The stars, for some people, can represent a whole lot more than just burning gas millions of light years away. For millennia the stars have been a comfort and an inspiration, and thankfully this shows no signs of changing any time soon.

“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.” – Stephen Hawking.

The famous astrophysicist hits the nail on the head right here. With all the clever technology we have, and all the knowledge and ability, why would we simply focus on what we can see on our own planet? The human mind thrives on learning new things and interesting discoveries, so we should continually feed it to keep it active and to discover new things.

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.” – Plato.

Another quote about stepping out of the earthly to look further afield, which is something all astronomers do, whether or not they are aware of it. This is something which humanity has been doing since the times when not all of our time and energy were taken up with pure and simple survival, and it feeds the primeval parts of us.

As these quotes demonstrate, we have been looking into the heavens for a very long time, in search of many things. Knowledge, inspiration, a sense of the unknown…

Any reason to want to get involved in stargazing is good enough, so print out a quote or two and stick it on your fridge, then get your telescope out and search the skies for whatever it is you are looking for. You may even find it!

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