Passion of the People – 1.1.1

The Fascination of the Stars

Humans have been mesmerized by the stars since the beginning of their existence. This fascination is documented throughout history from simple drawings in the caves of the Stone Age like those of the Neanderthals to the first people who tried to understand the stars from a fact-based context like Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, and, leading to today’s research institutions such as the European Space Agency (ESA) or the US American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Since the beginning of human history the night sky has been admired. The stars in particular have been, and continue to be, an incomparable source of fascination. They have been many things: gods, fortune tellers, subjects of scientific exploration, religious symbols, and more still to come. Stars have been the source of myth, mystery, and legends and have influenced many aspects of life as we know it from religion to pop culture. They still are the origin of our calendar and basis for navigation.

For thousands of years the stars have been mankind’s companions. The stars in the night sky have been a motivation for discovering the universe, for space flights and last but not least science-fiction adventures reaching back to the 19th century in literature.

The natural night sky was always interesting for astronomers and meanwhile it is also for ecologists as it is also important for fauna and flora. Migrating birds and insects orientate themselves towards the stars, the growth of plants depends on the change of night and day. Even the health of humans is influenced by light pollution, e. g. our day/night rhythm. Behind them are complex processes whose interaction has become increasingly clear through research, but much is still a mystery, which contributes undiminished to the fascination of the stars. It is no longer a matter of course that the natural night sky can be seen everywhere on Earth. This is why dark sky parks are so important, to help us preserve the fascination of the stars and to enable research to unravel as much of the complexities as possible. Meanwhile, Dark Sky Parks can be found nearly on all continents of the earth with people working there and visitors enjoying an extraordinary environment during the night.

Image by JoePixabay
Image by Syaibatul HamdiPixabay

Further Resources

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A huge number of pictures illustrating the fascination of stars is available at Pixabay for free

Collezione foto cielo – 123RF

Immagini cielo notturno – shutterstock


8 Best Places in the World for Star Gazing

A Guide for Beginners & What to Take With You To Watch The Night Sky

The American photographer Michael Shainblum captures Mesmerizing views of the night sky

Die Faszination der Sterndeutung

The picture and video platform Pexels offers numerous free videos on star gazing from different places in the world

The picture and video platform Videvo offers numerous free videos on star gazing from different places in the world

Le stelle – HUB Scuola

Cos’è l’inquinamento luminoso? – Play RSI

Inquinamento luminoso: quanto nuoce alla salute? – RaiPlay

Online Resources

This link offers access to essays about different topics related to the stars

10 popular assumptions and correcting them by scientific results

Best star-gazing books of all time

This blog article reflects on the necessity of protecting the stars due to their uniqueness for mankind

Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century (UNESCO)

Cieli bui, dove trovarli? – Valentina Guglielmo INAF

E luce fu, nel cielo notturno – Matteo De Giuli INAF

L’astrofisico. «Il fascino delle stelle e la religiosità» – Antonio Giuliano

L’uomo e le stelle – Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Museo Galileo

10 luoghi da cui vedere il cielo stellato, in Italia e nel mondo – Luca Nardi WIRED

La mappa globale dell’inquinamento luminoso – Le Scienze

Il Mondo è troppo illuminato e non vediamo più le stelle. E anche la nostra salute è in pericolo – Maria Rita Montebelli

Inquinamento luminoso: ne soffrono gli animali, le piante, il mare e persino l’uomo che non riesce più “a rivedere le stelle” – TerzoMillenio

Guardare le stelle fa bene alla nostra salute fisica e mentale: ecco tutti i benefici – MeteoRed

Further Readings

SkyatNight – online magazine: The best astronomy books and space books available in 2022 (BBC)

Best astronomy books.

Best astronomy books. (

Books representing the fascination of stars..

Teaching Material

Astrobites – Daily astrophysical literature journal made by undergraduate students

 Mixed teaching material on stars and astronomy.

For Kids

Books for kids – illustrated tours into the night sky

Learning and teaching material specifically for kids about stars