The planet Mars (Wikimedia Commons)
When I was a child I was fascinated by astronomy and, through reading on my own, taught myself what then seemed like a great deal about the planets. Although I can still recite the planets in order (now leaving off poor Pluto), it seems that there is little else that I really know about our vast universe. I've been turning to some basic astronomy websites for some very, very basic information.
Our instructor at the Leasburg State Park star party told us:
Looking at the stars is a kind of time travel
It's a lovely statement, and a lot for my mind to get itself around. You've always known that abstract thinking is not my strength, so I'm sure you have absolutely no doubts now.
I looked at a site called Astronomy for Beginners. I found these statements under Basic Astronomy Facts. They clarify the idea of "star observation as time travel:"
Light from the sun takes 8 minutes to reach you, thus you see the sun as it was 8 minutes ago. It might have blown up 4 minutes ago and you wouldn't know about it!