The Benefits of A National Astronomical Observatory – By Shyon Niles

Twenty two year old Shyon Niles produced this wonderful essay during our Christmas 2019 Essay Competition. Worth reading.

I would agree that astronomy does not have many practical benefits to people’s lives. However, the reason we study astronomy is because people are intrigued by astronomy. People want to know how the universe came into being, what our place in it is, and what exists in it. Basically, we are curious, and astronomy enriches our lives that way.

Therefore, I strongly agree that Guyana should have a National Astronomical Observatory because it will not only ignite our interest but it would also create job opportunities for our youths of Guyana. Think of it as a safe zone for youths who are aroused just by the thought of the universe, a place for them to utilize the full capacity of their potentials, a place to keep them off the streets and out of trouble, a place for them to learn, a place for the financially deprived to learn and socialize and be interactive with fellow youths. Astronomy can do this.

Although the study of astronomy has provided a wealth of monetary and technological gains, perhaps the most important aspect of astronomy is not one of economical measure but of social significance. A national Astronomical Observatory in Guyana may also be a form of Tourist attraction, thus, increasing tourism in our country which may result in putting our country further on the map.  Scientific discoveries can also be made right here whereby we would be able to contribute to the field, potentially alarm of any dangerous astronomical threat that may be lurking.

Astronomy has and continues to revolutionize our thinking on a worldwide scale. In the past, astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the vast oceans. As one of the oldest sciences, astronomy is part of every culture’s history and roots, including Guyanese indigenous cultures. It inspires us with beautiful images and promises answers to the big questions. It acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global citizenship and pride on our home planet.

In today’s Guyanese society, most career choices are limited in the sciences, so having a National Astronomical Observatory in Guyana creates another career path for persons who are interested in furthering their science careers. It can also be considered as hands on experience for persons who do not have any knowledge about Astronomy. Knowledge is power and we are never too old to learn, therefore, it can be a meaningful experience for citizens of Guyana, especially youths.

On a personal level, teaching astronomy to our youths adds great value. Students who engage in astronomy related educational activities in schools are more likely to pursue careers in science and technology, and to keep up to date with scientific discoveries.

“One People, One Sky”.


Why Guyana Should Have A National Observatory – By Cosmata Lindie

My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. ~ Stephen Hawking

For as long as humankind has been on this earth we have looked up at the heavens and marveled and wondered what is really out there, and where, exactly, do we fit in?  Far from just asking questions though, we actively go in search of answers to these questions even while being, for the most part, grounded on earth.  The quest for truth and understanding has led us to create instruments that allow us to see far beyond what is normally visible to the human eye, without necessarily having to board the nearest spacecraft.

This planet that we call home is just one of eight (it used to be nine before Pluto got booted from the official list for being too small) planets that make up the solar system.  However, our solar system is only part, and a very small part, of a vast, interconnected system of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae, comets and a host of other heavenly bodies and elements, some known, many still unknown or barely known, collectively called the universe or the cosmos.  It is truly an awe-inspiring universe that we live in and one which the majority of Guyanese will never get to experience beyond that which can be seen with the naked eye. Continue reading