About Cosmic Pursuits
On this website, you’ll see spectacular images and video, learn about new discoveries in astronomy, tour the most spectacular sights in the night sky, and get tips on seeing the heavens for yourself.
Whether you’re a hands-on or an armchair stargazer, you’ll find something here to challenge your intellect and imagination and to help you gain perspective on your own life and place in this amazing universe.
My name is Brian Ventrudo, and I’m your ‘tour guide’ for these Cosmic Pursuits.
Since I write and publish this site, you might wonder… what do I know about astronomy and stargazing?
I never know enough, that’s for sure, but I’ve been a stargazer a long time. I got my first telescope when I was 5 years old, completed my first university course in astronomy at the age of 12, and in time I received a master’s degree in the subject.
I decided a career as a professional astronomer seemed like a good way to ruin a great hobby. So I picked up a “practical” degree, a Ph.D. in laser spectroscopy, and helped measure the spectral fingerprints of simple molecules found in interstellar space and planetary atmospheres. Then I worked as a research scientist in the field of lasers and fiber optics for 15 years. I helped build a few of the many bits and pieces that now make up the fiber-optic backbone of the internet. I hold a dozen patents and I’ve published many research papers related to laser technology.
In 2006, after a 20-year break from stargazing, during which I got married, had kids, and generally settled down to tackle the daily concerns of everyday life, two things propelled me back into stargazing.
First, I happened across a copy of Seeing in the Dark by Timothy Ferris, arguably the most elegant and literate book about stargazing ever written.
And, completely by chance, at an optics tradeshow I met Al Nagler, founder of Televue, who showed me what was possible with a good telescope and eyepiece.
Sure enough, I was hooked again.
The best way to learn a subject, or to re-learn it, is to write about it and teach it. So I began writing the articles that would become my first educational website called One-Minute Astronomer, which launched in 2008.
Cosmic Pursuits is a little different. Here I publish longer articles as well as curate the most interesting astronomy-related content from around the web.
I hope Cosmic Pursuits helps you, as Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
You can subscribe to Cosmic Pursuits here to get regular updates and new articles.
And if you have more questions, you can always contact me here.