“When people look through a telescope, they’re all the same.”
As the World Saturns
An crowd of people lined up — and even started holding up traffic earlier — this week to gaze at Saturn through a telescope in one of the most densely populated areas in the United States.
Amateur astronomer Joe Delfausse, who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, has made it a habit to carry his telescope out into the streets on clear nights to allow anybody who walks by to have a peek.
A recent video, which went viral on social media, shows a massive crowd of people lining up to have a look through Delfausse’s telescope, in a wholesome and heartwarming illustration of our neverending wonder of what lies beyond our Blue Planet.
This man who placed his telescope in the middle of a Brooklyn road to show strangers what Saturn looks like has done more for traffic calming than any elected official in the lower 48. Let’s protect this man at all costs. pic.twitter.com/sbYC8nqBRj
— Hayden Clarkin (@the_transit_guy) August 24, 2023
And according to accounts of those who stopped by to have a look for themselves, it must’ve been quite the moment.
“He was really this kind of Zen Buddha in the space, shepherding a bunch of hippie kids who just got out of a concert,” Daphne Juliet Ellis, a local musician, who took a video of the scene, told The Guardian. Her video was watched well over four million times on TikTok.
“The cars just had to deal with it,” she wrote in the caption.
Delfausse has been hooked on astronomy ever since joining a 1995 meeting of the non-profit Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.
“The main thing I do is bring out my telescope where I know there are going to be people, so I can show them the heavens,” he told The Guardian.
“You don’t need a college degree or anything to see Saturn and those rings,” he added. “When people look through a telescope, they’re all the same.”
“I’m in my 80s, and you want to do something meaningful in your life,” Delfausse said. “I can’t think of anything that’s more meaningful than this kind of stargazing with people.”