Awe is defined as an “overwhelming and bewildering sense of connection with a startling universe that is usually far beyond the narrow band of our consciousness”.  Webster’s defines it as “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. Awe is an emotion that does not receive much attention these days. Why? These days it is all about me. We are so immersed with our electronic devices; we are so wrapped up in Face Book, Twitter, etc. that anything beyond our narrow interests does not gather much attention.
Astronomy and the rest of the sciences can provide an antidote to such an attitude. The French scientist Henri Poincaré notes astronomy gives us perspective on our place in the universe and as he puts it “this is something which cannot cost too dear”.  Astronomy teaches us two things about ourselves.
First, compared to the universe, we are so miniscule; we are not even a speck of dust. One cannot study this incredible universe of ours and not have a feeling of insignificance. The immensity of the universe, the endless variety of planets, stars, nebula, and other astronomical objects, and the processes that we observe that we still do not totally understand should prompt the feeling of awe in all of us.
Second, despite of our insignificance compared to the universe, we somehow are able to at least partly comprehend this incredible universe. How is this possible? Maybe the author of Psalms is right–we are made with just a bit of God lacking in us (Psalms 8).
The problem is we do not take courses in science so we have no understanding how incredible our universe is. Our light polluted cities blot out the night sky and most young people have never seen the Milky Way; they have no concept of what the night sky looks like other than what they see in pictures. The result is that we do not appreciate the incredible universe in which we live.
Bill Gates said in an interview in Rolling Stone magazine “The mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelming amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about”.  And as we lose our awe of the universe, as we lose our ability and desire to observe and appreciate the natural world, we are losing one way of knowing about God (Romans 1:18-22).
 Paul Pearsall as quoted by William Sheehan, “The Importance of Awe”, Sky & Telescope, March 2016, p. 84.
 Henri Poincaré, The Foundations of Science, Lancaster, PA: The Science Press, 1946, p.289.
 As quoted in Dispatches – Quotables, World Magazine, April 19, 2014, p. 16. From an interview in Rolling Stone, March 27, 2014.