“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself,” said Carl Sagan. Astronomy is not only the oldest science, but also a window through which mankind peers through in attempt to glimpse the fleeting answers to our deepest and most fundamental questions. As a direct result of the this class, I find myself looking skyward more often at night. I spy Jupiter and Mars, both high in the sky this time of year, and I can understand their significance in our holistic picture of not only the Solar System, but the Universe itself. It’s a bit eerie to gaze upon Mars and remember that Tycho Brahe stared endlessly at the same red dot of light night after night, meticulously recording its position and compiling decades of data points all so that his young assistant, Kepler, could use the data and Mars’ convenient relatively high eccentricity to derive his three laws of planetary motion. These laws were revolutionary and forever changed the way we perceive the Universe. Kepler spent his life’s work digging through data tables to come up with what has become a paragraph or two in an astronomy textbook which anyone can read and understand with ease. Progress marches on and new discoveries reveal more than anyone could have even imagined. 15 years ago exoplanets were thought to be probable, but there was no proof. Today astronomers are finding more and more that they seem mundane. Newton said of his discoveries, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” No such truer statement rings across time: we have only come as far as we have in our understandings of the cosmos through the work of those who came before. Come another decade the universe may look very different than it does today; as we discover more among the heavens and widen our field of view, the universe gets smaller and closer to home.