A heavenly profile of Baltimore’s sidewalk astronomer

hubble Star-Forming Region LH 95 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Sure, we have the scientists who wrangle the Hubble Space Telescope, but in Fells Point we’ve got another guide to the universe who’s a bit more … Baltimore.

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Ever seen the man who sets up a telescope at the base of Broadway and offers weekend Fells Point habitues – the tipsy, the plastered, the post-prandial, the amorous, the simply curious – a peek at the moon, stars and planets?

He’s 82-year-old Herman Heyn who’s been doing this since 1987, according to a lovely piece on him written by Ann Finkbeiner, published today in the science writers’ blog,”The Last Word on Nothing.”

Finkbeiner’s piece is more than a loving and crisply detailed portrait of a Baltimore original. It’s a paen to sidewalk astronomers throughout history – “practitioner[s] of a field that’s part epistemology, part science, and part awe. . . familiar with humankind’s abiding concerns.”

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  • davethesuave

    “hey there, you with the stars in your eyes”…Herman’s been cool for longer than a few neutron stars I know. But he ain’t dense. Indeed, The Force is with him!

  • ushanellore

    What a show of pyrotechnics the sky yields some nights! An astronomer’s eyes are fortunate to be so assailed! Usha nellore

    • davethesuave

      it’s even more beautiful when you get away from the over-rated “civilization”.

  • cwals99

    We love Herman….thanks for giving Baltimore an easy star-gazing fix!

  • ham_snadwich

    I think he was on the corner of St Paul and 32nd last night.

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