Saturday is National Astronomy Day and one local company is bringing the science of space, closer to home.
"I find that almost everybody, when they see a telescope, something triggers that they just go, wow, you know I wonder what I could see with that," Scott Roberts, Founder and President of Explore Scientific.
After 30 years of selling and making telescopes, Roberts decided to take his future into his own hands.
"I started this in my garage in Laguna Hills, Calif. in Orange County and when I told my friends that I was relocating my business to Arkansas, Californian's go 'are you crazy?' he said.
Fast forward 5 years, Roberts is counting his lucky stars.
Explore Scientific brought in 35,000 dollars its first year, and is now a multi-million dollar company based in Springdale.
"I would say that if I had not moved to some place like Northwest Arkansas, that we would not have the success that we're having today."
It's a dream for Roberts, that's come full circle.
"When I was 9 years old, I saw Buzz and Neal Armstrong land on the moon. Years later I met Buzz and he has one of our telescopes today."
But it's not selling his products that gets him up in the morning, it's sharing them.
"You show people the moon for the first time, or you show people Saturn for the first time, and it hits them like a ton of bricks, if they're seeing it for the very first time, they're seeing another world," Roberts said.
He helps others learn about the past, with a focus on the future.
"To get to see the Galilean moons, I don't recall ever hearing that before, so that was really, really exciting," one woman looking through the telescope said.
"It gets us in touch with something bigger than ourselves and I think that's important to remember," she said.
"It gets me excited every time. I never, ever get tired of looking through telescopes or showing people the cosmos through telescopes," Scott said.
A feeling Roberts is passing down to the next generation.
"I couldn't believe I could see that far. Just like being able to see Jupiter from here. It's incredible," Lawson Blake said.
"It was really big, and it felt like I was in space kind of," Caroline Blake said.
"Like I could see the craters in the moons and stuff which I thought was really cool."
He uses the tools to make science come alive, whether for students or just life-long learners.
"It really lets me just see what's really happening understand it a lot more," Lawson Blake said.
"When I look through a telescope and I see a spiral galaxy that's 35 million light years away, that energy, the original photon, is hurling through space at the speed of light for 35-million years and it's finally hitting your eye, it's a real connection," Roberts said.
A passion, increasing both sales and curiosity around the world.
"We've got a lot more coming, we will continue to expand, you can expect a lot from us in the next year or two," Roberts said.
People are instinctively curious and the need to explore is innate. When someone starts to learn the distances, size relationships, and dynamics of other planets, nebulae, stars, and galaxies as they gaze directly at them through a telescope, paths to understanding our universe from a broader perspective gains greater clarity. Often an enlightening, and sometimes euphoric feeling is experienced.
A similar experience has been reported by some astronauts during spaceflight while seeing the Earth from orbit or from the Moon's surface... they call it the "Overview Effect", and it's a pretty good description of the transformation that many amateur astronomers have had.
The products and services that we provide is meant to be used as tools to help you achieve a real transformative experience. Only you will know when it happens, but when it does, we encourage you to be resolved to share your knowledge and experience so that others can begin the journey for themselves.
So our mission is clear, and above all else, our company is resolved to continual improvement in service, support, and product reliability and design, because we know that this is what it takes. Our products, service, and staff are here to nurture those who are just embarking and to create sustainability for those who are deep in their personal voyage of exploration.
This is why we have created Explore STAR, our program for satisfaction, our exclusive fully transferrable unlimited lifetime warranty, anytime free service, and repurposing product that is returned for our trade-up program.