There’s a great article on the importance of Astronomy at the following IAU website – Why is Astronomy Important?
The fact is, that we live in a political climate where research funding (apart from defense spending) is questioned and looked at suspiciously. The canadian research agency recently announced that it will only fund relevant research i.e. apparently stuff with commercial value (read this great BAD Astronomy article on it).
Articles detailing the specific value of a science can seem to some as trite and missing the bigger picture but as scientists it would be good to read what direct benefits our field has had for the wider populace. If nothing else to answer questions related to why the public should fund basic science. A common question I get asked both here in the US and when I travel home to India is, ‘You actually get paid to do this?’. As if studying astronomy and trying to answer some of our most fundamental questions is somehow an unworthy task :/.