An odd sort of question - but interesting none the less.

13 years 9 months ago #26314 by Jared Macphester
I am reflecting on the idea of amateur - you know ‘amateur astronomer‘ - him (or her) who is motivated by love “amour“ rather than by ---- whatever it is that is supposed to motivates professionals .

So a number of questions spring to mind.

Why do you do it?
What are yours dreams?
What are your ambitions?
What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status?
Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist?

Odd is it not?
Or are you all simply mad?

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say.

JMP

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13 years 9 months ago #26318 by dmcdona
Why do you do it? Beats keeping a publican in a lifestyle s/he likesWhat are yours dreams? Hmm - astro dreams or others?
What are your ambitions? To contribute science data
What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? The pros will always need us
Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? I don't - I sit in my cosy study with my coffee. The scope is in the frost alright :D

Odd is it not? Yes
Or are you all simply mad? Probably :D

I guess we all do this for different reasons. Humanity has always been inquisitive. I guess we're all in saearch of knowledge and possibly a reason why we're here and what's all this about then...

Have you been drinking? :wink:

Dave
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13 years 9 months ago #26321 by voyager

Why do you do it?


Because I find it really relaxing and enjoyable to spend time out under the stars. Gives me time to think and wind down while also giving me one hell of a show! It also appeals to my natural curiousity and interesting in the universe as a whole.

What are yours dreams?

To live in a place where the night sky is not ruined.

What are your ambitions?

To reamain involved in Astronomy and to continue to contribute to the Amateur Astronomy Community in Ireland and perhaps even beyond.

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status?

Don't really have any. I'm never going to make a career out of Astronomy because I suck at Math and hence at Physics. I realised that when I was an undergrad and it doesn't bother me at all. I'm just a guy who enjoys the night sky and I don't see anything at all wrong with that.

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist?


Because it's fascinating, because it clears the mind, because that light is there for us to see!

Odd is it not?


I wouldn't say so no .... out ancestors have done it for millenia, why shouldn't we!

Or are you all simply mad?

I'd say that anyone who can look up at a starry sky and not be intrigued is mad!

Bart.

My Home Page - www.bartbusschots.ie

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13 years 9 months ago #26347 by Keith g
Why do you do it? - Just amazment of the night sky since I was a kid

What are yours dreams? - To have my house overlooking the Sea back at home in Waterford, Looking out, you face South, some wonderskies all year round - one day....

What are your ambitions? - To find a nova, comet, and get as many people interested in astronomy as possible by intoducing them to the 'WOW' factor!

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? - Absolutely essential to astronomy, pro's now need the amatuer now more that ever, there must be at least 100 amatuer owned scopes versus the pro's one! Look at astrophotography these days! what the amatuer can now do!

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? - Why not, If you don't go you'll never find out! Been there many times!

Odd is it not? - No, Just many people out there don't understand the beauty of the night sky and all it has to offer, life is too hectic these days to notice for a lot of people.

Or are you all simply mad? - Maybe - But - HE WHO DARES WINS!! :D

Keith..

If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson

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13 years 9 months ago #26357 by Jared Macphester
Replied by Jared Macphester on topic An odd sort of question - but interesting none the less.
Those are good replies. Not enough of them yet thought- hint, hint.

Here is the deal. Personally I’m not much of what you might call a practicing astronomer, more of the armchair variety. (I do get out there occasionally) However I am fascinated by the dedication and skill that is demonstrated in these pages. ie that image from Michael O Connell just a few hours ago and that is just one of many. Like all amateurs (in the correct sense of the word) you do it simply for its own sake. But you are driven none the less and its those drives I am fishing for.

I should confess ulterior motives. I am trying to write a piece (as part of a bigger piece and so fort and so forth) and as nothing wort a damm came from last night session at the keyboard I just sort of thought - what the hell, ask the question perhaps you will get some feedback.

Perhaps an open forum is not the best place for this sort of thing. I know that not everyone is comfortable communicating in this fashion. But there must be some way to work it. Perhaps another suggestion to the keepers of the holy website!!

O well back to work!

JMP

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13 years 9 months ago #26358 by albertw

Why do you do it? Cause I like physics. In particular working in a laboratory thats 150+ billion light years wide.
What are yours dreams? Not much to do with astronomy.
What are your ambitions? At the moment; to finish my MSc.
What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? It means that I dont get paid.
Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? Well the places the light came from probably do still exist (are still emitting light). I dont go out in the cold much. It takes specific challenges, a good show, or at least the chance to chat to people to get me out observing now.

Odd is it not? No its the one branch of physics that you can make contributions to with a few hundred euros worth of equipment.
Or are you all simply mad? That too.

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say. unlikley


Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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13 years 9 months ago #26360 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic An odd sort of question - but interesting none the less.
Why do you do it?
It's fun!

What are yours dreams?
Astronomically speaking, to continue to have fun, whether that be in the form of visual observing, astrophotography or helping others enjoy the hobby.

What are your ambitions?
As above.

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status?
In many ways, I'd prefer to be an amateur than a professional...it should be fun. However, I suppose it would be nice to be paid to enjoy one's hobby! :)

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist?
Great way to relax after a stressful day at the office. Nice to get some fresh air. Enjoy the quietness. Requires one to think of our place in the Universe.

Odd is it not?
I find it odd that more people don't think "outside the box". However, each to their own. It's a pity though that areas of interest such as astronomy are not actively encouraged formally at the "average person" through the education system.

Or are you all simply mad?
Hopefully not! :)

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13 years 9 months ago #26389 by donkearns
Why do you do it? It fascinates and engages me.

What are yours dreams? Not entirely astronomy related. See below.

What are your ambitions? To be happy and live in a warm country with clear skies, my telescope and good company.

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? Ii's what I am. My day job is technical enough! Astronomy is my interest since Adam was a boy! It's open to everyone and can have great meaning. Depends on your mood. What a light show. Should come with a soundtrack. I mean music, not background radiation from the universe.

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? If it exists in my telescope, it exists right now for me. Staying out in the cold is a challenge. Some nights I do. Some I don't.

Odd is it not? Nope.

Or are you all simply mad? Mad? No. I don't think so. Well maybe some of THEM! (kidding!)

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say. I don't think many in the present are too interested :)

I really must think of something interesting to use as a tag line!

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13 years 9 months ago #26406 by Seanie_Morris
Why do you do it? I have had an interest since I was about 5 years old, and I saw Halleys Comet when I was almost 7. There were also a couple of books in the house at the time on astronomy, one of which had these weird fiery paintings of the surface of Venus - that got my attention! Naturally, through growing up and learning more, my curiosity stretched that bit further in front!

What are yours dreams? In astronomy? When I do eventually build my final house (hopefully within the next 8 to 10 years, realistically! :lol: ), I am going to have an adjoining observatory with a nice big scope. I also have a dream of seeing my local club really make something of itself, as I've been in it so long, time for it has moved so slow. Another one would be to see the smart use of night lighting, so that in the future, the wonders of the night sky wil not be lost (2 visual magnitudes have been lost within the last century thanks to light and industrial pollution).

What are your ambitions? I really don't know, circumstances can change at any time, so, its kind of go with the flow, and hope for the best! But, I am not without my goals, some of which I have met, sme within reach, and othersbeing a flight of fancy.

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? I don't really have any. I guess its all down to how much I enjoy the hobby with what I have got at my disposal. I don't really think of my amateur status as such. Its like soccer - I know I am a good player, and I will be (far) better than others, and the there are those way better than me. Guess I will always be an amateur.

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? Its the curious side. I mean, I know my limits according to what I have to observe with, but that won't stop me trying to get a look at those distant worlds that I can see. Plus, for me, its another 'quiet time' that I get to have.

Odd is it not? No, not really. I have kept a record for years of my observing exploits, and its fun to look back and see what I knew when I was a young teenager, and what I know now - how times change! Its a different hobby to others, its my hobby. Plus, if everyone looked the same, we would get tired of looking at each other!

Or are you all simply mad? Some might say...

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say. That would be cool.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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13 years 9 months ago #26425 by dave_lillis
Why do you do it?...... I remember voyager going past Saturn in the early 80s, and that got me hooked.
What are yours dreams? ......To see as many M/ngc/ic... objects as possible and maybe the odd supernova.
What are your ambitions? ......To see as many M/ngc/ic... objects as possible.
What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status? ......I dont get payed for it but would like to. :lol: There are astronomers and professional astronomers, I dont like this "amateur" bracketing.
Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist? ......Its an endurance sport, the longer you stay out, the more you see.

Odd is it not? ......Yip!
Or are you all simply mad?...... From the insomnia, sleep deprived induced paranoia and frostbite, wouldn't you be :lol:

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say. ...... It might be the grounds of a good Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder study in the future :lol:

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
IFAS Rep. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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13 years 8 months ago #26941 by DaveGrennan
A very interesting set of questions.

Why do you do it?

Because no other hobby, (and I have quite a few), gives quite the same level of satisfaction as astronomy.

Imaging this; It's a cold clear weekend night. Your sitting in a deckchair under the stars. The only sound is of the equipment clicking and whirring. Occassionally interrupted by a colleague/friend having a quiet chat with somebody or the pouring of a steaming hot cup of coffee. Then suddenly the ground lights up as a meteor streaks overhead. That night you've seen/photographed wierd and wonderful objects that the vast majority of people in the world have not even imagined let alone seen. You look in your scope and there lies a beautiful comet like SW3 or similar. Need I go on!

What are yours dreams?

To continue to improve as an astronomer. To learn as much as possible and help pass that info on for generations to come. To build my own well kitted observatory.

What are your ambitions?

Also making some contribution to science is way up there.

What are your thoughts on your “amateur“ status?

Like others said before, I dont like the 'Amateur' tag. However I dont know of any other discipline where a 'non-professional' can make such a significant contribution. Also Astronomy is one of the few areas where professionals and non-oprofessionals collaborate with a sense of mutual respect.

Why would you stay out half the night (ideally in the frost) looking at light from a place so distant that it probably no longer exist?

See answer to question 1.

Odd is it not?

I see what your saying, but no I dont think its odd at all (my family and friends might do so though). Humans are innately curious, some of us are more curious than others. You could rationalise any discipline the same way and ask the question why do it at all? Why do groups of fully grown men chase a round leather ball around a field for an afternoon? Why do some people risk life and limb to get to the top of a very large rock! Why do others get excitied about used stamps/coins etc. Its what makes us different from the beasts.

Or are you all simply mad?

Who was it who said? 'Its the rest of the world thats mad, I'm perfectly sane'

Someone in the future might be interested in what you have to say.

Or maybe not!!

Good though provoking post.

Regards and Clear Skies,

Dave.
J41 - Raheny Observatory.
www.webtreatz.com
Equipment List here

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