I think there are many reasons for many of us to have gotten into the hobby. I guess with this post I am asking 4 things.
1. What drew you to the hobby?
As a young boy, I was drawn to observing the Moon and planets to feed a desire to know that sense of exploration and discovery. As an adult, that attraction remained, and was enhanced by my enjoyment of being outdoors in nature and by the creative opportunities observing offered. Observing was a calming activity that allowed me to escape the pressures of work and life. Sketching my observations provided a creative outlet.
2. What keeps some in the hobby long term and why do others quit?
I don't know, it'll be interesting to read the replies to this survey.
3. If you've quit the hobby for a significant amount of time why did you leave?
My interest in science and astronomy has continued but my active involvement in observing has waxed and waned. There have been two extended periods during which I was not an active observer. My first extended break from active observing occurred during the decade spanning my early-20's to early-30's. I was focused on finishing school and starting a career. Money was tight, and any "free" time was heavily invested in building relationships with co-workers and, ultimately, my future wife.
My second extended break from active observing began about 5-years ago and is ongoing. My son was born in 2000. Over the next several years, my body clock adjusted to accommodate a toddler's schedule. The all-nighters I used to pull with the telescope became late nights rocking my son to sleep, and early mornings getting him fed and ready for school. I also re-discovered an old activity that offered new challenges. Growing up in northern California, summer vacations typically involved backpacking or canoeing in wilderness areas with my family. In 2006, I started hiking and backpacking in Grand Canyon. This activity has largely replaced visual observing at the center of my recreational interests.
4. What drew you back to the hobby?
My return to active visual observing in the early 1990's coincided with the early heyday of Hubble Space Telescope. My fiance gave me a 4 1/2 inch reflector as a birthday/Christmas gift in 1992. In March 1994, I purchased a 10-inch Meade Starfinder Equatorial and spent the next eleven years actively exploring the heavens. Though I'm not an active telescopic observer, I often carry mini-binoculars when backpacking and will use them at night to seek out old friends amongst the stars.
Bill in Flag