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Philosophy of Patience. Hence the Astronomer

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#1 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Philosophy of Patience. Hence the Astronomer

After 2 years in this hobby I believe astronomers are a breed of individuals who have learned to tap into that will and incredible patience the world today seems to be lacking. At least from my perspective.

I for one have never been a "short attention span" person. I like to know more about what I see on TV and about the world around me. The 24 hour barrage of information on the Internet and the TV are all becoming background noise. If one gets caught up in the sound bites and snippets we will be no expert at anything. Only slightly educated on many subjects. But with no real supporting foundation for such "knowledge".

Since my dive into the world of Astronomy, I have had to slow down, breathe, and take a good long look before I would  "see" what was up there. The longer you look and contemplate the more you will actually "see".

I strongly believe that this notion is something which can, and should, be applied to our everyday lives. If we took the time to stop, look, listen, and render an informed opinion before running off to the next task or action we would be so much better for it.

Astronomy and it's learned skills at slowing the pace, tease out each and every photon of information and then get a good picture of what exists thru the eyepiece, has reinforced my belief that we all are able to do better. Not just at our hobby, but in life in general.

Take what you have learned at the scope and apply it to your life. It has opened my eyes and widened a desire for knowledge which is the best weapon of all.

As they say knowledge is power. But use that knowledge for the good of all!

Human, Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe.....we are all here together. So much to see and experience if we take the time to "observe"....not just up but all around us.

Clear skies and Peace!

#2 rockethead26

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:42 PM

Nicely said, Daniel.

#3 C_Moon

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

I think you are absolutely correct. Patience seems vital to being able to advance in amateur astronomy. Consider:

- the process of starhopping, ever get lost and have to start a 10-min star-hop all over again?

- Seeing detail on planets. I often find outreach events unsatisfactory because so many folks do not see the detail I see because they only want to look for 3 sec or so. I have been treated to amazing views, but often they are fleeting in moments of good seeing.

- Trying to see faint objects. I remember viewing the asteroid Toutatis last month. It took me a few tries to locate the somewhat faint asteroid that at first glance was 'just another faint star" and then a little bit of time to detect movement.

- Waiting for the physical universe: objects to rise or transit, objects to move out of the glare of the sun, eclipses or transits & other transient events to happen, skies that are transparent, steady or (heavens) both.

These are just the ones that come to mind. I'm sure there's a lot more examples.

#4 Mxplx2

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:04 PM

Yes, our lives are filled with information overload, most of which means little if anything, and is mainly a distraction from what really matters. Texting while driving would be a good example. Astronomy gives an outside this world perspective.

#5 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:08 AM

Astronomy also teaches humility, in many different ways.

Dave Mitsky

#6 Asbytec

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:32 AM

Stop and smell the coffee.

#7 Mike B

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

Personally, i very much concur with the sentiments expressed above! And this:

Astronomy also teaches humility, in many different ways.


For me anyhoo, i get this. Spend any time at all contemplating a Hubble "Deep-field" photo, particularly a hi-res version where you can "zoom-in" to inspect a few of the faint fuzzies... ya just can't come away from that feeling very big! :lol: A similar experience can be had at the eyepiece, too, more or less depending on what's displayed. :grin:

On the *patience* note, i can't help but wonder if some of this is pre-wired into personality types... some more, some less. This, and also thru nurture- the activities our parents engaged us with, or didn't... the time they spent with us as youngsters- or didn't. Or couldn't.

In today's instantaneous & electronically enhanced culture, calm, contemplative, non-digital pursuits are not nearly as popular... so the kid who (like i did) yearns many months for a 60mm 'fractor is swamped with a deluge of kids who want an i-pad or i-____ (fill in the blank)... "months" probably not sufficing as a time-frame! :lol:

Maybe it's good, maybe it's not... is certainly "different". I just know that my own astro journey, and typical nightly journeys, typically involve precious little speed or hurry... or electronic enhancement. And i'm quite happy to keep it that way.
;)

#8 FirstSight

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:59 PM

Well, my equipment patiently awaits me every night I decide to go out. Whether it's tonight or two weeks from now.

#9 Mike B

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:15 PM

Well, okay now... you're needling into realms where "patience" may not flow as deeply? My equipment may be patient, but when clouds & fog are large and in charge, i am often NOT quite so patient! :smashpc: :bangbangbang: :nonono: :shakecane: :ranting:

#10 jgraham

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

Way back when it was common for amateur astronomers to grind their own mirrors we used to say the #1 thing a telescope maker needed was patience.

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

lugging hugh dobs around makes you a patient........

#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:02 PM

Good one!

Dave Mitsky

#13 dpwoos

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:49 PM

Astronomy also teaches humility, in many different ways.

Dave Mitsky


I feel humble, but I also feel extremely proud to share species-being with folks who can study and understand the Universe. Takes some nerve to look creation square in the face, and use our reasoning to decipher its workings. I have to say that of all the wonders I have seen in the heavens, the Aurora Borealis are the most awe inspiring, and even sometimes terrifying.

#14 pogobbler

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:58 AM

Patience does seem to be a lost art in much of the population. For all the people I've met who claim to have ADHD, I suspect that most just haven't learned to develop their natural patience. Though some people seem naturally more patient than others, I think the greater part of it is something learned rather than something that's either there or not. Those who aren't or don't learn to be patient don't last long in this hobby. When all is said and done, you have to calm down and yield to the Universe before you; the Universe won't yield to your pace or even meet you halfway.

#15 Asbytec

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:56 AM

At times, especially when the seeing overhead is worth it, I'll grab a cup of coffee and wait out some cloud cover. Sit out back, sipping coffee...exercising patients while really still eager inside.

#16 csa/montana

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

lugging hugh dobs around makes you a patient........


:drinkspit:

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

Some countdown their remaing days, some add up the days of their lives......

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

Some countdown their remaing days, some add up the days of their lives......

#19 Mike B

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

... then there's those of us happy to keep count of our car keys...
:help:

Ever noticed how walking tends to induce patience?

#20 lordgordons

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

On the day of the Venus Transit last year, several of my astronomy club members and I gathered at a beach on Long Island to view this event. The skies were completely clouded over - except for a few sucker holes - when we arrived. A couple of members got lucky right away and were able to view or photograph the event for a brief few seconds when the sun appeared. Most of us were shut out, but we decided to stay. Near the end of the day, three hours later on a day completely clouded over - and just a few minutes before sunset - the clouds opened up in spots and we all were able to view the transit, even if only for a couple of minutes. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely yes! Not one of us left, even when rain looked like a certainty. We all waited and we were all rewarded. No question, at least in my mind, that patience is the most important personal attribute needed in amateur astronomy.

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

No question, at least in my mind, that patience is the most important personal attribute needed in amateur astronomy.



Patience, determination and curiosity...

One might try year after year to see a particular object and never see it.

Jon

#22 Sonomajfk

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

When I'm out under the stars, I'm always aware of the vastness, not only of the universe and its unfolding, but also of the time scale on which it unfolds... the enormity helps quiet and calm me, helps place all my life concerns in a much larger context. I almost always finish an observing session feeling much calmer, and yes, more patient.

#23 csrlice12

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

Patience H***, I wanna view something...... :lol:

#24 GeneT

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

Its sad that so few have looked up and seen the stars from truly dark skies.

#25 mfromb

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:49 PM

I've found a striking similarity between visual astronomy and a principal hobby of mine, photography... but more specifically, macro photography.

They both hold my attention in the same ways. With your eye pressed to the eyepiece (viewfinder), taking great pain to achieve perfect focus, seeing subjects in a whole new light (pardon the pun), and getting lost in those moments that become minutes... and before you know it, you've spent an hour or two immersed in this other world, having achieved a degree of separation from the more common world around you and all of its entanglements.

In both cases, the best results seem to come from patience, and practice. The more you look, the more you really see. The more you see, the more you appreciate what it is you're seeing. And, when you get in that zone, where you've pretty much separated yourself and your thoughts from everything else, and you're just lost in that eyepiece or viewfinder, it's pretty therapeutic. Either in the form of stress relief, or the appreciation of how small we really are. Viewing the heavens has a lot in common with taking a macro view of the world beneath our feet. Both are amazing, and both are humbling.

I *thought* I would enjoy this hobby. I expected as much. What I didn't expect was the striking, and welcome similarities to macro photography.

This is a great outlet for that part of me that likes that sense of isolation and disconnect I get when peering through the lens, or eyepiece, and paying painstaking attention to what I'm viewing. Very different outcomes, of course, photographs vs. visual memory, but the process for obtaining them is very much alike for me.






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