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What are we other than TELESCOPE COLLECTORS?

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#1 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:07 AM

We all collect Classic Telescopes. What does that entail? A little money only to find buys on Craig's List and lots of reading perhaps of Cloudy Night threads or John Siple's articles in the Rosette. This we are, CLASSIC TELESCOPE COLLECTORS, but where are we on the scale of knowledge and skill of astronomy?

I am not asking what do we each do for a living because we can all care less. I am asking about our love of the heavens and astronomy, although having a love of astronomy does not qualify a person in anyway for the appellation
"Amateur Astronomer", IMHO.

We certainly are all observers, a broad category. I am an observer who "knows nothing" according to my friend Darren Drake and he is absolutelty right on. But he has been a daily astronomy freak for 30 years.

What do you all think the minimum critera is to be called an Amateur Astronomer? Knowledge of astronomy equivalent to a PHD? or BS? You can't set the bar to low. Einstein was an amateur physicist when he had his miracle year at the Patent Office but he held an earned PHD in Physics, he just didn't have a job in it.

Those like me who's observing skills are very basic and who's knowledge of Astronomy is way below the Bachelor level can be classified as Astronomy Enthusiasts. Even winning all the observing awards or pins in the world an Amateur Astronomer doesn't make.

Need your help, I believe critiera need to be agreed upon.

Mark

#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:12 AM

having a love of astronomy does not qualify a person in anyway for the appellation
"Amateur Astronomer", IMHO.


Don't see why not. That is, after all, the literal meaning of the term.

#3 Darren Drake

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:18 AM

We all have our stregths in particular areas of the hobby. Some know current scopes/technologies and some know the older classic scopes top to bottom. Some know the sky amazingly well while other are content to learn textbook astronomy very well. Some know astro history and others just wanna know the latest theories. And some just wanna learn everything they can and end up doing a very good job at doing it. Of course all one really needs to have to be an amateur astronomer is to have the curiousity to learn about and observe the heavans and to follow through to at least some extent.

#4 mustgobigger

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:19 AM

I'm a amateur astronomer in training. :lol:

#5 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:20 AM

Because having a love of Physics makes one an Amateur Physicist, not. I believe we have to have the bar set higher than an ancient greek definition. Although maybe not.

Astronomy Enthusiast, Amateur Astronomer, Amateur Race car driver all the same. :)

#6 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:26 AM

Maybe part of the criteria is that a person has to do some amount yearly of actual observing through an instrument?

I think perhaps that is necessary to make a distinction between Astronomy Enthusiast and Amateur Astronomer. The Enthusiast may read articles on astronomy, online, in popular magazines or journals or just enjoy what's on TV. The Amateur Astronomer is something much much more.

#7 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:31 AM

I for instance am or used to be an amateur theologian but I hold the equivalence of a Phd in the knowledge of the subject and can better or stand my ground with most professionals in that field.

#8 mustgobigger

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:33 AM

Most are here for the hobby
aspect and want to learn.
I don't think the level matters
Much as long as you show interest.
there are so many aspects of this hobby
Like restoration ...that can be done in any
Hobby ....but we have some great ones
Here.
I think even professionals can
Come here and learn something new.
just my opinion.

#9 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

So hobbyist = Amateur Astronomer? I can accept that. I wonder if that will be the consensus here.

#10 t.r.

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

Discussed and debated many times here...

Link

#11 actionhac

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:54 AM

Its human nature to look up and stargaze.
Wanting to know more, an interest in all of those objects, is the point when you are a amateur astronomer.

Robert

#12 Napersky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:23 AM

Thank you for the link Tim M. very enlightening.

#13 grendel

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 12:12 PM

I am a telescope user, I use telescopes to look at the stars, hey I may not know the skies that well, but I enjoy looking, more I enjoy looking using classic scopes.
Grendel

#14 bremms

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

I've been involved in Astronomy one way or another since the late 60's. Used to know the sky like the back of my hand, could find probably 500 deep sky objects by memory.(Not anymore)Worked as a professional, know a good bit about a few topics. Know even more about engineering. Made more scopes than I can count on two hands. Like to collect, but I like to observe a more. Have more in common on the ATM side but, I really like the people on the classic forum too.
Yes, I would call myself an Amateur Astronomer.
Among MANY other things.

#15 terraclarke

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:20 PM

I have considered myself an amateur astronomer since I was a teenager and got my first telescope (a 60 mm refractor which I still possess). I was a science nerd in school and ground and figured a 6 inch mirror making my own telescope for a highschool science project. I majored in geology in college but never took a formal astronomy course. I have always continued to read about astronomy and look up at the night sky in wonder. Astronomy has been the one hobby that has stayed with me throughout my life, during years of working, being a parent, whatever. Even during the time that I was a flight attendant and had little or no time for it, if anyone would have asked me my hobby or interest or what i did in my spare time (what spare time then?) I would have responded that I was an amateur astronomer. It seems like I've been one forever. It just fits me; nothing could be easier in my mind. Now that I am happily retired and my kids are grown I have lots of time to devote to our wonderful hobby. I have 15 telescopes, a large collection of Astronomy books, every issue of S&T that has ever been published, and more time to pursue my interests. What am I? I'm an Amateur Astronomer (full time :) ).

#16 Dennis53121

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 03:05 PM

My definition of Amateur Astronomer.

One who has the ability to make the skies cloud over.

Dennis

#17 Bonco

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 03:11 PM

In my mind an Amateur Astronomer is one that: 1)Appreciates frequent viewing of celestial objects with or without optics. 2)Has some knowledge of constellations and the ability to identify several, same with bright stars. 3) Has an understanding of the phases of the moon, solar and lunar eclipses. 4) Can look up in the sky and identify with reasonable certainty all of the naked eye planets when in view.
Not a very tight definition, in short, enjoy frequent sky watching and some basic understanding of what they are looking at. That's the basics in my opinion to qualify as an "Amateur Astronomer." Many of course go way beyond this entry level definition.
Bill

#18 rdandrea

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 03:42 PM

I'm an observer, not a collector. I only have one "Classic" scope, and I didn't collect it: I bought it new. It's only a "Classic" because I still use it and both of us (me and the scope) got old.

#19 rguasto

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 05:37 PM

I have only one classic scope, but it's my main telescope other than my C6 which is a travel scope. I would love to have a whole bunch more but (only recently) have come to realize that I really don't need anything else. I think the "classic' telescopes are really a bargain for the quality of optics - esp reflectors like the Cave's and Criterion's. I have little to no experience with refractors though. I completely appreciate using an instrument older than myself ~100 days a year (including outreach events). I find the saying "they don't build the like they used to" very accurate. I don't think the current commercial reflectors will stand the test of time as well.
As far as an amateur astronomer. I never really liked that term. I always wondered why a professional astronomer isn't called an Astronomist. We have physicists, chemists, pharmacists, cardiologists... Professional astronomy has little to do with visual observing. I consider people like Gary Seronik,Rod Mollise and Phil Harrington to be professional astronomers. They have been lifelong observers (in an incredibly masterful fashion), authors, etc.. We're all pretty passionate about astronomy. I think that makes us astronomers. I find nothing amateur about it.
-Rob

#20 BarabinoSr

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:06 PM

I am an amateur astronomer first and Classics collector second. I have many more instruments other than my classics,but I've always lived by a simple rule in this hobby- astronomy and observing is first and you can only use one scope with either eye at a time. I've been involved with astronomy since July of 1965 and encountered many situations and adventures along the way. I wear many hats in this field and are very grateful to be able to do that. Clear Skies, Gary

#21 BigC

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:01 PM

An amateur astronomer is one who engages in any type of astronomy out of personal desire and without renumeration.


I reject the idea of any minimum standard to merit the title.

Too many people already get caught up in un-needed classes of society.

#22 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:06 PM

Fair enough to say that those who do not use their scopes are merely "collectors." Beyond that, what do we gain by tightening the definition of "amateur astronomer?" I have no desire to exude anyone. Folks who passionately observe and learn at whatever pace suits them are welcome to claim the title.

#23 amicus sidera

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:43 PM

BigC wrote:

An amateur astronomer is one who engages in any type of astronomy out of personal desire and without renumeration.


I reject the idea of any minimum standard to merit the title.

Too many people already get caught up in un-needed classes of society.


My feelings exactly. Thanks, BigC.

#24 kansas skies

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:07 PM

I generally think of myself as an active stargazer, and I own a few telescopes to assist me in that pursuit. Some might be considered classic or collectible, but to me they're simply functional windows into the universe. The ones that didn't see use are now part of someone else's collection.

As an amateur, I'm free to explore and experience any aspect of astronomy that interests me at the moment. I don't think many professionals would be given that kind of freedom.

Bill

#25 clintwhitman

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:27 AM

I am Caveman!!

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