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amateur astronomer?

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#1 Brett Carlson

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:11 PM

When can one be considered an amateur astronomer?

I've always been interested in the night sky. I had a scope as a young boy. I got back into the hobby about 5 years ago. My signature shows my slowly growing collection. My star hopping skills improve with every outing. Co-workers and friends ask me related questions and if I don't know the answers I do some research and give the best answers I can.

I'm a member of a local astronomy club and I'm active in their outreach programs. I love the public star parties. One of my favorite things is to hear the reactions of first timers looking through the eyepiece for the first time. It reminds my why I love this hobby.

Does this qualify? I feel I know so little compared to a lot of people I've met so far that by calling me an astronomer would cheapen most of you reading this.

Clear skies to you all!

#2 nodalpoint

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:15 PM

Yeah. It just means you don't get paid and do it for the enjoyment. Nothing to do with how much you know or don't.

#3 Tophat3

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:45 PM

Yep, you qualify. Welcome aboard!!

#4 gene 4181

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:48 PM

yup, you are. even if you stand in the driveway, no scope, just looking with your naked eye. the sky only stirs some of us, the rest walk looking at the ground. my wife yells at me out in the driveway, she says you really look stupid walking around looking up like that. lol. i've seen things that people might only catch in glimpses at a magazine or book. i'm the richest man in the world.

#5 Rick Woods

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 12:46 AM

When can one be considered an amateur astronomer?


The very moment one starts astromomizing!

#6 johnsshipp

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:56 AM

Anyone with a passion for understanding the mysteries of the heavens is who I would consider an amateur astronomer. Equipment definitely has nothing to do with it considering that until the last few centuries 100% of astronomy was done with eyeballs and bent necks. :refractor: :drool:

#7 Kraus

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 05:51 AM

I'd say you have 'professional' attributes.

The dictionary definition of professional is one dedicated full-time to a vocation. That's subjective.

Our love of the sky makes us neither amateur or professional. It just makes us.

#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:22 AM

I'd say that if you look at the night sky regularly (with any instrument or no instrument at all), and are interested in and knowledgeable about what you see, then you're an amateur astronomer.

#9 guangtou

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:49 AM

I tend to define myself as a hobbyist or stargazer. To me, an amateur astronomer is involved in research at some level- keeping track of variable stars, meteor counting, etc.

Is someone who birdwatches an amateur ornithologist? Perhaps more appropriately, does the enjoyment of music make you a musician?

#10 Illinois

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 07:52 AM

I think that you look at stars and don't know anything but look at moon then you are astronomer. You have nice telescope and know the sky then you are amateur astronomer!

#11 Cotts

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:02 AM

1. Look up. 2. Enjoy. 3. Receive no pay. Rinse and repeat.

Dave

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:27 AM

1. I do that
2. Now here's where it can get dicey, what with the clouds, other obligations, bad seeing, light pollution, Cold and snow, more cold and snow, and even more cold and show, with a little extra cold thrown in.
3. Definitely qualify

Rinse and Repeat...I think Im clean now, even my ES eyepieces are starting to wrinkle...... :lol:

Welcome to Cloudy Nights (aka as Eypieces Anonymous, where every eyepiece should have a name)

#13 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 08:30 AM

To me, an amateur astronomer is involved in research at some level- keeping track of variable stars, meteor counting, etc.


That makes sense, but runs counter to popular usage.

Does the enjoyment of music make you a musician?


Coming as I do from a family of professional, semi-professional, and amateur classical musicians, I can answer that.

A professional classical musician has one or more regular jobs, is a member of the musician's union, and likely earns a significant part or even all of his/her living from music.

A semi-pro is also probably a union member, is well known around town, gets regular gigs, earns real money, but has a day job (or spouse) to earn the daily bread.

An amateur musician makes music regularly, is likely a member of an amateur orchestra or amateur chorus that puts on regular paid performances, or perhaps plays chamber music regularly with a group.

I don't consider myself an amateur musician, nor would other amateurs consider me one. I have a good, strong voice, can read music reasonably well, and can anchor the bass section of an amateur chorus. But I do not make music on a regular basis, so I am not an amateur musician.

Somebody who enjoys listening to classical music, and may even be quite knowledgeable about it, is not an amateur musician. Amateur music is all about production, not consumption.

The moral is that the meaning of "amateur" varies from one field to another.

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:32 AM

We're born amateurs...we die amateurs...Life is an amateur event......

#15 Brett Carlson

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:44 AM

I'd say that if you look at the night sky regularly (with any instrument or no instrument at all), and are interested in and knowledgeable about what you see, then you're an amateur astronomer.


Maybe one qualification is that I was excited to see a celebrity like Mr. Flanders respond to my post! I read and enjoy your columns every month!!

#16 maugi88

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:27 AM

As soon as you say you are, you are.

#17 seawolfe

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:52 AM

I'd say that if you look at the night sky regularly (with any instrument or no instrument at all), and are interested in and knowledgeable about what you see, then you're an amateur astronomer.


Maybe one qualification is that I was excited to see a celebrity like Mr. Flanders respond to my post! I read and enjoy your columns every month!!


Yeah, and he can SING too! Does he sing to the stars? I wonder.... :grin:

#18 t.r.

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 11:25 AM

Me...I just love the avatar Brett!!! :roflmao:

#19 Brett Carlson

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:28 PM

Me...I just love the avatar Brett!!! :roflmao:


I know....isn't it great! When I saw it I had to have it!! Cracks my up everytimg...just like the movie Airplane!

#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:39 PM

George Takei would probably get a kick out of your avatar too. ;)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6nSKkwzwdW4

#21 jimbo728

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:39 PM

"Amateurs do not have to write proposals."
Robert Jastrow
From a Stellafane talk in the `90`s
Jim

#22 rdandrea

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:30 PM

I tend to define myself as a hobbyist or stargazer.


Me too. Actually, I consider myself an observer. I don't do astronomy, I just look at the stars, planets, and anything else I can see in the sky.

#23 Brett Carlson

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:45 PM

George Takei would probably get a kick out of your avatar too. ;)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6nSKkwzwdW4


It's OK to be Takei! He is great on the Howard Stern Show...so open and honest when he is in studio.

#24 brentwood

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:57 PM

I would consider myself an amateur astronomer. I study the sky and try to understand how some of it works. An 'observer' just looks, doesn't understand any of it. A 'stargazer',(I personally HATE that term) looks at the sky casually, with the mouth open, doesn't know what anything is, and probably drools!
An amateur musician plays in front of people for nothing.
Someone who listens to music is a music listener!
An amateur ornithologist does the same kind of things a professional does except get paid. A person who spots birds & marks them off in a book is a bird watcher.

#25 David Gray

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 04:37 PM

A 'stargazer',(I personally HATE that term) looks at the sky casually, with the mouth open, doesn't know what anything is, and probably drools!


Likewise: the dictionary might contradict but gazing always had connotations with feckless-gawping to me; and prefer observer....!

Could never get my old dad to stop calling me a stargazer. Worse, he used to compound the issue when Sky & Telescope arrived; and upon my arriving home from work would pronounce "Your Sky Gazer is here" :mad: Bless him!






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