Author Topic: Why do you love Astronomy?  (Read 25389 times)

EdV

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Why do you love Astronomy?
« on: August 29, 2008, 01:03:22 am »
Hello, Galaxy Zoo!
I was just wondering: what drew you to astronomy? What is it that made you interested in it?

My own story has to do with how I've always loved space since I was a little boy... the concept always awed me that there was a (for us) endless expanse up there... it was only a few years ago that I realized my interest in math and physics could be put together with my interest in space to study astronomy... I've been hooked ever since.

What happened to you?

EdV

Edit: oops... wrong section. Does this need to be moved?
If you thought that 111 plus 1 was 112, then you don't understand binary.

orrery66

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2008, 05:31:57 am »
I also have been fascinated with astronomy since childhood.  I would jump on my trampoline all day and when it was too dark to jump any more (according to my mom yelling at me from the back door), I would lay on the trampoline and watch the stars wink on and try to guess which ones they were.  I recall the first time I saw the Milky Way across the sky - I was about 16 and had taken a trip to Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas.  Since I grew up in the city, I'd never seen the Milky Way.  I was spell-bound!  I couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  Now that I live in the country, I'm blessed with dark skies and can see quite a bit of the Milky Way most nights.  Space is SO large and grand and full of mysteries and wonders and beauty!  (by the way, this is my first post in here, so if I did something incorrectly, let me know.)
"The Heavens declare the glory of God"

AlexandredOr

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2008, 05:35:12 am »
Welcome to the Zoo orrery66 !
Nice to see one more beauty-of-Universe-addict !

Baby star opening its eyes on the Universe.

Alice

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2008, 08:29:23 am »
Where did you want it, EdV? I'd say it's OK both here and in the Cafe. Or possibly Star Space, but that tends to be more impersonal. Let me know and I'll move it :)

I have no idea what drew me to astronomy, just instinct, I think! Somewhere among the boxes in my parents' house is a book of me aged about 6 reading an astronomy book . . . A family friend gave me a lovely Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest book when I was about 10, which I pretty much memorised. As a teenager I drew back a little, assuming there was nothing I could do to get into it, but when in my 20s I found out this wasn't the case, back I came - WHAM! ;D ;D ;D

EdV

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2008, 10:34:45 am »
Oh, it's okay here, I just wasn't sure if this was the right place.  :)

Thanks for the answers!

EdV
If you thought that 111 plus 1 was 112, then you don't understand binary.

DJ_59

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2008, 01:45:41 pm »

Well, at the risk of sounding dramatic...

I had a horribly rough childhood that involved a lot of alienation.  I discovered at an early age (probably 12) that I could pack up a guitar, stuff for a campfire and cooking, my binoculars and a tent and walk upstream in this creek about half a mile from my home.  There was no bank to walk on, just clay cliffs on the sides, so I had to walk chest deep in very cold water (which I don't mind) for yet another half mile to get to my "happy place", a sand bar next to the stream.  I'd go there for days at a time, pitch the tent, swim, explore, write songs, and at night, when the campfire had gone out, I'd lay on my back with my head outside the tent, looking at the sky.  Fuzzy stars!  Billions of them, it seemed.  No pain, no fear, no anxiety... just peace.  I probably spent over 100 nights there and never saw another human.  Just stars.  Later, in high school, where we had our own planetarium, I'd sneak in and watch as the astronomy classes watched and learned.  My math grades were too bad to take the class, so I never followed my dream (the one that would kick in IF I failed to become a famous musician, which, guess what, never happened) of going into research in some related field.  Galaxy Zoo is like an answer to an old prayer.  I don't have 1/10th of the science smarts of most of you (judging from the science content of some of your posts), but looking at these objects and working on the project seems to bring back that feeling of wonder and peace.  And... I really didn't succeed in not sounding dramatic.  Oh well, for me it IS a dramatic story.

Hanny

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2008, 02:57:45 pm »
Hey Deej, most people here are amateurs really and a lot of the people you probably think know a lot, learned all of that on this site. :)

DJ_59

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2008, 03:11:15 pm »

Well, that's encouraging.  Thanks for that, Hanny.


waveney

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2008, 03:16:45 pm »
The only non-amateurs here are those in Red or Green (plus one exception).  A few months ago I did a poor job of choosing between ellipticals and spirals.  Today I have been using spectra and FITS images to resolve a few queries - things I would not have had a clue about then.  Enjoy yourself.
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We all help at the cutting edge of ignorance.

Hanny

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2008, 03:39:40 pm »

Well, that's encouraging.  Thanks for that, Hanny.


You're welcome. :)

veggy

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2008, 04:42:51 pm »
Astronomy is unusual among sciences in that amateurs have an honoured place alongside professionals.  In some areas, such as comet and nova spotting, professionals have always relied on specialist and expert amateurs to hold the front line.

To be able to take part in cutting edge cosmology from the comfort of a warm back room in full collaboration with the pros  is wonderful, but it's really only a 21st century evolution of the little guy with the 6" reflector in the back yard using patience, observation and a growing body of personal knowledge to peel back the mysteries of the universe. 
« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 05:14:18 pm by veggy »

Alice

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2008, 06:56:06 pm »
As I see it, drama and sadness are part of life, though some people get a hugely unfair share. I'm doubly glad you've found this place Deej. Nothing like stars and space for a bit of peace!

I don't know very much and often struggle with the stuff I pick up. But just as veggy says, everyone can contribute, regardless of knowledge and contributions, and everyone can share the joy.

DJ_59

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2008, 08:05:56 pm »


Wow.. I think I really like it here.  Thanks, everyone.  Those were amazing things to hear.  Yes, too much drama is definitely a bad thing.  Diversions like this really go a long way, though. 
As for learning to do more detailed analysis, I just started really delving into that stuff tonight.  (Well, last night.  I don't really sleep, so it all gets lost in a blur.)  I read tutorials, watched one whiteboard tutorial, and did a lot of reading online to tidy up a few of the concepts that were kind of slopping around in my head unchecked.  Of course it really decreases the number of objects per night, but it sure makes you feel better about how you labeled them.  And it's fun, to boot.  Actually, it's completely exciting.  I seem to be having a slight problem making the excitement contagious for my children.  They think if no one is voted off the galaxy it just isn't interesting.  Sigh.  Anyway, I love that they've made this place somewhere you can actually learn the science as you go.  I never imagined that was out there.

Deej



 

weezerd

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2008, 09:06:09 pm »
I never imagined that was out there.

It wasn't! But now it is, and that's a result of efforts by the like of you and I, Alice, Hanny, the zookeepers, pluk, waveney and uncle tom cobbley and all.

So pat yourselves on the back, we've all done a great job and made it happen, as one Cmdr. Jean-Luc Picard would have said.
Oh let me just a moment stay
where time is not and angels play the paeans of the galaxies;
then speed the stardust on its flight
to change dread darkness into light, cold chaos into ecstasy!

Thomas J

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Re: Why do you love Astronomy?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2008, 10:39:14 pm »
Well, I came from space and I am just trying to work out how to get home. :)
I am very interested in the Universe- I am specialising in the Universe and all that surrounds it.....            Peter Cook.