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What keeps you going?


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Hi,

Being new to astronomy I'm in the early phases of looking forwards to clear nights so that I can explore our universe with my own eyes.

I'm curious though as to what keeps the experienced members here going?

Is it the challenge of finding harder and hard objects? The challenge of moving onto Astro-Photography? Or do you simply get pleasure from revising the same objects?

Tim

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I suppose each of us have their own reasons, in my own case I enjoy building things and solving the technical problems with astrophotography, and the fact that no two astro-objects photograph in the same way!

I also sometimes put the camera down and sketch what I can see - there is just so much out there!!

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I've beein looking upwards since the '70s.

For me, it is that the technology is getting more and more accessible/affordable (e.g. goto, ccd cameras), so that I can take pictures of things that I could only have dreamed of a few years ago.

Also I was amazed by what can be captured from extremely light-polluted sites. The thing that really keeps me going is seeing a wonderful photo on a picture gallery, from someone with much more expensive equipment and much darker skies than my own, and then trying it myself from a very LP'd site, and getting results that are almost as good. Then I really feel chuffed.

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im not a professional, at all. far from it. But let me tell you this, no matter how far i will get or how good i will become, or how many objects i may find; the feeling of watching the night sky, knowing you are part of something greater than anyone could ever imagine, the great cosmos, is a feeling that never gets old. Just thinking about this cosmic scale of things, is so awe inspiring i wouldnt even need a telescope to enjoy its wonders. The thought behind all this is what drives me. Humans, life and our place in the universe seem so small and insignificant in the scale of things, i feel special and unique. We are all unique. It is really hard to describe in words, its just a feeling i cant seem to verbalize.

I think everyone has this feeling buried somewhere.. people just need to look beyond their iphones, status updates, and gossip. I am so sad that i am unable to describe this feeling that drives me, i wish i had some sort of telekinetic power where i could transfer all my thoughts and emotions..

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Is it the challenge of finding harder and hard objects? The challenge of moving onto Astro-Photography? Or do you simply get pleasure from revising the same objects?

Hi Tim

To be honest all of the above, i've be into astronomy for year, and I still get a buzz from it. I think it's all down to the limited time available, with the weather, work, family life etc. makes me appreciate every minute I do get to spend under the stars.

Edited by Si W
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I have only been into astronomy seriously for about 2 years or so and have only just started really. the best things for me are:

- endless objects to see

- procession of different constellations visible from month to month

- different conditions mean things look different or become more challenging

- challenging objects which test your skills and gear

- endless modding and building opportunities for my equipment

- the sheer beauty of it all

- the sheer majesty of things so huge and far away

- the camaraderie of the 'community'

- it really takes you away from it all

- and of course the shiny gear collector syndrome which I think is in us all.

for me I am currently loving putting together a load of bits and bobs and parts etc and (eventually!) creating a monster light bucket which will be a joy to use and show me even more.

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I have always been into space as far as I can remember. I remember reading the Ladybird Books on Space etc. Mum and Dad took me to Kennedy Space Centre, and I read everything about the Apollo missions and every other mission into space, including Pioneer and Voyager. I remember one day in particular, during my undergraduate years, I was sitting on my couch reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. At one point I paused in reading the book, looked around the room and the objects I interact with on a daily basis, and then thought it was amazing that somewhere out there in the Universe are these beasts of an object known as black holes. To think that common items like books, computers, cars, etc. that we’ve manufactured on this tiny speck of an Earth have nothing on what nature has produced. That to me is what makes astronomy so interesting and inspirational. I still hold those memories, and each night when I'm outside (when it's clear) I am reminded of my own mortality, and our place in the universe. It's grounding, and it transcends humanity to an extent, and has served to inspire and provide me with encouragement to learn and yearn more about astronomy. This forum has helped me a great deal and I've met some wonderful members who share the same belief and interests. That sense of community and kinship is what motivates me too. :) I get a great deal of satisfaction finding objects from the Messier and Caldwell Lists, looking for other objects or just slewing and re-visiting them too and finding new ones.

Edited by Telrad
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been going on/off for 30 years started with bino's,2" tasco,4.5"tasco :),aggghhh 6" seben ;),c8n,oo10",ed80 ect...

its been quite a journey some very average scopes upto the current crop of scopes :p

but along the way many planets,stars,comets (halley,hale bopp...) then the imaging :) there is always something new to look forward to!!!

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Head filled with so much of life, things that seem so important, so big..... All made small but no less important by the incredible gifts of observation, awareness and knowledge.

Observations extrapolated to fill my mind, photons older than the human race destined to enter my eye, photons that have journeyed the vastness of intergalactic space for millions of years.....

A photon arriving at something that didn't exist for most of its journey, a humbling and yet enriching event.

Awareness of scale blurs the boundaries between space and time and my comprehension reaches limits, limits that have value as they enrich my self-awareness and enrich subsequent observations.

Enjoying a level of awareness not shared by any other species on the planet, a privileged position for a fleeting moment in time and space.

Well, you asked.... :)

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When I'm sitting there in the garden with my bino's (still looking for that second hand bargain Dobs) I often find a scarf and copious amounts of hot coffee keeps me going :)

I'm really not very good at converting my emotions into the written word when I look up, but I feel like how Brian Cox looks when when explaining the universe.

Mel

Edited by Depraved
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My own interest in Astronomy spans some 40 years... that doesnt mean i know a great deal.. in fact I dont but what i get from it is..the sheer wonder of watching the planets,they never fails to impress me. the peace i find when just looking or searching the heavens for that illusive object and those wonderful moments when you do see something for the very first time.. Be it a nebula cluster comet or an amazing shooting star..Those very special moments make up for all those cloudy nights when we miss out!

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Well I just imaged my first 2 DSO`s tonight.

Cant explain the feeling of taking that first sub and seeing that first DSO.

I would of stayed out there all night if I didnt have work 2morrow.

Am like a kid at xmas at the moment.

Andy

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Each to their own. For me its that combining of fascinations of astronomy, photography and pc/laptop software and getting it all to work together. The only interest of mine that hasn't come into play so far is cabinet making. Sure I can think of something one day.

Whatever turns you on.

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Sometimes I WONDER! I am getting a bit tired of wood/metal work! :)

I suppose I am *lucky* to realise a lifetime dream of a scope and an observatory, albeit late in life. I do wish I'd STARTED earlier though! A tame DIY (real) expert might be a help - A "sorcerer's apprentice" maybe? :)

Maybe, one day, I can get back to observing stuff... ;)

Edited by Macavity
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I'm curious though as to what keeps the experienced members here going?

The wonder of the night sky.......dark sky site makes a huge difference to the whole experience. From home it is hard to sustain a high level of interest when the skies are so poor. From a dark site it's impossible not to be excited. I find myself just looking at the sky and not using any kit at all. Happy to stare and take it all in. Oh and have a good natter too.

I'm still on an astro high after 28 years of observing. Small blip in 2008 but i don't count that.

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I'm in a city park last August, looking at the full Moon with binoculars on a tripod.

(I knew enough to mount the binos, I did not know enough about the full Moon being the worst time to observe).

A park employee comes up to me and brags about the dark skies his home town in the country, and points to a very bright objet to the South East, and says with an air of knowing "that right there is the International Space Station!"

I had noticed this bright objet an hour earlier in about the same spot in the sky (figuring it was just a bright star), but I also knew the ISS circled the Earth in 90 minutes, so I was pretty sure this guy as full of hot air. But he did managed to pique my curiosity, so I swiveled my 10 x 50's away from the Moon and had a look.

A very bright "star" indeed, flanked by three other smaller stars in a disconcertingly straight line. Two on one side, one on the other. "No big deal", I mused "there are billions of stars, and this configuration of straight background stars is just coincidence".

On my way home, a nagging feeling kept intruding in my mind. Why did this configuration look familiar to me? And then, with a sluggishly slow realization... That DVD I'd bought a month before, the one about the 400th anniversary of the telescope...something about...Galileo?

As soon as I got home, I jumped on my computer (no internet at that time), plunked this DVD in the drive, and fast forwarded it to the part about the beginings of telescope astronomy, and there were Galileo's drawings of his first sightings of...Jupiter!. Almost exactly what I had seen.

Almost.

Jupiter has 4 moons, and I had only seen three. I surmised one could have been hidden behind the giant planet, but the angle of the moons (if that's what they were) was also radically different. I vowed to return the next evening to confirm this still vague feeling of...Hope? Excitement?

Just knowing that there was a possibility of having seen another planet, from downtown Montreal, where "everyone" said you can't see anything, had me in a such a state all day. That evening I went back to the park and saw...the fourth moon!

I shall never forget that incredible feeling.

Never.

Since then, I've upgraded from binoculars to a 5" Dob to an 8" SCT (and all manner of sundry equipment!), and I've seen other objects I never hoped to see (Uranus, Orion's Nebula, Andromeda's Galaxy...) and that old feeling comes back every time.

But Jupiter will always be like my first kiss. Un-hoped for, magical and sweeter than any dream.

That's what keeps me going.

Edited by mag10
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I guess it's a little bit of everything that keeps me going. I love revisiting seen-before Messier objects because they always seem to bring something "new" to the table. Maybe the "seeing" was better or maybe it's just something I missed. astro-photography has not captured my passion yet since there is so much to learn and discover.

I have set up a Messier log using TUMOL R30 which let's me write the details of each discovery. I also find that posting online keeps me going back for more since it's always interesting to share!

Looking at the stars is a little like sitting in front of a lake watching the birds fly by. It relaxes me to look out into the dark and when a planet or globular cluster lets itself be known,.. I am always happy!

Isabelle

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I look forward the peace and tranquilty of an evenings observing or imaging...

Getting the technicalities right when i'm imaging... (Doesn't happen that often!!)

The planning and preparation...

Sharing my experiences on the forum..

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With over 40 years of observing now well behind me, it's the sheer wonder of it all that keeps me amused. Being out in the peace and quiet, alone with the universe. There always seems to be something new to learn or try out new objects or imaging techniques. Having been involved with setting up my local astronomy society really helps as you make some great friends. Then, you get the unexpected bright comet or other spectacular event pop up every so often. How can you not keep having your interest tickled all the time?

Edited by Dave
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I must admit I cant wait for winter early dark nights when I can go outside after tea and spend a few hours star gazing. At the moment things have taken a good turn regarding my business but is leaving me less time for late observing as i,m getting home later.

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At 74 years old, the hope but just the hope, that things might get better.

Of course they wont as some money grabbers and pillocks, in or at the local council want to stick up a 53 floor building just SE by S of my pad.

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I enjoy the views, the technology, and the prospect of being an imaging wannabe lol.

Watching the moon drift accross an eye piece and realising it's not the moon moving, but it's me, standing on a huge rock that's spinning in the vastness of space, is just a such an overwhelming feeling.

And knowing so many people in history before us were unable to have that appreciation with such ease, makes me feel very priveleged and lucky. And wondering why and how it all came about, and where it's all going is the eternal intrigue.

I enjoy putting things together like meccano, it's fun and satisfying - but hanging round for weeks on end waiting for weather to clear enough to get rubbish pics is a right bummer lol :)

Edited by brantuk
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