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Apollo459

What Got You Into Astronomy?

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To continue the books of yester-year theme... Here are my first two books from the late seventies:

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Bonus points for naming the nebula on the front of 'Astronomy'!

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far away ....  :D   Star Wars certainly got me hooked on space and stars, especially the scene where Luke Skywalker is seen to be gazing wistfully at the beautiful twin sunset of his home-planet ....  That really captured my 8-year old imagination ....  And still to this day moves me and fills me with wonder about the universe that we live in. 

However, Patrick Moore got me interested in astronomy proper ....  I loved his Sky at Night program as a child and as I grew in to my teens, and older.  And I still treasure my Observers book on Astronomy that taught me so much and inspired my life-long interest in the stars above :D 

Clear skies all,

Donaldo

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Teaching 'earth and beyond' at school, i invited our local astronomy group in to give a talk and demo to the kids.  So I got to look through the scopes too, and here I am!  :grin:   This is why I try to do as much outreach work as possible - if it inspired me, then there are plenty of others that will be captured too  :smiley:

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Corny as it sounds, interest arose simply from a sense of wonder. I'd put astronomy into the same bracket as the arts and philosophy. There are few endeavors so wide in scope, so rich in detail, and so marvelous in implication.

An unexamined life....and all that :smiley:

This for me too, I think.

I get all sorts of abuse from people when I rip into the homeopathy or ley lines or dowsing or whatever other utter gibberish they're trying to persuade me is real.  I've even been accused of "having no soul".  But if they understand even the tiniest fraction of what's out there and aren't inspired and awed by it then I think they're the ones with no soul.

James

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It was my interest in space that led to a gradual progression into astronomy. 

That was kindled by a desire to be an astronaut, wondering what is it like in space?

Soaking up any info or knowledge about space, becoming a class expert and getting my first telescope at the age of ten.

I never saw much in it then apart from the moon, but did see Saturn (small white dot, just making out the rings) about ten years ago at probably 80x mag (briefly before it disappeared).  Spotting pleidaes in the back garden and wondering if it might be Andromeda.

Now its the desire to see more and more but revisit old friends!

I wish we had the skies from years ago, the closest we can get now is up in the highlands or on the west coast.  Skye (ironically) has excellent dark skies, even in the town of Portree.

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When I was a kid, I was amazed by the solar system and thought that maybe one day I would like to become an astronomer. I grew up and totally forgot about it. Two years ago, on black Friday, I decided to buy a telescope but once I got it, I got so frustrated because I could barely find a full moon in front of me that I didn't try again. Last year, in September,I went to visit my brother in L.A California. I knew there was a public observatory and  I made sure that we would visit it. The first time we went it was at night. We went directly where the line for the telescope was and we waited almost 2 hours to see two bright dots in Cygnus :( and  then the observatory was closing. I knew I had to come back  but this time we took our time. It is a beautiful observatory and also very educational and interesting. What really sold me was a film we saw at the Planetarium. The planetarium is spectacular and the image on the dome is breathtaking, it looked almost real. This is the film we saw:

Centered in the Universe asks fundamental questions about our place in the Universe. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why is the world the way it is? Stunning full-dome video transports us back in time, from the Library of Alexandria, to Galileo’s courtyard, to the world’s most powerful telescopes in a quest for answers among the stars. Travel through time and space back to the big bang and through a universe filled with galaxies to find our cosmic origins and discover our true place in the cosmos.

When I came back I uncovered my telescope, started reading and found the forum :)

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Sounds like the Observatory in Griffith Park. My Dad would take us up there sometimes, and I remember climbing up a couple of stairs to look through the 10" Zeiss; This was back in the early 1960s. What intrigued me most, was a little toy aeroplane who's propeller came to life when you pressed the button turning the light bulb on, and activated the little solar cell. 

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Sounds like the Observatory in Griffith Park. My Dad would take us up there sometimes, and I remember climbing up a couple of stairs to look through the 10" Zeiss; This was back in the early 1960s. What intrigued me most, was a little toy aeroplane who's propeller came to life when you pressed the button turning the light bulb on, and activated the little solar cell. 

The telescope is still there :).  Have you been there after it was renovated in 2006? If I lived in LA I would probably go there every week :)

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I suppose I have always had a bit of interest in "what's up there" but the main bug bit when I was doing a bit of research (mainly in here) for buying a scope for the current Mrs Jesterowl (22 years and counting.)

Now I think i  maybe slightly more keen to go out with it than she is ............. but only slightly :p

Problem is now we need another scope so we have 1 each 

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I felt a terrible urge to spend my time and money in order to stand around in freezing cold conditions, camp out in heavy frost, sit on my glasses and invent several new names for weather forecasters.

Love it !

Nick.

couldn't have put it better myself

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The telescope is still there :).  Have you been there after it was renovated in 2006? If I lived in LA I would probably go there every week :)

Nice photo thanks for posting.   :smiley:  

No, the last time I was there was about 20 years ago, about 30 some years since looking through the scope. I grew up near by, and could see both the Griffith and Mt. Wilson Observatories from my home. It would be nice to visit again, maybe on our next trip back to California.

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Great topic. I've been hooked to Astronomy since I was a young boy, I used to watch kids' documentaries about the solar system, and how big the universe is and other planets and how relatively small we are! Such programs got me interested the most in this hobby.

I also used to enjoy laying on the ground in a quiet night and wonder and let my eyes sink in the heavens. 

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My interest in stars started when my parents took me out camping when I was young. How often I gazed at the blanket of stars and wondered, "What secrets are held there".  Then came my obsession with Star Trek.  Yes, I admit it.  It had to do with Star Trek.  My husband actually met Patrick Stewart once at a convention (Oh man..  I have said to much) and actually told him, "My wife now spends oodles of money because of you!"

Isabelle

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My dad made me stay up at the age of 4 to watch the moon landings. My memory of it has all but faded  apart from the actual landing itself , but I think that's where it started for me.
As has been mentioned I grew up in the '70's when Sci fi was huge and I became a big Star Trek fan , watched Close Encounters , Star Wars...

Looking back it was inevitable really.... 

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When I was around 13 I came across a field guide/atlas. I think it was a collins book and it had a photograph of the Horsehead nebula on the front and the pleiades which mesmerised me. I took it home and just kept on reading it and looking at the charts etc my father made me a tripod to mount his bins on and I used that from the back garden. We could never afford a telescope etc though so my practical observing interest was put on hold for about 15 years! My father then bought me a 4inch newt for Christmas one year. He now has that scope and I have an 8inch scope and we both enjoy star gazing although we don't often get to observe together that often. I still have an obsession with the horse head and pleiades. Like many people I hope to visually see the horse head one day.

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Young eyes and dark, clear skies. When I was a kid I could look up at (for e.g.,) Coma Berenices and it was a beautiful splash of stars. Even a small scope (your basic 60mm achro refractor) was good to look through. My fist glimpse of Saturn through this scope was enough to get me hooked - it was clearly a tiny planet with rings and I could see it with my very own telescope.

ChrisH

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Dark skies, lots of stars and the mystery of it all, which still remains 30 years later.

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

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Always been interested to a certain extent (I remember going a bit mad for cheese when I was very young to get strong bones so I could be an astronaut :grin: ).  But probably what got me started (led to buying stuff) was being at a wedding reception, looking up, wondering what was what and installing google-sky on my phone.

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I've kind of always had an interest from being a kid. I was given some 7 x 30 bins for birdwatching  and can remember looking at the orion nebula. Also when I was around 14 ish there was a solar eclipse and I had read somewhere about in the old (and dangerous days) people used to view eclipses through smoked glass so I tried it using part of a candle holder. I can't remember what it was like but feel lucky now that I didn't do myself any damage. (I just want to stress don't do it!) I do remember using a piece of card with a pinhole and seeing a circle of light with a bit missing.

I never took the interest any further than occasionally watching The Sky at Night but I think the thing that put the idea into my mind to get a scope about  was watching a repeat of Rough Science on one of the Discovery channels about 2 yrs ago. It was a programme first shown about 10 years ago and they used to put a group of scientists and Kate Humble on a tropical island or somewhere remote and give them scientific tasks each episode such as build a radio or weather station, or in one episode a telescope (dob) - out of a few bits of basic equipment - like the A-Team in a way!

So, one guy had to build a dob out of some mirrors and an eyepiece (must have had a focuser and other bits and bobs but I can't remember) and he had to measure a crater on the moon using a hair - I guess stretched across the eyepiece - I think it was Archimedes he measured. He did this my measuring the drift time for the moon to pass through the FOV lined up with the hair and for the crater lined up with the hair. Knowing the diameter of the moon he then could work out the diameter of the crater. At the end his result was checked and he was very close to the correct crater diameter!

At the time of watching this I knew nothing about astronomy or telescopes and was gobsmacked that in effect just using mirrors and a hair he could manage to do this and I've been hooked since and enjoyed learning more about astronomy. Maybe that's what put it into my head to get a dob!

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A general sense of awe inspired by dark nights living in Shropshire.. Then read Bill Bryon's 'Short history of nearly everything' and had my head exploded (still my desert island book), followed by Kitty Ferguson's 'Measuring the Universe'.  After that I just had to learn more and try to understand what I was looking at.  

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Always been interested in space, science and cosmology, since I can remember.

I think recently a few things helped...

Exceptionally clear summer night skies in 2013 I was out with bins looking at the Milky way and really enjoying it (in a way a novice really can).

Realising it's possible to see galaxies from home and then finding and seeing M31 for the first time got me interested in getting some equipment.

Pointing the camera with normal lens at the sky and being surprised to pick up a smudge of red from M42 that I couldn't see visually made me think, wow imaging could be really fun

Finding my first small DSO (M27) by star hopping really gave me a buzz, at this point I was hooked for sure

Also spending a night in a cabin in Yellowstone national park in 2013, being awoken by an earthquake to then notice the amazing sky, so many stars I almost didn't recognise anything. I had to go out and look around, at about 5am.

Seeing some results of amateur imaging, recent TV and space programs, news of supernova last year, the comets (ISON etc) and all the buzz around science and the ISS sort of set a backdrop where it was sort of inevitable to get into it :)

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