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Sorry if this into the best place to post, think it is.

Im still awaiting my first proper scope, but i have always been fascinated by the moon and stars. Wednesday night i had my binoculars pointed at the moon for some time, ipad at my side just matching up what i could see with what was labelled on a lunar map. My gf has always been bemused by my interest, an often asks if anything exciting has happened to the moon, i its still there etc. All in good humour! But i often think when looking at anything outside our atmosphere, or even within it, what caused that? Pondering the cause of the craters on the moon, being blown away at the concept of stars being so far away yet so visible. More recently, the hubble image of the andromeda galaxy puts a perspective on things that is difficult to appreciate without a the visual representation it offers.

ButIm asking about motivation because last night, fore first time i was asked why i like looking up. And i couldn't quantify it or put it into words. I just 'do'. I feel so amazed by looking at the moon through binoculars.. I just feel ... Kind of content with everything. I can't quite put my finger on it.

So what motivates some of the longer term astronomers here? Is it a test to find the messiah objects? Are determined to find evidence of life on the moon? Do you want to make a discovery or, like me is it hard to say?

Also, some of the members completely new to the hobby, what has brought you here or what motivates/d you to look up?

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Because it's more beautiful and awe inspiring than looking down.

To see something for yourself that you wouldn't normally see. Everyone knows about other galaxies but to actually see one for yourself - that's just incredible! To ponder the question "Is there life there too?"

Grey smudges aren't much fun so some of us whip out the camera and start snapping away so we can see the true glory of the Cosmos.

What else are eyeballs for?  :grin:  :grin:  :grin:

To think, THAT is infinite!

To feel honoured that as a humble creature we can actually admire such beauty. It doesn't make me feel small and insignificant, it makes me feel lucky that such treasure is open to view.

How can one be insignificant when the universe has you as a member of its audience :)

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"Is it a test to find the messiah objects?"

He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy..... (I wonder if you meant the "Messier" objects lol). :grin:

"It doesn't make me feel small and insignificant, it makes me feel lucky that such treasure is open to view."

Totally agree - I not only feel lucky to see the marvelous view (never understood the "humbling" thingy) but it also makes me feel kinda special that, being within all that universe stuff, I'm the only unique example of "me" amongst all of it). :)

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Motivation to do astronomy will be different for many of us.

For me, a basic back yard observer, it's about connecting with the universe that I'm actually a part of. The late great Carl Sagan is

famous for saying "We are starstuff", in other words we are all made of the same stuff as the rest of the universe.

From the Solar System to Deep Sky, we can be awed by the magnificence of what we are a part of.

When I finally found Stephen's Quintet (a group of interacting galaxies) at the 2010 Kelling star party, I was seeing light that started

it's journey when Earth had a single continent. During the aeons of time that it took continental drift to place Earth's continents where

they are today, that light was racing at 186000 miles per second, and was hitting my retina, allowing me to see the those faint smudges of

light. If that doesn't blow my mind, nothing will..........

No apologies for sounding a bit poetic !

Regards, Ed.

Edited by NGC 1502
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what gave me Motivation 40years ago or so was the sky at night it made me wonder.

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He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy..... (I wonder if you meant the "Messier" objects lol). :grin:

 I did indeed mean Messier! Clumsy fingers and autocorrect saw to that!

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All of the great responses above :) I do feel somewhat 'humbled', but in the sense that stargazing puts all my petty problems and concerns in their rightful place, important sure

( some of them ) but in the scheme of things, a passing flow in the river - very calming and almost meditative. Riding good singletrack on this great planet has a similar effect :)

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I'm completely new to astronomy, I've only just (last night) received my first proper scope. For me I've spent years watching every space documentary and reading everything I could get my hands on. Astronomy club I was in prior to moving was fantastic, I have an unquenchable thirst to know how and why. It's difficult like you say to put into words but pondering those vast distances and seeing things how they were thousands if not millions of years ago makes me feel uneasy... as strange as it sounds. Seeing and thinking about a seemingly endless expanse just makes me feel weird in the pit of my stomach. As a child I was somewhat scared by the idea of space as a young adult I still have those feelings mixed with endless wonder. 

I wouldn't say seeing puts me at ease or makes me feel content or at peace if anything it's the opposite and that is why I like it.
 

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Grey smudges aren't much fun so some of us whip out the camera and start snapping away so we can see the true glory of the Cosmos.

Try going to a really dark sky site, lay down on the ground, and look up. Then tell me an image is more glorious............ 

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This'll make your head spin. That galaxy 'you' were looking at last night, yep, it's not even where you looking - it's, erm (waves hands generally in some random direction) over there now!

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Try going to a really dark sky site, lay down on the ground, and look up. Then tell me an image is more glorious............ 

Be fair, I don't have a dark site anywhere near me that I can get to easily. I also think you know what I meant.  :smiley:

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I wonder why more people don't look up and take an interest in the things around and above them - maybe they wouldn't be impressed with most things (faint fuzzy = barely perceptible half imaginary smudge sometimes) but they would be impressed with an explanation of what they are looking at.

I've had a scope for about 3 years but always had an interest in science which has kind of lead on to astronomy.

It's hard to get motivated sometimes with work / family commitments, tiredness, constant cloud!... but I am always in awe of what I'm looking at.

Graham.

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Our bodys are made up of atoms and so are stars stars give off c02 wich as humans we need when we pass over our atoms then become part of the earth wich in turn is part of solar system

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Be fair, I don't have a dark site anywhere near me that I can get to easily. I also think you know what I meant.  :smiley:

Hmmm! I bet you are closer to a dark sky than me (I'm in S. London) 

You really ought to try it one day, and hey! take your scope. You might be surprised at how many grey smudges aren't quite so grey and smudgy ;)

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I suppose it is the same motivation that makes someone sit on a lakes edge for 3 or 4 nights getting cold and wet while trying to catch a carp, and even when they do not catch one they are still quite happy to have tried.

So no idea what it is however. :wub:

Bit like:

Why do you climb mountains?

Because they are there.

Take up Cloud Observing as well. :eek: :eek:

Then cloudy or clear you can be happy when you look up. :grin: :grin:

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It depends upon the sky quality and available space for observing at home. If this is reasonable, then becoming motivated long term is feasible for lunar, planetary, solar and brighter deep sky objects. I'm with Steve though, at a dark site, the moments in which I am most captivated and completely motivated are when simply gazing up, telescopes and binoculars become secondary to this. Perhaps that has been a compelling subconscious aspect for decades, when out night fishing on Scottish lochs as a kid, or bivvying out whilst backpacking or cycle touring, the ultimate way to experience the night sky, by drifting off to sleep on a hillside, then momentarily awakening only to see orion glaring down at you.   

Edited by scarp15
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We are currently on holiday at one of the darkest sites in England. Limiting visual mag of 6.44

When you look up its difficult to pick out the constellations there are so many stars and the Milky Way is stunning.

That great dome above you feeling is just awesome that's why I love this hobby.

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My motivation would be less philosophical. It all comes down to expand one's horizon (no pun intended). I like to see/image things that are not generally seen. Nice pictures of DSOs give me shivers down the spine :grin:. A while ago I had the chance to "play" with a desktop electron microscope. It was a similar thrill to what you get out of a telescope, just slightly more expensive.

People are curious and a telescope is a means to cater for this curiosity. I have to admit I am still a beginner - but hey, IT'S FUN!

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People do ask some crazy questions. Show them the "little smudge" of  M31, (binos will do), and explain that its a neighbour in "our" local galaxy cluster. Explain to them that it's 2.5 Million light years away (give or take), then ask what more they would like to motivate them to look up. You might also need to explain that a light year is "distance" not "time" without going into the whole space time question.

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Some one earlier in the thread likened observing to fishing, this to me is a good analogy as both take you away from the every day and allow quiet contemplation.

As an aside I have often commented that we should consider ourselves fortunate to have relatively inexpensive equipment with which to see view the heavens from our own backyards.

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Also, some of the members completely new to the hobby, what has brought you here or what motivates/d you to look up?

6 months ago I typed "why is the speed of light constant" into google, and at roughly the same time my wife pointed to the sky and said "That's Orion!"

Fast forward to now and I've just bought my first scope. An 8" dob...

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Equations in books with squared paper and numbers at the end = Science

My eyeball at the end of an eyepiece fitted to a telescope that I saved up for = Science

Reading threads and posts on SGL, Viewing photos posted by members.= Science

My motivation is reading members posts and questions.

Thank You SGL Members

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I'd ask, "Why do people watch Britain's Got Talent?" Just because it's more popular doesn't make it less bonkers!

Personally, I see it as a form of cosmic tourism. I'm just seeing what's out there. It's not science, for me; science is way beyond what my 10" dob can do. But while I'll never go to Jupiter, I can have a good look at it from home.

Or put another way...

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." - Oscar Wilde

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