Commentary

An Appeal to Amateur Astronomers

by Rick Boozer

How many times have we heard it tritely said:  1) We humans are curious.   2) It is the nature of our species to inquire and to explore.  3) Who better typifies this truism than we astronomers (both amateur and professional) who possess this quality in abundance?

Yet just as satisfying as our intellectual need to know, is the emotional satisfaction we experience while contemplating what we see in our quest for discovery. Of course, one overly stated (but nonetheless true) feeling is the awe we have all experienced when we consider the vastness of the universe compared to the small speck of dust that is our home planet, Earth.

But that awe is only one aspect of our reaction to the natural world.  Many people who are not very familiar with our avocation might think it strange of me to say that there is inspiring beauty, poetic inspiration and even romance to be found in the depths of the sky.  These same people however, might say that the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls possess such esthetic qualities.  Such persons have not an inkling of the magnificent spectacles that exist in the sky above their heads!  The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules or the Orion Nebula would be just as popular for their grandeur as any terrestrial wonder if it took nothing more than the unaided eye to see them.  I relish every memory I have of every person who expected to see something bland and uninspiring at my telescope, only to utter an astonished exclamation through a mouth hanging wide open!

Therefore, let us do everything in our power to share our hobby with the rest of the world.  No one with a soul and a poetic sense of wonder will ever be able to forget the majesty they have witnessed once the cosmos had been revealed to them.  Even if they donít become dedicated amateur astronomers, they will at least understand and appreciate what we do and why we do it.

 

copyright 2004 Singularity Scientific