Sunday, July 12, 2009

How I got into Astronomy...

Like a few kids I was given a gift of a small refractor when I was a around 7 years old or so, I really don't remember.  I do remember not really knowing what to do with it other than look at the moon.  I really miss or am sad that I didn't know enough or wasn't fast enough to get out and look for Halley's comet!  :(

I lost interest until high school, when I resurrected that old 50mm red Tasco but got frustrated by lack of tracking on planets at high res...  my folks helped me find a nice 60mm on an equatorial head (Japanese model that simply said astronomy on it or something!)  I still have that one and have let the kids abuse it a bit time and again when they can stay up late...

In suburban Buffalo high school (North Tonawanda SHS),  I decided to 'get a degree in astronomy' and go to state school for college on Long Island at SUNY Stony Brook.  I found out the hard way studying astronomy is all physics and physics is all math.  Then while I was an undergrad research assistant, I realized that I had to get a PhD just to follow the scientific process of acquiring mass amounts of boring data only to have it painstakingly reduced just in effort to hold up and go look at this chart ... we still need more data.... BORING!

at that time in the mid to late 90's the Internet thing was taking off, so i hit the IT circuit in the NYC area for the years following graduation.

Living in the NYC area had me longing for a larger scope, but I knew it wasn't worth the effort with all the Light Pollution. 

Then in '03, desiring to start a family and a quieter life like I had growing up in Buffalo, wife and I moved to RTP with Cisco (I've been employed at Cisco since '00)

THEN, I got serious about a scope again, I had my eye's on the compact 8" SCT design for years and the C8i fit my need for lightweight portability.  I got it in time for the '05 Mars opposition and have learned a HUGE amount since then.

I do enjoy this as a hobby a bit more than as a career!  :)  Although, some days I do wish I got paid for it!


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