(meteorobs) Why don't more amateurs get it? (Meteors, that is.)

stange34 at sbcglobal.net stange34 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Sep 21 04:19:27 EDT 2007

Lew, I think most do "get it".

The underlying root is the psychological gratifications they expect to get 
from it. Without a clear perception of personal gain in some way, little 
effort will be put into it.

It is not a paid profession for most of us. Curiosity must be accompanied 
with the above for personal interest to grow in any electable effort.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Lew.Gramer at noaa.gov>
To: <meteorobs at meteorobs.org>
Sent: 2007/09/19 18:08
Subject: (meteorobs) Why don't more amateurs get it? (Meteors, that is.)

>I just finished watching Timothy Ferris' hour-long PBS (US publicly
> supported television) special, "Seeing in the Dark", based on his
> well known and beautifully written book of the same name.
> I really enjoyed his view of amateur astronomy and it's many joys.
> I also enjoyed seeing Barbara Wilson, Steve O'Meara and others
> who I've met over the years, sharing their passion for the hobby.
> Ferris spent considerable time talking about amateurs' increasing
> contributions to the SCIENCE of astronomy... He spent much of his
> one hour in fact presenting many tools - from computer-controlled
> scopes, to CCDs - that amateurs use to contribute to science. And
> he even filmed O'Meara describing his elation when he discovered
> the spokes of Saturn's rings many years ago, *visually*.
> All of this... and Mr. Ferris did not once mention meteors... Not the
> profound, serene simplicity of basking in a beautiful night sky with
> the unaided eye. Nor any mention of the central, almost dominant
> role we amateurs have played in the science of meteors either!
> Somehow, in this on-air paean to all things amateur astronomy,
> Mr. Ferris just did not GET IT. And thousands (maybe millions?)
> of other potential future amateurs who view this program won't
> probably ever "get it" either, as a result.
> During this relatively quiet period of mid-September, I wanted to
> put a question to our forum: why is it, that something so simple,
> so easy, so beautiful, so significant, and so FUN, simply fails to
> capture the imagination of most newcomers to astronomy? Why
> aren't ALL our fellow amateurs out there with lawn chairs, before
> they even pick up their first pair of binoculars? What is missing?
> I look forward to hearing others' views...
> Clear skies all,
> Lew Gramer
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