View Full Version : How did you come to like astronomy?

2005-Jan-23, 07:02 AM
I sort of remember an old topic like this, but I am not sure.

Anyway, How did you get interested in astronomy? Please. I'm the first experiences with astronomy of all would be interesting.

2005-Jan-23, 09:46 AM
I looked up at the sky and saw my first constellation - of course, at that point it was just a shape in the sky, but what a discovery - I'd never thought before that it was possible for stars to form shapes. I wasvery young then - I got through the first few years at high school and then we did a unit on astronomy in physics, and that was it! I bought a book and I was hooked.....

2005-Jan-23, 03:51 PM
That's similar to my experience Rigel. I had a bunch of astronomy books rusting in the corner of my bookshelf until I had to clean it out, then I found a book about space and astronomy and I got sorta curious. This was around middle school; then, at the end of tenth grade I became hooked on physics. And that's where I am now.

Ola D.
2005-Jan-23, 04:25 PM
I had my interest in Astronomy since a very young age, I don't remember when specifically. I was an annoying child and always used to ask endless questions to my dad, he always had answers but some were unconvincing.

I guess I got really interested in the 1st or 2nd grade where I learned about the solar system.

2005-Jan-23, 05:55 PM
I'm told that my first word after "mom" and "dad" was moon. I'd point to it and say it.

My dad used to tell me cool things about space. I was about three when they launched Sputnick, and he explained to me what an orbit was, using the old throwing a rock fast enough from the top of a mountain diagram. I remember sitting at the top of the cellar stairs with him as he explained it.

When I was about six, I remember that he got a little telescope, and one of the older kids from the church was over one evening and wew took it out. My dad pointed to Venus, and said, "that's Venus". The boy [a teenager] said, "How do you know it's Venus", and my dad told him that if he looked through the telescope he could see the word "Venus" written on it. I suspected he was joking. When I got my turn to look I saw the crescent Venus. That was very cool. The we looked at the moons of Jupiter. I was hooked pretty well by then.

2005-Jan-23, 07:36 PM
In my case it was absolutelly different. When I was about 10, we first learnt about space at school. And then I saw the Hale-Bopp comet and I definitely became keen on astronomy. I began reading books, going to our local observatory and moreover. And now Im 8 years older, but space fascinates me like before these years. I think that when someone begin with astronomy, its love for whole life.

2005-Jan-23, 07:48 PM
I remember Hale-Bopp - wasn't too sure what it was at the time as I was only 8 or 9! But I can remember it to this day, streaking across the sky - must have been the best astronomical object I could have ever seen!

2005-Jan-23, 10:35 PM
To tell you the truth, I can't really remember. About the farthest I can remember, I was looking up at the stars when I very little, my mom said I have been fascinated with the sky every since I could actually look up at it.

2005-Jan-26, 06:52 AM
The very first memory I have, is of sitting in my grandmothers living room and watching the lunar landing, I must have been about 3. That started a life long interest in astronomy.

2005-Jan-26, 04:35 PM
Looks like most of us started out young! How about you, rahuldandekar?

2005-Jan-27, 04:53 AM
I remember a specific moment when I became interested in astronomy--not that I hadn't been into it before, but not as much as afterwards. A friend--really, more of an acquaintance--let me go stargazing with him in September 1988, when I was nine. It was a beautiful night, and I remember being amazed by seeing the Moon and Jupiter through his telescope. Believe it or not, I wanted to be a doctor before that night, but afterwards there was no going back. :)

2005-Jan-27, 01:16 PM
Trust me to lower the tone, but here goes.....

I was camping in the Llangennith in the Gower, South Wales, UK in about 1996. Myself and my friend had taken two girls with us, and we basically got a bit drunk one evening. We all decided to explore the sand dunes which go between the campsite and Rhosilli beach (ever been there Rigel?). We packed a rucksack with a few beers and headed off.

After about five minutes of walking my three friends started to climb a particularly steep dune, and I followed them up. I got about halfway, being a bit worse for wear ;) lost my footing, and ended up sliding down the dune on my back. I remember vividly staring up at the most beautiful sky!

It was late summer, and being a city boy, I'd rarely, if ever looked at so many stars. Despite the fact that I was drunk, and my friends were in hysterics (who can blame them!!) I was dumfounded. I got up climbed the dune, then spent about two hours with my friends and a few more beers looking out in to space awestruck as it was the first time that any of us had imagined the vastness of what we were seeing!

People quite rightly warn us about the perils of drinking to excess, but this was one of the few occasions when it had a positive effect on somebody! :lol:

2005-Jan-27, 03:01 PM
I don't remember ive always been interested since the start of it all

2005-Jan-27, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by Jakenorrish@Jan 27 2005, 01:16 PM
We all decided to explore the sand dunes which go between the campsite and Rhosilli beach (ever been there Rigel?).
Yes - a few times to have a little paddle. However, I was "bitten" on the foot by a crab and pulmmeted into the sea! Not a very nice memory!

2005-Jan-27, 05:19 PM
Before i got into space, i wanted to be a Palaeontologist, this was when i was about 5/6 years old and really liked dinosaurs, but then i got intrested in space.

I don't recall how, i think i read a book on space or a book was read to me and then i clicked. i liked space. Then a few years later, i was about 9/10 years my mom and dad took a cafe' inside the South Arican Museum @ Cape Town.

The museum had/has a planeterium that i got into for free, becauses my parents worked at the museum and i think since then, i've been hooked.

Sady as of yet i have'nt been able to get a telescope. :( - i use binoculars - you can still get a pretty good look at jupiter or whatever.

2005-Jan-27, 08:57 PM
I was 6 years old. My parents had taken me to a State Fair-- a local custom whose objective is to glorify herd animals using incomprehensible criteria. Having become bored beyond endurance, I encountered a capitalist pig who had set up a telescope, and was charging 25 cents for views of planets. Best two bucks I ever spent. I stayed there until shutdown picking this guy's brain about astronomy. After I helped him pack his gear, he gave me back the $2.00--what a bargain! :rolleyes: S

2005-Jan-28, 08:52 PM
Lol... I may try that one myself! Can you imagine? In Wales?

Here's the sales pitch:

'1.00 to have a look at the clouds through my telescope!'

2005-Jan-28, 09:41 PM
Yeah&#33; Cloudy skies are a facinating site (hem hem <_< )

2005-Jan-29, 09:17 AM
lol. :lol:

2005-Feb-01, 05:52 AM
Several things influenced me toward astronomy..

I suffered from vertigo a lot during early childhood...It was difficult to look up at the stars..So I would pretend to see them around me..The Sun would come through our living room window and dust would rise and fall if I stirred the curtaiins up a bit..Some particles would sparkle like stars and I thought that maybe they were.

I would also hear old relatives speak of the past...20 to 30 years ago and how it seemed like yesterday to them...but waiting for a week to go by in school seemed like eternity for me..So time interested me...It must move at different speeds I concluded and my "dust " experiment might have tiny universes whose time passes in the billions of years for them while just 30 seconds go by for me to see them fall to the floor in our living room.

I thought that time moved according to orbital revolution..I thought that if I lived on any planet other than Earth I would age one year after one revolution of that planet around the Sun...So I thought I would move slower and think slower the farther out the planet I lived on from the Sun..not noticing the difference except that the Earth would be moving faster to me if I lived on Jupiter...and slower if I lived on Venus..Looking at clocks would reinforce this..We had no digital time pieces then...Just hands...all that seemed to age at different rates...It was always the second hand on my cheap watch that would break first..It moved the most..

Also, I lied a lot when I was a kid...but I was a pro at it..I would never use an exagerrating lie or a "blame the other guy" lie..Those lies were for amateurs..
I knew that the most believable lies came from manipulating two quantities...Time and Space..the best chance of getting me out of trouble..I can&#39;t be in two places at once.
And if a crime I committed could be protected by a window of time and location with witnesses ( who all owed me a favor or two), I would get off the hook...maybe...

Further, stepping out into the Sun each morning would bring me close to blacking out each day...but I told no one...I hated going to our family doctor..He looked like Igor. complete with a hunch back..

My father was an influence as well..a navigator who&#39;s crew woke him from sleep almost too late with a huge cloud cover beneath and morning fast approaching.
He took a fix off the Crux, one off of Venus, and one off the Sun with his sextant and told the pilot that a checkpoint island should be under the cloud cover within sight...It was right under the plane..


2005-Feb-09, 08:32 AM
I think I was about 6....maybe 7, and I looked up and saw a comet go by, didn&#39;t know what it was at the time and it perplexed me, so I just asked my father and he asked me if I would like to go to a space convention and showed me what a comet was and I&#39;ve always wondered what else was out there, since then...

2005-Feb-09, 09:55 AM
was 1947 about the time of roswell
and i saw a bright light zig zaging across the sky.
locals reported it as a ufo but i thought the zig zagging was un natural and it was then i realised is was in fact doing a very fast (barell roll) and thus it would have to be a naturall occurence such as ball lightning.
freeky then but only the start of a hysteria about ufos and this hid and suppressed scientific evaluation of the sightings

2005-Feb-14, 09:04 PM
:( For me it was a bad case of gastro-enteritis at the age of eight&#33;&#33; I was sent to bed to get better, I remember thinking that it was great staying up late to watch television.
I was in bed watching an episode of the Sky at Night with Sir patrick Moore and I found myself at the bedroom window wanting to see what I&#39;d seen on the T.V. That was it, I was hooked. I&#39;ve been interested ever since, and I&#39;m 44 now&#33;&#33;&#33;

2005-Feb-14, 11:57 PM
The thing that hooked me on astronomy to the point where I said "this is what I want to do for the rest of my life" happened in 8th grade (five years ago now). I had this evil long bus ride that took more then an hour to take me home so I&#39;d spend the time reading. One day I desperately needed a book and had only a few seconds to grab one in the library so I picked up one on astronomy. I haven&#39;t looked back since. :)
Of course there were a few things earlier on that now that I look back at them were sort of prophetic things on their own. To start off with my first word was "night night" and I remember looking through a Christmas trash telescope one early year at Jupiter&#39;s moons. The most distinct thing that I remember, however, was Comet Hyutake when I was about ten years old: my dad took my family out into the countryside to see it. Later on I asked him why people so long ago were so afraid of comets and he told me "imagine you don&#39;t have electricity so at night you spend all your time looking at the stars at night to the point where they&#39;re all your friends. If a new star suddenly appeared amongst them wouldn&#39;t you be scared too?" I tried to understand this but really couldn&#39;t because it seemed like there were way too many stars out there for anyone to learn them over ten lifetimes, even. I think my ten year old self would be glad to know in a few years she&#39;d look up at the sky and, without question, consider all the stars to be her friends by sight.

2005-Feb-15, 12:44 AM
My science teacher got me into astronomy. I&#39;m so glad that he did.

2005-Feb-15, 01:26 AM
Looks like a lot of novices give their first-time credit to their teachers. That seems to be the most common way to begin.

At least most of you have darker skies than us Los Angelinos. :(

2005-Feb-15, 04:27 AM
And us Mumbaians. And no monsoon, with the sky covered with clouds for four months.

I&#39;ve never observed a star with a telescope. I feel like crying...

2005-Feb-15, 05:15 AM
Dad. When we went camping up in Northern Ontario, he&#39;d take me down to a beach to see the darkest sky I rememebr, the Milky way BRIGHT to the naked eye. He&#39;d have this huge 1000000 candle-power beam and use it as a pointer to point out the contellations. Thats how I got hooked.

2005-Feb-15, 06:30 AM
I always had a love of astronomy courtesy of my Mum, who really encouraged me to get out in the backyard on a banana lounge with a pair of binoculars. I grew up in a small country town, so we didn&#39;t have a big problem with lights, etc. I suppose though, the first time I really got into astronomy was when Halley&#39;s Comet came by (I&#39;m in Australia, by the way). I had posters on the wall that came out in the newspaper (I must have cost Mum & Dad a small fortune with all the stuff they bought), they bought some posters of general astronomy stuff, bought those stickers that light up if you shine light on them (which I stuck on one of the posters - was like having your own personal "night sky" window).

Even when we moved to the city, we lived in the outer suburbs and there was a really good picnic area about 15 minutes drive from our house. We&#39;d go there when the Society had their open nights (well, couldn&#39;t be an open day could it&#33;) and I&#39;ve even been there with friends and we&#39;ve taken our telescopes there. From there we can see the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds and a view almost down to the horizon at all points. If you lie with your back against the car and rest your head on the roof (depending on the type of car of course - can&#39;t do this with a 4WD&#33;), and stay still, you can actually see the Earth spinning.

I am so amazed by all that I see, that it has kept me interested through all these years.

This year, I&#39;ve enrolled in an online Astronomy degree through a university here. It&#39;s available to anyone, so if you want any details, just send me a message. :D :rolleyes:

2005-Feb-16, 09:58 PM
As far as I remember, everything started with a big book on science that my Godmother offered to me for Christmas, I think I was 11 years old.
I discovered the planets and the stars and I started to get books about astronomy in my public Library, and also I joined an Astronomy club a year later...
...and as already said, since then, it never stopped &#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;

Eieam Wun
2005-Feb-17, 09:37 AM
I was smoking(mari juana) at the time and had a daydream that a group of humans left earth and terraform uranus shielded it and was able to relase it from the grip of gravity and left the solarsystem. As they passed solarsystems they did the same to other planets till a colomerate of planets like a gas giant kept floating till there was no more stars to be seen. They floated into a dark abyss and saw a gentle glow up ahead in all direction vertical and lateral ahead. When they reached it they saw space had and edge, there was a wall there unexpectedly (I didn&#39;t even expect it&#33;). They burrowed through and when they came out saw they were in a brilliant place. Behind them was the sphere they had just left, emense in size, and in their beyond comprehensively fast vehicle moved away from it to see the whole of the sphere only to realize their were an infinite amount of shperes in all directions all floating in this brilliance. In the distance it appear to them to be statues, but they were so enormous that while traveling even their beyond comprehensively fast vehicle only other spheres did they pass each with their own universe within them, yet the statues like stars on a clear nights drive, didn&#39;t even budge from there position. With instruments they tested the outside environment, there was no reading. They traveled until they were about to run out of air, then with nothing left to loose they open the hatch, a brilliance as never before overcame them. When they came to they were standing on an open platform roofed over. Behind them like specks of dust yet clear as day where the countless billions of spheres floating in the middle of the air, in front of them the statues were life size&#33; Yet they weren&#39;t statues at all...

Well this story goes on and on but you get the drift, and I have been striving to understand astronomy, or cosmology or what have you ever since.


adlib:no the statues are not god or gods, just thought I add that little bit of info.

2005-Feb-18, 02:53 AM
the immensity and beauty of galaxies attracted me and then I needed astrophotography to see them well, CCDs, a good mount, good optics, long focul length, star hopping and alignment skills. I also love cosmology and astronomy feeds this love.

2005-Mar-03, 07:38 PM
I first got interested when comet Hale-Bopp came around the last time. I think it was because it was an astronomical phenomenon that I could actually see with my own eyes, rather than in a picture. That and I had just moved from NYC, in which you&#39;d be lucky to see anything besides the Moon, so I had never really seen stars before.

Soon after that I bought a small telescope and went from there. Within a few years I was regularly reading things like Astronomy magazine and The Elegant Universe.

2005-Mar-03, 09:51 PM
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was young. It didn&#39;t take long to realize I didn&#39;t have the right stuff though. I picked the subject that seemed to be the nearest and started studying.

I was seven in 1969 for the Moon landing. At that time, my astronomy interest was mostly questions. I got my first small refractor when I was 9 or 10 and my first small reflector at age 12. By then I realized most astronomers had physics degrees, so I started to make that mental shift.

2005-Mar-04, 06:31 PM
Back in the 1960&#39;s when I was little, I became enthralled with science fiction, both books and TV shows. Since most of them took place in Outer Space, I naturally drifted into an interest in Astronomy.

Later I learned how to make maps:

2005-Apr-22, 10:35 AM
Another member emailed me saying that I had not stated how I myself got interested in astronomy. With apologies to everyone, here it is:

The first book I ever understood was on Astronomy. I have never looked into an astronomical telescope and observed the sky, and my principal interest is theory. I managed to read a few books on astronomy in my school but that didn&#39;t satisfy my thirst. After I finished school (that&#39;s 10th standard here, in India) I read a lot of Books on Astronomy, and then, a lot on Physics. Now I want to become an Astronomer. :)