On affirmation

I was never an amateur astronomer when I was younger, unlike a number of my colleagues. I did occasionally look at the Moon through a small telescope, but growing up near the brightest lights on the East Coast I didn't even know that more than a dozen stars even existed. My first observing experience came as an REU student at the Very Large Array -- my roomie was the president of the local astronomy club, and I got hooked on observing watching Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact Jupiter. The beautiful, clear, dark skies of New Mexico didn't hurt.

Anyway... since then, I've volunteered for just about every open house observing night I could fit into my schedule. I did one this past Friday, and we were treated to a great night. Two of the grads added Messier objects to my personal list -- I *think* I've seen M81 one other time from the roof of Davey Lab, but it looked great on Friday, so I count that as my first real observation of this galaxy. Also, Stephen pointed our 12" at the open cluster M38, adding another to my tally.

Probably the best part of the night, though, was that one of my students from a past semester introductory astronomy course wandered up to the roof. I didn't think he recognized me at first, but after chatting for a while, he told me how much he loved astronomy and that my course was one of his favorites at Penn State. It sounds hokey (like a lot of what I say), but comments like that from former students definitely are appreciated.


Post a Comment

<< Home