Sunday, July 12, 2009

Types of Astronomers

Lately I've been reflecting on myself the astronomer. As a dual career as photographer/educator I feel securely confident in my abilities and understanding of the subject matter. Astronomy...well at times I feel that I'm lacking.

Recently at a few star parties I've attended I did some basic observations of fellow astronomers. I was trying to see where I fit in. To me there seem to some various types of astronomers:

Type 1- Daddy/Mommy Astronomer

These are the moms and dads who are at star parties for their kids. They might have limited knowledge of astronomy but they are there to foster their kids learning.

Type 2 - Hungry Astronomer

This is the type of person that has had a taste of astronomy and recently decided to come back for additional helpings. This person may or may not have a telescope/binoculars (if they have one it is usually a department store off the shelf model that leaves much to be desired). Generally this type of astronomer comes to star parties to learn more and get advice as they start out in the hobby. This might the most common type, however, sadly, many of these fail to stick with astronomy.

Type 3 - Angler Astronomer

This is the type of astronomer that has some decent equipment they are still starting out in the hobby. The are standing in the water but they don't have the knowledge or equipment to go deep sea fishing yet, but that is the where they are headed.

Type 4 - Inspector Gadget Astronomer

This is the type of person, usually out with a GO-TO, fancy telescope, DSLR, etc... With them it is all about the dazzle of the equipment. They like buttons, little LED lights, things that use batteries. They probably have a smart phone with a data plan and are surfing the net as much as they are stargazing.

Type 5 - Serious Astronomer
This is the person who is "into" astronomy they are rather knowledgeable and have nice appropriate equipment for the type of observing they do: star-hopping, astrophotography, planetary, deep-sky. These people are generally resourceful with the equipment they use.

Type 6- Too Smart for their own good.
This is the most knowledgable person. They know the ins and outs of the universe and astronomy. These people are often so knowledgeable that they often talk over peoples heads and make references to movies and television shows that cause you to move you fingers in awkward positions.

I'm sure there are more types of people out at star parties but thought I'd mention these as sometimes when I'm out with my telescope I feel like I move between being one type of astronomer to another. Sometimes I feel like Type 6 when I'm talking with some people and at other times I feel like type 2.

So what type are you? (Post your comment and explore your inner astronomer.)


Risk said...

What I am in my heart is type 5. But on bad days I may be type 4 or 6. I try to avoid type 6 by watching people's eyes. If they are not following, then I am probably being type 6.

Anonymous said...

Type 3 90%
Type 1 5%
Type 5 5%

For years I was type 2 but took the plunge w/12" LightBridge. Now looking for a good "fishing hole".