Re: Beginners....

From: Charlie Eltham (
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 12:47:50 PDT

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    I very much agree with Tom and Matt's comments on this.
    When I first saw that beginner's comments a week or so ago (?), and
    especially the reference to 'neat' (I think), I winced, knowing that her
    enthusiasm might be shot down because she had been unscientific and inexact
    in her post. She could very well be put off due to off-list negative
    responses, or overwhelmed by the seemingly impenetrable records of the
    keenest and most professional posters here. I certainly have nothing against
    the precision and exactitude, but I strongly believe that there is also room
    for the enthusiasm and delight.I posted a very general note about the
    aurora back in April, which added nothing scientifically, but gave me the
    opportunity to share an experience that I probably didn't share with
    friends. Blank looks and rolled eyes all round!
    Although I could pretty well exactly tell you what key a song is being
    played in from bar to bar, I would be equally happy if you told me that you
    liked 'this bit' in the same song, or found it 'neat'. The enjoyment and
    delight are the same, it's only the technical understanding that is
    different. The analogy is not watertight, but makes the point.
    We should all remember, and I certainly do, that we probably started our
    interest because we had seen something 'neat' and wanted to find out more. I
    first posted back in March after seeing two sats crossing in Leo very early
    one morning. I had seen sats many times before, having been an very
    enthusiastic amateur astronomer for more than thirty years since Apollo
    captured my imagination. I was especially enthused because I had found
    SeeSat and Heavens Above, and later CyberSky, SatSpy and Starry Night, and
    was simply delighted that there were other people on the planet as
    interested as me. My first post was vague in the extreme (time, magnitude
    and position nowhere to be seen), but I was thrilled to receive a
    significant number of responses off-list from people trying to help. Many
    thanks to them.
    Could I then ask that any first post, no matter how vague or uninformed, is
    treated with respect, especially if the poster refers to it as their first
    post. I was nervous the first time I posted, and it was really only after
    receiving replies that I learned how exact this interest can be, despite my
    acute awareness about the exactitude that astronomy demands. So let's not
    put off those newbies, but encourage them to find out more so that they can
    share their obvious delight and interest even more. Newbies soon become old
    hands with time and encouragement.
    Charlie Eltham
    9 Princes Road
    GL50 2TX
    Tel.: 01242 577860
    Fax.: 01242 528410
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