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INTRODUCTION: To My Study of Astronomy

  1. Sep 29, 2014 #1
    Part 1:

    This post is a personal reflection, a personal account, of my experience of astronomy and its study as well as the influences that made for my present interest in this field at the age of 70 in this last decade(70-80) of late adulthood as some human development psychologists call the years from 60 to 80 in the lifespan.

    The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-long celebration of astronomy that took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting resources on astronomy for only four years. I had only come to any degree of systematic study of astronomy in the years after my retirement from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work at several stages in the years 1999 to 2005.

    Part 2:

    Astronomy has never been part of the formal curriculum at any level of my educational experience. I have known several people personally with an interest in astronomy. My mother’s brother, Harold Cornfield and my maternal grandfather, Alfred Cornfield, had more than a little interest in the subject, an interest I remember him having as far back as the 1950s when I was in primary school and visited by grandfather in the small room where he lived with his eldest daughter Florence, my mother’s sister. I was exposed to the personality of my grandfather in the years 1944 to 1958 and to 1964 in the case of my uncle. I had contact with my mother’s brother until the age of 23 with only a rare letter after that when I had moved in Australia. He studied astronomy—although I don’t remember ever talking to him about his interests.

    I have had a fascination with the subject since the start of the space age in the late 1950s and early 1960s and my becoming affiliated with the Bahá'í Faith back in the 1950s during my adolescence. It is difficult not to be interested in the subject being in the first generation to see the movement of man into space in the last five decades. But I have never followed-up that interest in any serious way other than: (a) to attend two or three of those planetariums that dot the landscape of the cities of the world, (b) to browse through a few books and (c) to listen and watch the occasional special on astronomy in the electronic media.

    Part 3:

    The file I now have on astronomy marks a beginning point to my own formal study, but it is a study that is largely episodic rather than systematic due to my always wide academic interests. Time will tell how serious this episodic study will become given the variety of my other academic interests. In the first nine years that my file has been in existence, March 2005 to September 2014, I collected more than two dozen articles and two lists of journals. A start had been made.

    In 2009 astronomy was celebrating four centuries of its modern existence, beginning with Galileo in 1609. In December 2010 a National Geographic video-documentary was televised. It was entitled: Journey to the Edge of the Universe. In these first 15 years of my retirement there has been an increasing range of stimuli that have turned me toward astronomy. It will be interesting to see the development of this interest in these years of my late adulthood.

    Ron Price

    1/1/'11 to 29/9/'14.
  2. jcsd
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