Auroral display photographed by Denis Buczynski, Portmahomack, Ross-Shire
2012 February 19 – 03:25 UT
Astronomy has often been called ‘the queen of sciences’ and it is certainly the oldest. Perhaps fittingly, it is also my earliest scientific interest - at least the first non-fiction book that I can recall taking out of the local library at the age of six was a small book on astronomy. I have no idea of its title, although I would recognise it anywhere.
Astronomy has, perhaps, an unfair advantage over all the other sciences, because it involves such a vast range of disciplines, from the complexities of quantum mechanics and particle physics to the more ‘down-to-earth’ subjects such as geology and meteorology. In giving evening classes, I have found that description of the geology of the Earth and planets as revealed from space is perhaps the most popular aspect of my courses, probably because the subject seems more tangible than mere ‘dots of light’ far off in space. Some of my own books on astronomy are shown on my ‘Author’ page, and translations on ‘Translator’.
But those ‘dots of light’ - more specifically variable stars - are my own main interest, and one field where amateurs make a major contribution to science. The scale of amateur involvement in astronomy might surprise anyone not familiar with the subject. Anyone who is curious about the potential of amateur scientific work may care to look at the site run by The Astronomer magazine. The subject is dealt with in some detail in my contribution to the book, Information Handling in Astronomy: Historical Vistas.
Variable stars have been, and remain my main involvement in astronomy. For many years I was Assistant Director of the Variable Star Section of the British Astronomical Association, and a member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). I belong to Commission 27 (Variable Stars) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Geology [Page not yet in place]
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Copyright © Storm Dunlop, 2012
Latest revision: 2012 Oct.20, 13:25 UT