What a Stupid Hobby.

So, the social media frenzy starts again!
We have had an ideal Christmas and New Year break for doing astronomy. Lots of spare time, and no Moon to blot things out. But it wasn’t to be. Of course, the always unpredictable (or should that be predictable?) UK weather has decided that we couldn’t see anything at all up in the sky over the holiday period.

Now everyone is now starting to go back to work. They have much less time to do the hobby and the bright Moon is back blotting out the fainter objects. People’s astronomy kit, a lot of it brand new after their Christmas presents were opened, itching to have first light on at least something.

As a result lots of people are wondering why they have all this lovely equipment standing around gathering dust.
Like many hobbies the equipment can cost a lot of money, depending on how deeply you get involved, and it is a real waste if it stands in the corner of the room and doesn’t get used.

There is a long-standing joke in astronomy that any newly delivered piece of astronomy equipment becomes a cloud magnet, attracting clouds for weeks after it arrives.

“What a stupid Hobby. I’m giving it up” is the main cry heard. “I’m selling all my gear”.
But what are they really saying?

Any hobby has its frustrations.
Take ballooning for example. Fantastic if you do that sort of thing, but, as anyone knows who has booked a balloon flight, it does require fair weather for a smooth flight. That leads to many days of frustration I’m sure. But when they do get good weather and launch they enjoy the flight and the hobby.

Astronomy is the same.
Yes, it can be extremely frustrating, especially if the weather prevents you seeing something that only happens very rarely.

Like me, if you have a real passion for the subject you persevere with it. You take the ups and the downs. Anyone who has learnt a musical instrument will know just how difficult and frustrating that can be. But those who have a real passion for it will battle their way through the pain barrier and master their chosen weapon.

Astronomy is very much the same. Yes, it can feel like the elements are conspiring against you. Yes, it does feel that your equipment is feeling very much unloved, sitting gathering dust week after week.

But, when the weather is fine, the skies clear and the stars are out in all their glory, there is nothing to beat it.
It takes you away from all of life’s stresses as you peer across the universe and enjoy everything it and your dusted-off equipment can offer.

So please do persevere with it because astronomy really will be much the worse for your departure.
If you do give it up, maybe the interest was definitely there, but certainly not that passion that really does help carry you through the pain.

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