Too exclusive

Forums General Discussion Astronomer or not? Too exclusive

David Arditti

Anybody who studies or pursues astronomy in any dedicated way can call themselves an astronomer. I have met plenty of people who have ‘astronomer’ as their official job description who have not often, or ever, been in the circumstance described by Woolley. There is there a hint there of the kind of ‘macho suffering-cult’ that you often get in people’s definitions of their professions or hobbies in order to make them more exclusive: ‘You can’t call yourself an x unless you’ve done y extreme or uncomfortable thing’. Anyone with any sense rejects this stuff. There are a thousand ways to do amateur astronomy today, some of which involve extended physical contact with telescopes at night, but many of which don’t (solar observing, for example!), and in the BAA we value and encourage all of them.