Amateur astronomy and minimalism

During recent couple of years, I have been reading blogs and articles related to minimalism. Minimalist philosphy and way of life has had a deep impact on me!

I’m not very skilled writer, and I cannot write as stunning posts as all excellent writers, whose texts I have been reading (like Zen Habits by Leo Babauta and Castles in the air by Nina Yau), but still, I want to try to share some thoughts about minimalism and amateur astronomy.

A minimalist person is focusing just on those few things that matter the most and he/she wants to clear all clutter out from his/her life. A minimalist person usually wants to enjoy free and simple activities, like having a walk in the nature or perhaps watching the stars!

Actually my way of doing astronomical observations has always been quite minimalistic. I have always been a visual observer, and for me it has been important to search and see the celestial objects by myself – without any help from technology, I haven’t ever owned or even tried a GOTO scope! I have always made notes and sketches of everything I have seen in the sky, I have always done everything in very simple way, just me, my scope and paper and pencil!

To do everything slowly and without too much hurrying is an essential part of minimalistic mindset. For a minimalist, every moment in life is as important as whole life, and minimalist tries to take everything out of every second! Minimalists wants to enjoy every step and breath on the planet!

When I’m doing astronomical observations in my observing site, I spend even hours just gazig the sky, without any optical aid and without any plan to make dozens of observations! I love just to gaze the sky, and see all the twinkling stars above and forget all worries and troubles in my ordinary life! I always look at the sky with awe, I’m always stunned by the beauty of the dark sky filled with myriads of stars! I love just looking at the sky without any worries or any tight observing schedule! Nevertheless I do always have somekind of a plan, but I’m not tied by it and usually I end up observing and sketching much less than I originally planned – just because I very often end up just looking at the sky and admiring the sheer beauty of the starred sky!

And those of you, who haven’t yet tried just looking at the sky, gazing the stars with naked eye and admiring the beauty of the sky, try it! It is a wonderful feeling to be under the dark, starred sky without any hurry and stress, just being still and calm! Go and try it, even tonight if sky above you is clear enough!


3 thoughts on “Amateur astronomy and minimalism

  1. Craig July 15, 2011 / 21:02

    While I cannot claim to follow minimalist philosophy, I can certainly claim to minimalist tendencies in many things. Amateur Astronomy is one of those. I, too, enjoy viewing with a simple Dobsonian telescope or Binoculars. I use two electronic aids – a green laser to help me with my starhopping and a red-dot finder on the telescope. But I eschew dew heaters, tracking motors and goto computers. It's not that I oppose them. In fact, I sometimes ask one of my fellows with a goto scope to slew to an object I've found so that I can confirm it. But I get so much satisfaction from tracking by hand. And sometimes I'll just recline and enjoy the beauty. Nice to find a kindred soul.

  2. Fred Rains December 3, 2017 / 14:13

    I like the bare-bones approach also. Always have. I can be set up and observing in less than ten minutes and this always draws good natured ire from my fellow stargazers who are still unpacking, assembling, or waiting on alignment stars. Nothing wrong with the more complicated approach but its not for me. Beauty in simplicity. And we learn the sky. Many times late in a session you’ll hear a servo wind down followed by not so kind words about a power supply. This is followed by, “Fred. how do you use these setting circles again?” My time for the ribbing then.

    Great posting.


    Birmingham, Alabama USA

    • Juha Ojanperä December 3, 2017 / 19:33

      Hello Fred! Any many thanks for commenting! I have had many similar experiences here in Finland with my observing buddies, that I can set-up my visual Dobson within couple of minutes, and the others are still tuning their equipment for a good while after I’m already observing!

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