Amateur astronomy is a hobby where participants enjoy observing or imaging celestial objects in the sky using the unaided eye , binoculars , or telescopes. Even though scientific research may not be their primary goal, some amateur astronomers make contributions in doing citizen science , such as by monitoring variable stars ,  double stars  sunspots ,  or occultations of stars by the Moon  or asteroids ,  or by discovering transient astronomical events , such as comets ,  galactic novae  or supernovae in other galaxies. Amateur astronomers do not use the field of astronomy as their primary source of income or support, and usually have no professional degree in astrophysics or advanced academic training in the subject. Most amateurs are hobbyists , while others have a high degree of experience in astronomy and may often assist and work alongside professional astronomers. Amateur astronomers typically view the sky at night, when most celestial objects and astronomical events are visible, but others observe during the daytime by viewing the Sun and solar eclipses. Some just look at the sky using nothing more than their eyes or binoculars , but more dedicated amateurs often use portable telescopes or telescopes situated in their private or club observatories.
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How to Participate in Astronomy Research
perspectives on professional vs. amateur astronomy | joanasaahirahworld.com
This open dialogue has helped to break down the notion that scientists live in an ivory tower. Now, many scientists are going one step further and recognising how the public can make important contributions to research. Here are a few examples:. An alternative type of Pro-Am collaboration involves professional astronomers doing follow-up observations based on discoveries made by amateurs.
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Sue Bowler, Is amateur astronomy, well, amateurish? Amateur is a fluid word in science. Yet modern astronomy is a professional research field, driven by targeted observing, research outcomes, and pressure to publish— can amateurs still fit in? In many astronomical fields, as in much of modern science, the answer is that they can't.