This book is for the aging amateur astronomy population, including newcomers to astronomy in their retirement and hobbyists who loved peering through a telescope as a child. Whether a novice or an experienced observer, the practice of astronomy differs over the years. This guide will extend the enjoyment of astronomy well into the Golden Years by addressing topics such as eye and overall health issues, recommendations on telescope equipment, and astronomy-related social activities especially suited for seniors.
Many Baby-Boomers reaching retirement age are seeking new activities, and amateur astronomy is a perfect fit as a leisure time activity. Established backyard astronomers who began their love of astronomy in their youth, meanwhile, may face many physical and mental challenges in continuing their lifelong hobby as they age beyond their 55th birthdays. That perfect telescope purchased when they were thirty years old now suddenly at sixty years old feels like an immovable object in the living room. The 20/20 eyesight has given way to reading glasses or bifocals. Treasured eyepieces feel all wrong.
Growing old is a natural process of life, but astronomy is timeless. With a little knowledge and some lifestyle adjustments, older astronomers can still enjoy backyard observing well into their seventies, eighties and even into their nineties.
Author - James Chen: Retired Department of the Navy and Federal Aviation Administration Radar and Surveillance Systems Engineer. Guest lecturer at local Washington DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland astronomy clubs on amateur astronomy topics of eyepiece design and optical filters. Author of a short Astronomy Magazine article on Dobsonian telescope design November 1989. Served as a sales consultant to two Washington DC area telescope stores for over 30 years. Graphics Designer - Adam Chen: Former Program Manager of media support for NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. Creator and executive producer of major NASA publications, including the book and web-book application documenting the history of the Space Shuttle Program "Celebrating 30 Years of the Space Shuttle Program". Currently works in marketing for Brown Advisory, an investment firm in Baltimore, MD.
Preface.- Chapter 1: Amateur Astronomy and its Aging Practitioners.- Chapter 2: Why Astronomy?.- Chapter 3: Keeping Healthy, Active and Backyard Astronomy.- Chapter 4: Older Eyes, Cataracts, Lasik and Laser Eye Surgery.- Chapter 5: Telescope Equipment and Growing Older.- Chapter 6: Astronomy Clubs, Public Outreach, Star Parties and Staying Social in Later Years.- Chapter 7: Physical and Environmental Challenges of Astronomy in Later Years.- Chapter 8: Traveling.- Chapter 9: Common Sense, Light Pollution and Astronomy.- Chapter 10: Wheelchair Astronomy.- Chapter 11: The After Life of Telescope Equipment and Astronomy Books.- Chapter 12: Final Thoughts.- Appendix 1: Telescope Basics.- Appendix 2: Color Filters Use.- Appendix 3: Common Telescope Formulas.- Appendix 4: Astronomical League Observing Programs.- Appendix 5: North America Star Parties.- Appendix 6: Messier Catalog.- Appendix 7: Selected Non-Messier Catalog NGC Objects.- Appendix 8: The Caldwell Catalog.- Appendix 9: The Herschel 400.- Biographies.- Bibliography.- Glossary.- Index.