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What Do Amateurs Do For a Living?

Started by jadamslh, 02/25/2007 11:41PM
Posted 02/27/2007 01:47AM #20
I'm a manager in one of the new (post 9/11) Federal agencies in Washington DC. Designing and building scopes is very much a stress reducer for me (as much or more than observing is!), in part because it is a) something more concrete than the usual problems I deal with and b) somewhat more under my control (all but the observing part. wink )

My ATM'ing training consists of a semester each of woodworking and metal shop some 35 years ago...
Posted 02/27/2007 02:56AM #21
I designed and made mountaineering and backpacking tents for a number of years, solo shop. Now I design and sell solar electric system for one of the older (for this industry) distributor, and sometimes solar hot water systems. Sometimes I get up on the roof too. Haven't zapped myself yet, but an arc at 400VDC will get your attention.

Posted 02/27/2007 03:12AM #22
I'm a vibration test engineer for a major automotive supplier. The way things are going in todays global economy, I'll probably soon be competing with others for a job at Walmart! I already have my cardboard signs ready, "Will work for telescope stuff!"
Posted 02/27/2007 03:56AM #23
Musician and custom picture framer. Both industries in serious crisis. I too may be competing for a job at Walmart soon.


Fujinon 10x70 FMT-SX binocs
Tak FS-78 ƒ/8.1 - 630mm fl.
6" ƒ/6.5 homeground newt. - 981mm fl.
10" ƒ/4.85 homeground dob. - 1231mm fl.

Posted 02/27/2007 05:34PM #24
I operate and maintain a 12 channel trunked public safety radio system for a city of 100,000 in the North Texas area.

Been building astro equipment since I was a teenager.

John Love WD5IKX

Posted 02/28/2007 04:06AM | Edited 03/22/2007 03:44AM #25
Semiretired, most of my working life in mechanical fields. Most of the time in the commercial/military aerospace and maritime industry. Built a hermetically sealed dc brush type motor for some special project launched in 1968 (the story they told us was good, what we believe to be the truth is even better!). Same company decided this 23 year old was the best mechanic they had to build a piece of flight hardware used for ten seconds on every LEM that got closer than 50,000 feet from the moon's surface. Had it failed, the flight would automatically abort as the altitude sensing radar would not have shifted position as the LEM went into vertical decent mode.

Astronomy is much less stressful!

Best wishes,
Posted 02/28/2007 04:19AM | Edited 03/01/2007 04:34PM #26
I once had a 27-year career as a machinist until I went on long term disability with right below elbow amputation as a result of bone cancer in 2002. But at least I'm happy to have more time out observing with my scope. smile
Posted 03/01/2007 03:45PM #27
I work in a laboratory clean room. I spend my days trying to break cryogenically cooled sensors and imagers. If someone wants to loan me one of his or her SBIG cameras I’ll lower the dark current and increase the quantum efficiency. It’ll be fun listening to it creak as it shrinks; kind of makes a weird crunching sound. Working with and designing hardware to function at –320 degrees Fahrenheit is a challenge. An advantage of this craft is having the tools to remove all of ones warts.

I work with Jason Lane and he’s the one that told me you could actually look through a lens with your eye. Now that the doctor has removed the cryogenically cooled lens from my eye I can go back to observing with my remaining good eye, at room temperature.
Posted 03/06/2007 03:50PM #28
Commercial Electrical cost consulting has paid the bills for almost 28 years but when I was a kid, Gyro Gearloose provided the model for how I really wanted to live my life. Unfortunately, "inventing" was never listed as a serious career path in any college handbooks. In my spare time I invent add-ons and gizmos for my scope and observatory.

Bob Schnitzer
Grenville Base Observatory - Haymarket, VA
16" f18 Royce Conical Dall-Kirkham
10" f16 Parks/Coulter/Novak/Cave Classical Cassegrain
127mm Orion Starmax Mak-Cas
80mm f15 Meade refractor
40mm Tasco variable power tabletop refractor
Posted 03/06/2007 10:09PM #29
I'm a software engineer, what they used to call a computer programmer in the olden days.

Kinda weird, I get my biggest kicks building things with my hands, like telescope mirrors and scopes to put them into, but professionally all I do is set and reset bits in a computer. And yes I've been known to go out in sub-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures to observe, so I must have a little bit of insanity going on. :S