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What Do Amateurs Do For a Living?

Started by jadamslh, 02/25/2007 03:41PM
Posted 03/06/2007 09:30PM #30
I am a scientist - a molecular biologist. I just like to push the limits and see beyond most people usually do - literally - I use optical technology to see extremes: super tiny molecules using confocal microscope and monstrous galaxies using my telescope 8) Both unexplored - complex living cells and vast universe give me same goosebumps and hours of excitement.

8" f/5.9 truss tube newtonian, made from scratch 8)
Posted 05/13/2007 11:38AM #31
I'm a space scientist working for NASA. Started in laboratory astrophysics research in 1991 at NASA Ames Research Center near San Jose, CA. Now working as program scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope and Herschel Space Observatory at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

My interest in amateur astronomy and ATMing goes back to my high school days in Wyandotte, MI, though.

Doug Hudgins
Dumfries, VA
ATM Truss-tube Dob w/24" f/5 Swayze primary
Meade LX200 7" Mak
Posted 05/14/2007 10:05AM | Edited 05/14/2007 10:10AM #32
I haven't read all of the replies yet, but I'll add my own:

I work for a company called EaglePicher Technologies. We build spacecraft and satellite batteries. Specifically, I run test regimes, set up the test equipment, maintain and troubleshoot test equipment, generate data, analyze the data and make recommendations. We are getting ready to build new batteries for the Hubble Space Telescope now (since our batteries that are up there now are 19 years old)and have built the batteries that power DAWN, AIM, SWIFT, Spitzer, all of Dish and Directv, Iridium, and the list can go on forever...

EDIT: Oh yeah!!! we also build cells for the ISS too. We don't get to package the batteries, though.
Posted 05/14/2007 11:54AM #33
Hello James,
I am a retired USAF Aircraft Maintenance/Munitions Officer. I currently work in Service Engineering for an aircraft manufacturer building Very Light Jets (VLJ).

Posted 02/11/2021 02:24PM | Edited 02/11/2021 02:26PM #34
I don't know if all Y'all are still reading this thread or not. There were some very technically oriented folks who have given their bio's listed above. Here's mine.

I was a dedicated amateur, semi-pro, professional, semi-pro, somewhat dedicated amateur photographer in that order. Then came the pawnbroker stage. I thought I could get better deals on photo gear if I was a pawnbroker. After pawnbroking for ten years, I took four years training while working as a Machinist. I moved around a lot working in many shops while working for a company that provides Machinist's to industry on a temporary basis from 2 weeks to a year at a time. I also had a couple long term positions including the Space Center at Boeing where I worked on ISS docking rings and lots of interesting defense items. Total 26 shops I have been paid to work in. After a pretty major back injury I had to find work that required less standing. This lead to a position as a Professor in a 2 year trade college. I designed and built a new program called CNC Machinist which was very successful. I retired in the Fall of 2020. I am now going to build and sell cameras I have been designing since 1977. 

Now I am moving my wife and I, our fully equipped machine shop, our woodworking shop, our pro darkroom, our foundry, quilting and sewing craft room, a full microscopy room with measuring, petrographic, stereo and research grade optical transmission microscopes, microtome and microtome knife sharpener, plus all the junk a family normally has from Tacoma WA to Patterson MO, where the air is not only very clear as in no smog, we are 27 miles from the nearest town, population 285 so there is virtually NO light pollution. Now is the time to get into astronomy, a lifelong dream I have never pursued. 

All of my life I have been fascinated by mechanical things that extend my ability to see. I have always loved microscopes. Telescopes have always been part of my stuff, from Leupold products for another of my hobbies, to a Meade ETX90 which I enjoyed but hated setting up and tearing down and hauling back and forth to the desert. Now I am planning an observatory with a cast concrete pier smack in the center of some of the least polluted skies in the USA. That is as far as it has gotten, planning the pier. Eventually, I am hoping for a large diameter cat like a C14 for planetary astrophotography, and a medium sized APO refractor for nebulae.

Thanks to everyone for letting us glimpse them. 

Barry Young aka "Big Louie"
Young Camera Company
Posted 07/02/2021 07:44PM #35
There really is no limit to the backgrounds of amateur astronomers.  Many years ago I operated a debris hauling company.  My astronomy club did lots of public outreach.  One of them was an annual 3-day outdoor science camp for public school 5th graders.  Prior to letting the students look through my scope I always did a verbal presentation on an astronomy topic.  After completing my presentation a lady parent serving as a camp proctor was so enthralled with the presentation she asked if I was a science teacher.  I said, " no Mame, I haul trash!"  She went silent and did not know what to say. I always got a kick out of that.
Jim D.
Posted 01/09/2022 08:29AM #36
When I was 13, my folks bought a zoom eyepiece Tasco refractor for Christmas. It was so fascinating, they let me set up a grinding barrel in the middle of my bedroom. Thus my 6" f/8 Newtonian was born.  Much later in the mid 80's , I found an optics company in Austin, TX. that made small and large optics for flight simulation and other applications. My optics education was encouraged by my late boss, Larry Forrest and John Gregory.  I spent nights and weekends with free use of equipment and supplies for honing my mirror making skills.  Advanced to being both Optical Production Manager and Optical Q.C. Manager making up to 3.5 meter mirrors.  Yes, quite a racket to make them and then pass them as certified. angel In 2007-8, the company was bought by an International Aerospace/ simulation company and I stayed on. In 2018 we bought a 3.6 meter state of the art coating chamber so I moved from making optics to coating them, which is where I'm at currently.  My atm project is a 19" f/3.5 light bucket.  It has been a great ride and lots of people to thank for their help and encouragement!
Posted 06/26/2022 04:05AM #37
I.U.O.E. Local 150
International Union of Operating Engineers
Chicago IL

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