Last updated: 3 February 2001

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In response to request to join a discussion group to provide help, the following email was sent in reply.

Subject:	 Will help any way I can...
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Certainly I'll be happy to help you and your group in any way possible. 
I am a retired astronomer and still-author (astronomy and archeology)
and travel throughout the south giving seminars, lectures and workshops
in astronomy and the natural sciences.  My passion right now is to
assist as many out there as possible who still have a yearning for
discovery.  That, essentially, is what astronomy is all about.  More
than just learning the sky and what's in it, mankind is overwhelmed with
his actual "inability" to decipher the mysteries of such a great
Creation.  That is the driving force that separates humans from, say,
raccoons.  We strive to understand, not merely mimick nor pass along
rote learning.  Rarely in life is there an opportunity to humble our
egos and our imaginations quite like the science we call "astronomy."

I am proud of everyone out there who struggles to learn, to master a new
telescope, to take something adversely wrong with a situation or
equipment and make it right.  It is what sparks the mind to create, to
explore, and to discover what previously was unattainable.  The mind
must have mysteries to solve to live; it must solve those mysteries to
grow; it must grow for mankind to evolve past that raccoon.

What the thousands of amateur astronomers worldwide are doing right now
are keeping the unchartered frontier ACCESSIBLE.  It belongs to all of
us...we do not have to have the 60" Boller & Chivens Ritchey-Chretien
telescope....we, indeed, don't even have to have a telescope.  Only our
minds; an open mind on a blind man sees much farther than a mind closed
on one who sees the infinite.

Keep me in mind....tell me how I can help; you certainly can pick the
old brain (what's left of it after 32 years of teaching and studying) if
need be.

Pass all of this on to your group....they are the ones I have been
talking about.

You know what the true thrill and "fun" of astronomy is (and after 30
years of it I can say this fairly and objectively!)?  The fun is JUST
GETTING STARTED....seeing Saturn for the first time with your own eyes,
gazing at a crater inside of a crater on the moon, the majesty of a
comet you thought you would never see.

That is what life is.  You guys keep up the good work.  I'm at your
With best regards,
P. Clay Sherrod, Ph.D. Astronomy/MS.Archeology
Mike here: It was with this sort of philosophy that I started this web site 4.5 years ago. Amateur astronomers have a long history of helping each other and sharing information. The birth of the World Wide Web has certainly dramatically increased such opportunities. Whether you are a "supplier of information" or just a "lurker", you are involved with this community and we all learn and grow through this sharing.

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