Copyright by Paul Derrick. Permission is granted for free electronic distribution as long as this paragraph is included. For permission to publish in any other form, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec. 30, 2006: So Who Is the Stargazer?
Dec. 16, 2006: The Sun Stands Still
Dec. 02, 2006: Names of Some Prominent Stars of Fall and Winter
Nov. 18, 2006: From Astrology to Astronomy
Nov. 04, 2006: Transit of Mercury
Oct. 21, 2006: Buying a Telescope
Oct. 07, 2006: SOFIA To Leave Waco
Sep. 23, 2006: Constellations from the Ancients
Sep. 09, 2006: Sadness At an Old Friend Slighted
Aug. 26, 2006: What's All the Buzz about Planets?
Aug. 12, 2006: Perseid Meteor Shower
Jul. 29, 2006: Space Exploration
Jul. 15, 2006: The Lure of the Stars
Jul. 1, 2006: The Wobble That Changes the Sky
Jun. 17, 2006: Moon's March through the Planets
Jun. 03, 2006: Beehive Still Abuzz with Activity
May 20, 2006: Mother Nature's End-of-Month Specials
May 06, 2006: Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Apr. 22, 2006: Jupiter At Opposition
Apr. 08, 2006: Using Venus to Find Uranus
Mar. 25, 2006: Solving Some Moon Mysteries
Mar. 11, 2006: You Only Think You're Sitting Still
Feb. 25, 2006: Looking for Zodiacal Light and Gegenschein
Feb. 11, 2006: Some Night Sky Coincidences
Jan. 28, 2006: Clyde Tombaugh Finally On His Way to Pluto
Jan. 14, 2006: Night Sky Highlights for 2006
Now virtually a full-time amateur astronomer, I spend my time writing, speaking and teaching, and, of course, stargazing when I can. This “career” began in 1990 when I began writing this every-other-week “Stargazer” column in the Waco Tribune-Herald. In 2002 it became more widely available, and now appears in some 40 papers.My Stargazer Web site (www.stargazerpaul.com) was launched by a friend in 1998, then, once I got the hang of it, was taken over and expanded by me in 2002. My books, “A Beginner’s Guide to Learning the Night Sky” and “Stargazer’s Life List,” came out in 2003 and 2004. Each year I conduct some 50 presentations, classes and sky tours, most for free, for children and adults. If you'd like to schedule a program for your group or class, see my Web site for information or contact me. I even do some traveling. Basic biographical data: I was born in Houston in 1940, raised in Bayview, TX, lived 10 years in Austin and the last 38 years in Waco; my wife, Jane, and I married in 1962, and have two grown daughters and two grandchildren (who live next door). And when I'm not stargazing? We are active in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco, and I'm a folk musician who now plays for nursing homes rather than bars. And I love playing with my 6- and 9-year old neighbors! Now that you know more about me, let me hear from you so I can get to know you better.
Space exploration, I think, is our investment in humanity's future--not necessarily our own, or even that of our children or grandchildren, but that of future generations. I'm grateful our ancestors invested in the future by exploring and opening up new worlds, even when they themselves didn't reap the benefits.As badly as we're treating Mother Earth in so many ways, space exploration seems the least we can do for posterity. We don't necessarily need the 1960s-type of space-race urgency, but what we do need, rather than inadequately funded rhetoric about "sending a man to Mars," is steady and meaningful support in our federal budget. Can we address our immediate issues and simultaneously invest in humanity's future in space? Even with my frequent discouragements about the short-sighted leadership in our country and throughout the world, I'm still a long-term optimist. We seem to be a remarkably resilient species. Looking at our history and realizing what we have survived thus far gives me hope for our future--not a blind, pie-in-the-sky hope of certitude, but a reasoned hope in the probability that we will muster the will and the wisdom to do what we must to survive.