This "Five Questions" interview with Astronomer Dr. Pamela L. Gay, also known as Star Stryder, was completed this week. I want to publicly thank her for taking time out of her schedule to answer these questions by email.
If you have any interest at all in astronomy and the deeper questions that surround the subject, I encourage you to check out her blog as well as her contributions to Astronomy Cast. She, along with Paul Gilster at Centauri Dreams, are two of my favorite bloggers on any subject.
What attracted you to Astronomy?
Sometimes a person doesn't outgrow their childhood passions. I've been interested in astronomy as long as I can remember. My earliest memories include taking naps so I could stay up and watch images of Jupiter and Saturn being sent back by the Voyager missions, and watching the contrails of the space shuttle going in for a landing at Edwards while living in Southern California when small. I remember looking through my dad's small telescope. As I grew up, my astronomy hunger was fed by Odyssey Magazine, Sky and Telescope, Science Fiction, and eventually even trips to Space Camp. When I started college, I didn't think I had the math skills to be an astronomer, and I declared an International Relations major in James Madison College at Michigan State University, and started taking astronomy and honors physics and calculus classes because I figured I get an astronomy minor and seek jobs as a science advisor in the Federal Government. At some point my freshman year I realized that while I loved my IR classes for their content, my cultural peers were the science folks in my astronomy classes. I am a science nerd, born and breed. I was doing well in science classes, so I redeclared as an astrophysics major. I guess, I just never knew when to stop trying to understand the stars.