I get many questions from high-schoolers doing projects on astronomy, or interested in careers in astronomy. Most questions are nuts-and-bolts… how long do you have to go to school, what is the work like, how much money do you make, and so on. But recently I was interviewed recently for an online arts magazine for young people who are looking for a perspective on the stars. A selection of the questions, and my answers, are below…
1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Brian Ventrudo. I’m a science writer, teacher, and former professional scientist who has taken leave of everyday life in the corporate world to teach astronomy to anyone who is interested in learning.
2. What do you do for a living? What does your job entail?
From time to time, I do a little freelance writing for businesses and magazines. But I spend most of my time writing for and publishing an informational website about astronomy and stargazing called One-Minute Astronomer.
3. When did your fascination with the stars begin? Have you always been interested in them?
I remember looking out the window when I was four years old and seeing beautiful lights in the sky. My mother told me what they were… little suns like our own, but unimaginably far away, and not completely understood. I’ve been a stargazer ever since.
4. Can you tell us a few fun facts about stars?
Stars are the atom factories of the universe. They take the simple, basic elements from the Big Bang– hydrogen and helium– and forge them into heavier elements that make possible complex molecules, planets, and life.
5. As far as inner stardom goes, what makes a star?
Wow… that’s a hard question! I’d say inner stardom comes from understanding your own interests and abilities, your own nature as a person, then living in accordance with this nature. Any other way of life will make you miserable in the long term.
6. Any advice for our readers?
Remember you are part of the universe, not separate from it, and you are con-nected to all that you see here on Earth and in the night sky. All the atoms in your body were conjured billions of years ago in the Big Bang and in stars that have a long since died and faded away. It’s an astonishing fact, only discovered a little more than 50 years ago. Keep this in mind and you will never be bored, and you will never feel alone.