Amateur astronomers watch the night sky during the Perseid meteor shower.
Amateur astronomy is a hobby whose participants enjoy observing or imaging celestial objects in the sky using the unaided eye, binoculars, or telescopes. Even though scientific research may not be their primary goal, some amateur astronomers make contributions to the science of astronomy, such as by monitoring variable stars, double stars or occultations of stars by the Moon or asteroids, or by discovering transient objects, such as comets, galactic novae or supernovae in other galaxies. Amateur astronomers do not use the field of astronomy as their primary source of income or support, and usually, have no professional degree in astrophysics or advanced academic training in the subject. Most amateurs are beginners or hobbyists, while others have a high degree of experience in astronomy and may often assist and work alongside professional astronomers. Many astronomers have studied the sky throughout history in an amateur framework; however, since the beginning of the twentieth century, professional astronomy has become an activity clearly distinguished from amateur astronomy and associated activities.