“Considered as a collector of rare and precious things, the amateur astronomer has a great advantage over amateurs in all other fields, who must usually content themselves with second and third-rate specimens. For example, only a few of the world’s mineralogists could hope to own such a specimen as the Hope diamond, and I have yet to meet the amateur fossil collector who displays a complete tyrannosaurus skeleton in his cabinet.
In contrast, the amateur astronomer has access at all times to the original objects of his study; the masterworks of the heavens belong to him as much as to the great observatories of the world.
And there is no privilege like that of being allowed to stand in the presence of the original.”
Robert Burnham Jr. in
“Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, Volume I”