I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
  - Richard Feynman

I just read a neat HST result on dark matter on slashdot.org. I also enjoy peeking at Astronomy Picture of the Day to find out about stuff I don't know. Basically, I get my fix from the same sites I recommend to others curious about astronomy.  So I'm not just a professional astronomer. I'm an astronomer fan when it comes to fields other than what I work on.

Rest assured, there is still a benefit to having a professional background.  All ignorance is not equal.  As a trained space head, I have the basis and context to rapidly get up to speed on topics within my field(s).  Being an astronomer is akin to being a juggler... most days I juggle the same stuff I've practiced with.

Giving me a new astro topic to learn is like handling a juggler a banana, or a sponge, or a bowling ball.  It takes us a bit to get a feel for its weight, balance, utility.  But soon enough, we'll have it worked into our routine-- and a lot quicker than it takes a newcomer to learn from scratch.

Alex, the daytime astronomer

The Daytime Astronomer, Tues&Fri here, via RSS feed and twitter @skyday