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Astronomy magazine VS Sky and Telescope

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#1 SyedRaza

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 12:39 AM

Hi all

Some people prefer S&T while other go with Astronomy magazine.What's the significance of each one that differentiate both from each other?

Syed
 

#2 Scott Regener

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:25 AM

In the past, it was stated that Astronomy was for the layman, while S&T focused more on the advanced observer. The primary difference now seems to be in the columnists. Both are high-quality, excellent magazines. For what most people pay for a month of cable, you can get both delivered to your house for an entire year.
 

#3 Rick Woods

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:10 AM

For me, Astronomy started down a slippery slope during the time Bonnie Gordon was running the magazine, and they never really recovered, at least not by when I let my subscription lapse. It had gotten too cutsie-pie for me. Dave Eicher has undoubtedly improved things tremendously; but too late, I'm gone now.

One thing that bugged the heck out of me was at the beginning of a feature article, they would invariably have a two-page spread of some primitive, impressionistic, stupid cartoon that *sort of* related to the content, with one paragraph of the article on the second page. Hey, I'm paying for those pages, and I don't want to look at someone's kid's drawing of space!

Maybe it's just me. S&T does some of that too, but not enough to hit critical mass with me. Astronomy was rife with it.

Another thing was the insipid, childish eyecatcher phrases. I'll never forget Steve O'Meara's eyecatcher: "It may seem hard to believe, but meteors can do the twist!". Gawd! (Actually that was in S&T; but Steve is with Astronomy now).

There are other things. But you get the idea. I do miss Bob Berman's column, though.
 

#4 BobinKy

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:44 AM

I subscribed to both magazines for a few months. I dropped Astronomy and now only subscribe to Sky and Telescope. However, I still think S&T has gone too far down the astrophotography and equipment paths. I also miss many of the classic writers who are no longer with them. I guess I am old school.
 

#5 edwincjones

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 11:03 AM

there is still Amateur Astronomy Magazine

edj
 

#6 desertstars

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 11:17 AM

Before I subscribed to either, I bought copies of each off the newsstand and read them back to back. It gave me a sense for where they differed, and where they overlapped. At the time, and this was five years ago, I found a clear difference between them when it came to information for visual observers. Since that's what I was after, I subscribed to S&T. I didn't come to the conclusion that either magazine was actually better than the other, just that S&T suited me.

I'd suggest that you do the same. Examine both. Take your time and get a sense for how you react to their respective content. (If you have a library nearby that carries even one of them, you can cut down the cost at the newsstand.) That will tell you which one is best for you.
 

#7 HaleBopper

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:00 PM

Astronomy was the first magazine I read when I was kid in the 80s, so I have a soft spot for it.

I don't subscribe to either magazine, but I do buy off the stands from time to time. I find that the two magazines compliment each other. I tend to buy them for their articles and not so much observering. Sometimes I buy both at the stand, other times I buy just one or the other, or none at all if the articles don't interest me. I do like the observing articles, but I rarely buy either based on observing.

I do hate to say it, but I often consult the net and my observing books for observing info. Growing up before the net, I anticipated Astronomy each month just so I could read the "Backyard Astronomer."

How times have changed...
 

#8 Rick Woods

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:15 PM

Astronomy was the first one I subscribed to, too. It was first-rate back in the 80's. I subscribed for close to 20 years before I let it go.
 

#9 rmollise

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 03:56 PM

there is still Amateur Astronomy Magazine

edj


Yep.
 

#10 rmollise

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 03:59 PM

For me, Astronomy started down a slippery slope during the time Bonnie Gordon was running the magazine


Yep. "Running it into the ground," it seemed. It's improved a lot since then, and I do still subscribe, though I certainly still have "issues" with the thing:


http://uncle-rods.bl...binoculars.html
 

#11 edwincjones

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:59 PM

In the beginning, I got both for a few years,
then decided S&T seemed better for me

edj
 

#12 SyedRaza

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 06:49 PM

One interesting thing I'd like to share. Once I bought a lot of "ASTRONOMY" magazines from a local newsstand (while being in my country ) and some S&T's as well, all for the first time. S&T's were of course good. But while reading "Astronomy" magazines, I said ,what? is this the magazine that I was looking for!, but eventually I saw a small (even tiny) word under the "ASTRONOMY" heading at the right and that was "NOW" :roflmao:, then I came to the point why I didn't like it, It was not the "Astronomy magazine", instead was UK's "Astronomy Now". :lol:. I said to myself I am never gonna buy this thing again. Actually it was not that bad, but I was mad for being fooled. I don't get it, have they tried to make an imitation of the original Astronomy magazine or what. If not, why do they give a false impression by writing a small "Now" Under a big "Astronomy"?

But then I read some of the Original Astronomy magazines and they were wonderful just like S&Ts. But the problem is that in these magazine there is a lot of advertisement in between that spoils the joy of reading. Too many ads, less articles. :thinking:
 

#13 Jimmy2K63

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 06:59 PM

Cut my teeth on Sky and Tel and for me there will be no other magazine that I can be loyal to. There are so many years of excellent history with this magazine. Guys like Walter Scott Houston and Dennis Di Cicco are class acts and will never be topped in my humble opinion.
 

#14 o1d_dude

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 01:15 AM

I have a collection of Astronomy back issues dating back into the late 70's(?) or at least the early 80's when Richard Berry ran the show. Several very early issues of Telescope Making in those boxes as well.

The thing with the DVD "offer" and subsequent dun letters is an wonderful example of a bad marketing strategy. Who thought THAT was a good idea? Repackaged episodes of "The Universe" at $28 a whack?

The collateral damage from this debacle is that I've pretty much stopped watching the Hysteria Channel, too.
 

#15 deepsky

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 02:45 PM

I'm coming from the perspective of a visual observer. Sue French's column is the gold standard.


Astronomy magazine seems to be somewhat better recently. S&T's quality is still there, if a bit thinner the past few years.

Bottom line: I keep my S&T's, and usually toss Astronomy magazine.
 

#16 Matt Lindsey

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:45 PM

I subscribed to Astronomy from '84 to '96. After they got rid of the nice framed photo on the front cover and went all "glossy" it just wasn't the same. The Richard Berry era was great. I used to devour that mag. every month. I recently picked up the July issue for six bucks on the newstand and was shocked at how puny it was. 72 pages? Anyway, the content was not bad.

S&T was always geared a bit more toward the "serious" amateur and was a lot of fun too. E.C. Krupp's column's alone were worth the money.

But today honestly I can't justify the expense when you can get most (not all) of that on the 'net or just visit the library (mine carries both). Kinda sad really when it seems the hobby is larger and more accessible than 20 years ago.
 

#17 Radiostar

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:52 PM

I get my family to buy me subscriptions for Christmas so I get to enjoy both. And then I pass them on so I don't end up with piles of magazines.
 

#18 rmollise

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 06:58 AM

I'm coming from the perspective of a visual observer. Sue French's column is the gold standard.


No doubt about that...but Astronomy has Steve O'Meara...so I still subscribe to both. BTW, S&T was fatter this time, I beleive.
 

#19 Ragaisis

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 08:29 AM

Magazines are like people's feet.

Both are most appreciated when removed from the coffee table.

Chris
 

#20 Crossen

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 04:45 PM

I subscribed to Astronomy from '84 to '96. After they got rid of the nice framed photo on the front cover and went all "glossy" it just wasn't the same. The Richard Berry era was great.


My start as an astronomy writer was with a two-part article on the Milky Way in Astronomy in 1983. I've been told that Richard Berry edited that article; but he left it pretty much as I wrote it. I still see occasional references to that article, so he showed good judgement in not messing with it. I owe him a word of thanks for his confidence in that article and in my writing.
It's been an entirely different story with the last two articles I've written for Astronomy, one on stellar associations that was published in the autumn of 1995 and another on Milky Way dust clouds that was published just last autumn. Both of them were 'edited' beyond recognition. What's worse, last year's article had errors in fact added to it! If they're going to change an author's article so much, they should at least send him a proof before publication.
It's this kind of carelessness in editorial work that has kept me from writing for Astronomy more often. In fact, I would not have written that article that was published last year at all but for the urging of my co-author in "Sky Vistas", Gerald Rhemann, who had taken some excellent astro-photos of southern Milky Way dust clouds.
The over-all quality of Astronomy during the 1980s was indeed much higher than it is today. Part of the problem is the general 'dumbing-down' in both magazines that has been remarked upon in CN forums about the magazines. And I for one can't understand why the magazines think they should do this. The standard of discussion on CN forums alone should tell them they are dealing with intelligent, literate readers!

Craig Crossen
 

#21 edwincjones

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 10:29 AM

but those "intelligent, literate readers"are bailing out of the subscriptions
leaving more casual readers who they at least think respond to the sensationalizing.

The big news in NW AR this weekend is the only two newspapers left are merging into one (to survive). I think that the same will happen to Astronomy and S&T sometime.

edj
 

#22 Crossen

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 01:25 PM

About a year ago there was a very long and interesting CN thread on "The Trouble with the Magazines." Many ideas were offered in the course of that discussion. As I've thought back over it during this past year, I found myself agreeing with those who blamed the decline in the magazines--and "decline" was one of the points most generally agreed upon-on the fact that they were now owned by large business entities whose main concern was profit margin, not astronomy. The small companies that own "Astronomy" and "Sky & Tel" in 'The Good Old Days' not only succeeded in making magazines interesting to readers at all stages of the hobby, but making businesses that were attractive enough for larger businesses to buy.
I agree with you that, in a larger cultural sense, the "Trouble with the Astronomy Magazines" is related to the now decades-long trend toward newspaper consolidation. The question is whether this is driven purely by the economics of publishing, or by the economics of publishing that has resulting from a "dumbing-down" of America. I don't know. But I would be REALLY surprised, given what I've seen on the CN forums, if there aren't enough "literate and intelligent" amateur astronomers to support one good, literate, intelligent magazine. Neither Astronomy nor Sky & Tel are that magazine, and if you put them together you might get a case of "two heads are thicker than one."

Craig Crossen
 

#23 Matthew Ota

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 02:50 PM

The internet is killing both magazines and newspapers. People ar griping about the thin magazines and the poor quality of the paper and ink now, but it will not be long before they are either gone from print and out of business, or just a virtual online magazine.
 

#24 Rick Woods

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:13 AM

That's when I stop reading them. I want nothing to do with e-magazines.
 

#25 rmollise

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:12 AM

That's when I stop reading them. I want nothing to do with e-magazines.


Well, I've kinda been of the same opinion. But then I became attached to an e-Zine, AstroPhoto Insights, and have changed my opinion a wee bit. The deal breaker? If you can't just print the whole thing out (if it's some kinda fancy-shmancy web-stuff instead of a .pdf). I mean I gotta have something to look at durin' my err..."morning ablutions" don' I? :lol:
 






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