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New S + T for Feb 2013 goes off topic

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#1 Alan A.

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

I just received the Feb 2013 sky and tel. The front editorial and one of the main articles is centered on the history of one confederate submarine.

I have no argument that civil war history is interesting and worthy of study. It really doesn't have a place as a major piece in an astronomy magazine. There are plenty of periodicals which deal with the history of that period. Its not like there is a shortage of topics to cover in the field of telescopes and astronomy.

I have been subscribing to Sky and tel for years and hope to continue doing so. If the editor continues to use sky and tel as a vehicle for expressing his interest in the civil war, I won't be renewing.

Sky and tel needs to return to its roots, their older magazines are much more on target.
 

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:35 PM

I think you might need to re-read the article. It is about the Moon and tides playing major roles in the successful attack and disappearance of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. They have done similar articles on the way the sky was related to various historical events for many decades, so this is no surprise (and is still on-topic). Clear skies to you.
 

#3 davidpitre

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 01:00 AM

I ,myself, have not been so big on these "gee wiz" "where was the moon on such and such event?" articles.
 

#4 Alan A.

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:44 AM

I think you might need to re-read the article. It is about the Moon and tides playing major roles in the successful attack and disappearance of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. They have done similar articles on the way the sky was related to various historical events for many decades, so this is no surprise (and is still on-topic). Clear skies to you.


The focus and writing in the article primarily relates to historical events, so I will respectfully disagree with the idea that this article is on-topic.

Here on CN, in any thread related to astronomy, posts going on in great length about a confederate submarine would quickly be cut off by the moderator. We are lucky we have good moderators here on CN. Of note they are dedicated amateurs and not paid professional editors, and yet they have shown and would show better editorial sense.

Sky and tel comes out only 12 times a year, and each issue is not lenghty. Devoting 6 pages is way too much to this historical topic primarily because it means an important topic directly related to astronomy gets pushed out.
 

#5 simpleisbetter

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:00 AM

I think you might need to re-read the article. It is about the Moon and tides playing major roles in the successful attack and disappearance of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. They have done similar articles on the way the sky was related to various historical events for many decades, so this is no surprise (and is still on-topic). Clear skies to you.


So? The weather, moon, tides, etc were a BIG factor in the Normandy invasion. This has been the case in countless battles and events in history and is already common knowledge. Night travel in the desert was also based on such things, and well-documented. Big deal, these are trivialities. Are we becoming so self-serving that going to start looking at every historical event and try to insert/impose our hobby in ways that come across not only to the general public, but also many of ourselves, as trivial, arrogant, and blowing our own horn over things that don't matter?
 

#6 CounterWeight

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:57 AM

Let's try posing as one of those grouping questions...

Sky | Telescope | Sunken Submarine

which one doesn't belong? ;)
 

#7 rmollise

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

I just received the Feb 2013 sky and tel. The front editorial and one of the main articles is centered on the history of one confederate submarine.

I have no argument that civil war history is interesting and worthy of study. It really doesn't have a place as a major piece in an astronomy magazine. There are plenty of periodicals which deal with the history of that period. Its not like there is a shortage of topics to cover in the field of telescopes and astronomy.

I have been subscribing to Sky and tel for years and hope to continue doing so. If the editor continues to use sky and tel as a vehicle for expressing his interest in the civil war, I won't be renewing.

Sky and tel needs to return to its roots, their older magazines are much more on target.


I assume you didn't actually read the article, since this fine piece is indeed intimately linked to astronomy. ;)
 

#8 rmollise

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:21 AM

Let's try posing as one of those grouping questions...

Sky | Telescope | Sunken Submarine

which one doesn't belong? ;)


That's easy: "None of the above." :lol:

This is an ecellent piece, does have to do with astronomy--though it may not be the sort of article you like to read--and I believe will go down as a Sky and Telescope classic. ;)
 

#9 BobinKy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

I read and enjoyed Stevenson's article on "The Moon and the Mystery of the Hunley" in Sky and Telescope (February 2013). This article is well researched and well written. Astronomy is not just about observing or photographing--there is a practical side that can be quite valuable. Furthermore, we are currently in the sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the American Civil War. Finally, many amateur astronomers are also civil war hobbyists and re-enactors. I would like to see more practical astronomy articles in the magazines.
 

#10 desertstars

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:55 PM

I haven't read this one yet, but those they've published in the past have been very well done. They've never seemed out of place to me.
 

#11 Rick Woods

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

Yeah; this is not by far the first time someone has submitted an article on a non-astronomy topic, but in which astronomical factors played a large, possibly deciding part. It's just a way to show how astronomical events have greater range and influence than one might imagine.

Let's rephrase the multiple choice as an equation:
Wartime Attack + Bright Moon = Sunken Submarine.

And I have to say - it's pretty awesome that the Confederates had a submarine! Those good ol' Southern boys have always been a pretty sharp lot; probably why Mission Control is in Houston, and rockets are launched from Florida!

Edit: I really do know how to spell "Houston"!
 

#12 rmollise

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

Yeah; this is not by far the first time someone has submitted an article on a non-astronomy topic, but in which astronomical factors played a large, possibly deciding part. It's just a way to show how astronomical events have greater range and influence than one might imagine.

Let's rephrase the multiple choice as an equation:
Wartime Attack + Bright Moon = Sunken Submarine.

And I have to say - it's pretty awesome that the Confederates had a submarine! Those good ol' Southern boys have always been a pretty sharp lot; probably why Mission Control is in Housten, and rockets are launched from Florida!


There is a replica at Battleship Park in Mobile, which Miss Dorothy and I visited not long ago. We marveled that anyone could be so brave, even in the final defense of our country, to go down in that little thing!
 

#13 Rick Woods

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:19 PM

There is a replica at Battleship Park in Mobile, which Miss Dorothy and I visited not long ago. We marveled that anyone could be so brave, even in the final defense of our country, to go down in that little thing!


Seriously - 110% juevos!
 

#14 David Knisely

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 04:39 PM

I think you might need to re-read the article. It is about the Moon and tides playing major roles in the successful attack and disappearance of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. They have done similar articles on the way the sky was related to various historical events for many decades, so this is no surprise (and is still on-topic). Clear skies to you.


So? The weather, moon, tides, etc were a BIG factor in the Normandy invasion. This has been the case in countless battles and events in history and is already common knowledge. Night travel in the desert was also based on such things, and well-documented. Big deal, these are trivialities. Are we becoming so self-serving that going to start looking at every historical event and try to insert/impose our hobby in ways that come across not only to the general public, but also many of ourselves, as trivial, arrogant, and blowing our own horn over things that don't matter?


It isn't "arrogance". What may be trivial to you may not be exactly trivial to others, as the interest of readers varies widely. This type of article goes way back to the almost-yearly, "star of Bethlehem" type articles that were prevalent a number of decades ago. I am a little surprised at the negative reaction to this article. To me, it was kind of a, "That's nice", article and then I go on to reading the rest of the issue, as it is only a single article out of many others. I have little objection to letting in an article now and then that refers to how the sky sometimes plays a role in historical events. It isn't overwhelmingly interesting to me (and I don't spend a lot of time reading some of these pieces), but it definitely also isn't "off topic" either. Sky and Tel plays to the full spectrum of readers (and many of them are not amateur astronomers). If you want pure astronomy, try subscribing to Ap.J and slogging through all that. If you want to influence what the magazine covers, you might consider writing your own article and submitting it to Sky Publishing (they are always on the look-out for interesting potential articles). I have done so twice and (to my ever lasting surprise) got published both times. Otherwise, if you don't like an article, then you don't have to read it. For a magazine with a little "balance", Sky and Telescope can be a halfway decent one to read. Clear skies to you.
 

#15 MikeBOKC

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 06:57 PM

Just got the February issue today and I enjoyed the article; of course I am a lifelong Civil War buff and a collateral descendant of Stonewall Jackson, but still . . . there are 90 pages in the February issue counting covers, and this article only took six of them. I think it is dumb that most daily newspapers run astrology columns, but I still read the rest of it. Can't please everyone . . .
 

#16 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:05 PM

I enjoyed reading the article and thought it was well written. I didn't mind that it was in the issue and would agree it did have some "astronomy" merit... Tony
 

#17 edwincjones

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:11 PM

from S&T's viewpoint
-I doubt many will cancel
-but some may subscribe due to the article
I have no issue pro or con with this*

edj

*but have not read the issue yet
 

#18 mountain monk

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:17 PM

I enjoyed the article, and I am definitely not a Civil War buff. I too found it nice balance to the usual stuff. 'Course my mother was an officer in the Daughters of the Confederacy, so may have been biased...

Dark skies.

Jack
 

#19 edwincjones

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:52 PM

from S&T's viewpoint
-I doubt many will cancel
-but some may subscribe due to the article
I have no issue pro or con with this*

edj

*but have not read the issue yet



OK
read the article
maybe a little off topic
but I enjoyed it

edj
 

#20 opticsguy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:52 PM

I enjoyed the article in S&T.
The article I found out of place a few months ago were those ten pages in Astronomy magazine dedicated to a "Rock Star/Astronomer. Wasted space in my opinion, better served with ten pages on Curiousity.
 

#21 beatlejuice

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:29 AM

I enjoy these off-topic but astronomy related articles. There was one recently(cant remember AST or S&T) on the USS Indianapolis,a truly horrific event. The effect of the moon on its visibility turns out to have had a major impact on the subsequent events.

Eric
 

#22 rmollise

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:10 AM

I enjoyed the article in S&T.
The article I found out of place a few months ago were those ten pages in Astronomy magazine dedicated to a "Rock Star/Astronomer. Wasted space in my opinion, better served with ten pages on Curiousity.


And I am bored with yet another rehash of the Curiosity mission when there can be ten pages on observational astronomy. Which just goes to show, you can't please everybody. :lol:
 

#23 simpleisbetter

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

I enjoyed the article in S&T.
The article I found out of place a few months ago were those ten pages in Astronomy magazine dedicated to a "Rock Star/Astronomer. Wasted space in my opinion, better served with ten pages on Curiousity.


And I am bored with yet another rehash of the Curiosity mission when there can be ten pages on observational astronomy. Which just goes to show, you can't please everybody. :lol:


:waytogo: :waytogo:
 

#24 Alan A.

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:47 AM

Every magazine has a mission statement. You can read sky and tel's mission statement here:

Mission statement

Related to the mission statement, this article does not fit in.
 

#25 edwincjones

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:57 AM

history is important
it tells us how we got here
what mistakes were made
we owe much to sailors of old who studied the skies

I see this as no different from the history of an observatory or important astronomer of the past

edj
 






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