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1st astronomy club meeting

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#1 Greyhaven

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:11 PM


Well, I've been active in astronomy to some degree or other since the early 1970's and a member here since 2004.I decided to go to my first semi local astronomy club meeting (80 mile round trip) last week, a few years back there was one located just a few miles from here, but when I contacted them about joining I was told they were serious astro photographers and didn't feel my current equipment would fit with their club's purpose. I understood that if I ever won the lottery and had an extra twenty grand for equipment they may reconsider my application.I still haven't won the lottery but do have some basic AP equipment. So I've always kept my hobby to myself and my friends here,Please accept a sincere Thank You to all my friends here.
The meeting was attended by around 20 people a quarter of us were new prospective members and one young person wanting to know care and feeding instruction on a scope that had been a gift.
The meeting seemed almost like sitting at my keyboard here,
club business was dealt with quickly and future meetings were outlined and we were informed that the club had received the donation of an antique 16" Newt that was already in the process of refurbishing the mount, the only part of the scope that showed serious neglect. The novice astronomer got some one on one advice about what the telescope was and what the bag full of spare parts were and we all assured her that she could learn how to use the scope. I was assured that although the club was not big on AP there were some members with that affliction and they would be willing to share their knowledge with a retaliative novice.There will be multiple opportunities to participate in out reach programs, I'm a little too shy to stand on street corners with my arm resting on my dob asking "Do you want to see the Moon?" Out reach could be fun with a group. Just wanted to say not all clubs are created equal and if one doesn't meet your needs try another. I think the 10 year wait between attempts like I did, is not recommended by the author.
Be Well
Grey

#2 Alex McConahay

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:16 PM

I once went to a club about 80 miles away from mine......I was going to give a presentation to them. Before it began, I noticed a dad and his son sitting quietly observing and feeling out of place. I went up and visited with them. THe next month they joined our club, some sixty miles from their club, instead of the one nearer their home (about twenty miles).

Our club makes it a point to make sure everybody gets greeted, gets told not to buy anything until they have played around with us for a while, and knows about all the club has to offer.

Alex

#3 CJK

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

Nice post, Grey! And timely, as I'm planning on attending my first local astronomy club event this weekend. I've heard they're a nice group, hopefully they'll turn out like the folks you hooked up with!

-- Chris

#4 fnowat

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:57 AM

Congratulations Greyhaven!

It is up to us, the lookers of the sky, to invite others or to help others feel welcomed. It is difficult to approach the introverted sometimes...but others are welcome to the welcoming greetings.

Good luck with your club-
Frank

#5 Greyhaven

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

Well, I went to my 2nd club meeting last night. There were a few more folks there, some for the first time. Shared a lot of information with other members, new and old. Paid my dues so I guess I'm committed or should be. :lol:.
The members are very willing to share knowledge and the club has numerous scopes and assorted equipment available for loan. the club just had a 16" newt donated and is the process of restoration, mostly cosmetic stuff.
Even had another CN member introduce himself to me, yes,this could be a comfortable fit after all.
I just wanted to up date the OP.
Be Well
Grey

#6 csa/montana

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:10 PM

Congratulations Grey; it looks like you have joined a great club! :waytogo:

#7 jturie

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:07 PM

I just went to my first meeting a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was great--they went out of their way to introduce me around. I paid my dues that night...then I was warned that there were a bunch of Zambuto optics mega-dob owners in the club who will tempt me to the dark side....can't wait to get to an observing session.

#8 csa/montana

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:54 AM

The dark side is calling you! :lol:

#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

I've been a member of five astronomy clubs and know quite a few other amateurs who belong to other clubs. It's been my experience that astronomy clubs can vary considerably in friendliness to newcomers, the formation of cliques, getting mired down by Roberts Rules of Order, making grandiose plans, reinventing the wheel, all the work being done by only a few members, and so on. Having and maintaining an observatory can put serious strains on a club.

Dave Mitsky

#10 Greyhaven

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:52 PM

Dave
I consider myself a lone astronomer who joined a group accomplish some outreach and meet others that share my interest. My wife is disabled so I have to arrange for care for her when I leave home, for any amount of time. So things like Stellarfane are not practical for me. This is a small club most of the members that I have met are retired and fairly new to the hobby. We do have a "dark" club site and there are a few members with their own observatories the club owns some equipment but no observatory. I don't mind solitary observing and for the most part CN is a good way to share the hobby, I'll have to wait and see if this option works for me and I'm sure I would not be interested in an overly organized club My life style demands flexibility and reasonable participation goals. That's why having my own equipment and observatory keeps me independent.
Be Well
Grey

#11 drbyyz

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:53 PM

Sounds great Grey! I recently went to my first meeting and observing session of the local club where I recently moved to. Seems to be a smaller, not super active club, but full of nice people so far. One meeting, one observing session, and one outreach event per month. Perfect for me actually. The observing session was at a great site which I've also been going to on my own now that I'm aware of it. I think I'm a little more "serious" about my observing than these guys are(aka I keep logs and sketches and am always tracking down some new faint fuzzy) but it was a TON of fun to just relax and talk to these guys and share looks through each others scopes at easy objects. Reminds me that its a hobby, not a job lol. I do hope to find someone in the club that is a little more serious though, because I actually enjoy the "job" style observing, oddly enough the organization, record keeping, challenges and goals are what makes this hobby fun for me.

#12 Undermidnight

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

Grey,

I enjoyed your post! Astronomy clubs can make or break a beginners enthusiasm to our wonderful (and IMO the best) hobby in the Universe. I always make it a point to introduce myself to new members or newcomers to the hobby at our club meetings.

To me, an astronomy club should cover multiple facets of our hobby.. outreach.. telescope making.. AP.. and of course, eating donuts :grin: One of my mentors, Ron Ravneberg, called our club a "loose confederation of interests" and mentioned that it was ideal. I would think clubs too focused on one thing (AP, an observatory, outreach) run the risk of falling apart. This is just my humble opinion. Kind of like diversifying investments. Putting all one's eggs in one basket is not good.

And the foundation of any club no matter what the club focuses on should be welcoming new people to the fold with encouragement to maintain the future health of the club and more importantly, the hobby.

You seemed to have found that type of club.

Jason






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