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You want cheaper equipment? Another perspective.

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#26 John Kuraoka

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

A lot of factors have to align - or be actively aligned - to reach out to youngsters.

For instance, my son's elementary school has very well-attended star parties about twice a year, put on by a local club. So, yes, it takes club members willing to do outreach. But it also takes a principal willing to open the school after hours and manage the staff and volunteers for the event (and the clean-up afterwards). At my son's school, the fifth-grade class sells refreshments as a fundraiser, so the event serves a dual purpose.

But even with all that work, the star party last week was cancelled due to rain!

Whether it'll be rescheduled depends on whether there'll be another non-school night (so the kids can stay up late) with a reasonably dark sky, at a time when the club members and school staff can get together.

#27 Stew57

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

One factor is the amount of light pollution that we have today. When people cannot see a single star for the LP they have l,ittle notice of thing related to astronomy. My inlaws in CO had a group of Japanese students to the house in CO mountains. The first night there they just stared at the sky and was amazed at the stars. They said they had never seen anything like that before.

#28 BlueGrass

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

I've seen similar reactions to being under 'a bowl of stars'... So many people that live in city and urban areas have never had the opportunity to use binoculars or a telescope under truly pristine skies. If there was a way to conduct most outreach programs under similar conditions .... these are the lifetime memory events...

#29 oo_void

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

BTW ... Seems that someone removed my post and picture of my daughter on this thread. Not cool admins! If you're going to do so, at least message me. Otherwise I get worried about how much other "editorial" control is going on.

#30 Footbag

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

BTW ... Seems that someone removed my post and picture of my daughter on this thread. Not cool admins! If you're going to do so, at least message me. Otherwise I get worried about how much other "editorial" control is going on.


This thread got split and half of it appears locked. The picture of your dayghter is in the other thread under the same title. Still visible, but locked. Great picture BTW.

#31 cheapersleeper

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:23 PM

Considering that a large percentage of Americans consider Scientists and Science to be "corrupt" charlatans trying to dupe the American people via the Media, I am not at all surprised that there is little interest in Science in this country. What goes around comes around and I don't see how we in the US can wage a war to discredit science and simultaneously do a good job of getting our kids interested in it

Regards,
Brad

#32 starrancher

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

Mikey ! Are you out there ? What happened to you ? The humorous posts about us being cynical Germans is gone ! OMG ! WGOH !
:foreheadslap: :stooges: :4

#33 mikey cee

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:16 AM

Dave they probably think w'ere an arm of the N--------- S------- party! :confused: Never have been. You? :lol: Mike

#34 starrancher

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:20 AM

Dave they probably think w'ere an arm of the Nationalist Socialist party! :confused: Never have been. You? :lol: Mike


Are you kidding , I'm a staunch conservative !
Stars and Bars all the way ! :lol:

#35 mikey cee

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:27 AM

Any ways I'm over on Classics getting hit in the Observing in the 60's 70's. Little sense of humor there too. :help: Mike

#36 starrancher

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:31 AM

I think my sense of humor is getting misinterpreted . I know that I don't come out of the cookie cutter mold and am somewhat unorthodoxed but nonetheless saw nothing but a grand old thread goin on . I'm puzzled that a touch of humor here and there seems to be frowned upon .
To all concerned , please forgive my shortcomings . :crazy:

#37 tecmage

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

Okay, I took a look into what happened. Some posts were removed because they violated to the TOS. Depending on how we remove posts from threads, we can remove more posts than we intend.

BTW, If you have a question about moderator, contact a Mod.

Yes, the Mods and Admins DO have senses of humor.

#38 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:03 AM

I have to agree, in my case. I'm very exhuberant about astronomy, so people know I'm interested. However, if they show no interest in spending some time looking thru my scope(s); then I will not push my hobby onto them. I also live alone in a secluded area, so am not willing to have people that I do not know, come to my place; so I don't "advertise" astronomy when I'm in town. The club here that I used to belong to, was comprised of men that used the "meetings", to discuss everything BUT astronomy. After driving approx. 60 miles roundtrip for meetings, I finally quit the club.

I absolutely enjoy it when someone does visit (several CN'rs have), as observing then is completely different from observing alone; but I also enjoy the solitude of just taking it all in, by myself.



I enjoy observing in solitude, that is my preferred mode.

I also enjoy sharing the night sky with others, doing various sorts of outreach. But my goal is not to proselytize amateur astronomy as a hobby, I do it because I enjoy people and I enjoy sharing their excitement as they look through an eyepiece for the first time at Jupiter or the Pleiades. I have no ulterior motive, I am not trying to attract new converts to this wonderful pursuit, my desire is only that moment of sharing the beauty and wonder of the universe.

I imagine that for some, those few moments at the eyepiece will be something they remember for the rest of their days, it's a shared gift, we are both giving, both receiving. Gifts are best if they are freely given with no expectations.

Jon

#39 John Carruthers

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

>>... I asked for help from the local astro community and got.....absolute zero...nada interest. As a result I had to drop out of the idea...<<

I'm sad to hear that. Our local AS SEKAS (and many others) help out at several schools and have members happy to give talks and demos to any interested group.
We are fortunate to have some inspired science teachers in our area who are willing to take up their student's interest in astronomy either at gcse level or as extra curricular activities.
Stargazing Live was a great success round here despite the weather and it brought the usual spurt of interest. Lots of xmas scopes to advise on and help set up.
The Sky at Night and Horizon help keep the profile of astronomy up too.

#40 astro_baby

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:45 AM

Yes, it was sad John. I was a bit depressed about it at the time. But i still do outreach in a small way. I am a mobile observer so When ai set up on some hilside if anyone wanders pastand asks I will let them have a look atp stuff. About two years ago a pile of hill walkers were doing a walk at night as I was using my Mak. Gave them alla view of Saturn and they were amazed at what could be seen.

Similarly when I go camping i let other tents know I will be out late but of they happen by they are welcome to a look. I let them know ai am out late so they arent alarmed by low voices and the cliink of stuff inthe early hours.

Always had enthusiastic responses from people and you never know you could be introducing a life long interest to someone.

guildford AS do outreach as wel,and if I can I take one of my scopes along just so they have an extra scope for people to look through.

I dont do astro societies I am afraid......they are often too political.

#41 csrlice12

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

Outreach is not for everyone. Some folks have really hectic lives and time at the eyepiece is precious. Others simply prefer solitude, quiet, and time to reflect for themselves. I don't know of any other hobby that demands outreach as a condition of participation. Why does astronomy but not woodworking, gardening, butterfly collecting, fishing or any other liesure time activity?
dan


Well said. For me, Astronomy is very personal and I like to image/observe alone. Outreach is not my thing.


When fishing, outreach to the fish is kind of the idea...never was much good convincing them to bite the hook though..... :lol: Buy yea, I agree. I'm not a real social person, even outside of astronomy. I do most of my viewing alone as I prefer it; however, I do enjoy the occasional Dark Sky weekend though. Oddly enough, I see some of the same people I see at that scope shop...kinda like a scene out of Close Encounters....

#42 CounterWeight

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

If the question is, does outreach increase scope sales... difficult question. The US economy went reeling after finding out that money was something real, and we still have not recovered from the 'casino economy', and I'm unsure about what if any lessons learned. Basing on prior 20-30 years may be faulty as I think most of that was abstract credit dollars and not something folks saved real $ to buy. Maybe actual sales with real money are better reflected in the last 2 to 3 years (this includes the 'used' market).

On the other aspect, education... well we are struggling there mightily and I think it does require a certain minimum education for astronomy and other sciences to be seen as important and not abstract or elitist, and the leasure time for curiousity to be indulged. We've become a country dominated by cheap things, not inexpensive quality things - this I see as a huge paradigm shift in my lifetime. As for me I'd love to see inexpensive of a reasonable minimum quality.

So in a reverse way I'd postulate that the years prior to 2008 (specifically mid 90's to ~2009) were the unreliable numbers and the recent few the more accurate.

With respect to the infomation age I think owning and using a scope is the odd 'better off' person, as it was long ago. Many feel it sufficient to mouse click their way to whatever it is, watch a TV program, electronic media is changing a lot of things. The last few outreaches I did in the city, most were busy factoid checking everything on their smartphones and viewing through the ep was 'interesting' more in the sense of what it could do in reality, but this was more a 'vs.' what the emedia had - and what it had was a lot more in ways.

There is a thread in the stellar media forum about hardcopy books vs digital version where it's postulated that books wil disappear eventually because of the digital information and media, perhaps telescope sales are being impacted in a similar way?

I grew up reading books and looking through the eyepiece. The images from satellites... Pioneer to Hubble and others, I can see far more intimate detail in those images (and it obsoleted all previous earth based imagery I had)- though in a different way. But the reality is it is information and is not abstract as it's based on direct experience in a way. In a large way, I think that may have an impact, and perhaps the notion because telescopes are not being used to access visual information there is less interest - may be misguided on our part?

Just throwing all this out there.

#43 Lorence

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

So do I think the future is hopeful? I don't think the hobby will die, but it is going to change. The days of pure visual observing are slowly fading as technology brings in new aspects of doing the hobby. If prices can be lowered the hobby will continue to move to imaging as light pollution continues to grow with the population. That means higher costs to get to dark sites or on outlays of equipment. That will mean income is needed and most adults starting out in life do not have the extra income. In the end it's just a guess and time will tell.


What counts as pure visual observing? An eyepiece? What of an electronic eyepiece?

I observe exclusively with cameras. Depending on the brightness of the object I am either viewing live video, integrated video or CCD exposures ranging from two thousandths of a second to two minutes. Other than the live stacking of a series of exposures I don't do any image processing. The stacking procedure is live. I see the individual images as they come from the camera and watch as they build up a cleaner stacked image. Stacking filters out the electronic noise made by the camera just like a Light Pollution filter filters out the visual noise made by all the lights.

Nobody will ever convince me that the image in an eyepiece is any purer than what I see on a screen. To my way of thinking the camera simply amplifies the the visual signal to help me see better, just as a hearing aid amplifies sound to help some hear better.

Would anyone suggest to a person that is hard of hearing not to use a hearing aid because the sound is not pure, it has been amplified and therefor is not really the original sound?

Of course not, but many eyepiece observers would swear that my kind of observing is not really observing. As a matter of fact some will go out of their way to discourage my kind of observing.

The irony is the video cameras I use work every well in light polluted areas. People can see more with a video camera in their light polluted back yard than they can see if they took their telescope to a dark sight and used an eyepiece.

Why on earth would anyone interested in astronomy discourage electronic viewing? I have no ides, but I have seen it happen many times. Bring up the topic of electronic viewing on a visual forum and watch the fur fly.

The future is in electronics. It will take some time though. As for cost, cameras are expensive now but then look at how much one can spend on eyepieces.

When enough cameras are being sold to attract the interest of the major manufactures the prices of cameras will drop substantially. I can see the price of cameras being lower than eyepieces eventually.

#44 StarStuff1

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

Yo Lorence,

This is the reason that most of my observing is done with my IIE (Image Intensifier Eyepiece) and various filters. I can see stuff from ny surburban yard that are near to invisible from a dark, pristine site hours away. Not everyone enjoys it. Complaints about "green sprinkles" when using a photographic Ha filter. But, I learned the hard way that IIE viewing is not for kids. Since I do a fair amount of outreach I do use a video camera quite often. Everyone with some vision can see a monitor.

Agreed, electronics will rule the future of our beloved hobby.

#45 jrbarnett

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

They are remaking Cosmos. I wonder why. It's Fox, even, doing the remake. PBS did the original. How's that for contrast?

I doubt that they'd bother unless they felt that there would be an audience for it, and they could make a buck. I also applaud them for finally branching out into non-fiction. A first for Fox, I'm pretty sure. :grin:

- Jim

#46 starrancher

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

So do I think the future is hopeful? I don't think the hobby will die, but it is going to change. The days of pure visual observing are slowly fading as technology brings in new aspects of doing the hobby. If prices can be lowered the hobby will continue to move to imaging as light pollution continues to grow with the population. That means higher costs to get to dark sites or on outlays of equipment. That will mean income is needed and most adults starting out in life do not have the extra income. In the end it's just a guess and time will tell.


What counts as pure visual observing? An eyepiece? What of an electronic eyepiece?

I observe exclusively with cameras. Depending on the brightness of the object I am either viewing live video, integrated video or CCD exposures ranging from two thousandths of a second to two minutes. Other than the live stacking of a series of exposures I don't do any image processing. The stacking procedure is live. I see the individual images as they come from the camera and watch as they build up a cleaner stacked image. Stacking filters out the electronic noise made by the camera just like a Light Pollution filter filters out the visual noise made by all the lights.

Nobody will ever convince me that the image in an eyepiece is any purer than what I see on a screen. To my way of thinking the camera simply amplifies the the visual signal to help me see better, just as a hearing aid amplifies sound to help some hear better.

Would anyone suggest to a person that is hard of hearing not to use a hearing aid because the sound is not pure, it has been amplified and therefor is not really the original sound?

Of course not, but many eyepiece observers would swear that my kind of observing is not really observing. As a matter of fact some will go out of their way to discourage my kind of observing.

The irony is the video cameras I use work every well in light polluted areas. People can see more with a video camera in their light polluted back yard than they can see if they took their telescope to a dark sight and used an eyepiece.

Why on earth would anyone interested in astronomy discourage electronic viewing? I have no ides, but I have seen it happen many times. Bring up the topic of electronic viewing on a visual forum and watch the fur fly.

The future is in electronics. It will take some time though. As for cost, cameras are expensive now but then look at how much one can spend on eyepieces.V

When enough cameras are being sold to attract the interest of the major manufactures the prices of cameras will drop substantially. I can see the price of cameras being lower than eyepieces eventually.


That camera discussion is old long ago .

#47 mikey cee

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

:gotpopcorn: :gotpopcorn: :smirk:

#48 Tom Polakis

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:01 AM


The future is in electronics. It will take some time though. As for cost, cameras are expensive now but then look at how much one can spend on eyepieces.

When enough cameras are being sold to attract the interest of the major manufactures the prices of cameras will drop substantially. I can see the price of cameras being lower than eyepieces eventually.




Video astronomy may indeed be the future, which will ensure that people spend even more of their waking hours staring at glowing rectangles.

Tom

#49 Dan Watt

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:26 AM

I'm 26 and I've been in this hobby for a little over three or four years now. I'm party of two of the local astro clubs and while I have seen people my age or younger on occasion, I've never seen them more than once. And I'm out there at least twice a month.

From time to time I have asked plenty of friends if they would like to come with, and most of the time there is a complete lack of interest. Friends range from, for lack of a better word, nerds, all the way to friends of mine in punk or metal bands. Even the people that own Cosmos on DVD, constantly post astro news on their Facebook and know plenty about astronomy express little interest in actually going out to observe (to contrast, the one person that usually likes to go was the singer to a party themed grindcore band).

Why? It isn't time. I've seen them spend a whole weekend playing videogames or hiking or whatever. I don't think its money either, while telescopes aren't exactly dirt cheap a simple dob or set of binos isn't going to break the bank. The interest is there too.

So what is missing? I really don't have a clue. You could say that their attention span is too low. But mine is too! Or at least was but this hobby (and especially astrophotography) has taught me a good deal of patience over the years, but I still got hooked.

I just asked my girlfriend who is 24 what she thinks. "Fuzzy blobs aren't very stimulating".

Maybe thats just it. I mean, I don't accept that at all for a second myself but maybe that is all there is to the general disinterest exhibited by my peers.

#50 Raginar

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Dan,

Not a lot of 'kids' around your age can afford the hobby. Or, they're too busy huntng/hiking/traveling/fishing/doing manly pursuits. At least, that's what I get out of the community I'm apart of.






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