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#1 BDS316

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:02 AM

This was my third NEAF.

The first thing I noticed was the relative lack of decent quality budget eyepieces. I was looking for some outreach eyepieces like Sterling plossls, Paradigms, expanse clones, but none to be had.

The other thing I noticed was some new competitiors in the premium dob arena. Rob Teeter revealed his 10 inch travel dob, and Gordon Waite announced that in addition to mirror making, he has now thrown his hat into the telescope making business. And New Moon Telescopes displayed some pretty scopes as well. hopefully some competition will be a good thing for us consumers.

Speaking of us consumers, the demographic at this year's NEAF was overwhelmingly males in the 45ish and above age bracket. Very few kids and very few ladies. Kind of makes me concerned about the future of our hobby.

#2 hfjacinto

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

I had my kids there :)

Most kids where in the kids corner, but this hobby tends to be 45 and older. Look at astronomy clubs, most are older males.

#3 dawziecat

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

Look at astronomy clubs, most are older males.


But why is this so?

I fell head over heels into astronomy when I was 10 years old. Why are today's ten year olds not blown away by the universe as I was when I was a kid too many years ago? :question:

When I did my graduate degree in astro, a third of the small class were female. Where are the ladies?

#4 hfjacinto

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:37 AM

Actually professionally, a lot of ladies are at work. Go to the universities and as many females as males are professionals, our club has lots of female members, but when it comes to gear, I see the guys going nuts.

We had a professional astronomer talk at our club and the funniest comment she made is "I have never looked through a telescope". You would assume she did, but she gets images downloaded for her by a telescope operator, so maybe its a gear thing.

#5 Pinbout

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:52 AM

but she gets images downloaded for her by a telescope operator, so maybe its a gear thing.



it's a visual observer thing...while we are outside in the cold dark lonely nights poking our eyes into telescopes trying to squeeze out all gathered light to discern any detail in those faint fuzzies, they're home drinking hot chocolate dreaming of romance. :grin:

#6 bierbelly

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:56 AM

This was my third NEAF.

The first thing I noticed was the relative lack of decent quality budget eyepieces. I was looking for some outreach eyepieces like Sterling plossls, Paradigms, expanse clones, but none to be had.

The other thing I noticed was some new competitiors in the premium dob arena. Rob Teeter revealed his 10 inch travel dob, and Gordon Waite announced that in addition to mirror making, he has now thrown his hat into the telescope making business. And New Moon Telescopes displayed some pretty scopes as well. hopefully some competition will be a good thing for us consumers.

Speaking of us consumers, the demographic at this year's NEAF was overwhelmingly males in the 45ish and above age bracket. Very few kids and very few ladies. Kind of makes me concerned about the future of our hobby.


Actually, when I went last year as one of the classic telescope displayers, my impressions of NEAF were disappointing. It seemed geared to UBER-HIGH-END stuff, with very little that even I, who makes decent money, could ever consider buying.

I guess it's a chance for those high-end manufacturers to show off their stuff for the likes of S&T and Ast. magazines to write articles on. I have a hard time believing that a young man with children, unless he's a trust-fund baby, could find much there to take home.

#7 Pinbout

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:01 AM

Actually, when I went last year as one of the classic telescope displayers, my impressions of NEAF were disappointing.



last year was disappointing.

#8 jrcrilly

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:59 PM

I guess it's a chance for those high-end manufacturers to show off their stuff for the likes of S&T and Ast. magazines to write articles on. I have a hard time believing that a young man with children, unless he's a trust-fund baby, could find much there to take home.


I've made the 500 mile drive each year for ten years to see the show. It is, and always has been, largely a trade show; a venue for manufacturers across the globe to show (but not offer for direct sale) what they can do and are doing. Think CES. On the other hand, in recent years there have also been numerous dealers offering onsite sales of gear at levels of more general interest, both new and used, making the show attractive to a much broader audience. Such dealers were very busy this year, as in previous years.

#9 Pinbout

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:34 PM

it would be nice to have the wall where the gallery was as swap tables.

the gallery was nice for a brake in the visual noise of booth after booth, but it would also be nice to have a dedicated area for swapping.

how many posts in the classifieds do you see, will deliver to NEAF?

how to impliment that is a different story. can't have everyone driving up to the loading garage door.

#10 rodney

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:12 PM

Personally, after 7 years at this show I noticed a large number more kids and women than in previous years.

Brian, I agree 100%, I did notice that most bigger dealers had very limited inventory on hand. I spoke to a few vendors and the general premise was that the economy would not allow them to trek truck loads of stuff on a hope and a prayer it would sell.

Explora Dome could have brought two truck loads of domes. Odd year.

Clear skies,

#11 George N

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:32 PM

My impression was that attendance was a little down on Saturday, but much higher on Sunday (compared to the last few years). Perhaps that was because the solar viewing weather was better on Sunday? There were fewer solar scopes, but the views were spectacular.

The speakers were great – at least the one’s I saw. I thought that the talk by “Dr. John M. Grunsfeld, NASA Science Director & Astronaut” was one of the best I’ve ever seen. He is an astronomer who knows what amateurs are up to, and talked mostly about the Hubble repair mission that he was on. I liked Tony Flanders’ talk, and later mentioned to him he should change the title to “Science and astronomy thru time: the last 2000 years”. He agreed that that would be a snazzier title. I attended Al Nagler’s talk on choosing eyepieces. He offered some new info, like he *does* have a Dob, he *does* read CloudyNights, and “the sellers hate me when I say this, but you really only need a few eyepieces. With an SCT you only need two…..” Pluto Killer (aka Dr. Mike Brown) gave a very interesting key-note talk, laced with lots of humor, including saying he was changing the title to “Pluto is still dead, and that’s a good thing”. Finally, there were many thousands of dollars of great stuff in the raffle (none of which I won).

If anything “NEAF pricing” was the best I’ve seen. One general store vendor offered 20% off - no tax, and the others soon followed. I have to agree that this was one of “the best” years for NEAF, and I’ve been to nearly all.

BTW, I saw a number of low-end eyepieces at at least two vendors – things in the sub $50 range. One vendor was selling Ethos at their cost!

#12 DonsDob

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:34 PM

This was my 2nd NEAF. Last year, I enjoyed it but was a little disappointed as a "novice" that there were few binoculars and no 8" dobs on display. Not so this year! Plenty of binos (thanks Oberwerk, Woodland Hills for the Canon IS,and others) and plenty of affordable dobs. THe retail sellers were quite busy and I bought from three. The Sunday solar was great and the speakers I heard were worth the time. Thanks RAC (even thou I won nothing - as usual)

#13 DonMendoza

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:40 PM

This was my first. I'm very happy I went. I brought my son-in-law and we had a great time on Saturday. I bought 5 mm 58 deg Olivon eyepiece based on a review I read here. So far, I got it on the moon later that night and Jupiter too and based on that, it was a very good buy. Tony Flanders was great but I got side tracked and didn't make Al Nagler's. We couldn't stay til Dr. Grunsfeld, but I do plan to return next year.

#14 Doc Willie

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:59 PM

Seemed to me smaller: less crowded, fewer vendors. In addition to Astronomics, I noted the absence of Orion, Normand Fullum, Charlie Bates, and the Night Sky Network. I still had a good time, put in some volunteer hours, picked up most of what I had come to shop for (oh, and just one thing more [SkyFi from the Sky Safari people]), and picked up plenty of outreach materials for the club.

#15 Pinbout

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:05 PM

Orion wasn't there last year either.
Charlie bates is tight with lunt and lunt is tide with allen, who doing the other show now. its curious, but probably just a coincidence.

#16 Astronomics

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:05 PM

An effective 28% off is a great deal. Our normal margins sit in the 12-15% range based on volume.

#17 gatorengineer

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:06 PM

No Astronomics (very disappointing), no Markus Ludes (or I missed him), very limited Explore (certainly no explore 82 degree eps), No Normand Fullum, and worst of all No cloudy nights, no giant dobs....

Very dis-organized entry this year at the open, and lets face it $20 is steep in this economy....

The tone seems to be more make money for the club, than promote the hobby, which is well............

#18 Pinbout

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:19 PM

no giant dobs....



its the second year GreatRedSpot.com didn't show...they must of finally sold that thing. :foreheadslap:


Very dis-organized entry this year at the open, and lets face it $20 is steep in this economy....




that's cause they're working a new electronic system. :question:


he tone seems to be more make money for the club, than promote the hobby, which is well............


to say they're collecting money then promoting the hobby well that's totally off base.

they're just trying to stay alive when traino left after last year. so I'm told there's no handbook on how to run NEAF and allen was the only one who ran it since the beginning till last year.

#19 amicus sidera

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:01 PM

I've made the 500 mile drive each year for ten years to see the show. It is, and always has been, largely a trade show; a venue for manufacturers across the globe to show (but not offer for direct sale) what they can do and are doing.


Must respectfully disagree with your assessment here, John, as I feel that NEAF was not always what it is today. I remember when it was in the Suffern Holiday Inn in the early 1990's, and it bore little resemblance to a trade show... it was much more personable and intimate back then (as was amateur astronomy in those days, I believe).

In the past ten years, yes, that is pretty much what it has become, in my opinion, so we agree on that.

Fred

#20 Astronomics

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:26 AM

We would have loved to have made the trip, but timing was not in my favor this year. I just hope everyone had a grand time and got everything they wanted and expected from the show.

#21 Chucky

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

<< overwhelmingly males in the 45ish and above age bracket. Very few kids and very few ladies. Kind of makes me concerned about the future of our hobby.

Pretty much always been like this and I don't see it changing. We've lasted this far and things seem ok to me.

#22 Chucky

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:07 AM

<< Why are today's ten year olds not blown away by the universe as I was when I was a kid too many years ago? >>

For many, the reason might be called 'Light Pollution'.

#23 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:30 AM

no giant dobs....


For some of us, 20" is giant, but my biggest is only 8".

#24 amicus sidera

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:25 AM

<< Why are today's ten year olds not blown away by the universe as I was when I was a kid too many years ago? >>

For many, the reason might be called 'Light Pollution'.


This. :bow:

Also:

<< overwhelmingly males in the 45ish and above age bracket. Very few kids and very few ladies. Kind of makes me concerned about the future of our hobby.

Pretty much always been like this and I don't see it changing. We've lasted this far and things seem ok to me.


Indeed, the future will take care of itself. This concern is often voiced regarding many hobbies that appeal primarily to older men.

If the large numbers of individuals currently involved with amateur astronomy dwindle considerably in the future, whether due to the demographics of age or simply massive light pollution over heavily-populated areas rendering the stars invisible... what of it? There will always be those who develop this interest regardless, and if the numbers of those currently enjoying the avocation indeed crater, there will be a glut of used instruments and accessories to service the needs of the remaining enthusiasts. No harm, no foul, save for the fortunes of the equipment manufacturers.

#25 Astronomics

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:28 AM

It also effects the companies that sell to this hobby as well as this website. So you all better hope that the hobby doesn't die as everything will go with it.






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