Quote:That's a good question Maya. Maybe it's actually seeing something that very few humans ever get to see directly with their own eyes, knowing it's at a mind chilling distance from Earth. No camera, no computer enhancement, just photons reaching and creating an electrical signal in your retina is a very different experience for me than looking at a photo or a monitor screen. Time and time again, I come across objects I never thought could be seen visually through any telescope, as a recognizable entity. Perhaps visual astronomy is like hunting or fishing, in an indirect way. I enjoy the challenge of locating and observing galaxies and nebulae, many of which are not easy to find, even with large telescopes and digital setting cricles. Especially when you are in a lightpolluted area where the skies are often milky. It's not about success or failure, anytime you get to enjoy time under the stars, no matter where you do it is a success. Astronomy is not a competition after all, there is plenty to go around for everyone.Taras
DreamCatcher Dobservatory/AstroTech 16" dob
Quote:What is it that keeps all of you doing visual astronomy when all those incredible astrophotos are available?
Carol Lakomiak, Tomahawk WIWriting Sky at Night magazine's astrosketch page since June 2009Moon Sketch TutorialSun/DSO Sketch TutorialCN GalleryPhoto Gallery
12 Skywatcher Collapsible Dobsonian (coming soon)
Celestron C102 HD " Carl"
Scope brand 60mmx 700mm " widger scope"
Celestron Comet catcher(orange tube)"Scott"
60mm Telescope Club
Quote:I spoke with a 17 yr old a few months back who told me she was really interested in studying astrophysics. Her school doesn't offer observational astronomy and she really wished they did, but it's not deemed necessary.
Quote:Is there less interest in observational astronomy for women (and men)due in part to those gorgeous astrophotos easily available to most everyone?
First and foremost observing love: naked eye.
Last but not least, telescopes.
And I sometimes dabble with cameras.
Quote:Quote:What is it that keeps all of you doing visual astronomy when all those incredible astrophotos are available?The photos are nice, but for me they're impersonal.Exploring the night sky visually is like getting a soul-massage.
Orion XT8i Dob
9x50 RACI Finder TELRAD Reflex Sight
Agena SWA 38mm 70 FOV 2" EP
Orion 25+10mm Sirius Plossl 52 FOV EP
ES 82* 11mm, 18mm 2" ES 68* 24mm
6mm, 25mm Ortho. EP
Televue 3X Barlow
Filters Baader Continuum, UV/IF cut, Lumicon UHC, DGM OIII.
SkySafari T-Ring and Adaptor for Olympus E-510 Oly sz-14 SteadyPix Deluxe iOptron SkyTracker 7.7lb Electro Dot Sight RD400X
Quote:By contrast I often see guys who seem to make it a race, a competition, a fight for who can do a Messier marathon. Who cares would be my response, its beautiful up there and I dont want to race, compete or bring the hassles of everyday life into it. I want peace and quiet and calm not another competition.
NW Mass, inches from Vermont
(well....it used to say that.....)
Progress and civilization...the good ol' bad ol' days...goes great with a stake... Sorry, I haven't got time to go there again, to launch off-topic and become, "The Thread Killer."
I'm interested in ideas which can encourage others to explore astronomy -- as a hobby or more. Any other ideas or stories to relate of things that help? Maybe some here can carry these with them to share and improve in outreach efforts.
Quote:Frankly I think this hobby tends to attract men who are, shall we say, less testosterone soaked than you would find on a forum about trap shooting or NASCAR or football or even fishing. Astronomy is not an athletic endeavor; it is often a solitary pursuit with no "team" ethic; it demands patience; there's little instant gratification involved; it is rarely competitive, and it tends to attract guys (and gals) who were probably known as nerds in 10th grade. Hardly a big-muscle, beer-swilling macho pursuit.
Friends call me Duane. Compustar C14, Leo Henzl's Custom C8, 6" Refractor Adv. GT mount, 6" F5 Omni XLT Newt., LXD-75 F4 Imaging SN8, Meade 8" F6 Newtonian, EX Dynamax DX6, RV-6 ETX-90 Astro, Meade 2045 4" SCT, B&L 4000 Vixen/Celestron 80mm F11 JC Penny 60mm AZ/ALT Refractor Binos 25x100
Quote:I truly truly wonder if its because guys in general are more prone to find these kinds of pursuits and not because they are necessarily expressions of virility or male ego, but just the chemistry of the male mind.
Quote:Am I wrong or are most sports and hobbies male dominated even if its 60%? Even skiing and scuba is primarily male.
My eyepieces are made from the waste product of exploding stars. 10XTi 102XLT ST80A(2" Focuser) XW: All; XO: 2.58 Televue: Naglers-T1 Smoothside-full set, 17T4,12T4,Ethos 17,4.7; plossels-40,32,20,17,&7.4mm; Pans-22,24mm; Delos-6,8,12,17.3mm ES100: 5.5,9*,14,20 ES82: full set ES68: 16,20,24,34 NLV: 5,9,10,15 Ortho: HD-7,9; OPS-9,12 Meade RG 7mm Other: Pentax 12.5K(.965), 10mm Parks Zoom: Nag3-6 *=on b/o DAS Dark Site
Quote:I have to kind of grumpily admit that I don't much care why astronomy is male-dominated, and certainly am not going to wring my hands over it. There's nothing preventing women and girls from getting into as much as they want, as demonstrated by some of our members, including those who have posted on this very thread. I'm sooooo bored with political correctness. . . which seems to be one of the subtexts here. Ladies, there's the sky, and welcome to it!Bill
Orion XT8i Sears 6333 Refractor Tasco 7TE
Celestron Sky Master 15x70 Binos Orion Sirius 10mm 25mm 32mm UO 7mm HD Ortho Expanse and Agena Astro EWAs 6mm 9mm 15mm Siebert 6.9, 9.9mm StarSplitter (SS) ES 4.7, 6.7 and 11mm 82° N2 Meade 20mm QX70
CPC 9.25 TV 76, 102, NP 101 Unitron 114 Gibraltar mount Half Hitch Mk III SolarMax 90 .7A/B15 Coronado PST Eyepieces from the sublime to the ridiculous
Quote:Perhaps it IS a biological thing, in a small way......even back in pre-history, male hominids were bigger, with more upper-body strength, and more agression (all through the animal world, the boys out-display, head-butt, or otherwise fight it out to win the attention of the girls) and these tendencies led to more willingness or drive to attack other animals. With the discovery that some of these victim animals tasted good, came the beginning of hunting.
Fast forward a few million years, this biological aggression tendency has turned into competition in the workplace, sports, and still a need to head-butt and act flashy (or stupid, depending on point-of-view) to attract the ladies. The hunting instinct that's been with us for a gazillion years has, in our little subset, turned into hunting for galaxies........ The "Hey Oog, look at my fancy new spear" boy-bragging has turned into "look at my fancy new EP"
The astromesses I've met or conversed with seem to view astronomy in a more contemplative than competitive way, and while they usually have quite nice gear, they just don't seem all that driven to win the 'most EP's in the fanciest case' contest.......
that's my two cents on the matter.......
Quote:I kinda think it is biological somehow; men innately like tools/instruments/gadgets/weapons. . . and of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.
Quote:How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).Clear skies,Bill
Telescopes: Meade ETX-125 w/ Autostar II, Meade LX-50 8" w/ Magellan II, Orion ShortTube 90, Celestron Firstscope 114 Binocs: Celestron 15x70 SkyMaster Meade 10x50 WA Travel View JC Penny 10x50 Marine Cameras: SBIG ST237A, Canon 10D DSLR
Quote:Quote:How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).
Israel and soon, USA!
Quote:How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).
Quote:Quote:I truly truly wonder if its because guys in general are more prone to find these kinds of pursuits and not because they are necessarily expressions of virility or male ego, but just the chemistry of the male mind.Several people have suggested that in more or less those words. Let me try to dispose of it once and for all.There is very likely some truth to this statement; however, it is untestable. More to the point, it is not a very helpful way of looking at the isssue. Let me expand.Although there are surely some inherent differences in male and female minds -- or, more precisely, different tendencies or averages -- it's impossible in practice to tell which differences are inherent and which are cultural. It's fair to say that people tend to underestimate the importance of culture; history is littered with differences between different groups that were once assumed to be innate and later proved to be cultural.Quote:Am I wrong or are most sports and hobbies male dominated even if its 60%? Even skiing and scuba is primarily male.Sports are a case in point. There have always been sports that were exclusively female (field hockey) or dominated by women at the highest levels (softball). But fifty years ago it would have been obvious that sports are inherently male-dominated.Now it's not obvious at all. Soccer, the fastest growing sport in the U.S., and one of the few sports that's played the same by both sexes, is definitely more popular among girls than boys in my region of the U.S. Given the current trends, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see women dominating in many sports within the next 50 years.I pointed out a similar example in my first response. Fifty years ago, boys did far better than girls in math and science. Now the reverse is true; girls outperform boys in these subjects at the high-school level, and in some areas of science women outnumber men among PhDs.It's worth noting that everyone in this thread who has suggested that the difference in astronomy particpation is innate has been a man. This is totally unsurprising.Throughout history, when one subgroup has been in a position of greater power than others, the dominant subgroup has always believed that the difference is due to inherent superiority -- whether because they're chosen by God, racially purer, bigger, braver, smarter ... whatever.The subordinate subgroups are generally less enthusiastic about that point of view.But leaving questions of truth aside, it's simply not helpful to say that the difference is innate. That's no more or less helpful than saying that the difference is cultural. Both of those statements are surely true (they are in no way contradictory!), but they're just a way of avoiding asking the hard questions.If there's something innate in male biology -- or something cultural -- that makes men more prone to stargazing than women, what is it? That's the interesting question.