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Chucky
sage
*****

Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: BDS316]
      #5816955 - 04/23/13 08:06 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.


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Chucky
sage
*****

Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5816957 - 04/23/13 08:07 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'.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: gatorengineer]
      #5816988 - 04/23/13 08:30 AM

Quote:

no giant dobs....




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


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Chucky]
      #5817051 - 04/23/13 09:25 AM

Quote:

<< 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.

Also:

Quote:

<< 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.


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AstronomicsAdministrator
Vendor if you must, AKA The Mighty Kong.
*****

Reged: 06/07/04

Loc: Right Here
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5817140 - 04/23/13 10:28 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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spsesq
super member
*****

Reged: 06/04/11

Loc: New Jersey, USA
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Astronomics]
      #5817252 - 04/23/13 11:27 AM

This was my first NEAF, although I have been in the "hobby" since I was a kid. I had a great time, met some wonderful people and saw a lot of new stuff that I can scrimp, save and hope to buy. I did spend about $1,000 total and got everything I needed ("needed" was a word my wife didn't use)

Just a couple thoughts from a 50 year old male, husband and father of a 17 year old son. All three of us went to NEAF this year.

As to why there are only 45-50 year old males in the hobby, my observations are as follows: 1) 45-50 year old males were the 5-12 year olds from 1969-1975 when Apollo was all the rage. That's how I got into astronomy at a young age; 2) the 45-50 year old men and women are the ones that can afford (even in this economy) to spend discretionary dollars on telescopes and associated equipment. I am not paying for the same things I did when my son was 7-16. I am finished spending dollars on baseball and sports equipment, I am not traveling all over the state for Baseball tournaments and coming home exhausted and too tired to go outside to observe, there are no more birthday parties, Confirmation, sweet 16 or Bar Mitzvah gifts and parties; 3)45-50 year olds now "make time" for our hobby. 10 years ago my son was 7, baseball, soccer, birthdays etc took up all of our time. Now that he is 17, more independent, allowable to go places on his own, there is more time for my wife and I to relax, sit outside with the scope on a nice night and observe. familial obligations change in your late 40's and 50's. That is just the cycle of Life today.

As for today's kids not getting into the hobby, I don't blame light pollution, I blame Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Atari (and us for buying these things for our kids). When we were kids we went outside day and night. We played ball, ran around and would come inside until called by Mom. We were outside in the summer and gazed upwards at the sky all the time. I am lucky in that my son is a science and math kid. He played high school and travel baseball, other sports and is going to college next year for aerospace engineering, but he got interested in astronomy through my and my wife's interest. Nevertheless, he and all his friends still spent hours that could have been outside stargazing playing Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo. I think that's evident in looking at the size of our biggest trade show NEAF v. Comic Con and CES.

Just my opinion as a father...


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kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: BDS316]
      #5817255 - 04/23/13 11:29 AM

This was our first trip to NEAF. I have some impressions from myself and my daughter whom is almost 7.

I understand this is mainly volunteer's and I know they try their best. However, there was little in the way of activities for kids. My daughter was bored in about an hour. The kids booth had little to do. Crayon's and glitter glue only last so long. Young kids need to be kept active. She met another girl and they were asking about the indoor playground which we were told wasn't going to be there.

Al Nagler was very nice to my daughter spoke with her at her level let her touch everything in the booth and even took a picture with her. What a great guy.

My daughter did grind a telescope mirror which she liked and I thank the group who allowed her that priviledge. I liked looking at all of the stuff although quite a bit was out of our price range of folks who stargaze and are fairly new.


Ken


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Astronomics]
      #5817390 - 04/23/13 12:49 PM

Quote:

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.




I do not believe that it will ever die out completely, but even if interest in it almost disappears nothing will go with it that countless amateurs cannot live without, as they did for decades prior. It will once again become a niche interest. The stars will remain.

That said, amateur astronomy does not appear to be in the slightest danger of losing adherents for the foreseeable future... it is vibrant and growing, notwithstanding the average age of its demographic.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5817477 - 04/23/13 01:23 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




Quote:

I do not believe that it will ever die out completely, but even if interest in it almost disappears nothing will go with it that countless amateurs cannot live without, as they did for decades prior.




Yes, we all can live without CN; but do we really want to? CN is the glue that holds the interest of thousands of members, while promoting astronomy tirelessly. Without the discussions, assistance, etc., you would see many, many members lose interest in astronomy.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5817546 - 04/23/13 01:58 PM

Quote:


Yes, we all can live without CN; but do we really want to? CN is the glue that holds the interest of thousands of members, while promoting astronomy tirelessly. Without the discussions, assistance, etc., you would see many, many members lose interest in astronomy.




I think that by the time CN has ceased to function, amateur astronomy would be on its last legs, so no worries...

It's important to keep in perspective that, while CN is a wonderful and valuable venue, it is at its core a social gathering. This is in sharp contrast to the manner in which the majority of astronomical pursuits by amateurs are pursued: in a solitary fashion. Not every amateur needs to have their astronomical interests stoked by social interaction; many, likely the majority of observers worldwide, have little or no need of a forum like CN to maintain their interest. Everyone marches to a different drum.

Younger observers just coming up rely more heavily on forums like this one, as well as social media, to obtain information and create friendships, so CN looks to have a promising future. Old guys like me are more prone to hang around to answer questions, solve problems and argue with anyone who'll listen about the good old days...


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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: spsesq]
      #5817553 - 04/23/13 01:59 PM

Quote:


As for today's kids not getting into the hobby, I don't blame light pollution, I blame Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Atari (and us for buying these things for our kids). When we were kids we went outside day and night. We played ball, ran around and would come inside until called by Mom. We were outside in the summer and gazed upwards at the sky all the time.




I agree 100%. Kids are more withdrawn into today's electronic gaming and social media world.

About a year ago, my nephew called me over to his computer to show me something "really cool"--Google Sky. "Isn't that cool Uncle Rex? Now you don't have to go outside to look at the stars!".


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5817605 - 04/23/13 02:11 PM

Great anecdote, Rex! A fair percentage of young people have chosen to live in a virtual world, preferring it to the real one just outside their door. Yet another seduction via technology that does not bode well for the future...

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Jim Lafferty
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/30/07

Loc: Southern California
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5817726 - 04/23/13 02:59 PM

With regard to the women in the hobby---go solar! They love it AND they get to see you at night!

Jim


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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Astronomics]
      #5818003 - 04/23/13 05:09 PM

Hopefully your group will be there next year:)

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Fred1
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: Somewhere in the Orion Spur
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Jim Lafferty]
      #5818009 - 04/23/13 05:12 PM

Far too many "exhibitors" in the free raffles. They were there at Astro-Physics, Stellarvue and OPT that I saw, shamelessly dangling their exhibitor tags standing with the unwashed anxiously awaiting the drawing. I guess I don't mind them being in a free raffle as much as I mind them actually winning one or even several (yes, I enter them all).
Every time I see an exhibitor win a free raffle I think that some kid (or maybe even me) would have had their number pulled out of the hat instead. There should be a rule similar to those contests where employees and their relatives can't enter.

Edited by Fred1 (04/23/13 05:21 PM)


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5818491 - 04/23/13 07:29 PM

Quote:

..... In addition to Astronomics, I noted the absence of Orion, Normand Fullum, Charlie Bates, and the Night Sky Network. ....




Astronomics: already discussed at length.

Orion: Has, to the best of my memory, only been at NEAF one year, not sell anything, but to show off some new prototypes. Considering all the guff they got from folks right here on CN, I'm not surprised that they have not returned.

Normand Fullum: Do we still allow French Canadians into the country???

Charlie Bates: Much of his funding for his solar out-reach comes (came?) from NASA. Can you spell "sequestration"? My club has been told by NASA that all speaker requests are up-in-the-air right now.

Night Sky Network: They were suppose to be here? One of their two 'operatives' just retired and NSN also "lives" on NASA out-reach funding, which has been cut.


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: bierbelly]
      #5818511 - 04/23/13 07:37 PM

Quote:



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.




Gee.... I had a friend who finally has a few free bucks, and he bought a nice Celestron C-6 on GoTo mount with two eyepieces for something like $650. That's a pretty good telescope for a price that is lower, in real dollars, than astro gear has ever been.


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hopskipson
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/24/10

Loc: Queens, New Yawk, Light pollut...
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Fred1]
      #5818532 - 04/23/13 07:51 PM

This was my second NEAF and I noticed a big difference from last year. I went on Sunday afternoon because of the weather and my schedule. The solar party was smaller than last year which I attributed to it being late. The attendence seemed lower but again it was 1:30 when I got there. The biggest dissappointments were no Astronomics and no ES trailer. It not being so crowded did make it easier to talk to vendors.
I made the mistake of bringing my small children. It was mentioned that there was to be an obstacle course for the kids. They were bored and the kids corner closed early. It made for a very frenzied buying spree by me with many sour looks from my wife. I did get most of what I went there for and got more info on future purchaces.
I think kids these days just have too many electronic distractions. If you want them to be interested you have to show them you're interested. My 7 year old wants to do everything his dad does.


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: Jim Lafferty]
      #5818535 - 04/23/13 07:52 PM

Quote:

With regard to the women in the hobby---go solar! They love it AND they get to see you at night!

Jim




About a quarter to a third of the members of my astro club are female. They are more interested in the science and observing, and not gear. While you may hear the guys talking about which eyepiece is providing the best performance, the girls are all talking about what's in the eyepiece, how cool it is to see, what it really is, how far away it is, etc. The ladies are interested in astronomy, but they not gearheads. They are not really concerned with having the best scope on the field. It just has to work OK.


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: NEAF observations... new [Re: George N]
      #5818561 - 04/23/13 08:07 PM

One of the reasons for the amateur astronomy community’s high number of middle age men is that over the last 10 to 15 years a new group has been coming into the hobby that is in that age demographic. These are the technocrats: MDs, scientists, engineers, whose kids are out of the house, and who are no longer healthy enough for ‘extreme sports’, and such. They are looking for a cool new hobby that fits in with their technical skills, and they have found it: CCD imaging! Many of the imagers I’ve run into were not into astronomy as a hobby before the CCD, computers, GoTo, drew then in. Their interest in visual observing is often limited.

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