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operascope
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5796309 - 04/13/13 10:13 AM

If I had to choose, I'd pick S&T, however, the differences are less than they used to be. They both seemed to have moved towards a common ground.
However, S&T has "Deep Sky Wonders" by Sue French as well as Gary Seronik's "Telescope Workshop".

As it is, I don't choose. I get both, as well as SkyNews.


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Starman1
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: operascope]
      #5796777 - 04/13/13 03:08 PM

If you are a magazine reader, you probably subscribe to more than one magazine.

Amateur Astronomy is a fun quarterly with articles about stargazing, star parties, and lots of observing-related stuff.

Astronomy and Sky & Telescope are both aimed at the amateur without a lot of science and physics background.

I think Astronomy Now is a little shallower than either Astronomy or S&T.
And Sky News is a little too beginner-oriented.

Astronomy Technology Today will keep you up to date on the hardware of our hobby.

Scientific American usually has at least one good astronomy-related article each month.

Discover has astronomy-related news stories.

Nature occasionally has an astronomy article.

What we lack is an astronomy magazine for the people with science backgrounds that feel comfortable looking at a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and know what a 'horizontal branch' is.
I think ALL the popular astronomy magazines are aimed at beginners, or at least people who have been in the hobby only a few years.
Where is the astronomy magazine for the person with a good working knowledge of astrophysics?

So I used to read Astrophysical Journal, but so many of the long articles are a study of one star cluster or one nebula. And while they can be quite informative, the sheer number of them is mind-boggling, and the magazine is quite expensive.

Then I discovered http://arxiv.org/archive/astro-ph and I was finally able to read whatever I wanted or was interested in. You can keep up with the latest findings (I often read the studies before Space.com reports them).

I find myself wondering, though, what the optimum astronomy magazine would be, and here is what I'd like to see:
--Three to five hardcore astrophysics articles per issue.
--Three to five articles about observing targets beyond the basic 500 beginner objects.
--A few pages devoted to astronomy news
--an article or two on some aspect of astrophotography
--An ATM column/article
--a 'What's in the sky this month' article
--Three to Five equipment reviews, in depth
--An article about star parties, astronomy conventions, upcoming observational events

The above magazine would be expensive, and probably twice or more the thickness of the current S&T, and probably cost $100/year. And I'd trip over myself to subscribe asap. i don't expect I'll ever see it.
But, if it existed, it would have to be an on-line magazine. Print mags are just becoming too expensive to print and mail, alas. We see it every year as magazines disappear or get thinner and thinner. Sigh.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5797229 - 04/13/13 05:46 PM

Don! What a great site, thanks for the link!
May a big fat blessing settle on your head.


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GeneT
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5797336 - 04/13/13 07:03 PM

Excellent post Don!

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amicus sidera
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5797577 - 04/13/13 10:20 PM

Quote:

What we lack is an astronomy magazine for the people with science backgrounds that feel comfortable looking at a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and know what a 'horizontal branch' is.
I think ALL the popular astronomy magazines are aimed at beginners, or at least people who have been in the hobby only a few years.
Where is the astronomy magazine for the person with a good working knowledge of astrophysics?





We had one; but it stopped fitting the above description long ago, in my opinion.

It seems to me that one of the after-effects of the hyperbole surrounding the return of Halley's Comet in 1986 has been a steady downward trend, a "dumbing-down", insofar as a basic knowledge of astrophysics among amateurs is concerned. When the masses (and their money) became interested in amateur astronomy, the studied, scientific and contemplative aspects of it died for the most part, in my opinion.

I had more to say, but...


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RocketScientist
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Reged: 08/28/08

Loc: California (East Bay area)
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5797736 - 04/14/13 12:36 AM

Quote:

What we lack is an astronomy magazine for the people with science backgrounds that feel comfortable looking at a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and know what a 'horizontal branch' is.

I think ALL the popular astronomy magazines are aimed at beginners, or at least people who have been in the hobby only a few years.

Where is the astronomy magazine for the person with a good working knowledge of astrophysics?




I've felt this way for a long time. Thanks for confirming that I'm not the only one in that particular boat.

The issue isn't limited to astronomy. I think the average ham radio operator today doesn't know as much about electronics as was typical 25+ years ago. There is no modern equivalent of the wonderful Computer Shopper of the 1990's, which was a great mix of ads for anything imaginable, technical articles, and the fluffier marketing & review stuff and was over an inch thick every month(!)

I suspect it's true in other fields as well.

Quote:

I find myself wondering, though, what the optimum astronomy magazine would be, and here is what I'd like to see:
--Three to five hardcore astrophysics articles per issue.
--Three to five articles about observing targets beyond the basic 500 beginner objects.
--A few pages devoted to astronomy news
--an article or two on some aspect of astrophotography
--An ATM column/article
--a 'What's in the sky this month' article
--Three to Five equipment reviews, in depth
--An article about star parties, astronomy conventions, upcoming observational events




I'd pay $100 a year for that.

The one other thing I'd suggest adding is at least one detailed scientific article every month summarizing recently-discovered knowledge about the Solar System based on Earth-orbiting and interplanetary spacecraft. Let's not get so hung up on astrophysics that we neglect the part of the universe closest to us!


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Kraus
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Reged: 03/10/12

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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: RocketScientist]
      #5797787 - 04/14/13 01:56 AM


I subscribe to both. I remember in the eighties when 'Astronomy' had their 'Backyard Astronomer' column. But at the time, I was an astrophotographer-kind-of-guy. Things have changed.

And folks if we aren't happy with either publication, we are free to start our own.


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beatlejuice
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5797826 - 04/14/13 03:37 AM

Quote:

We had one; but it stopped fitting the above description long ago, in my opinion.




That is one of the reasons I enjoy reading the older issues. The science is kind of old but there is still a lot of meat there in many of the articles and it does provide a historical link as to how we got to where we are now. Still fascinating stuff old or not. I have found myself on more than one occasion reading a 25-35 year old book review and then racing to Amazon or some other site to see if it is still available.

Eric


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rmollise
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5798095 - 04/14/13 11:00 AM

Quote:



We had one; but it stopped fitting the above description long ago, in my opinion.

It seems to me that one of the after-effects of the hyperbole surrounding the return of Halley's Comet in 1986 has been a steady downward trend, a "dumbing-down", insofar as a basic knowledge of astrophysics among amateurs is concerned. When the masses (and their money) became interested in amateur astronomy, the studied, scientific and contemplative aspects of it died for the most part, in my opinion.

I had more to say, but...




That's the way some old-timers remember the past. The reality is a little different...


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5798285 - 04/14/13 01:13 PM

Quote:

I have found myself on more than one occasion reading a 25-35 year old book review and then racing to Amazon or some other site to see if it is still available.




That happens to me a lot. Then, in the 35 year old book's bibliography, I find other, even older books on the subject I'd never heard of before, and then it's back to Amazon...


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amicus sidera
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5799091 - 04/14/13 06:49 PM

Quote:


That's the way some old-timers remember the past. The reality is a little different...




The reality is that many more telescopes are being sold now, but their users are generally far less knowledgeable than in the past.


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rmollise
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5800154 - 04/15/13 10:17 AM

Quote:



The reality is that many more telescopes are being sold now, but their users are generally far less knowledgeable than in the past.




That may or may not be a reality. I'd say "not."

What is a reality? Sky and Telescope is not the ApJ, never has been, and has never been intended to be the ApJ--no matter what some folks "remember."

It does, however, cover astronomy in a fashion like nobody else in the world and remains interesting for the professional as well as accessible for the amateur.


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BSJ
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Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Grand Isle, VT
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stevecoe]
      #5800243 - 04/15/13 11:07 AM

Quote:

Can either of them be read by a person who has a WinXp computer? I have no interest in any of the other readers mentioned.

Thanks;
Steve Coe




S&T can be downloded as PDF.


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LivingNDixie
TSP Chowhound
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Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Trussville, AL
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: Starman1]
      #5800704 - 04/15/13 02:25 PM

Quote:

If you are a magazine reader, you probably subscribe to more than one magazine.

Amateur Astronomy is a fun quarterly with articles about stargazing, star parties, and lots of observing-related stuff.

Astronomy and Sky & Telescope are both aimed at the amateur without a lot of science and physics background.

I think Astronomy Now is a little shallower than either Astronomy or S&T.
And Sky News is a little too beginner-oriented.

Astronomy Technology Today will keep you up to date on the hardware of our hobby.

Scientific American usually has at least one good astronomy-related article each month.

Discover has astronomy-related news stories.

Nature occasionally has an astronomy article.

What we lack is an astronomy magazine for the people with science backgrounds that feel comfortable looking at a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, and know what a 'horizontal branch' is.
I think ALL the popular astronomy magazines are aimed at beginners, or at least people who have been in the hobby only a few years.
Where is the astronomy magazine for the person with a good working knowledge of astrophysics?

So I used to read Astrophysical Journal, but so many of the long articles are a study of one star cluster or one nebula. And while they can be quite informative, the sheer number of them is mind-boggling, and the magazine is quite expensive.

Then I discovered http://arxiv.org/archive/astro-ph and I was finally able to read whatever I wanted or was interested in. You can keep up with the latest findings (I often read the studies before Space.com reports them).

I find myself wondering, though, what the optimum astronomy magazine would be, and here is what I'd like to see:
--Three to five hardcore astrophysics articles per issue.
--Three to five articles about observing targets beyond the basic 500 beginner objects.
--A few pages devoted to astronomy news
--an article or two on some aspect of astrophotography
--An ATM column/article
--a 'What's in the sky this month' article
--Three to Five equipment reviews, in depth
--An article about star parties, astronomy conventions, upcoming observational events

The above magazine would be expensive, and probably twice or more the thickness of the current S&T, and probably cost $100/year. And I'd trip over myself to subscribe asap. i don't expect I'll ever see it.
But, if it existed, it would have to be an on-line magazine. Print mags are just becoming too expensive to print and mail, alas. We see it every year as magazines disappear or get thinner and thinner. Sigh.





You lost me at 3 to 5 articles on astro physics. I usually read those kinds of articles last in any of the magazines. I also don't care for equipment reviews anymore in the glossy magazines since they are generally weak on substance. I would rather have articles on observing, star parties and sky events. I like the science based articles, but the ones I prefer deal with current spacecraft in the solar system. I just skim anything about astro physics and cosmology.


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LivingNDixie
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: rmollise]
      #5800749 - 04/15/13 02:44 PM

Quote:

Quote:



The reality is that many more telescopes are being sold now, but their users are generally far less knowledgeable than in the past.




That may or may not be a reality. I'd say "not."

What is a reality? Sky and Telescope is not the ApJ, never has been, and has never been intended to be the ApJ--no matter what some folks "remember."

It does, however, cover astronomy in a fashion like nobody else in the world and remains interesting for the professional as well as accessible for the amateur.




Agreed!


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: okieav8r]
      #5801419 - 04/15/13 08:13 PM

Quote:

Best thing to do is pick up a few copies of each and decide for yourself.




This is the only way to make a decision between these two magazines. Maybe buy both off the stands for a couple of months. You may decide to subscribe to both. On stand per each copies are quite expensive. You could call both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope and they will mail you an issue month by month until you decide.

One last point. This post is nearing nearly 1,800 views and more than 54 posts. Most subscribers have an opinion on what specific content should be included. It is extremely challenging for the editors to know what readers of a large circulation magazine prefer, and to lay in the content accordingly. Scientific readership surveys are expensive. And, they would only measure the current readership--not the potential readership of non-scribers to encourage them to subscribe.

I agree that the editors of both Sky and Telescope and Astronomy have done fairly well in sorting all this out.

However, there are some even larger issues on the horizon. Newspapers and magazines are moving to mobile applications. Both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope offer apps for their subscribers. The business models are problematic for mobile apps. How to generate ad revenue from mobile apps is not as cut and dried as with their printed counterparts.

It is not clear on how all this will sort out.


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RocketScientist
super member


Reged: 08/28/08

Loc: California (East Bay area)
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: GeneT]
      #5801788 - 04/15/13 11:42 PM

Quote:

I agree that the editors of both Sky and Telescope and Astronomy have done fairly well in sorting all this out.




I think that S&T is doing a fine job of being the dominant general-purpose astronomy magazine. I have no plans to stop subscribing.

However, I do think there's an opportunity for a smaller-circulation, higher cost magazine (which might have to be digital-only) along the lines that we've been discussing. I am not suggesting that S&T try to turn itself into such a publication.

I don't want the ApJ, but something in-between the ApJ and S&T.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: RocketScientist]
      #5801934 - 04/16/13 02:37 AM

I'd like to take Icarus; but it's way too rich for my wallet.

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droid
rocketman
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Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5802048 - 04/16/13 06:59 AM

Amateur: someone who does something for the love of it.

That's me.

If physics is your bag , that's great but I get head ache trying to wrap my brain around it.
I like the beginners articles, the atm articles

And I think if we as a community want to get the next generation of amateur astronomers to engage in the hobby we need magazines to make it laymen understandable.

Edited by droid (04/16/13 07:00 AM)


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Starman1
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? [Re: droid]
      #5802348 - 04/16/13 11:09 AM

Quote:

Amateur: someone who does something for the love of it.

That's me.

If physics is your bag , that's great but I get head ache trying to wrap my brain around it.
I like the beginners articles, the atm articles

And I think if we as a community want to get the next generation of amateur astronomers to engage in the hobby we need magazines to make it laymen understandable.



Well, we already have that---in spades!

What we don't have is a magazine for an amateur who's been doing this for decades and has a decent working knowledge of astrophysics.

I love the website, for instance, with spectra of a couple hundred planetary nebulae because I can read the spectrum and know which filter will work best on that nebula.
I can look at a transmission spectrum for a filter and know how it will perform in the field (if I can find the spectrum).

I'm far from alone.

So where is the magazine that publishes that information for either?

It doesn't exist unless you want to read ApJ for the former and perhaps some website on the latter.

The point is that a beginner gets challenged to learn a lot of things in order to comprehend the magazines that are out there. At some point, though, everything is comprehensible and nothing is pushing you to learn more as it did in the beginning. You could write the articles.
But what if you want to keep learning and pushing your comprehension of the subject matter even further? I guess today we have the internet and books to push further when we want to. But it would be nice if there were a magazine that pushed us to learn like we had to when we first started reading S&T. A magazine that takes a whole month to read and comprehend instead of a half hour.

I certainly don't want to do away with any magazine that's already there. I just want one that's more advanced. The problem is that the size of the market may mean it can't be viable.


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