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swalker
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5802458 - 04/16/13 12:17 PM

Or some of you could write an article that suits the content you'd like to see in our magazine and submit it to us for publication. Part of the reason you don't see the content you're looking for is nobody is writing that.



Edited by swalker (04/16/13 06:41 PM)


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5802809 - 04/16/13 02:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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!




But we don't! This interchange just shows how huge the spectrum is.

Half of S&T complaints are from readers who think that it's too technical -- almost incomprehensible. The other half are from readers who think that it's too elementary. There are plenty of people who think it's about right, but naturally they don't complain.

We did once publish a magazine called Night Sky that was genuinely aimed at lay people, making no assumptions about their prior knowledge. It had a very devoted following -- but not enough to keep a magazine alive.

The audience for the magazine that Don is describing would be much smaller, perhaps a few hundred people, or maybe a thousand. I bet that he and I could actually list many of those people's names if we put our minds to it.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5802828 - 04/16/13 02:18 PM

I think the best source for that sort of information is sites like SAO-ADS, the NASA Tech Report Server (not available at the moment), the site Don listed above, and a few others like that. The information Don wants is stt specialized for a regular consumer magazine.

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Kraus
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5802864 - 04/16/13 02:28 PM


I haven't received my May 2013 issue of Astonomy yet. Two messages to Kalmbach publishing resulted in nothing. Not even 'get lost' 'we have your money' 'we don't care'.

But here are two folks from S&T, Herr Walker and Herr Flanders. Guess which magazine I keep.

Hey you two, say hey to Sue.


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herrointment
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5803334 - 04/16/13 06:38 PM

No relation I assure you.

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RocketScientist
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5803798 - 04/17/13 12:44 AM

Quote:

The audience for the magazine that Don is describing would be much smaller, perhaps a few hundred people, or maybe a thousand.




I think Tony is a little pessimistic here, but not much. I am guessing that circulation would be in the low four figures.

Some of this may be the "bell curve" effect; to be interested in the hobby at this level, you need a certain amount of intelligence, education, and dedication. That quickly narrows down to a small group.

Quote:

I bet that he and I could actually list many of those people's names if we put our minds to it.




In other words, the really hard core of most hobbies tends to be a small circle of people who know each other. I used to be active in caving (and I'm still a member of the National Speleological Society though no longer active), and most of the people who are significant figures in caving are personal acquaintances of myself and my husband. The entire NSS membership is around 11,000 people, but of those maybe 1,000 actually come to the national events...and they mostly know each other.

It's no different in amateur astronomy.


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rmollise
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: RocketScientist]
      #5804290 - 04/17/13 10:35 AM

"A few thousand" is four figures. You can't run a major newsstand magazine on that--and the numbers would not be likely to get much better. What you CAN do is start your own small magazine. Tom Clark did it, and Amateur Astronomy continues to this day.

The main reason? Forget the bell curve mumbo-jumbo. It's not because the hoi polloi are "dumb;" it is because of interest. Most amateur astronomers are in the game TO HAVE FUN. And find the "science" articles, as I call them, in Sky and Telescope more than educational enough. In fact, the working pros of my acquaintance find them an excellent way to get up to speed on happenings outside their particular field. I know Sky and Telescope has an honored place next to the ApJ on the shelves of the little library of the physics department where I teach.


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Alvan Clark
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5804512 - 04/17/13 12:54 PM

Quote:


But here are two folks from S&T, Herr Walker and Herr Flanders. Guess which magazine I keep.





Astronomy has forums. Perhaps they'd respond better on those forums.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5804729 - 04/17/13 03:11 PM

Quote:

In fact, the working pros of my acquaintance find them an excellent way to get up to speed on happenings outside their particular field. I know Sky and Telescope has an honored place next to the ApJ on the shelves of the little library of the physics department where I teach.




I search out and download a lot of papers from the web, and I have a lot of books that are compilations of technical scientific papers. Almost every one of them has, in their reference/bibliography section, a reference to one or more S&T articles.

S&T seems to be where the people on the front lines of various astro-endeavors interface with the general public. Guys like Jim Bell regularly write for S&T; and he's one of those people. They say the same stuff they say in their published papers; but they explain it a little more simply for the likes of me.

You can't buy that kind of thing! (Oh wait, yes you can...)


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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5804732 - 04/17/13 03:13 PM

... which makes me wonder: What's the general level of education on the S&T staff? Are you guys all PhD's?

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Zamboni
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5804819 - 04/17/13 04:00 PM

I have to say that while I still like S&T a hair better than Astronomy, it has been adversely shrunk since I started in the hobby 20 years ago. At that time it was about twice as long as it is today, and the articles had a much more technical focus for serious amateur astronomers (especially in the articles for ATMs and in the equipment reviews and how-tos). That was the main thing I LOVED about S&T and why I chose it over Astronomy.

Unfortunately, as the differences between the two magazines shrank I've ditched my S&T subscription in favor of reading the articles that interest me at my local library and subscribing to Astronomy Technology Today. It has the technical equipment and ATM articles that I used to read S&T for, but are now almost entirely gone.

You say that nobody is writing that type of content, but another magazine is publishing it so I have to wonder. Are they not submitting to you because they think you won't publish it because it's "too technical?" If so, S&T's editorial staff is to blame. You can't just sit back on your haunches and expect material to roll in if your magazine has been giving the impression of becoming less technical over the last decade. You have to do more to actively court the content creators instead of shifting the blame to "people not writing that type of content." That type of content IS being written. It's showing up in ATT, websites like this one, and other magazines overseas. I'm pretty sure 95% of the people writing for these other sources would LOVE to be published in S&T.

Sorry to rant, and apologies if I've angered anyone, but I have to call it as I see it.


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rmollise
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Zamboni]
      #5804837 - 04/17/13 04:18 PM

Quote:

It has the technical equipment and ATM articles that I used to read S&T for, but are now almost entirely gone.




I love Astronomy Technology Today--if I didn't, I wouldn't write for it on occasion. BUT...the best ATM articles of _any_ magazine are still in S&T where they are brought to you by telescope maker extraordinaire Gary Seronik. Just the other day I was thinking how remarkable it is that the magazine has maintained such a constant output of high quality ATM articles from the earliest days of "Gleanings" to today's "Telescope Workshop."


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RocketScientist
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5805925 - 04/18/13 12:00 AM

Quote:

"A few thousand" is four figures.




At the risk of being labeled a nitpicker, Tony said, "A few hundred," not "a few thousand".

Quote:

You can't run a major newsstand magazine on that--and the numbers would not be likely to get much better.




No argument there. Both Don and I pointed out that it would probably have to be digital-only.

Quote:

The main reason? Forget the bell curve mumbo-jumbo. It's not because the hoi polloi are "dumb;" it is because of interest. Most amateur astronomers are in the game TO HAVE FUN.




Rod, please re-read what I wrote. I explicitly said "intelligence, education, and dedication". The bell curve applies to all three of these, and the combination leads to a very small group of people up near the apex. There are plenty of highly intelligent people who don't have the slightest knowledge of astrophysics or the slightest interest in astronomy. And that's OK.


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swalker
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: RocketScientist]
      #5806183 - 04/18/13 07:47 AM

Tristan, very few (since you want to be literal) are writing that content for us. The content you mention isn't gone, its just not the big features you want. Gary Seronik has an ATM column every month in S&T, and occasionally we have a longer ATM feature by other contributors.

ATT has exactly that business model of a few thousand subscribers mentioned elsewhere in this thread: specialized catering to a narrower subset of interest in the hobby: equipment and do-it-yourself projects. And it's great Gary is doing it; he appears to be getting by alright. I enjoy his publication.

But the fact is you're only focused on your particular niche in this hobby: I was speaking in a broader sense: articles about the spectra of different planetary nebulae, or a roundup of carbon stars to observe in the Pocket Sky Atlas, etc.
Our best authors often began as our subscribers: Sue French, Gary Seronik, Alan MacRobert, Dennis di Cicco were all subscribers before working for us. Same with Uncle Rod. I'd love to include myself in that list, but I'm really not much of an author.

My point was to encourage readers here to think about writing for us. I'm not "sitting back on my haunches" waiting for content to come in unsolicited. I'm soliciting it, like I do many places.

Edited by swalker (04/18/13 08:05 AM)


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rmollise
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: RocketScientist]
      #5806272 - 04/18/13 08:53 AM

Quote:


At the risk of being labeled a nitpicker, Tony said, "A few hundred," not "a few thousand".

Rod, please re-read what I wrote. I explicitly said "intelligence, education, and dedication".




Nitpicking right back atcha:

Tony: "The audience for the magazine...would be much smaller, perhaps a few hundred people, or maybe a thousand."

I did read what you said carefully. It's just that I disagree with it.


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Kraus
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5806343 - 04/18/13 09:58 AM


I received May 2013 Astronomy issue yesterday. They came through. I shall maintain subscription.

Thnaks to Phil and his binoculars I got more objects on the slate to see. I'm falling behind. Tonight looks promising.


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5814957 - 04/22/13 10:26 AM

I have decided to stay with Sky and Telescope because of Astronmy's deceptive practices. About 6 months ago they sent me a DVD about Stellar Evolution or something like that. It was one DVD in a series and I thought, wow that was nice of them. Then I started getting these notices (bills) that I had to pay for it. Of course, knowing that it is illegal for a company to send you something unsolicited and then require you to pay for it I started reading the fine print and there in like 2 font it said, "...of course you don't have to pay for unsolicited materials." I wonder how many poor saps actually were cow-towed into paying for something that they didn't have to. At that point I decided to let my Astronomy subscription expire. I will not do business with companies who are deceptive like this.

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Rick Woods
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5815348 - 04/22/13 02:05 PM

A lot of places have been doing that. Astronomy has been busted several times for it. AFAIK, S&T has not done that (which suggests they're paying attention to feedback in places like CN.)

I'm with you; I hate that sort of stuff.


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PhilCo126
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: swalker]
      #5816872 - 04/23/13 06:29 AM

Quote:

Or some of you could write an article that suits the content you'd like to see in our magazine and submit it to us for publication. Part of the reason you don't see the content you're looking for is nobody is writing that.







Done that several times but "spaceflight for astronomy" items don't often get published (e.g. results on dark matter/neutralino research by AMS-02 onboard the ISS)

Best thing about Sky&Telescope = complete digital collection on DVD


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swalker
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5817219 - 04/23/13 11:11 AM

Thank you Philip-
do recall that there is a lag time between when an article is accepted and when it gets published. Also, those results from the ISS experiment only went public a few weeks ago; it takes time to write it up, edit, publish, print, then mail!


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