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stmifx
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Reged: 04/08/11

Sky & Telescope or Astronomy?
      #5788810 - 04/09/13 05:53 PM

Which one for subscription and why?

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kfiscus
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5788867 - 04/09/13 06:21 PM

This will sound like a cop-out but I've never been able to make this decision. I've subscribed to both and haven't regretted it. They each bring great articles, columns, and tips to the table.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5788882 - 04/09/13 06:30 PM

S&T.

Better writing, better editing, less fluff, more stuff. Better pedigree.

Scientific American is to Discover as S&T is to Astronomy.

Nuf said.

Regards,

Jim


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5788895 - 04/09/13 06:36 PM

Check our our Stellar Media Forum. there's been several threads on these two magazines.

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Pharquart
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5788909 - 04/09/13 06:42 PM

I needed to make this choice myself a while back, so I went to the library and browsed through a few months of back issues. Each magazine has a little different approach and education level. I happened to choose Astronomy but that was just my opinion. I liked the regular columns in that magazine a little better.

Brian


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steveyo
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5788957 - 04/09/13 07:14 PM

Actually, I prefer the British mag "Astronomy Now", but that's harder to obtain, and way more money, at least stateside.

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MarkShay
member


Reged: 11/10/11

Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5788959 - 04/09/13 07:16 PM

S&T for those more into serious observing and Astronomy for those more into astronomical knowledge. In the last few years I think these lines have been blurring with S&T taking on a more "Astronomy" look.

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jrbarnett
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: MarkShay]
      #5788996 - 04/09/13 07:33 PM

True. S&T has had to dilute its content to appeal to a more mass-market consumer audience just like Scientific American has had to do in order to slow subscription attrition.

Astronomy Now in the UK is just "okay" in my book. I mean, any magazine that would include an article that mentions me by name, with a picture, has to be a little bit sketchy.

For "gearheads", Astronomy Technology Today here in the States is pretty entertaining, though for the most part it's a new products announcement rag...er..."vehicle" more than an "astronomy" publication.

Regards,

Jim


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buddyjesus
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5789011 - 04/09/13 07:46 PM

my favorite was the sky at night magazine, but can no longer afford. I think they have good head to head reviews on equipment and much of the mag is dedicated to how to articles.

personally, if i had to choose one or the other, I would get astronomy as the local library has SandT.


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payner
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5789022 - 04/09/13 07:58 PM

I enjoy both S&T and Astronomy. I have a semi-complete collection going back to the mid-1980s with a wide gap in the late 80s and early 90s due to college/grad school. I let my S&T subscription lapse this January as I try to make my own mind up about which one. It use to be S&T hands down, but with the dilution of tech info and loss of some writers I'm not sure anymore. I get the sense Astronomy has attempted to beef-up the tech offered to some degree; and I like O'Meara's column.

Like a previous post I find Astronomy Now and Sky at Night interesting; maybe because the two are new to me and provide differing presentation to what I am accustomed to. I am considering subscribing to Astronomy Now.

I really enjoy reaching back in time and re-reading those S&T issues from the 80s and 90s. I suppose instead of giving you clear-cut advice I've managed to show my vascillation with this question. This question is just no longer obvious any longer.

Best,
Randy


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: payner]
      #5789064 - 04/09/13 08:19 PM

I like both, there isn't much difference between each.

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MikeBOKC
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5789070 - 04/09/13 08:22 PM

The total annual subscription cost for both magazines is about half of the average monthly cable TV bill, or about equivalent to one decent meal out for a couple. Seems like an obvious choice to get both.

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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5789075 - 04/09/13 08:26 PM

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

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mich_al
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5789146 - 04/09/13 09:11 PM

I enjoy both. Together they don't provide enough 'astro' content to fill in a months reading.

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rdandrea
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: mich_al]
      #5789180 - 04/09/13 09:31 PM

I have subscribed to both at times, but haven't subscribed to either in years. Back in the day, it was S&T hands down. I hope they have kept up the tradition. Drop by a newsstand (rare bird in this day and age) and compare for yourself.

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skyquest25
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5790157 - 04/10/13 12:07 PM

Astronomy seems to be more "professional" in the sense of articles and content that is inclined toward more advanced astronomers or scientific minded.

Sky & Telescope has always seemed to me more directed toward the real amateur astronomer.

Sky at Night is also more directed toward the amateur but dang it why do they need to call it the "plough" !

Astronomy Now, while a long running publication is more related to "scientific" astronomy similar to Astronomy magazine.

My take after 30 years.


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orion61

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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: skyquest25]
      #5790353 - 04/10/13 01:32 PM

Quote:

Astronomy seems to be more "professional" in the sense of articles and content that is inclined toward more advanced astronomers or scientific minded.

Sky & Telescope has always seemed to me more directed toward the real amateur astronomer.

Sky at Night is also more directed toward the amateur but dang it why do they need to call it the "plough" !

Astronomy Now, while a long running publication is more related to "scientific" astronomy similar to Astronomy magazine.

My take after 30 years.



Sorry but my opinion is exactly oposite. Over the years
S&T has had the most complete content for serious Ameture Astronomers. They have gotten closer due to the need to dilute the content of S&T for those who have taken the hobby
on a lighter schedule.
I can say when I got into the hobby I tended to like Astronomy mag better because I understood it a bit better,
but as I have gained more knowledge I have found myself wanting a deeper explanation of the media involved.
They are both good monthlys and I find the reviews refreshing, especially now since my budget has been sliced a lot thinner where it comes to my hobbys.
In a nutshell I'd say Astronomy is a bit more "entertaining" and S&T is more informative, and pointed to more "advanced readers in the hobby" thats my 43 yrs Astro experience worth.


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WesC
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: orion61]
      #5790371 - 04/10/13 01:41 PM

How is the ad-to-content ratio in these? I've really gotten tired of magazines becoming nothing more than long form advertising. I stopped subscribing to many magazines due to this... that and the fact that by the time the magazine was out I had already heard all I needed on the internet!

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Scott in NC
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: WesC]
      #5790390 - 04/10/13 01:50 PM

I'd say "six of one and a half dozen of another", but S&T is currently the one that I have a subscription to. There was a time when S&T held the upper hand due to its superior technical content, but I'd say that they're pretty close now.

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REC
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Scott in NC]
      #5790412 - 04/10/13 02:01 PM

I have both, but yeah, if you have a library near you could read both to get a better feel for them. S&T always has some articles on what to observe that are very interesting and Sue French does a nice job on DSO's each month!

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amicus sidera
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5790415 - 04/10/13 02:02 PM

Quote:

Which one for subscription and why?




Neither.

Both have too many advertisements and too little content for the price asked, in my opinion.

If forced to choose one: Sky & Telescope, by a considerable margin.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5790620 - 04/10/13 04:05 PM

For more than 30 years I subscribed to both. Last January or so, Astronomy did a major redo of their magazine. One change they made was to noticeably reduce the size of their type font on most of their articles. I believe this was a huge mistake. People still reading magazines are an older demographic. Type size is important to many of us. Because of this, I cancelled my subscription to Astronomy. I e-mailed the editors in an attempt to discuss the issue with them. None of them responded. I e-mailed the editor of Sky and Telescope and was assured that they would not make a similar move. I have kept my subscription to Sky and Telescope.

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rockethead26
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5790677 - 04/10/13 04:38 PM

I have subscribed to both over the years and currently only get Astronomy. The "newly remodeled" magazine is better than ever with a great mix of hard science, observing articles and news. I'm 62 and should wear reading glasses, but I don't, and unlike Gene, I have no issues with the font size in the new Astronomy. Both are great magazines and are worthy of your support. YMMV.

Edited by rockethead26 (04/10/13 04:39 PM)


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GOLGO13
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5790681 - 04/10/13 04:40 PM

I subscribe to Sky and Telescope... I just like theirs a little more and I don't want to have both of them. I should go up to barns and noble and read astronomy here and there.

A really good choice for astronomy tech nuts (like most of us here) is Astronomy Technology Today. It's a good niche one that works well as a compliment to the S&T or Astronomy mags. It's pretty much focused on the equipment side of the hobby.


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5790711 - 04/10/13 04:57 PM

Unlike general consumer magazines, the ads in hobby publications are all geared to the narrow interest group that subscribes to them. I suspect most folks in the hobby keep up with new product availablilty through those ads. I for one always check the ads closely to see what is in the pipeline. And keep in mind that none of these magazines cold exist without the advertising revenue.

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lintonius
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Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5790743 - 04/10/13 05:09 PM

Quote:

This will sound like a cop-out but I've never been able to make this decision. I've subscribed to both and haven't regretted it. They each bring great articles, columns, and tips to the table.




I have to agree, Ken.
The cost to receive both is miniscule, compared to the investment most of us have in equipment.
Linton


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: lintonius]
      #5790837 - 04/10/13 05:33 PM

I used to savor both mags when they came out each month, taking new unread issues on vacation to read in a beach chair. It would take me all week to read them in their entirety. Now I am done both in 20 minutes. I still buy them but they are a shadow of their former selves. I do miss the now defunct mags like CCD Astronomy, Telescope Making, and DeepSky.

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SkipW
sage


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Loc: Oklahoma, USA
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5791438 - 04/10/13 10:18 PM

After a lapse of about 40 years, I subscribed to S&T a couple years ago, but let it lapse after only a year.

There are still some interesting articles, but not nearly enough each month (some months there were none), and the lurid covers were a turn off for me. I really looked forward to the arrival of each issue back then, and still refer back to those old issues occasionally (they're bound), so it wasn't just being a kid.

As noted, YMMV.


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CollinofAlabama
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: SkipW]
      #5791507 - 04/10/13 10:47 PM

S&T. Both are fine, of course, but if you can only afford/have time for one, S&T, for sure.

mis dos centavos


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weezy
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5791868 - 04/11/13 07:58 AM

Both have digital versions. Astronomy you can get through either Kindle or B&N Magazines. But Astronomy does not give a reduced subscription for digital.

S&T uses Zinio. If your computer doesn't handle Zinio or you object to some policies - you can get a PDF download. S&T does charge less for the digital copy.


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swalker
Imaging Editor - Sky & Telescope
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: weezy]
      #5791951 - 04/11/13 09:05 AM

To clarify, our digital edition is free with the price of the print subscription.

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StephAdministrator
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: weezy]
      #5792572 - 04/11/13 03:04 PM

Quote:

Both have digital versions. Astronomy you can get through either Kindle or B&N Magazines. But Astronomy does not give a reduced subscription for digital.

S&T uses Zinio. If your computer doesn't handle Zinio or you object to some policies - you can get a PDF download. S&T does charge less for the digital copy.





You can get Astronomy through Zinio also, that's how I get it.


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stevecoe
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Steph]
      #5793599 - 04/12/13 12:07 AM

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


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gunfighter48
sage
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: REC]
      #5793682 - 04/12/13 01:20 AM

I find Sky & Telescope to be on a higher educational plain than Astronomy. They have a more technical/serious attitude. But I like Astronomy because it's seems to be geared to the average amateur astronomer. Sky and Telescope is not nearly as technical as it was 10 years ago when I got out of astronomy. But I just subscribed to both and get a lot out of each magazine.

As has already been pointed out they are a bargain compared to other items, dinner out, cable TV, eyepieces, etc.


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beatlejuice
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stevecoe]
      #5793744 - 04/12/13 02:37 AM

Quote:

Can either of them be read by a person who has a WinXp computer?




Steve,
And I thought that I was the only one I have access to S&T but never used the digital version. Just gave it a try now and it works fine on my XP. Zooms in for the small print(actually for me its all of the print), easy to turn pages. Looks like its all printable which could be handy for some of the observing related articles. I may have to do this more often.

Eric

BTW, I think that I just found a couple of books I would like to check out.

Edited by beatlejuice (04/12/13 02:59 AM)


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5793980 - 04/12/13 08:57 AM

Quote:

I like both, there isn't much difference between each.





I agree
-have taken S&T for years
-Astronomy on and off
-generally like S&T a little better (maybe just habit)
-got both a year ago and believe Astronomy is catching up to S&T
my suggestion is to get a years subscription to both,
or get both on news stands for a few months,
and then decide which you like better
-some issues S&T is better, some Astronomy
most here view S&T as a little more advanced, Astronomy more for beginners

edj


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LivingNDixie
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5794685 - 04/12/13 02:57 PM

I don't think one is really better then the other. I enjoy both of them...

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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5794802 - 04/12/13 03:58 PM

Quote:

I don't think one is really better then the other. I enjoy both of them...




+1


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Loc: South Texas
Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: rockethead26]
      #5795703 - 04/13/13 12:25 AM

Quote:

I have subscribed to both over the years and currently only get Astronomy. The "newly remodeled" magazine is better than ever with a great mix of hard science, observing articles and news. I'm 62 and should wear reading glasses, but I don't, and unlike Gene, I have no issues with the font size in the new Astronomy. Both are great magazines and are worthy of your support. YMMV.




Regarding the font size, I realize that many people are fine with the new changes. As I see it, the issue centers on the people who are not. The people who are fine with the smaller text also did not mind the larger text previous to January. The text prior to January and the previous months was not all the large to begin with. In my opinion, the editors could have made the changes they did, but left the size of the text alone. Had the editors done that, I would have remained a subscriber.


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PhilCo126
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5795940 - 04/13/13 05:36 AM

Sky & Telescope ... longer pedigree and all issues became available on DVD

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operascope
sage
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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
Postmaster
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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
Ely Kid
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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
Post Laureate
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Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
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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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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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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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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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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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [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? new [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
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [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
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [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? new [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
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [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? new [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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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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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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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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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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NightSkyGuy
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5848285 - 05/08/13 05:35 PM

hi, Kraus...


> But here are two folks from S&T, Herr Walker and Herr Flanders.

maybe 2. I lurk but don't often comment.

clear skies,
Kelly


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RodgerHouTex
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: NightSkyGuy]
      #5848814 - 05/08/13 09:37 PM

You guys do a great job at Sky and Telescope Kelly. And the DVD set is awesome. It took me back to my youth when I used to "lurk" at the library to read the latest Sky and Telescope.

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faackanders2
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Re: Sky & Telescope or Astronomy? new [Re: stmifx]
      #5848867 - 05/08/13 10:05 PM

I used to believe Astronomy was more for intermediate, and S&T was more for advanced. Now that I am advanced I find both easy to read and use.

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