Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Meade Options; S&T Article and Outreach and Other
      #5961901 - 07/09/13 09:51 AM

Anyone see the article over at S&T on Meade considering bankruptcy? Interesting that it also talks about the consolidation of companies due to falling sales. Discusses how kids today would rather use gadgets and tablets etc. and that competes with kids using telescopes. Also discusses how it isn't perceived as cool to have a telescope displayed in the home, less people are attending star parties There is one quote I found interesting:

"Astronomy buffs increasingly have turned to smartphone apps that give users the feel of exploring the skies without "investing hundreds of dollars in a telescope," said Jock O'Connell, an economist with Beacon Economics."

Here is a link to the article. Thoughts on this? Agree or disagree?

I am just now getting back on a schedule so if this is posted somewhere else please lock. I looked around and didn't see anything and thought this was interesting.

Edit: Change the Title to Reflect the Variety of the Thread.

Edited by JayinUT (07/12/13 12:18 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5961906 - 07/09/13 09:55 AM

Well, you know what they say about opinions........and everybody's got one.......

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
brianb11213
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/09

Loc: 55.215N 6.554W
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5961978 - 07/09/13 10:43 AM

Quote:

"Astronomy buffs increasingly have turned to smartphone apps that give users the feel of exploring the skies without "investing hundreds of dollars in a telescope," said Jock O'Connell, an economist with Beacon Economics."



Well, the Jock O'Connell considers to be "astronomy buffs" aren't the same people I come across.

Smartphone apps don't allow you to do observing ... which is the whole point. Sure you can explore libraries of images and even discover things (Zooniverse etc) but that's web browsing not astronomy. Actually I doubt most professional "astronomers" are worthy of the name, sure they know their specialities but few of them can find their way around the sky.

The real problem here is that most people just don't have access to reasonable skies, and there are so many other distractions (TV, net etc). But, done properly, there are still plenty of people interested: for example around 1000 people queuing up to see Jupiter through over 20 different scopes at the Northern Ireland Jupiter Watch event at Queens University Belfast last January ... miraculously the sky was clear & though the light pollution was horrendous that really doesn't matter much for the observation of bright objects like planets.

Meade really just need to sort out what market they're aiming at. Pile em high, sell em cheap, provide very little customer support may not be a viable model ... IMO better quality control, more robust design, better customer support at a higher price would get more customers in the long run.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Diana N
member


Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Nebraska
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5961983 - 07/09/13 10:46 AM

It's not just astronomy that's falling off: all outdoor activities are. The great outdoors isn't air-conditioned, there are bugs and scary critters outside, and (in the case of astronomy) it's dark out there! An increasingly urbanized population has less and less affinity with the natural world, and light pollution makes even simple observations more difficult. Why dance with the stars when you can sit on a nice comfy couch and watch "Dancing with the Stars" instead? Frankly I'm surprised Celestron isn't flirting with bankruptcy as well.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5961994 - 07/09/13 10:53 AM

Quote:

Discusses how kids today would rather use gadgets and tablets etc. and that competes with kids using telescopes.




It's an interesting point, but people still go places to see things with their own eyes. And they do things themselves instead of letting somebody else do it for them.

People go to the Grand Canyon because they want to experience it with their own senses, even though there are DVDs of the Grand Canyon that can be watched from the convenience of ones own home.

People go fishing and hunting despite the fact that fish is available in grocery stores and restaurants and you can even find venison in some grocery stores and restaurants.

I do visual astronomy because those are MY photons. Those photons left that star, nebula, galaxy, whatever, traveled for tens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of years until the flew through my telescope and eyepiece and into MY eye.

On the other hand, I also go out under the stars to get away from the telephone, television, computer, and people.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5962024 - 07/09/13 11:28 AM

"Astronomy buffs increasingly have turned to smartphone apps that give users the feel of exploring the skies without "investing hundreds of dollars in a telescope," said Jock O'Connell, an economist with Beacon Economics."

What about the hundreds they spent on the phone? These things ain't cheap. You could buy a decent Intelliscope for what a smartphone costs.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
*****

Reged: 12/25/04

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5962040 - 07/09/13 11:41 AM

Quote:

experience it with their own senses




And you've just hit the nail on the head on why visitors come to star parties during outreach events. It's still going very strong in my area. I also believe that gadgets and tablets can increase youth's interest rather than discourage it. During the last outreach event I helped with, one young girl had her tablet out to look up information about what she observed through my telescope. She also used it to find constellations and help her to navigate the sky. When I show people how to use planispheres and paper star atlases, I also show them cool apps on my iPhone that can be used to get the most out of an observing session.

I suspect that the economy and light pollution play a big part on why sales go down, among other things. People have to travel further these days to find dark skies.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
youngamateur42
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Erix]
      #5962202 - 07/09/13 01:33 PM

I should know all about the youth and technology, I'm 14! Technology cannot be "fought" with astronomy, new innovations have to be sort of integrated into modern astronomy.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5962224 - 07/09/13 01:45 PM

I would say that the overall assessment of the hobby's current situations as it applies to Meade's problems is reasonably accurately presented in the write-up. The hobby, interest in it, and the participants have all changed dramatically over the years that I have been a part of it. One basic fact too often overlooked, or appreciated, is that technical and scientific hobbies and interests - particularly astronomy and rocketry - gained a huge boost with the advent of the early space age. Schools all had astronomy clubs, many had planetariums. Adult clubs sprang up in just about every larger town. Huge numbers of the populace would turn out to see a passage of the Sputnik booster rocket under nightly dark skies that prevailed just about everywhere. All that has changed.

At the same time, the numbers of potential personal distractions teens and young adults are presented with today are overwhelming. The practice of amateur astronomy is not a particularly social affair, yet social networking has become a dominating aspect of the lives of younger people today. There is likewise a growing tendency in our society to "want it now, without expending any effort to do so." However, learning observational astronomy is a slow and occasionally frustrating process that is in conflict with that outlook.

Interest in hobbies in general have been waning for years and amateur astronomy is no different. The downturn in the economy a few years back only made it more obvious. As the Boomer Generation (the major source of all hobbyists today) shrinks, I'm afraid that we are going to see traditional hobbies dwindle in both public interest and support.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (07/09/13 03:57 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Geo31
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/28/13

Loc: Kingwood, TX
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #5962339 - 07/09/13 02:58 PM

I pretty much agree with you, but want to make a few comments.

Quote:

The practice of amateur astronomy is not a particularly social affair...




It can be if done right. Most of my oldest friends and one of my closest came from my teens that I met through astronomy. We gathered at least once a month to observe and if it was cloudy, it turned into a social. Even if it wasn't cloudy, it was something of a social.

This past weekend I attended my second star party at the dark site of my club and was a little disappointed at the lack of social atmosphere. There should be more of it at star parties as it's a time when people come together to share something they have a passion for on at least some level.

Quote:

There is likewise a growing tendency in our society to "what it now, without expending any effort to do so." However, learning observational astronomy is a slow and occasionally frustrating process that is in conflict with that outlook.




GOTO actually would seem to mitigate that issue, but I know what you mean. I think that there is probably less wonder in the world today thanks to the Internet and immediate information, and then there is the fact that the visual view through most scopes is nothing like the photos people see. Youth and even younger adults today are used to immediate visual impact, thanks to movies and TV, and again, the Internet. The view through an amateur scope for the first time for a great many people will be disappointing. Not sure what to do about that. I still get the sense of wonder I got almost 40 years ago, but younger generations seem to feel less of that.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
sg6
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: youngamateur42]
      #5962402 - 07/09/13 03:43 PM

I agree that astronomy seems resistant to technology. In the UK if you had a goto even 2 years ago you were in league with the devil and doomed to the deepest reaches of hell for eternity . Bit better now, it may no longer be the deepest reaches anymore .

Meade may oddly in a fair placement to make more advanced scopes, their range is not that big, so innovation across a range is not too difficult. But also there is the need to make them robust and reliable, don't save 50c by not putting in protection diodes for wrong polarity. Make software updates easy and reliable. In general no-one buys an unreliable car, well no-one is going to buy an unreliable scope. A 5 minute google search rapidly shows all the reported reliability problems on scopes. One day Meade, Synta, iOptron will realise this.

Meade going for bankruptcy seems pointless, nothing is going to change. JoC did/does seem the best option, although that is on the assumption that the Meade name and products can add to and integrate with JoC.

Technology does need to be integrated more, I did think that the LS scopes would prove more popular. They are I think what many entering this hobby may well expect, or at least something similar.

Question I always had was why I couldn't aim at polaris for initial position for alignment on Meade's. Just seemed a better easier option.

But a tablet with an app is "instant" way to "see" the sky. Any manufacturer out there supply an app to interface their scope to a tablet+smartphone?

A store near me is slowly realising that the sale of PC's is dead, laptops is reducing fairly quick and tablets is increasing. Scope manufacturers need to realise the same.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: sg6]
      #5962424 - 07/09/13 03:56 PM

Kids are so Pandered and Spoiled, on top of being FAT.. They just dont do the things outside they used to for recreation. Just try and get a Kids attention in the middle of a Play Station Video game!
That on top of the Hubble images and Planetary missions have taken a lot of the mystery out of observing for many.
I have actually been told "Why Bother" by others!
When I first started observing in the late 60's we thought there may be Vegetation and "green" Life on Mars.
Heck they even want to shut down the CB radio band to make more room for Smart Phone Apps.. "Breaker,Breaker, Bandit ya got your ears on"?
I'm 10-7 on the side from my 10-20 in NW Iowa....


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: orion61]
      #5962456 - 07/09/13 04:19 PM

Yep, don't discount the effect of what I call "The Disappointment Factor" as a culprit in the lack of interest in observational astronomy. The public has become mislead by seeing so many colorful, high resolution images of astronomical objects from the likes of the Hubble Space Telescope. Thousands of spectacular pictures have flooded the public consciousness over the last couple of decades, and as a result many people have come to expect the views in an amateur telescope to look the same. When the Orion Nebula presents itself in the eyepiece as a diffuse greenish blob sprinkled with a few stars, many people experience a letdown. They want the Hubble version of M42, not a ghostly green smudge. I think that this kind of expectation causes quite a bit of discouragement in the inexperienced. When I'm doing outreach, the only objects I'm guaranteed to get oohs and aahs over at the eyepiece are Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon. Most people are less than impressed with things like deep sky objects and double stars, even in an 11" scope at a relatively dark site.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: orion61]
      #5962493 - 07/09/13 04:34 PM

Quote:


Heck they even want to shut down the CB radio band to make more room for Smart Phone Apps.. "Breaker,Breaker, Bandit ya got your ears on"?
I'm 10-7 on the side from my 10-20 in NW Iowa....




Speaking as a Ham who thinks that "appropriating" the (old) 11 meter Ham band for the "Citizen's Radio Service" was one of the greatest mistakes (among many mistakes)that the FCC has made, I'd say "Go for it". CB radio was never worth a darn but today it's degenerated into utter uselessness.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5962500 - 07/09/13 04:36 PM

Quote:

"Astronomy buffs increasingly have turned to smartphone apps that give users the feel of exploring the skies without "investing hundreds of dollars in a telescope,"




Kinda like looking at a picture book about the artwork of the Sistine Chapel, and then saying that you've been there.

If a smartphone app gives people the 'feel' of exploring the skies, then those folks have no feeling at all.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Unknownastron
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: CatsEye Observatory,Rural Sout...
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: orion61]
      #5962501 - 07/09/13 04:37 PM

One reason children today don't do outside things is the crop of current parents who hover over their children in a case of constant fear. Children can't play outside because they will either be kidnapped by a child molester, catch the avian flu, be killed in a terrorist bombing or something. When they are allowed out of parent's sight at some organized school or church function they still have to check in every so often by phone. I am very glad I grew up well before the helicopter parents of today. And I thought my mother was over-protective!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Unknownastron]
      #5962521 - 07/09/13 04:43 PM

Word.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Unknownastron]
      #5962525 - 07/09/13 04:46 PM

Quote:

One reason children today don't do outside things is the crop of current parents who hover over their children in a case of constant fear. Children can't play outside because they will either be kidnapped by a child molester, catch the avian flu, be killed in a terrorist bombing or something. When they are allowed out of parent's sight at some organized school or church function they still have to check in every so often by phone. I am very glad I grew up well before the helicopter parents of today. And I thought my mother was over-protective!




This is the #1 post here!!! Helicopter parents are taking away the kids' childhood. There is some reasoning behind it, but it has gotten to the point that some kids have no clue what it means to be a kid. I have customers that bring their kids in that fit this category and it's easy to see it. Sad, indeed.

David


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
*****

Reged: 12/25/04

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5962645 - 07/09/13 05:29 PM

Times change, that's for sure. I was outside every chance I had growing up.

What I'd suggest is that, whether or not parents are overly protective, they become more involved in their children's lives and participate in hobbies as a family. In other words, be the spark the child needs to grow an interest in various hobbies.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pdxmoon
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 06/27/13

Loc: Oregon
Re: Meade Considering Bankruptcy as an Option new [Re: Erix]
      #5962694 - 07/09/13 05:58 PM

You know, I'm a middle school teacher, and I don't see kids as particularly anymore spoiled than we were (I'm 59+).

In my day, the cool toy was a Lionel train set, a Gilbert microscope, a reel to reel tape recorder, a refractor scope. I had them all, and I'm sure folks in the early 60s might have looked at me and said, "wow, that kid's spoiled!" :-)

Now a days that hasn't changed--the cool things have changed. iPhones, iPads--they're the cool toys.

I saw it happen in the model train world--only old guys playing wit trains, Lionel going bankrupt. But then somebody started putting sound in trains, and Thomas the Tank Engine, and The Polar Express, and Harry Potter, and now many kids have a train set again.

I think astronomy as a hobby needs to help kids get excited about scopes by embracing their technology. When I was a kid a 60mm refractor was enough to get me excited, but that was a 1962 world.

Let me tell you what I'd like to see: I still consider myself a newbie, and I need all the help I can get. My bride has an iPad. So I bought the astronomy ap that let's me take the iPad, point at the sky--no--overlay it on the sky--and wham: it tells me what's what. It's fantastic. It's how I found Saturn, and knew the path it would take in the sky. It's teaching me the stars--it's amazing.

So I got to thinkining: wouldn't it be great to have a scope with THAT capability? I look into the eyepiece and I'm told what I'm looking at. It reads, like an iPhone, my position. It lets me take a photo of what I'm seeing, with a click I can post it on Facebook.

That's what will get kids back into this hobby. And I'd buy one, too!

Edited by barnum54 (07/09/13 05:59 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
4 registered and 11 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  cildarith, panhard, tecmage 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 1994

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics