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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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SleepyAstronomer
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Reged: 09/08/13

Loc: Deep South
Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present
      #6070277 - 09/08/13 09:19 PM

For those that have been in the hobby for quite sometime (lets say 30+ years), what do you enjoy about today's amateur astronomy vs. that of the past, and vice versa? Anything you miss? Just curious to hear your thoughts.

Edited by SleepyAstronomer (09/08/13 09:35 PM)


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JimK
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6070298 - 09/08/13 09:34 PM

1) far more equipment choices, and better equipment
2) much more information on things to view
3) more detailed atlases
4) software that does much more than plot a few crude-looking starfields

In general, I find this time period for the astronomy hobby to be better in all aspects than it was in the early 1980s (30+ years ago).


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jgraham
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6070304 - 09/08/13 09:37 PM

A tad over 50 years here. You know what is neat about amateur astronomy today... the wonderful breadth of choices that we have. Even after all these years, there is just so much to try and so much to learn.

What a wonderful hobby!


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6070311 - 09/08/13 09:43 PM

The 8 inch Meade 826 reflector I started with was big aperture for that period. Today you can go to any star party and see scopes up to 30 inches, with many in the 16-24 inch range. Back then those were rare professional instruments.

Wide field of view eyepieces are a second revolution . . . no one then could have imagined a 100 degree field eyepiece.

Of course go to and tracking were in their infancy then. Today they make astronomy easy for beginners and veterans alike, regardless of light pollution.

Overall the hobby has matured, grown and diversified beyond anyone's dreams from 30-40 years ago.


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StarmanDan
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #6070330 - 09/08/13 09:59 PM

The technological advances do it for me. I once printed out two photographs of Saturn, one from Voyager and one I took with a modified Quickcam webcam and asked folks to tell me which one was which. Everyone got it wrong thinking the webcam shot was from Voyager. I also love that technology has advanced to the point where advanced amateurs can compete and collaborate with the pros.

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core
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Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #6070334 - 09/08/13 10:00 PM

A series of tubes ... the internets!

Started out with sci.astro.amatuer (R.I.P), and now with sites like CN, the online community is quite amazing - you're never truly alone in this quirky hobby. I still remember sending SASE's to authors that had written articles in S&T so that I could get a copy of whatever ATM project plans they'ed graciously provided - now, just a couple of months back I got a 3D-printed part onine for my mount (NexSXW panel cover).

PS - okay, granted the internet is way beyond a broader change to every aspect of our lives and hobbies.


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bumm
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Loc: Iowa
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #6070356 - 09/08/13 10:18 PM

I'm sort of astronomically isolated and do things pretty much as I always have, but I'd say two things have made a big difference for me...
1. More detailed atlases available. I've found a lot of things I never would have without being able to make a detailed starhop.
2. The internet. I've had the opportunity to see comets and such that would have been gone before I learned about them back when everything was print media.
Marty


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EJN
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6070397 - 09/08/13 10:50 PM

I started in 1967.

Back then, A Huygens was a widefield eyepiece.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, we didn't have computerized star charts, or even color
printed star charts. The charts then were chiseled into stone tablets.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, a grab-&-go scope was an 8" f/8 Newtonian on on a massive
equatorial mount which weighed 200 lbs.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, if you were into astrophotography, you used film. There
were no autoguiders. You manually guided, and if you had to go
to the bathroom you went in your pants.
AND WE LIKED IT.


Technology has taken the fun out of everything.


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Feidb
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bumm]
      #6070406 - 09/08/13 10:56 PM

I've been at it 47 years and I'd say the huge aperture jump, the Dobsonian mount, green laser pointers and better wide angle eyepieces for equipment. As for atlases? The Tirion and Megastar.

As for what I miss? The mystery of discovery I once had. I know too much now. It's all a bit less of a mystery (both equipment and up there in the sky) but that doesn't make it any less pleasurable to pursue.

I enjoy it just as much if not more than I did back in the day. In fact, I probably enjoy it more now because I have better tools and better skills to get to where I want to go. The only thing missing is that bit of mystery everything once had. I'll never get that back. I think the sacrifice is well worth it because at least now I know what I'm doing.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Feidb]
      #6070745 - 09/09/13 06:41 AM


I once spent 2 hours trying to site in Pluto. Today, 2 minutes.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6070958 - 09/09/13 10:16 AM

Quote:

For those that have been in the hobby for quite sometime (lets say 30+ years), what do you enjoy about today's amateur astronomy vs. that of the past, and vice versa? Anything you miss? Just curious to hear your thoughts.




I have almost fifty years of experience; my thoughts:

Pro:

1. Good optics are more easily obtainable, and generally less expensive than was the case in years past.

Con:

Everything else.

For instance, there is now much more light pollution, far too much emphasis on aperture and extreme over-reliance on technology. The quiet, thoughtful pursuit that was once amateur astronomy, which embraced both the aesthetic and the cerebral in equal measure, has been largely subsumed into yet another consumerism-fueled "lifestyle" activity with all its attendant competition and avarice.

Fred


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t.r.
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6071019 - 09/09/13 10:52 AM

I enjoy the abundance of equipment options and lower relative prices. I miss the feeling of being awed in my youth by my first views of many objects and having the energy to go out at any hour to catch the most trivial of events...but I remember it well. My equipment is lightyears better, but I don't have the time available like I did in my youth. When I do get the time again (retirement) my eyes will have aged and I'll have to struggle to see things that were easier in my youth...the great amateur astronomer's paradox! I actually paid heed to the recommendation in "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" to aviod aperture fever. My plan to contend with the paradox is to get the really big scope later in life, increasing exit pupil at a given magnification to help me "see" and stay engaged in the hobby.

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Cotts
Just Wondering
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: t.r.]
      #6071039 - 09/09/13 11:04 AM

Appropriate, relevant and FUNNY!

Dave

original skit by Monty Python


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buddyjesus
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: t.r.]
      #6071135 - 09/09/13 11:46 AM

Quote:

I actually paid heed to the recommendation in "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" to aviod aperture fever. My plan to contend with the paradox is to get the really big scope later in life, increasing exit pupil at a given magnification to help me "see" and stay engaged in the hobby.




I haven't been in the hobby as long as you guys. I am still relatively young but perminently disabled. I mirror your experience with years of not biting the aperture fever apple and am hopefully soon going to have a big scope despite my bad back. I am still fit enough to be able to use a hand truck.

Really funny discussion there David. I started with saying I did that for years with the first few statements but then it went over the edge. haha

Edited by buddyjesus (09/09/13 11:52 AM)


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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #6071334 - 09/09/13 01:26 PM

I think the idea that the cerebral nature is gone from astronomy is a load of...unreliable data. If you like the quiet, cerebral pursuit of amateur astronomy, no one is stopping you. In fact, many do, it's just that the very nature of that act is...quiet. So you don't hear about it.

As for me, everything today is better about amateur astronomy except for:

1) Light pollution. Worse, but better equipment (faster set up, better light gathering, etc.) mitigates it a little bit.

2) My eye. Dang, but would I like to have my 18 year old eyes back.


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rdandrea
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6071354 - 09/09/13 01:45 PM

1. Price/Performance ratio

2. GoTo

3. Stellarium


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gunfighter48
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: rdandrea]
      #6071846 - 09/09/13 06:23 PM

I started in the mid 70's with a Cave 8" newt. It's was a great scope but weighted a lot. So it wasn't really portable.

Things I enjoy today, Goto mounts and scopes, excellent eyepieces at very good prices, much more equipment selection, internet astronomy forums, technology in general.

Things I don't like, light pollution, less public property in dark sky area's (a lot has been bought up and posted), and growing older and more decrepit while there is so much more observing to do with all my new astro gear (not enough time).

Edited by gunfighter48 (09/10/13 11:41 PM)


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JRiggs
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Reged: 07/08/13

Loc: Western New York
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6071873 - 09/09/13 06:43 PM

I would say one of the things that is most noticeable is the decline in amateur telescope making. That's not to say it has disappeared, but far fewer people are making their own telescopes now. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your point of view. New technology has come to the rescue for many, but at the same time it has reduced some of the originality that you found when people came up with their own designs. John Dobson is a good example.

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kfiscus
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: JRiggs]
      #6071894 - 09/09/13 06:56 PM

I enjoy the advances in weather forecasting that makes stargazing somewhat more plan-able.
When I started in the early 80's, a C-8 was a big scope and a 10" was crazy talk.
The decline in mirror making is significant but I think most of it is because we have such an amazing cornucopia of astro stuff available for cheaper than homemade (especially if one's time is considered in the equation).


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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: kfiscus]
      #6072204 - 09/09/13 10:05 PM

Good point about forecasting. In the 80s I didn't even bother checking them. Just go out and cross your fingers.

Of course, half an hour ago, CSC said it would be a good night and Weatherbug said it would rain. They're splitting the difference: cloudy, but no rain (they're thin, maybe it'll pass).


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SleepyAstronomer
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Reged: 09/08/13

Loc: Deep South
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6072218 - 09/09/13 10:13 PM

What about star parties of today, versus those of the past decades? Aside from the obviously better equipment, have the people changed in terms of enthusiasm and helpfulness, or has that been a pretty steady thing within the community?

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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6072224 - 09/09/13 10:17 PM

The community has changed in that it is much more connected than it used to be. 30 years ago I knew exactly no one else who owned their own scope.

However, at star parties people were just like today. Very helpful and generous. I think it is, generally, a great community and am glad both that that hasn't changed and that technology has let me know more of you.


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6072277 - 09/09/13 10:46 PM

I've just returned to participating in this hobby (instead of just reading about things now and then) after a 35 year hiatus. On my birthday this year (in November), I'll mark 40 years in this hobby.

A lot has changed. Whether for better or worse is in the eye of the beholder I think.

I'm amazed at the ease of astrophotography today. All you need is money. Back 35-40 years ago, regardless of money, you still had to stay glued to an eyepiece and guide a LONG exposure. Now, with autoguiders, you take several short exposure images and stack. I think that's actually a good thing.

The changes in ATM are dramatic. When I was involved at the start, more than half my astro friends were involved in ATM in one form or another.

Eyepieces are simply a whole different world. OMG.

And of course apertures owned by amateurs are simply amazing. Dobs were just getting national attention when I dropped out. That was the start of very large apertures.

I like all the changes. Yet I'm still pretty much old school. Forked C8. No goto. Simple, yet quality eyepieces (mostly TV Plossls). I like it that way for my own observing (although some wide-field eyepieces may find their way into my eyepiece case).


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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6072321 - 09/09/13 11:08 PM

I've been a serious observer since the mid 1950's. In my view things have certainly gotten far better for the dabblers and weekend amateur astronomers. However, in many respects those more involved in the hobby and interested in pursuing serious amateur programs have largely lost out.

Many such pursuits, where relatively basic equipment but mostly personal dedication were the necessary ingredients, have declined markedly, or vanished altogether. Visual comet hunting is essentially dead and amateur discoveries by even advanced means are becoming less and less. Meaningful visual observation of the moon and planets is today rather pointless with spacecraft having basically eliminated the roll amateurs once played. The current push in variable star observing is toward use of technically advanced and expensive CCD rigs coupled to sophisticated scopes. The value of solar observing is a pale shadow of what it once was. And to boot, the skies under which perhaps 90% of today's observers function would have completely deterred observers of old. Then, too, as expressed by a poster up-stream, a lot of the mystery and wonder has gone out of the hobby for those who have advanced beyond the dabbler phase. No, give me the hobby of years gone by thank you.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (09/09/13 11:15 PM)


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6072685 - 09/10/13 06:46 AM

I've never lost the wonder. Every time I look at a DSO I think of how far away I am seeing (and of course, how long ago). That's always an amazing wonder to me. Even looking at the planets still gives me pause. It's an immense distance we're looking across, and the things we are looking at is a secret mystery only available to those with a scope.

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Michael Rapp
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6073066 - 09/10/13 11:42 AM

I've only been in the hobby twenty years, but I perceive the changes over the past two decades as being mostly positives, with a few negatives depending on your point of view.

As has already been stated, the proliferation of equipment at all price levels is wonderful. And even at the low-end (not department-store low end, but $300 Dob low end) its quality is good enough to provide years of enjoyment.

And the variety of equipment has provided innumerable ways to enjoy the hobby. In the past ten years alone I've been able to do visual, planetary imaging, deep-sky imaging, asteroid photometry & astrometry, and stellar spectroscopy --- and I never had to touch my retirement fund!

Moreover, one of most enjoyable aspects of modern amateur astronomy is being able to discuss and engage with others over the internet, especially in forums such as this one. I was active in the CompuServe and sci.amateur.astro forums of years past, but they were nothing like what we have today. I also posit that as most amateur astronomers are solitary, introverted types, we are very comfortable with the written word, which tends to heighten the enjoyment of the engagement in forums for us.

Have things changed? Of course. Some have mentioned that ATM isn't as prevalent as it once was. I don't think of this as a negative, really, just a reality. My notion is that ATM is no longer as necessary as it once was. Most assuredly, people still do it -- just look at our own ATM forum -- but they do it primarily as it is enjoyable not because it is the only way to get an 8" or larger reflector.

I will admit that the waning capabilities of visual amateurs to directly contribute to astronomy is a little distressing, but it is like anything, driven by the technology at hand. I've actually struggled with this myself lately. A webcam image of a planet will nearly always show more detail than any of my sketches. CCD photometry will always be more accurate than my visual estimates. Of course, it isn't that amateurs can't contribute in highly meaningful ways, but that it necessarily involves highly accurate (expensive) mounts, large scopes, and image processing.

My paradox is that while I do enjoy doing the electronic stuff, it breaks the "serenity of the night" for me and find myself longing for the days in which I could submit a sketch to ALPO and feel useful.

For me, the only real negative is the worsening of my skies. I have to drive twice as far to get skies I had 15 years ago. And it is more expensive to drive that distance today than it was years ago. Still, I don't perceive a sharp drop-off of visual observers. Televue seems to selling quite a bit of eyepieces. And sometimes two at a time for these binoviewers that seem to be cropping up everywhere.


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Seldom
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6073079 - 09/10/13 11:49 AM

Newly back at this after a 25 year hiatus. I ground and figured a 6" mirror for Halley. Kept the scope as an optics example, but didn't start viewing again until I retired to a place with quality skies. I don't expect to do new science with my gear, but I do expect to VERIFY stuff I've read. For me its all about not accepting received wisdom. I've retaught myself enough calculus to figure out that the shadow of my 3" diagonal on itself is 1/2" across. If I teach myself more, maybe I'll be able to do a little orbital mechanics. Trying not to be just a celestial voyeur.

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Mark9473
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6075514 - 09/11/13 04:46 PM

Quote:

what do you enjoy about today's amateur astronomy



Being able to afford nice equipment.
Communities such as CN.
Instant information on anything you want to know about.
Still just simply enjoy being out under the stars, just looking up, occasionally pointing binoculars at something.


Quote:

Anything you miss?



Energy to go out at any time of night.
Better eyesight.
Much better skies; at times there'd be so many stars you couldn't recognize the constellations.


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Kraus
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Reged: 03/10/12

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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: EJN]
      #6075591 - 09/11/13 05:43 PM

Quote:

I started in 1967.

Back then, A Huygens was a widefield eyepiece.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, we didn't have computerized star charts, or even color
printed star charts. The charts then were chiseled into stone tablets.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, a grab-&-go scope was an 8" f/8 Newtonian on on a massive
equatorial mount which weighed 200 lbs.
AND WE LIKED IT.

Back then, if you were into astrophotography, you used film. There
were no autoguiders. You manually guided, and if you had to go
to the bathroom you went in your pants.
AND WE LIKED IT.


Technology has taken the fun out of everything.




Look everyone. It's the Grumpy Old Man. Where have you been friend. Haven't heard from you since the nineties.

I'm strictly an observer. Optics have improved since yesteryear. I wish I'd gotten Naglers when they first hit the market.


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Bakes
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Loc: Stratford, CT
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6075674 - 09/11/13 06:47 PM

Quote:

For those that have been in the hobby for quite sometime (lets say 30+ years), what do you enjoy about today's amateur astronomy vs. that of the past, and vice versa? Anything you miss? Just curious to hear your thoughts.




After 50 years, I am thrilled with the availability of cheap, large dobs and high quality eyepieces...

And I'd trade that all away for my old RV-6 and kellners if I could have my old dark suburban skies back!


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6077870 - 09/12/13 10:23 PM

Better equipment and good prices. I miss the simpler joy of viewing the night skies of yesteryear. I miss the darker skies of yesteryear.

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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: GeneT]
      #6078475 - 09/13/13 10:23 AM

I get missing darker skies. We all do.

But how is it the simple joy of viewing the night sky is gone, assuming one gets to a dark site? (It reads like these are two different complaints, not one).

I read this sentiment a lot: astronomy is too gadgety and technical and electronic now. I agree it can be, but no one is stopping anyone from taking an unpowered telescope or binoculars out to a nice site and simply looking around. If that is what you want to do, do it.

I've gotten into imaging, mainly as a way to do more from my relatively light polluted home. But every couple of months, I leave the wiring at home and take the Dob out just for a visual turn. I find the peace, quiet and serenity of the universe is still the same.

Quote:

Better equipment and good prices. I miss the simpler joy of viewing the night skies of yesteryear. I miss the darker skies of yesteryear.




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Feidb
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Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6079718 - 09/14/13 01:32 AM

Darker skies may be a bit harder to find, but I can sure find a lot more up there than I used to, so I guess I traded one for the tuther.

And... things for me aren't any more complicated than they were back in the day 47 years ago. In fact, they're actually easier than that old Sears 60mm refractor on that wobbly mount with the 30mm finder that could barely find the moon, let alone anything else. Then there was the scope itself with the (at least) metal eyepieces with massive 40 degree (at most) fields and at worst, about 25 degree fields, a dim view full of eyelashes, dust and who knows what. Add to that, not knowing a thing about the sky, having crummy charts with objects not where they were supposed to be in constellations that didn't really match the shapes up in the sky. I think things have come a long way. Oh yeah, also knowing nothing about magnitude, surface brightness, or even the difference between a galaxy, a nebula or a cluster then trying to spot one in my "soda straw" which I almost never did.

I may be a bit jaded about the mystery up there, but I don't enjoy the view any less.


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Michael Rapp
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6080343 - 09/14/13 12:47 PM

Quote:

I read this sentiment a lot: astronomy is too gadgety and technical and electronic now. I agree it can be, but no one is stopping anyone from taking an unpowered telescope or binoculars out to a nice site and simply looking around. If that is what you want to do, do it.




Sometimes I wonder if my forays into the more technical/equipment-oriented side of amateur astronomy have made me better appreciate the simpler, visual-oriented side.


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azure1961p
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6081200 - 09/14/13 10:16 PM

I like that a lot of the nonsense "phenomenon" has been isolated and recognized due to the power of ccd maging and processing. I also like that we have gotten away from the 60s era preoccupation with "useful astronomy". Back then Apollo missions and the like had layed a lot of lunar cartographers to rest as irrelevant when photo moon mapping really took off with unprecedented detail. It left a lot of astronomers looking for a new meaning of usefulness where science could be had in their backyard. Mars missions shut down a lot of "usefulness" by these people too once Mariner ushered in the definitive imaging that too would lay to rest Martian cartography by the backyard observer.

The truth is, and particularly with the advanced tools at hand, "useful" astronomy is still to be had though the landscape has changed to a great degree. But the golden age of discovering new craters at the eyepiece or vegetation growth on another world is slammed shut forever.

What we have these days in great numbers are naturalists. They don't need to write the symphony in order to enjoy listening to it with deep reward. The pursuit of visually witnessing the heavens firsthand has a fulfilling quality that is independent of wether or not discovery or science has been made. It is enough to behold and admire, and with a deep sense of pride often as well.

I would say it is the rise of the naturalist in a amateur astronomy that has given it a maturity that it hasn't had as much in earlier decades.


Pete

Edited by azure1961p (09/14/13 10:18 PM)


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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6081755 - 09/15/13 09:48 AM

Naturalists, Pete? Yes, a very tiny percentage of us has made marvelous advances through technologically. However, what I've observed in recent years has been much more of a disturbing shift by a far, far larger segment of today's hobbyists from being actual participants in some fashion to more of just a group of gawkers. Many don't know, or even care to know, the sky at all and are helpless without their GoTo scopes to show them things. Neither are they versed in observing methods, instead more interested in telling others about the latest high-end eyepiece purchase they used last night, or maybe an addition to the list of scopes they own (and don't use). Admittedly, Cloudy Nights discussions are usually pretty good, but have you visited most other astronomy-related sites? They often give the impression of dealing with a room full of uniformed juveniles.

When someone whose only involvement in a pursuit is simply as a hapless witness, that isn't much of a "hobbyist" in my book and definitely not any sort of a naturalist's approach that I'm aware of.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (09/15/13 09:50 AM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6081827 - 09/15/13 10:44 AM

Quote:

For those that have been in the hobby for quite sometime (lets say 30+ years), what do you enjoy about today's amateur astronomy vs. that of the past, and vice versa? Anything you miss? Just curious to hear your thoughts.




What is better today:

- Dob mounts instead of GEMs

- Sky Safari Pro on tablet instead of clunky star atlases. I don't miss flipping back and forth among the pages.

- Much wider variety of scopes at reasonable prices

- Much wider variety of eyepieces (in the sense of FOV, eye relief and optical designs)

- Cloudy Nights

- My own knowledge of the sky and how to navigate around it increasing due to the use of telescopes WITHOUT Goto or DSCs

- No longer much opportunity to make a contribution to science, so now we can relax and enjoy the hobby instead of playing junior scientist


What I miss about the past:

- Darker skies

- Better eyes

- No noisy coffee-grinder Goto mounts (at least where I observed)

- No APers with little regard for dark site protocol

- Amateurs seemed to be much more interested in actually observing those objects in the sky rather than talking about and comparing the latest gizmos all night

Mike


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6081904 - 09/15/13 11:39 AM

Quote:

No longer much opportunity to make a contribution to science, so now we can relax and enjoy the hobby instead of playing junior scientist.




Actually, I would say that the opportunities for amateurs to contribute to astronomical science are greater today than they have been since the mid- to late 19th century.

Ever since the pros started hooking up cameras and spectrographs up to telescopes in the late 19th century, it's been apparent that visual observing has only niche value with respect to astronomical science.

Mind you, niche value isn't no value. Even today the odd comet is discovered visually -- though that has essentially no scientific value, since it would have been discovered photographically by the time it was of scientific interest. More significantly, visual observing played a very important role in variable-star observing up until a couple of decades ago. And some important new variables have been discovered visually quite recently.

But the fact remains that cameras and spectrographs are where the real action is. And now, for the first time, amateurs have access to professional-quality equipment, capable of measuring star brightness to a thousandth of a magnitude, and even doing serious spectroscopic monitoring of variable stars.


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6082019 - 09/15/13 12:52 PM

I just wish I had the knowledge and widom of my old age....with the body of my youth....

There's some stupid things that I'd not redo.....When you're young, you think picking up that heavy object won't hurt you...and it won't...for about 20- 30 years.....but then, we didn't listen either....


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6082057 - 09/15/13 01:20 PM

Tony,

Quote:

But the fact remains that cameras and spectrographs are where the real action is. And now, for the first time, amateurs have access to professional-quality equipment, capable of measuring star brightness to a thousandth of a magnitude, and even doing serious spectroscopic monitoring of variable stars.




So I can still earn that Junior Scientist Badge!


Mike


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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6082224 - 09/15/13 02:54 PM

Tony is correct that the future of productive amateur astronomy is likely to be in the area of CCD brightness imaging and spectroscopy.

However, his statement overlooks several key factors. For instance, in variable star observing there have been countless thousands of amateurs who over the years have made very meaningful contributions through visual means at a relatively quite modest cost. This will not be true in the future for those using CCDs. The expensive equipment necessary, together with the steep, complex and protracted learning curve and available free time required (the AAVSO had to hold special seminars for the purpose of training CCD observers) to gain real reliability will deter all but a tiny percentage of amateurs from participation. Further, without mastering such obstacles, CCD observations are - at best - often really no better than their visual counterparts, whether or not +/-0.001 accuracy might be claimed. And since their spectral response isn't truly the same as the human eye, I feel that many CCD lightcurves are not going to be directly compatible with the 100 years of previous visual data and lightcurves. Personally, I see a lot of muddy waters ahead in this area.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (09/15/13 05:15 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6082257 - 09/15/13 03:13 PM

Quote:

And since their spectral response isn't truly the same as the human eye, I feel that many CCD lightcurves are not going to be directly compatible with the 100 years of previous visual data and lightcurves. Personally, I see a lot of muddy waters ahead in this area.

BrooksObs




This makes sense. I would think that the lightcurves of the older and newer data need to be compatible for the magnitudes to be useful. Unless maybe this can be taken into account and the magnitudes adjusted accordingly?

Mike


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amicus sidera
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6082783 - 09/15/13 08:39 PM

Quote:

Naturalists, Pete? Yes, a very tiny percentage of us has made marvelous advances through technologically. However, what I've observed in recent years has been much more of a disturbing shift by a far, far larger segment of today's hobbyists from being actual participants in some fashion to more of just a group of gawkers. Many don't know, or even care to know, the sky at all and are helpless without their GoTo scopes to show them things. Neither are they versed in observing methods, instead more interested in telling others about the latest high-end eyepiece purchase they used last night, or maybe an addition to the list of scopes they own (and don't use). Admittedly, Cloudy Nights discussions are usually pretty good, but have you visited most other astronomy-related sites? They often give the impression of dealing with a room full of uniformed juveniles.

When someone whose only involvement in a pursuit is simply as a hapless witness, that isn't much of a "hobbyist" in my book and definitely not any sort of a naturalist's approach that I'm aware of.

BrooksObs




Well-stated.

While there is certainly a place in amateur astronomy for those who wish to pursue the avocation in a purely casual manner, I feel that those who do so are missing out on the fullness of experience on offer; while such individuals might be quite content with their current level of involvement, it is for their edification and added enjoyment that I would apprise them that with a bit more study and a little less reliance on technology, handsome dividends will almost certainly be paid them.

Fred


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Gil V
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6082987 - 09/15/13 11:02 PM

I like the fact that even after 30+ years, the DIY aspects of this hobby have grown. People are making some amazing stuff on their own now. You can do a lot in this hobby without spending a ton of cash.

What I do not like is that if I started this hobby today, I'd never learn my way around the sky.


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6083007 - 09/15/13 11:11 PM

I'm happiest when I'm at a dark site, in the midst of nature, and I'm actually observing those wonderful objects in the sky. Fiddling around with the equipment, swapping eyepieces in and out, waiting to see the ISS fly overhead, and talking shop with others, really just gets in the way. Of course, those activities can be enjoyable in small amounts, but they are definitely not why I'm there.

Mike


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6083253 - 09/16/13 03:28 AM

Quote:

I'm happiest when I'm at a dark site, in the midst of nature, and I'm actually observing those wonderful objects in the sky. Fiddling around with the equipment, swapping eyepieces in and out, waiting to see the ISS fly overhead, and talking shop with others, really just gets in the way. Of course, those activities can be enjoyable in small amounts, but they are definitely not why I'm there.




Me too. Couldn't have put it better.


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skysurfer
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6083326 - 09/16/13 06:43 AM

Since jan 1966 I have this hobby.

Then:
- Small scopes (3-4cm in aperture) and 7x50 binos, since 1973 an 8cm f/6.3 short achromat
- Norton's Star Atlas my only star chart (which I still have both on print and on PDF on my smartphone)
- darker skies back home

Now:
- Larger scope (recent upgrade from 25 to 40cm Dobson) but smaller scopes used frequently
- Much more knowledge of deep sky objects thanks to internet and several sky charting apps which means I observed more DSO's the last 3 years (not only with the Dob but also with the 8cm scope I have since 1973) than the 44 years before
- Ability to travel to southern locations and other locations to avoid the cloudy and light polluted Holland with a 10cm Genesis and 15x70 binos.


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6083338 - 09/16/13 07:03 AM

Quote:

What is better today:

- Dob mounts instead of GEMs




Seriously? Ugh. As an old-school, old fart, I've never much liked Dobs unless we're talking serious aperture. But... absolutely to each their own.

Oh, and don't you realize that Dobs have been not only been around, but popular for 35 years or more? They are not a relatively new phenomenon. I retreated to the fringes of this hobby (not active but always still interested) about 35 years ago and I remember the article in S&T that essentially introduced Dobs to a wider audience than the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers. When I sold my 10" mirror and most of the parts to assemble an OTA it was to someone building a Dob and again, this was 35 years ago or more.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6083431 - 09/16/13 08:53 AM

My neck of the woods must have been behind the times. All my observing buddies way back when - I started in the early '70's - had some type of GEM. No Dobs in sight for many years after that.

I've tried mounting an 8" and then a 10" Newt OTA on a GEM. Been there, tried it, didn't like it. The biggest Newt I will ever put on a GEM is a 6". Even then it is not ergonomically optimal, to put it mildly. Focuser gets in uncomfortable positions, I often need to stand to observe. (Even with my 10" Dob, I can remain seated at ALL positions of the OTA.) These problems can be corrected to some extent with rotating rings. But that's one more gizmo to futz around with when I really just want to look at that beautiful stuff in the sky.

Also, GEMs tend to be heavier than Dob mounts. Actually, very much so, especially when the counterweights are considered.

GEMs are not bad for 'fractors and Cats, which are what go on my GEM mounts now, and that only when I want tracking.

A good Dob mount allows smooth motion and easy manual tracking - some call it nudging - even at high magnifications. My next upgrade will be to about a 14" Dob with automatic tracking. Hopefully I'll be able to remain seated at all positions of the telescope.

But to each their own. After all, this is still a hobby for our own individual enjoyment. At least that's what it is for me. I'm not doing this to please anyone else. YMMV.

Mike


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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6083449 - 09/16/13 09:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What is better today:

- Dob mounts instead of GEMs




Oh, and don't you realize that Dobs have been not only been around, but popular for 35 years or more?




Guys, as a matter of fact the so-called Dobsonian design is hardly something new, or even recent, let alone the creation of John Dobson, something he always readily pointed out. Although few amateurs are aware of it today, these classic "gun-type mounting arrangements" for Newtonian telescopes were in common usage among amateur astronomers during the latter half of the 19th century...and even commercially available.

Amateur astronomy is one of the few hobbies I'm aware of that so consistently manages to forget its own history and the accomplishments of those who came before them.

BrooksObs


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6083782 - 09/16/13 11:55 AM

One day, Pizza commercials will have telescopes that point the right direction........

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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6083870 - 09/16/13 12:36 PM

Quote:

My neck of the woods must have been behind the times. All my observing buddies way back when - I started in the early '70's - had some type of GEM. No Dobs in sight for many years after that.

I've tried mounting an 8" and then a 10" Newt OTA on a GEM. Been there, tried it, didn't like it. The biggest Newt I will ever put on a GEM is a 6".

<snip>

But to each their own. After all, this is still a hobby for our own individual enjoyment. At least that's what it is for me. I'm not doing this to please anyone else. YMMV.




Totally agree with you Mike (and noted so in my post). It's a purely personal thing and of course everyone is entitled to their own preferences. Cheers!

Dobs certainly predate the article in S&T in the late 70s, but I'm not sure how much before that. It was the article in S&T that started the trend.

FWIW, I'm not a big fan of GEMs either. I always prefered the fork mount, especially for large scopes. I went to Stellafane in 75 and 76 and most of the larger newts were mounted this way.

[edit] I just reread my prior response. Please accept my apology for the tone. It wasn't intended that way. Sometimes we write things thinking one way and it seems to come out another. No tone or attitude was intended.

Quote:

Guys, as a matter of fact the so-called Dobsonian design is hardly something new, or even recent, let alone the creation of John Dobson, something he always readily pointed out. Although few amateurs are aware of it today, these classic "gun-type mounting arrangements" for Newtonian telescopes were in common usage among amateur astronomers during the latter half of the 19th century...and even commercially available.




Alt-Az mounts have of course been around for quite some time. What make the "Dobsonian" unique (a point that has been lost through the years and basically any newt on a simple Alt-Az mount is referred to as a Dob) was the use of large, low mass (thin) mirrors. It brought aperture that previously was generally unheard of in amateur hands to the "masses" (so to speak).

Edited by Geo31 (09/16/13 12:44 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6083887 - 09/16/13 12:44 PM

"Dobsonian" type mounts were originally used for cannon, probably long before Newton invented the Newtonian.

Mike


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6084059 - 09/16/13 02:31 PM

Quote:

"Dobsonian" type mounts were originally used for cannon, probably long before Newton invented the Newtonian.

Mike




Dobsonian refers to a telescope configuration. What you have called Dobsonian above is simply Alt-Az. They were almost certainly used by Ptolemy for visual observation long before Galileo first pointed a telescope to the heavens.

I've said my apologies. Didn't mean to start a wizzing contest. Just pointed out that Dobsonian telescopes have been around nearly as long (or as long in many cases) people on CN have been looking through telescopes.

http://www.sidewalkastronomers.us/id1.html

Dobsonians have probably been around at least since the mid-70s and probably much earlier.

Here's an interesting article about John Dobson. From this I think it's safe to say that what we know as a Dobsonian telescope dates back to the 60s or before. I think it's also safe to say the term "Dobsonian Telescope" was coined sometime in the 70s.

http://www.sidewalkastronomers.us/id32.html

Again, while Alt-Az astronomical devices pre-date the telescope, what we know as a Dobsonian telescope dates from the 60s or 70s and was popularized by the easily portable, thin mirror, large aperture scopes at that time.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6084117 - 09/16/13 03:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

"Dobsonian" type mounts were originally used for cannon, probably long before Newton invented the Newtonian.

Mike




Dobsonian refers to a telescope configuration. What you have called Dobsonian above is simply Alt-Az. They were almost certainly used by Ptolemy for visual observation long before Galileo first pointed a telescope to the heavens.




Well, yes, that's why I made the point of putting "Dobsonian" in quotes, to imply that I wasn't using a strict definition of the term. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. Obviously I didn't.

But look at some old depictions of cannon mounts. I swear if you were to take that cannon off, rig up some altitude bearings for a Newt OTA of equivalent girth, and set that Newt into the mount, you'd have yourself a Dobsonian.

Words have significance, but physical reality has more. Well, let's leave that alone. There's probably enough to debate in that statement to last a few hundred years.

Mike


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6084130 - 09/16/13 03:08 PM

Also explains why dobs are often mistaken for rocket launchers or morters.......

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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6084137 - 09/16/13 03:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

"Dobsonian" type mounts were originally used for cannon, probably long before Newton invented the Newtonian.

Mike




Dobsonian refers to a telescope configuration. What you have called Dobsonian above is simply Alt-Az. They were almost certainly used by Ptolemy for visual observation long before Galileo first pointed a telescope to the heavens.




Well, yes, that's why I made the point of putting "Dobsonian" in quotes, to imply that I wasn't using a strict definition of the term. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. Obviously I didn't.

But look at some old depictions of cannon mounts. I swear if you were to take that cannon off, rig up some altitude bearings for a Newt OTA of equivalent girth, and set that Newt into the mount, you'd have yourself a Dobsonian.

Words have significance, but physical reality has more. Well, let's leave that alone. There's probably enough to debate in that statement to last a few hundred years.

Mike




So true Mike. Yeah, I think the written word is getting in the way here. Nuances are being missed all around.

As for the cannon mount analogy, I'm not sure if you know this, but John Dobson uses the same analogy.

Here's another interesting history of the Dobsonian. It jibes with what I remember from that S&T article so many years ago (can I really be that old?).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobsonian_telescope

One of the interesting things about the Dobsonian craze is that with the sudden interest in large amateur instruments, also came a revolution in equatorial mounted scopes. Not long after the S&T article made Dobs popular, several companies started producing very large, easily broken down and transported split-ring Eq scopes. It was about that time that I only occasionally kept up with what was going in in amateur astronomy. Some of those huge split-ring Eq scopes have a LOT in common with the Porter Garden Telescope.

I guess we can all agree that the apetures available today were largely unheard of 40 years ago in the hands of an amateur.


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6084165 - 09/16/13 03:25 PM

So what's the difference between a Dobsonian and an Alt-Az Newt? I'm thinking about F. W. Herschel's 47" scope or the Leviathan of Parsontown. Herschel's had all the characteristics of a big Dob except balance. They certainly had to climb ladders. Can't tell from photos if the Leviathan actually had Azimuth adjustment, but it seems unlikely if the supporting walls were masonry.

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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Seldom]
      #6084246 - 09/16/13 04:12 PM

Quote:

So what's the difference between a Dobsonian and an Alt-Az Newt? I'm thinking about F. W. Herschel's 47" scope or the Leviathan of Parsontown. Herschel's had all the characteristics of a big Dob except balance. They certainly had to climb ladders. Can't tell from photos if the Leviathan actually had Azimuth adjustment, but it seems unlikely if the supporting walls were masonry.




Herschel's 40' scope was certainly a granddaddy of the modern Dob.

Keep in mind, the Dob was not a new "invention." It took several basic things such as the Alt-Az mount, large thin mirror (low mass), simple bearings, and combined them into a previously unheard of level of portability and simplicity for relatively large to large (for the time) apertures. A Dobsonian is probably defined more by the packaging of the telescope than by any one atribute (such as Alt-Az or the fact it's a Newtonian telescope).

It's interesting that there is a Dob in existence that is larger (diameter) than Herschel's telescope (once the largest in the world). It's probably a whole lot easier to operate.


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amicus sidera
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Seldom]
      #6084400 - 09/16/13 05:43 PM

Quote:

So what's the difference between a Dobsonian and an Alt-Az Newt?




None. Dobson merely had better press in the form of enthusiastic fanbois making certain that the appellation "D*******n" entered the vocabulary of amateur astronomers.

Fred


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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6085612 - 09/17/13 09:54 AM

Interesting question and good thread.

Let's see I think I first started observing the moon with a spyglass duct-taped to a porch pillar around 1957.


It is far easier to see far more objects with far better equipment today. There is a much wider range of choices.

I think the real game-changer has been digital setting circles (and related software, specialty devices, etc.). This innovation dramatically increased BOTH the number of objects viewable per session AND the amount of time available to ponder those objects (if so inclined).

However, the character and atmosphere of the hobby is very different. Not better or worse, just different.

In the 50's through late 70's amateur astronomy fell under the rise of the space race - now an amateur can take better pictures of Jupiter, Mars or the Moon than the best professional equipment in the world back then (think Damian Peach) and it really doesn't have the same impact as a a great drawing by Inez Beck or Harold Hill or Chick Capen. Likewise, today you can see amateur CCD photos of DSO's that are better than those from the best from professional scopes of the 50's, but the sense of wonder of Walter Scott Houston's musing tends to be missing from today's writers and observers (Sue French does best to bridge both era's however).

That being said, I still love the hobby and still read every page of every issue of S&T. I still observe the way that suits me best - and there are more choices for other ways to observe than ever before (e.g. spectroscopy - what a thrill to see the unique signature lines from the recent nova in Delphinus).

Because the baby boom has peaked and we are heading to retirement and beyond, the hobby will have a smaller base over the next 10 to 20 years. This is just market demographics. So expect to see the hobby change again going forward.

The stars are eternal, viewing them is ever-changing.


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Gil V
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: semiosteve]
      #6085843 - 09/17/13 12:11 PM

Although the base may be smaller, we are considerably better connected.

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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Gil V]
      #6085967 - 09/17/13 01:05 PM

"Because the baby boom has peaked and we are heading to retirement and beyond, the hobby will have a smaller base over the next 10 to 20 years. This is just market demographics. So expect to see the hobby change again going forward." - Steve

An astute observation and something not yet widely recognized among hobbyists here. The Boomer Generation was very much into hobbies, while subsequent ones have not been nearly so much so. The passing of the Boomers over the next 10-20 years will have a considerable impact not only on amateur astronomy, but hobbies all across the board in years to come.

This fact is already becoming quite apparent in several other hobby areas I pursue. One is seeing the host of former manufacturers and suppliers either consolidating, or just plain closing up shop. At the same time, many previously commonly available products, some of them the staples of those hobbies, are now being produced in only limited batches whose availability comes and goes. Other items are offered increasingly on a pre-order/limited run basis, forcing a "buy now or miss out" situation.

So far the astronomy hobby hasn't yet seen much of this sort of thing, but it will invitably surface here. Only the severity of its overall impact on hobby participation remains yet to be determined.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (09/17/13 01:08 PM)


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hbanich
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6085968 - 09/17/13 01:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

So what's the difference between a Dobsonian and an Alt-Az Newt?




None. Dobson merely had better press in the form of enthusiastic fanbois making certain that the appellation "D*******n" entered the vocabulary of amateur astronomers.

Fred




Actually, the main distinguishing feature between a Dobsonian and an alt-az mount is the use of formica and Teflon bearings - that made the movements of a Dobsonian possible and helped fueled its expolsive growth. That, along with "thin" primary mirrors and using inexpensive plywood where Dobson's major innovations. For instance, my 28 inch scope looks a lot like a Dob but because it rides on ball bearings it's not a Dob - it's an alt-az Newtonian.

This is splitting hairs, but it good to remember what Dobson came up and why it caught on fire.


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: hbanich]
      #6085978 - 09/17/13 01:10 PM

Youo mean I can't call my dob a dob no more since I installed a lazy susan????

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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6086018 - 09/17/13 01:27 PM

Didn't philosphers get into long debates over terms, such as the difference between a "ball" and a "sphere?" Well, at least they no longer argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Wars were fought over such things as whether the Holy Ghost proceeds through the Father and the Son (filioque) or only through the Father. Just sayin'.

Thus began the Dobsonian Wars.


Mike


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6086062 - 09/17/13 01:50 PM

Quote:

Youo mean I can't call my dob a dob no more since I installed a lazy susan????




Put Susan to work...


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6086090 - 09/17/13 02:06 PM

Quote:

Didn't philosphers get into long debates over terms, such as the difference between a "ball" and a "sphere?" Well, at least they no longer argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Wars were fought over such things as whether the Holy Ghost proceeds through the Father and the Son (filioque) or only through the Father. Just sayin'.

Thus began the Dobsonian Wars.


Mike




All too true Mike.

I think what we are seeing is the definition expanding. That happens in all areas of life where a name of something describes a fairly narrow definition, but if said object becomes popular enough, many variations on the theme get lumped in. To that extent, things "are" what we define them to be (uh-oh, getting a bit philosophical here...).

That said, I do think it's true that a classical Dobsonian telescope is defined by simple bearings such as Teflon and Formica (or equivilent since those are brand names - there's that evolving language thing again), Alt-Az mount, thin mirrors, and "tubes" that break down into smaller sections for easy transport. Those were Dobson's innovations - the packaging and simplicity. Prior to that, not only did amateurs not generally possess large scopes (over 12.5"), but to haul said large scopes to a start party was lunacy! Thanks to Dobson, it's commonplace to see a 20" or larger scope at a star party. Absolutely we can thank him for that. Prior to, amateurs didn't typically own such scopes and if they did, you had to be invited to their observatory to get a look through it.


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: hbanich]
      #6086105 - 09/17/13 02:14 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

So what's the difference between a Dobsonian and an Alt-Az Newt?




None. Dobson merely had better press in the form of enthusiastic fanbois making certain that the appellation "D*******n" entered the vocabulary of amateur astronomers.

Fred




Actually, the main distinguishing feature between a Dobsonian and an alt-az mount is the use of formica and Teflon bearings - that made the movements of a Dobsonian possible and helped fueled its expolsive growth. That, along with "thin" primary mirrors and using inexpensive plywood where Dobson's major innovations. For instance, my 28 inch scope looks a lot like a Dob but because it rides on ball bearings it's not a Dob - it's an alt-az Newtonian.

This is splitting hairs, but it good to remember what Dobson came up and why it caught on fire.




Bingo.


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ADW
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6086204 - 09/17/13 03:08 PM

Quote:


That said, I do think it's true that a classical Dobsonian telescope is defined by simple bearings such as Teflon and Formica (or equivilent since those are brand names - there's that evolving language thing again), Alt-Az mount, thin mirrors, and "tubes" that break down into smaller sections for easy transport. Those were Dobson's innovations - the packaging and simplicity. Prior to that, not only did amateurs not generally possess large scopes (over 12.5"), but to haul said large scopes to a start party was lunacy! Thanks to Dobson, it's commonplace to see a 20" or larger scope at a star party. Absolutely we can thank him for that. Prior to, amateurs didn't typically own such scopes and if they did, you had to be invited to their observatory to get a look through it.




You are giving John Dobson credit for not only his significant innovations, but for those of other ATMs who greatly advanced the Dob. John Dobson's scopes were massive, heavy, long focal length crudely built beasts with a solid tube made from a Sonotube (a form for pouring concrete).

Other ATMs invented collapsible tubes made with trusses.

When John Dobson brought his 17.5-inch to the 1986 Mount Kobau Star Party here in British Columbia it was an f/7 I believe and required several people to load and unload it. It was crudely built (he used cedar shingles for his spider, for example), but the views were outstanding according to my logbook.

If I recall correctly, the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers transported Dobson's 24-inch by something like an old school bus.

Changing topics, I greatly enjoyed Steve Verba's (semiosteve) thoughtful post in this thread.

Best,

Alan Whitman


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Chuck Hards
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: ADW]
      #6086256 - 09/17/13 03:39 PM

John Dobson was responsible for a paradigm shift, of sorts, more than a specific design. Alt-az scopes were held in disdain back in the old days and equatorial mounts had to assume massive proportions to adequately hold large aperture telescopes. The value of Dobson's idea was to prove that large-aperture, inexpensive telescopes could be built and well-used in an alt-az configuration. Like any other aspect of this hobby, others built upon his work and refined it. But he was the one who started people thinking differently.

Would the modern truss-tubed alt-az light bucket exist today had it not been for Dobson back then? Probably, but it might not be at the state it's at now. Could have taken a few decades longer for the light bulb to come-on in someone else's head.

Don't forget Poncet, who gave us tracking for these big scopes in a pre-digital, or infant digital age. The equatorial platform and Dobsonian scope coming together at about the same time was a great stroke of luck for the amateur astronomer.

I started observing the skies with a telescope around 1968 and have seen many changes over the years. The skies I have access to now are actually darker than they were back then because I grew-up on a hill overlooking a metropolitan area. I can drive long distances now to dark skies that I couldn't when I was ten years old.
In our club, the percentage of folks doing real science at the telescope is about the same now as it was then. Heck, it's the same people, just a lot older, lol. Most of the rest are visual observers and imagers- "nature lovers". The ATM percentage is about the same. Probably more new, young blood in that category than any other.


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Michael Rapp
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6087524 - 09/18/13 09:01 AM

Quote:

Other items are offered increasingly on a pre-order/limited run basis, forcing a "buy now or miss out" situation.




I was actually thinking about this the other day, in regards to a G11. I've always wanted one, but I don't need one, and quite possibly in the not-so-distant future, the demand for it may go down substantially and Hollywood General Machining may get out of the business if it is not lucrative. (Of course, Scott Losmandy could also retire.)

It has also amazed me a little that our hobby has a large enough base with enough discretionary income to allow the premium mirror and dob makers to turn a hobby into a career and make a very good living. Maybe it will be a all good things must come to an end situation in another 15-20 years.

Okay, I just depressed myself before 9 am. Bleh.


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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #6087584 - 09/18/13 09:31 AM

Do the premium mirror makers and scope builders make a nice living at it? I've not looked into it but I thought most (or all) of them had day jobs.

I'd be happy to find out otherwise.


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6087586 - 09/18/13 09:33 AM

Might make a nice retirement "additional income".

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BrooksObs
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6087711 - 09/18/13 10:45 AM

Paul, I think that your question is well founded. While I have no direct information, I would observe that most highly respected mirror makers don't have a long history in the industry. Those with a good rep usually come from an established telescope making company and start out well. But sooner or later they allow themselves to become hopelessly over booked and a backlog builds. People start cancelling their orders. The mirror maker hires assistants, the quality drops and he vanishes from the scene. I have seen this scenario played out so many times during my long association with the hobby that I can pretty much conclude no one individual makes a fortune out of mirror making. Even well known companies these days seem to have a patchy history of profiting and not.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (09/18/13 10:49 AM)


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semiosteve
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6087844 - 09/18/13 11:52 AM

BrooksObs

So look at the size of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy today, as compared to say 10 years back. Number of articles, paper thickness, white space, and MOST critical, number of advertisers...of course print media also suffers from the impact of the internet. But there is no question, the demographic bulge of us baby boomers has passed its peak earnings years and is entering into retirement - having more time, but less money and aging bodies.

I am sure all hobbies are impacted, but the base impulse to stare at the stars got a special boost from the Space Race and so there is BOTH a demographic market contraction and a motivational contraction unique to this hobby.

For me, it just translates into greater appreciation for every younger amateur at clubs, forums and of course here at CN. Every regular CN'rs of the next generation I count as a blessing.

SO my position on this thread has been not to deprecate the present state of the hobby in comparison to the past, but to encourage and validate a terrific hobby with terrific new generation of observers.


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Dwight J
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: semiosteve]
      #6088212 - 09/18/13 02:49 PM

I wouldn't have believed what equipment we have at our disposal today and how cheaply it can be bought if you would have told me 30 to 35 yrs ago. The area I miss the most tho is reading books and magazines about astronomy. The Astronomy Book Club for instance, thick Sky and Tel mags, Astronomy mags filled with great articles on amateur astro. Now the mags useful material can be read in 5 min standing at the newsstand. Oh, sure you can read stuff on the 'net but unless you live on your computer, most of it is scattered all over. Hard to haul that computer in the bathroom too. I just miss the hard copy and the ease of finding all there was to read. Seems so few books are written about and for amateur astronomy unless you are a complete rookie ( I also dislike the term "newbie" - isn't English bad enough already). I am sure those born after me really like that information is now only largely available now and some others will say that there are plenty of new book written. They just don't compare to "Starry Nights", Burnham's, and Webb Society to name a few.

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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Dwight J]
      #6088321 - 09/18/13 03:49 PM

I've lived the past; looking forward to the future.....

As long as there are stars in the sky, and someone around to look at them; they will be.......Astronomy is probably man's oldest hobby....even early man looked to the stars....Homowhateverfollowsus will too. We are inseperable from the universe, and with intelligence (what little we claim to have), comes curiosity.......So I really don't fear what the future holds for this hobby. At some point, should we survive, man will reverse his light pollution and once again will look to the skies. That or we will be just another floating, lifeless rock in space......


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PeterR280
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6088588 - 09/18/13 06:19 PM

The general availability of quality equiment at affordale prices today can't be compared to the 50s and 60s. As far as astronomy, imaging seems to be the main activity today versus viewing. It's sort of a challenge. When you consider the quality of images that can be created with modern technology I can understand why. You can create a picture of Saturn that shows the hexagon at the pole with amateur equipment. The hexagon wasn't discovered until Voyager.

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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: PeterR280]
      #6088941 - 09/18/13 09:33 PM

And Voyager has just recently passed beyond the boundry of our solar system....for now, still performing its function: To learn all there is to learn and send it back to Earth......which may not always be what you predict as the first Star Trek movie showed.

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iluxo
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6088962 - 09/18/13 09:48 PM

What do I enjoy:

- cheap chinese optics (maksutovs)
- modern eyepieces,
- modern software (iOS apps),
- modern mounts

All of which we could only dream of 30 years ago.

What do I miss - the serious contributions amateurs could make. Modern spacecraft have all but killed this, limiting amateur astronomy to an educational experience for children.

Edited by iluxo (09/18/13 09:49 PM)


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: iluxo]
      #6088982 - 09/18/13 09:58 PM

I hope I never grow up then.....

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Ron359
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6089941 - 09/19/13 01:08 PM

As someone in this for 40 years the biggest change (easy to use technology aside) is a big shift to the "me-lennial" generation. It used to be easy to do outreach for school kids and others by getting 5 or 6 or more to volunteer and bring their scopes. Maybe partyly due to aging in the pop. and price of gas, getting anyone to volunteer is like pulling a tooth with pliers anymore. The size of our club has doubled because of its dark sky site. But most everyone is all bout "my" observing list, "my next Hershel 400" "my imaging ccd a faintest fuzzy ever" etc. etc.

If graying is happening and leading to a demise, I think this is a primary reason why. We will see over the next 10 years as more and more kids are less and less exposed to the wonders of the night sky.

Quote:

What about star parties of today, versus those of the past decades? Aside from the obviously better equipment, have the people changed in terms of enthusiasm and helpfulness, or has that been a pretty steady thing within the community?




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jrbarnett
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Ron359]
      #6089975 - 09/19/13 01:24 PM

It's all relative, really. Back in Neanderthaler times the number of distractions and diversions available to hominids was minimal. Most of the homonid's waking hours were spoken for in the form of hunting, gathering and fire tending for subsistence and warmth. In such times it was considered to be great fun - the absolute funnest thing possible - to blow red ochre around your hand onto a rock shelter wall.

As the hominid species evolved, however, many additional diversions were invented. With the tilling of the first fields and raising of the first stone walls in the Fertile Crescent, the amount of per capita "spare time" in increased and red ochre spitting was totally displaced by things like the invention of supernatural dieties and building of monumental structures in honor of said made-up entities as well as chariot racing, to name just a couple.

In the 50s, 60s and early 70s, other than radio and television, there really weren't many "killer app" time wasters. While none of that generation raised ziggurats or raced chariots (or spit red ochre for that matter), spending endless hours peering into an eyepiece courtesy of wide availability of mass-produced, affordable consumer grade astronomical optics, seemed like an exciting and Jim-dandy way to while away one's leisure time. For those of us whose formative years occurred in that era, it remains exciting.

Subsequent generations, however, have a lot more leisure time and many, many more leisure time diversion options than any prior generations. They have on-demand video entertainment, mobile phones that make the NSA's computers from the 1970s look comically underpoewered, tablets, video games and consoles and computers on which to play them, etc. Hanging out with a bunch of old dudes in the middle of the night looking at faint fuzzies has a very hard time breaking the top 10,000 options for leisure time activity for young folks today. Just as you or I would never consider spending an afternoon spitting red ochre or tuning a chariot's hube-axle conjunction, most young folks today have no reason to want to be interested in visual astronomy, no matter how many volunteers and scopes you provide.

Be at peace. Go quietly into that long night, fellow traveler.

- Jim


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6090008 - 09/19/13 01:45 PM

If we have so much more leisure time, why am I working all the time??????? Some of those "work savers" really weren't. While it's becoming more of a reality today, the paperless office still hasn't happened, and I spend more time on a computer now then I ever did on sheets of paper (it seems now they want both the paper and the electronic...two jobs for the cost of one.....

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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6090048 - 09/19/13 02:10 PM

I save multiple hours by not texting, not using the cell phone in the car, not having anything on the phone except a clock, calendar and ... a phone! ... and not answering the phone at home most of the time when the wife isn't home ... and when she is home. It's usually for her, anyway. (I like it that way.)

This saves much time for posting on Cloudy Nights and preparing for observing sessions with my telescopes!

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6090071 - 09/19/13 02:25 PM

I know when my "SmartPhone" contract expires, I'm going back to the cell phone that rings when someone's calling and allows you to dial out.......that's about as smart as I want it to be.....Currently, the phone electronics in most smart "phones" was an afterthought.....

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Feidb
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6090169 - 09/19/13 03:31 PM

I usually observe where cell phones don't work. Besides, my cell phone is very basic and doesn't have any smart features. I have to punch in numbers to call someone and it has no apps. Works just fine for me!

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Ron359
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6090851 - 09/19/13 11:23 PM

most young folks today have no reason to want to be interested in visual astronomy, no matter how many volunteers and scopes you provide.



- Jim




I have to disagree with that last statement. Whenever we do manage to have large or small groups of kids looking through our telescopes, I still hear the WOW! at first sight of Saturn or the mountains and craters of the moon or sunspots and proms. Many times they still ask if "is that real?" and not a picture. Kids haven't changed that much and still think its "cool". That still makes it worthwhile for me. Giving them the reason just takes getting them and scopes together. That is the challenge when we don't or won't provide the opportunities.


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Seldom
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Ron359]
      #6090967 - 09/20/13 01:14 AM

I reckon none of you young fellows who are knocking smartphones have either Sky Safari, or Satellite Safari.

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lintonius
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Seldom]
      #6090983 - 09/20/13 01:31 AM

Quote:

I reckon none of you young fellows who are knocking smartphones have either Sky Safari, or Satellite Safari.




None of the above, thank you very much!
But then, I guess I'm not one of "young fellows" any more, either!
Linton


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Seldom]
      #6091218 - 09/20/13 08:17 AM

Quote:

I reckon none of you young fellows who are knocking smartphones have either Sky Safari, or Satellite Safari.




I don't have a SmartPhone, but I have Sky Safari Pro on my 10" Android tablet. I prefer a larger screen than that on a phone for programs like SSP. I like context. I wouldn't want to keep zooming in and out on a little phone screen. A tablet is much better.

I might get a SmartPhone - or at least a smarter one than the one I have now - when my plan ends next month. My cell phone does not have reception at one of my dark sites. I want to join a service that has reception everywhere I go. A SmartPhone would be nice to get updates on local weather, practical things like that. But I'm not interested in all the time-wasting, frivolous apps.

I'm 57, not a young feller, except maybe in an ironic or facetious way.

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6091255 - 09/20/13 08:44 AM

Love my Galaxy 2 Tab, Hate my Windows8 phone......and I'm a 60 years old youngster.....as far as service goes, our dark site is iffy at best, usually no signal at all (it's kind of down in a hollow bowl) even with the major carriers. And to me, that's an added benefit of being alone with nature...once you're out of the "bowl", reception is good.

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Chuck Hards
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6091283 - 09/20/13 08:53 AM

Quote:

Just as you or I would never consider spending an afternoon spitting red ochre or tuning a chariot's hube-axle conjunction,

- Jim




Damn, now you've got me curious. Googling red ochre and chariot tuning...

What's one more hobby?


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6091338 - 09/20/13 09:16 AM

and where, exactly, does one purchase red ochre or find chariots that require tuning. Is tuning a chariot anything like collimating a dob, will I need my Glatter/Tublug (it is red, so it won't clash with the ochre)??

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TL2101
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6091412 - 09/20/13 10:00 AM

Chariots are easy to collimate you just need to put on a set of Spartacus knobs.

Edited by TL2101 (09/20/13 10:05 AM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Chuck Hards]
      #6091414 - 09/20/13 10:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Just as you or I would never consider spending an afternoon spitting red ochre or tuning a chariot's hube-axle conjunction,

- Jim




Damn, now you've got me curious. Googling red ochre and chariot tuning...

What's one more hobby?




You might want to go with an Egyptian chariot. They were more maneuverable than the Hittite's. Though the heavier Hittite chariots could carry three men, while the Egyptian only two.

Don't let the chariot dealer talk you into something you don't really want. It's your decision.

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6091486 - 09/20/13 10:39 AM

Will my dob fit into the chariot?

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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6091502 - 09/20/13 10:48 AM

You will have more room in the Hittite chariot, but it will be heavier. With a Dob on board, there won't be room for your runner. The shield carrier might have to be thrown out, also, depending on the size of the Dob.

The Egyptian chariot could carry a smaller Dob, but you would definitely have to make the shield carrier foot it with your runner.

Mike


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jrbarnett
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Ron359]
      #6091580 - 09/20/13 11:46 AM

Oh, I've found the same. However, beyond that, I've found that few of them care to see it again. They've "checked that box" and are off to other experiences. How many young people that you've engaged for first time views have gone out and bought telescopes? Spent even 1/1000th as much time doing astronomy as video games? Times have changed.

Regards,

Jim


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6091589 - 09/20/13 11:54 AM

I think a lot of it is due to our ever decreasing attention span. Long term studies have shown that in the 1920s the average attention span was nearly two minutes.....now it's below 30 seconds. We're somewheres around the goldfish attention span now....and this is a hobby that requires an attention span.....

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Vince Tramazzo
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Ron359]
      #6091644 - 09/20/13 12:16 PM

It's what happens after the "WOW" that counts.



Whenever we do manage to have large or small groups of kids looking through our telescopes, I still hear the WOW!


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Vince Tramazzo]
      #6091677 - 09/20/13 12:34 PM

Those young people who like amateur astronomy will stay in the hobby, those who don't won't. I'm not concerned about it. Why should I be? I'm not proselytizing for the next generation of amateur astronomers. Why should I? I brought myself into this hobby. No one had to drag me into it.

Do we really want our precious dark sites to be filled with newbies? Loudness. Constant talking about nothing. Guitar playing. White light everywhere. Hyperactive little children and dogs forced into the mix.

Let's keep our endangered dark sites for the stargeezers and the neophytes who are really serious about those objects in the sky. The rest should stay away, play their video games and text message each other.

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6091694 - 09/20/13 12:39 PM

Not to worry Mike, those type wouldn't dream of leaving the city lights....I mean, how you gonna live if you have no cell phone signal?????? And it's dark, and dirty, and there's all these creepy old guys out there........

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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6091723 - 09/20/13 12:50 PM

Quote:

Not to worry Mike, those type wouldn't dream of leaving the city lights....I mean, how you gonna live if you have no cell phone signal??????




You would be surprised. Often I've seen a newb come to the dark site with their new $3000 SCT, which they think qualifies them as an expert. Yet they don't know enough not to use white light. Or spend all night futzing around with the equipment and never see much of anything in the sky. I or another "old timer" will try to teach them dark site etiquette. (I suppose I qualify as a real old timer by my talk about the chariots!)

But it's not my responsibility to teach them how to use their new-fangled gizmos. (Besides the fact that I don't know anything about these whiz-bang gadgets! I'm a star hopper.) They should have all that figured out long before they leave the house. Usually I never see them again.

Quote:

And it's dark, and dirty, and there's all these creepy old guys out there........




Dark is gooood! Yes, the natural world is dirty. Probably many of the boring non-astronomy world do think we are creepy. And most of us are old and almost all of us are guys. eh...


Mike


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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6091897 - 09/20/13 02:16 PM

If I didn't know better, I'd think most of you guys are old farts bitter about not being young anymore. The disdain you show for young people and new things is astonishing for a group that likes technology (any telescope is a technical marvel). How you decide where to draw the line between technology that is "good" and "bad" is completely arbitrary.

Lighten up before you keel over, man.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6091933 - 09/20/13 02:42 PM

That's my guess as well. Modern "marketing" whether commercial or political has been distilled down into 30-second soundbites. The reality is that there are many subjects that cannot be covered adequately in 30 seconds, but that hasn't stopped the trend. Basically, we're all 90 seconds dumber than we were 90 years ago. I have it on good authority that the average Neaderthaler had a twelve minute attention span.

There really is something to be said for "livin' slower" IMO.

- Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6091936 - 09/20/13 02:44 PM

Speak for yourself, Mike. I am definitely creepy.

- Jim


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: bunyon]
      #6091957 - 09/20/13 03:05 PM

Quote:

If I didn't know better, I'd think most of you guys are old farts bitter about not being young anymore. The disdain you show for young people and new things is astonishing for a group that likes technology (any telescope is a technical marvel). How you decide where to draw the line between technology that is "good" and "bad" is completely arbitrary.

Lighten up before you keel over, man.




I pick and choose which advances to adopt. I now leave my star charts home. I use Sky Safari Pro on an Android tablet. When I upgrade to a 14" or so Dob, I'll want tracking. Goto? Pfft! I'll take it if it's part of the package.

But not all change is progress. I don't like change that would tend to make me too lazy or ignorant. I get to choose which level of laziness and ignorance I'm comfortable with.

As for young folks, I have nothing against them per se. It's only the individual young person that I learn to like, dislike or am indifferent to. That goes for the old folks I meet as well.

Mike


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bunyon
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6092013 - 09/20/13 03:39 PM

<i>As for young folks, I have nothing against them per se. It's only the individual young person that I learn to like, dislike or am indifferent to. That goes for the old folks I meet as well.</i>

Right. I'm not talking about that; I'm in my early 40s. That has let me watch the folks now in their 50s and 60s all my life and, let me say, as a group, they're every bit as lazy, selfish, demanding, stupid and whiny as the kids I work with today, who are about the same age difference going the other way.

The idea that in yesteryear you had a bunch of really "with it" smart, creative and patient people is wishcasting. Folks are folks. Amateur astronomers, at any point in history, make up a vanishingly small segment of the population. And they probably always will. There will be no boom or bust. How they go about their hobby will change, always.

And, I suppose, crabby old folks will always gripe about the change. (And grumpy folks in the middle, like me, will always gripe about the griping. But, seriously, life is good, man. Enjoy it.)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6092290 - 09/20/13 06:42 PM

Quote:

Speak for yourself, Mike. I am definitely creepy.

- Jim




Maybe the boring non-astronomy world isn't as completely clueless as I thought.


Mike


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Geo31
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6092376 - 09/20/13 07:38 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Speak for yourself, Mike. I am definitely creepy.

- Jim





Maybe the boring non-astronomy world isn't as completely clueless as I thought.


Mike




Muggles?


Edited by Geo31 (09/20/13 07:39 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Geo31]
      #6092428 - 09/20/13 08:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Speak for yourself, Mike. I am definitely creepy.

- Jim





Maybe the boring non-astronomy world isn't as completely clueless as I thought.


Mike




Muggles?





Or Neutrotypicals.

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6092605 - 09/20/13 10:32 PM

Or just plain old creepy dudes (or dudeettes)....

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esd726
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: SleepyAstronomer]
      #6092612 - 09/20/13 10:39 PM

I like the better books, atlases, eyepieces we have now. I also like that ordering a scope or other fun things doesn't have to be done over the phone and it won't take MONTHS and MONTHS for it to finally show up. I miss the scopes like the old orange C-8 and the manual slow motion controls on most scopes. It seems like all the SCTs, most Dobs now are goto, automated and I just am not into that stuff. I like controlling were my scope goes by myself and how ever fast/slow I want it to get there. Maybe that is why I basically only view with Dobs anymore. I also have less "extra" money to play with than back then too. Maybe something else, negative to me, is how more of the hobby is aimed toward imaging now than it was. I just want to BE observing, buy stuff FOR observing and read ABOUT observing . That's THIS "old" man's thoughts

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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6092777 - 09/21/13 01:49 AM

Quote:

Or just plain old creepy dudes (or dudeettes)....




In the Harry Potter series, Muggles are the everyday folks who are ignorant about magic.

Neurotypicals are what some Aspergers call those who don't have Aspergers.

Neither Muggles nor Neurotypicals should be confused with old creepy dudes who sit in the dark all night and stare at the sky.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: esd726]
      #6092779 - 09/21/13 01:53 AM

Quote:

I also like that ordering a scope or other fun things doesn't have to be done over the phone and it won't take MONTHS and MONTHS for it to finally show up.




My first scope - an Edmund 4.25" f/10 Palomar Newt - was like that. It took months to arrive. My Dad had to pick it up at the train depot.

Mike


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brianb11213
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #6092811 - 09/21/13 02:40 AM

Quote:

old creepy dudes who sit in the dark all night and stare at the sky.



Those are normal. It's the old creepy dudes who sit in the light all day & stare at the sun who are scary.


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brianb11213
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: csrlice12]
      #6092812 - 09/21/13 02:42 AM

Quote:

I think a lot of it is due to our ever decreasing attention span.



Sorry, I lost you at about the third word.


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Sarkikos
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6093049 - 09/21/13 09:36 AM

Quote:

Quote:

old creepy dudes who sit in the dark all night and stare at the sky.



Those are normal. It's the old creepy dudes who sit in the light all day & stare at the sun who are scary.




I never got into solar. That is creepy. Wouldn't that turn us to dust?

Mike


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csrlice12
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Re: Veteran Amateurs: Past vs Present new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6093149 - 09/21/13 10:35 AM

Quote:

Quote:

old creepy dudes who sit in the dark all night and stare at the sky.



Those are normal. It's the old creepy dudes who sit in the light all day & stare at the sun who are scary.




Yea, but they're easy to run away from....


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