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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Where is Everybody?
      #6253799 - 12/15/13 03:05 AM

How many telescopes are sold across the globe every day? How many people observer through them? Many thousands for sure. How many people engage in this hobby? Who knows.

Right now, there are about 40 in Cats and Casses, 20 in Reflectors, 50 in Refractors and usually more in each. The two imaging forums have about 50 people at any given time. Binoculars is pretty populated. Even the Off Topic Observatory has more people than Double Stars, Deep Sky, Lunar, and Planetary forums - to name a few of the popular observing forums - combined.

Surely quite a few folks, you should see the membership list (of which a large portion are not active, surely), there are over 100 pages of just "a's." Amazing. A mere fraction of that number lurk through continually without posting anything. Far less post anything. Normally it takes a few hours to pick say a couple dozen views, a couple downloads, and absolutely no comments. There aren't any comments until regulars post. I guess that defines them as "regular," in this context, of course.

For the most part you can count the number of active observers who regularly post, discuss, sketch, image, or any other activity on about two hands (well, imaging would take about 6 hands.) But, compared to the number of people on the roster or the the number of observers on the planet, the sum of lurkers and active participants during a given period seems very light.

Nothing wrong with lurking, looking, being at work, on hiatus, or whatever. That's not the point. There is is no requirement to post, sometimes even regulars have nothing to add or say. There are as many reasons as there are members, surely, and all perfectly valid. But sometimes don't you just wonder, well, where is everybody?

Surely there are more than a handful of people across the globe who observe, say, Jupiter and do so with some level of dedication and admiration. ISON got quite an audience, but probably by the same handful of people and a couple hundred folks lurking. But, is that it? Is that us?

I'm retired at home, pool stick leaning against the wall, caught up on a few "Z's" and waiting for the sun to go down. I'm wondering if it'll stay clear. Yea, that means bored at the moment, but still often wonder why the foot traffic is so light.


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

Loc: Germany
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6253836 - 12/15/13 04:27 AM

Good morning,

thanks a lot for this post.
I'm registered for quite a while now, but thought
I would need some more experience to start posting here.

Now I take your post as an invitation to do so

My name is Mathias, I'm 22 years old and live in
Germany.
I'm studying East Asian Studies in Ruhr Universität Bochum.

Astronomy is something I've been interested in all
my live.
Last your I bought my first scope a 10" Galaxy Dobson, since
then I got to see so many amazing anx spectacular things,
that Im still speechless.

Now I got to the point, where I would like to keep
all those moments in pictures.
So Astrophotography will be the next step on the road

Thanks a lot for your post, that made me enter this
community

Greetings
Mathias


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6253881 - 12/15/13 05:43 AM

Hey, Mathias. Welcome. Didn't mean to force anybody. It's nice you took it as an invitation, though.

You know, you don't need experience to post here. You actually learn by doing so, I believe, anyway. Some good info posted in here, jump in...observe, tell us what you saw. Sketch, paint, image, or just chat. Ask questions or answer them. This is a huge community, it seems, but not a lot of community involvement. (No, not running for president, or anything. Just curious.)

You seem well equipped with a nice Dob, some speechless experiences, and like many of us have been interested in Astronomy for most of our lives. See? We have a lot in common already. And your from Europe, as are a lot of others scattered around the globe. If you're speechless, as I often am by the beauty of the heavens, let others know what it is that made you speechless, if you want to.

There is a huge AP forum, I look forward to running across your work someday and talking about some celestial object you imaged. I might even want to use it as a reference to an observation I made. You can learn a lot up there in the imaging forums, lots of talent and skill. But, don't forget about us visual observers, too.

Cheers,
Norme
Retired and living in a tropical paradise.

BTW, every morning I wake up with a hot cup of coffee and read what others have said or look at their images sketches. Sometimes I don't even finish that cup of coffee and the nights new threads are already finished. So, I often wonder where is everyone.

Thanks for responding.


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: Saskatoon, SK
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6253884 - 12/15/13 05:46 AM

Hi Mathias, glad you are posting. I also have a 10" dob that I enjoy. Where do you do the observing? If you are in the Ruhr there is a lot of light pollution? When I was in university I couldn't afford to buy a telescope, but I dreamed all the time about having one. You are lucky!

Hey Norme, I often wondered the same thing myself. 50,000 members here, but only the same hundred or so posters over and over. I guess astronomers are shy types?

My last observation was last week on Jupiter. I saw a nice shadow transit, but had to get up at 4am in -20C temperature . We have a lot of cloud in my area this winter but looks like tonight will be good.


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goodricke1
member


Reged: 05/18/13

Loc: Ireland
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6253900 - 12/15/13 06:23 AM

I think in a subject like this the difference between the experts and the novices can seem pretty intimidating. I certainly wouldn't dream of posting any of my miserably basic images when I see some of the masterpieces on here. But I visit every day and am mostly content to absorb the wisdom of the more experienced and knowledgeable posters.

They also serve who only stand and wait - Milton.


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6253904 - 12/15/13 06:27 AM

Maybe it's the cold that keep em inside. It's cold in Germany, too. But, yea, hey, no casting stones about staying warm.

So, you've wondered the same thing, too. It was mentioned in another thread, as well, that many observers don't post here...with so many members on the books? Its certainly not mandatory, of course, and folks have their reasons. But to see 500 views and 10 comments and to recap overnight (daytime US/Canada) postings before finishing a cup of coffee? That's a lot of overly shy people. Maybe. (<---see how friendly we are, we grin all the time.)


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: goodricke1]
      #6253907 - 12/15/13 06:35 AM

Milton, yea, there are some big boys posting in here. But, you can engage them. It seems everyone settles into a niche and has some area of expertise. Heck, for example, Glenn and Brian know a lot more about spherical aberration than I do, but I pretend they don't. Sometimes they debate it among themselves, and it's always congenial.

That's not always the case, though, sometimes discussions can get heated. When they are, I usually post the "gotpopcorn" graemlin like this and lurk and learn. And for fun, you can always get Eddgie fired up about MTF. That's usually good for about 16 pages of informative discussion. hehe (Kidding, Eddgie...in fact I rely on him sometime.)

But, everyone has something to share, surely. Nirv was out observing a shadow transit, I'm stuck inside with cloud cover rolling in. Have you ever observed a double star? Hey, what did it look like? Was it easy? Hard? Nice color? Was the primary violet? (Don't say it was, because the experts will jump all over you for that. )

If you have a scope and saw something that made your lower jaw fall off, no one can debate that. Maybe you even saw Omega Centauri from Canada, not many do.

Yea, it's possible some can feel intimidated, that's totally understandable and not a problem. But, I'd bet they have something they can share that's neutral and won't attract scrutiny and ire of the big boys. Like, hey, M42 was nice last night. Or they might even have an area of expertise no one can mess with. Then people turn to them for advice. We all find a niche.

When you post a sketch, you're never gonna get a bad reply. And you might actually be surprised how good it actually turned out, to others who can appreciate both the object and the difficulty observing and recording it.

They don't have a soap box graemlin do they? One that shows someone stepping off it?

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 06:52 AM)


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goodricke1
member


Reged: 05/18/13

Loc: Ireland
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6253909 - 12/15/13 06:45 AM

Just to clarify, Milton was the guy (poet) who came up with that 'stand and wait' line

Well, my piece of expert advice is: if you haven't seen M11 through an 8-incher, you haven't lived


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: Saskatoon, SK
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6253916 - 12/15/13 06:49 AM

Hi goodricke1! Just talk about something you saw that you enjoyed, or something you'd like to see, or about your equipment. We're all basically kids having fun

For example a couple of weeks ago we had a really clear night so I had my neighbors over with their children to see the moon. They'd never seen it before in a telescope and thought it was cool.

"Well, my piece of expert advice is: if you haven't seen M11 through an 8-incher, you haven't lived"

M11 is my favorite open cluster. When seeing conditions are right it's like diamonds scattered in the sky.


Edited by nirvanix (12/15/13 06:54 AM)


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: goodricke1]
      #6253923 - 12/15/13 06:55 AM

Quote:

Just to clarify, Milton was the guy (poet) who came up with that 'stand and wait' line

Well, my piece of expert advice is: if you haven't seen M11 through an 8-incher, you haven't lived



Gaaa...can't say that I have. Six inches, you bet...but not 8 inches or larger. I was more into small planetaries and globulars. Yea, M11 almost fits that bill, though.

Edit: I had to look up the Milton reference. Not my area of expertise, thanks for sharing.

Also, we're a diverse group prone to misunderstandings, lack of communication, and all that other stuff. Sometimes we rub each other a little the wrong way. That's just normal group dynamics.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 07:20 AM)


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

Loc: Germany
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6253924 - 12/15/13 06:55 AM

Thank you for welcomming me!

It's true Norme it's all about learning
from each other.
I learnt a lot reading Threads on
Cloudy Nights and I found myself
brought back to the time I spent
at the Grand Canyon and in the desert
around Palm Springs, where I first saw
a real nightsky.

I'm looking forward to share my impressions and to live with you through yours

Most of the time I'm observing from my
backyard. Yes the Ruhr area is pretty much
useless, but at least I got some decent views in the horizont.

Yes I consider myself really lucky, to be
able to support my hobby financialy.
But I had to work a long time for the scope and my EPs, still it was worth every single hour:)

Best wishes
Mathias


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: Saskatoon, SK
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6253933 - 12/15/13 07:10 AM

Quote:



Most of the time I'm observing from my
backyard. Yes the Ruhr area is pretty much
useless, but at least I got some decent views in the horizont.

Best wishes
Mathias




You can still do a lot in light-polluted skies: lunar, planetary, double stars. A good test for your dob is to see how many of the small craterlets you can see inside the large crater Plato or try to spot the Alpine rift.


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6253940 - 12/15/13 07:26 AM

Quote:

I'm looking forward to share my impressions and to live with you through yours...
Quote:


That says it all, imagine if 50,000 members thought the same way.

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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

Loc: Germany
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6253942 - 12/15/13 07:39 AM

Quote:

Quote:



Most of the time I'm observing from my
backyard. Yes the Ruhr area is pretty much
useless, but at least I got some decent views in the horizont.

Best wishes
Mathias




You can still do a lot in light-polluted skies: lunar, planetary, double stars. A good test for your dob is to see how many of the small craterlets you can see inside the large crater Plato or try to spot the Alpine rift.





That's so true
There is so much to see on the moon,
it never is boring. Especially when I try
sketching it so many details
I love planetary observations and double star splitting.
Even some galaxies, planetary nebulas and
reflection nebulas work from my
home
My target for this month is, to finally
observe Mars!

M11 truely is amazing


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6253950 - 12/15/13 07:59 AM

Mathias, I was introduced to the Plato craterlet challenge in this forum and posted right along with others. It was a blast. I've seen the Alpine rile exactly one and a half times. Jupiter is up and I read every post discussing that planet and post my own. When Mars becomes more favorable, you can bet it will be in this forum and one or two others. So, welcome to the observing forum. Your interests are shared by several people. Thats what we do, ya? Pretty painless.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 08:01 AM)


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6253964 - 12/15/13 08:12 AM

I addressed more-or-less this same question in some other thread here recently. The number of "telescope owners" must indeed be truly enormous world-wide. But the question of just how many of these instruments ever end up getting used by their owners of anything like a regular basis, say even weekly, quickly shrinks the number to a dramatically smaller figure.

It's been said for a very long time in circles of more serious observers that there are around just a thousand or so hobbyists doing somewhat systematic observing that culminates in anything of any value and that this situation has prevailed for many decades independent of the hobby's growth, or decline. Those who might be consided casual, or occasional, observers must number several tens of thousands more than that.

Likely, those who frequently post seem to do so on multiple forums, so the apparent number of active individuals is less than it may initially appear. And there are also those who are reluctant to even make their presence on a forum known. Does this balance? I have no idea.

BrooksObs

Edited by BrooksObs (12/15/13 08:23 AM)


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

Loc: Germany
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6253973 - 12/15/13 08:20 AM

Oh boy, now I want to go out observing.
But it's 2pm and it is so foggy I can't even see my car in front of the garage ^^
So I start putting my observing list for next observing time together.

It is pretty painless indeed


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6254016 - 12/15/13 08:54 AM

Brooks, sure there are fewer folks as you approach the "top" tier, I guess for lack of a better term, doing what might be deemed progressive work in our field. Maybe many don't post in social networking. Maybe some of their research is more appropriate for official publication and not so much up for peer debate. Whatever reason.

Still the tens of thousands that enjoy this hobby on every level, from a quick look at the Pleiades with the naked eye to more serious double star or planetary work, for fun or even for scientific gain, can take or leave the option of mingling with like minded folks online. Maybe many people, as I do, prefer personal contact and avoid most social networking. I observe online, but I do not play pool nor meet people (like dating ) online.

There are reasons posting seems light with so many members. But, if so many take the time to create a nic and upload an avatar, maybe more could join the fun. How many folks observe alone? How many are privileged to be members of small groups of observers and thus no need for a broader outreach? There are often threads about observing alone, too. I'd bet many of us do.

I dunno if this is balance or not, either. But when the sum total of all the threads in various forums can be read and commented on before one finishes a cup of coffee, well, where is everybody?

Surely more than a few people buy scopes then never use them much for whatever reason. No fault, just reality. If anyone has an unused Intes 8" MCT, I'd like to take it off your hands.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 09:14 AM)


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254045 - 12/15/13 09:21 AM

Hi Norme

Planetary observation has been a bust for me this fall. I couldn't wait for Jove to be back in the evening sky but unfortunately the jet stream parked itself overhead and seems like it's here to stay. The best I can get with either my 5"Mak or 6"Newt are a few bands on the planet and a hint of polar shading. Last year around this time Jupiter had great colour and I could make out some white spots and details within the bands. Now to make matters even worse, the extreme cold came early this year. It's -25C in the evenings so my enthusiasm is a bit low. Add to that that we seem to have clouds all the time. Hell, I just got some Bt70-45 binoculars two weeks ago and all I could test them on are a few rooftops in daylight...and from inside the house!

But I won't give up since I am sure that the planets will align some day ( ) and the conditions will be just right for a great viewing session... And I will be sure to report my findings. No sketches though; can't hold a pencil in that cold.

Eric


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azure1961p
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Eric63]
      #6254047 - 12/15/13 09:23 AM

Psssst: we're all on the moon watching that Chinese rabbit take its first leaps!
Pete


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David Gray
sage
*****

Reged: 08/06/12

Loc: Co. Durham UK
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254063 - 12/15/13 09:32 AM

Perhaps a seasonal element at present (N. Hem. Winter): stove-huggers; lay-a-beds etc??

I have recently visited a few more forums and, not wanting to cause uproar here(!), some seem to show a degree of angst and faint-hearted-negativity/defeatism.

In particular I responded to a post: http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6250044/page... about the discomfort of cold-weather , and simply giving in to it. I suggested going in and out of doors (where practical); making incremental intervals out, which has always worked for me. Then another thread appeared apparently alluding to my ‘radical’ suggestion with regard to dark-adaption: “that would kill your nite vis.” I had addressed this and a little lateral thinking/application simply deals with this for me at least. Maybe I come from another planet: but I dark adapt rapidly anyway and once achieved, if I lose it, comes back in minutes – and I’m pushing 70 now. Similarly cold-adaption develops with that in/out practice and find I can endure longer spells out after a few ins. I claim no discovery there as S&T and others have addressed these matters several times over the years – cold/dark-adaption.

Of course I am thinking of those in reasonably good health. My wife is developing T2 diabetes so I am well abreast of the hazards of sufferers getting too cold.

As a baker I worked with a guy, in his early 20s, who got the astronomy bug big time. Straight off he got an 8” Celestron SCT, then a Vixen 90mm refractor. I field-tested them both for him and they were ideal for his purposes. He used to inundate me with questions all through the shift. Often to great distraction for as shift-foreman I had certain stresses/anxieties – at risk of showing favouritism I coped (men can multi-task!).

Then as winter set in his whining about cold-discomfort escalated; and also he already had warnings about sleeping in for dayshifts. As his enthusiasm declined he asked me however did I manage to get out of bed at, say, 2 a.m. to observe on cold winter mornings. Sickened off by then I said: “Simple! I put one foot to the middle of the floor and the other has to follow!”.

He had also joined several BAA sections using me as a reference to my subsequent embarrassment. Not seen him for years but those fine scopes got little use after that I know of…..??


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Special Ed
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/03

Loc: Greenbrier Co., WV 38N, 80W
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254077 - 12/15/13 09:44 AM

I too have noticed over the years that the observing forums seem to have the lowest participation numbers (with the Solar Observing forum usually leading). Of course, when there is some phenomenon occuring like Nova Del or the much anticipated ISON, those numbers spike. Mars and Jupiter usually bring observers out, too and the best part of their current apparitions is just beginning.

There is a lot of traffic in the Beginners forum and some interesting observations posted there but those folks tend to hang back from participating in the dedicated observing forums. Perhaps they can follow the fine example that Mathias has set for them (welcome, Mathias )

It could be that people are spending their time on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. instead of here. Don't know--I haven't crossed that threshold (yet).

The various equipment forums are great if you have a question and get a lot of posters because of that. They also tend to have huge ongoing bull sessions where people discuss/argue/describe their stuff. A large fraction of amateurs seem to prefer to talk about scopes rather than what they see with them. That's understandable since astronomy equipment tends to be beautifully designed and machined. I know I love my mine--I just don't talk about it much. I think I feel a little guilty that I have such a beautiful, well equipped observatory.

Amateur astronomy is often a solitary pursuit--I feel lucky I can share my observations and compare them to those of others world-wide in almost real time thanks to the Internet. I've made a lot of friends here and I hope to make more--CN is a friendly (and educational) place.


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Eric63]
      #6254078 - 12/15/13 09:45 AM

Pete, if you're on the moon and didn't invite me...

Hi, Eric, totally understand about the weather and the views. We are just emerging from 6 months of rainy season. It seems natural to be less active or even dormant focusing on other things during such times.


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Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6254090 - 12/15/13 09:54 AM

I'm still here. The evenings have been very cloudy in Miami and have limited my observing of Jupiter. On the other hand, mornings have been usually nice and I have been observing the approach of Mars. I haven't posted that much because I think people would tire of reading the similar 'I think I saw brown surface features' with Mars being so small right now. But, get ready, as the 'Roman God of War' is fast approaching!

Ed D


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254092 - 12/15/13 09:55 AM

Nice comments Dave and Michael. Ive made a few friends in here, too. One iscapparently vacationing on the moon where the seeing is better. Maybe more of them went and without me. But, yea, generally a good community with its quirky group dynamics. Probably couldn't stand half of ya in person. (kidding, of course.)

Dave, next time someone bugs you for answers, refer them here. Michael, yws, jupiter is bringing a few more regulars back, thankfully. Less crickets.

Well, its late, warm, and overcast here in the south pacific. I bet the moon is clear, though.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 10:21 AM)


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azure1961p
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/17/09

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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Special Ed]
      #6254101 - 12/15/13 09:59 AM

Quote:

I too have noticed over the years that the observing forums seem to have the lowest participation numbers (with the Solar Observing forum usually leading). Of course, when there is some phenomenon occuring like Nova Del or the much anticipated ISON, those numbers spike. Mars and Jupiter usually bring observers out, too and the best part of their current apparitions is just beginning.

There is a lot of traffic in the Beginners forum and some interesting observations posted there but those folks tend to hang back from participating in the dedicated observing forums. Perhaps they can follow the fine example that Mathias has set for them (welcome, Mathias )

It could be that people are spending their time on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. instead of here. Don't know--I haven't crossed that threshold (yet).

The various equipment forums are great if you have a question and get a lot of posters because of that. They also tend to have huge ongoing bull sessions where people discuss/argue/describe their stuff. A large fraction of amateurs seem to prefer to talk about scopes rather than what they see with them.




I've noticed these things myself and I would have guessed had I not seen it first, the observer forums and imaging forums would see the greatest amount of member traffic and telescope specific forums lagging far behind. In reality Ive got it completely backwards and the observer forums appears to languish at times while a lot of people put great time into Tekescope spec. forums.

I've learned a lot from the specific forums, but I do wish more traffic was had in the observer areas.

Pete


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Ed D]
      #6254125 - 12/15/13 10:14 AM

Ed, you're a regular. Thats off topic.

Glad you are still here, get clear soon. Tonight got that unscratcheable urge to see whats going on with Jupiter, but clouded out, too. So, this topic came up.

Okay thats a a handfull of us.

Pete, yea, I am shocked and pleased when some of the equip and imaging forum regulars poke their heads down here in the observing basement. They're doing what they love and we check on them. But remember Jason's classic Io thread right here in this forum? Great stuff and far too rare.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 10:34 AM)


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254154 - 12/15/13 10:29 AM

Quote:

Brooks, sure there are fewer folks as you approach the "top" tier, I guess for lack of a better term, doing what might be deemed progressive work in our field. Maybe many don't post in social networking. Maybe some of their research is more appropriate for official publication and not so much up for peer debate. Whatever reason.

Still the tens of thousands that enjoy this hobby on every level, from a quick look at the Pleiades with the naked eye to more serious double star or planetary work, for fun or even for scientific gain, can take or leave the option of mingling with like minded folks online. Maybe many people, as I do, prefer personal contact and avoid most social networking. I observe online, but I do not play pool nor meet people (like dating ) online.




Don't misunderstand me; I'm not measuring anybody by my level of involvement in the hobby. My observation is not in any way intended as any sort or criticism, only an example of the actual state of things. Over the years I've briefly belonged to several local/regional clubs. When I'd ask around I would discover that the typical hobbyist was getting out often no more than once every other month, sometimes even less frequently! They would profess interest, yet fail to take advantage of clear nights over and over again. I honestly cannot think of another hobby where such dormancy in pursuing the hobby's supposed objective is considered the norm, or even how any real enthusiasm can be maintained at such a sluggish pace.

My comments were offered simply because I don't think the average hobbyist realizes just how infrequently a great many fellow hobbyists are hands-on practicing their supposed interest in astronomy.

BrooksObs


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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: BrooksObs]
      #6254178 - 12/15/13 10:39 AM

Obs, sure. No worries, I understand your intent and concern for being understood in context. I think others do as well. Your take is appreciated. My work is sheer enjoyment, others vary in motivation and preferences for reasons that are their own. How many of us have *BLEEP* away a clear night, been grumpy, or taken long periods from whatever observing activities. Your chatting with one whose done all that. Maybe our hobby is more like skiing than golf with the round of a lifetime being played out during a severe thunderstorm. And folks drink beer in the club house tallying scores and recounting the day.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 10:57 AM)


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Ed D
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254213 - 12/15/13 10:57 AM

Here are some random thoughts on the subject:

Right now participation in the observing forums are probably low because many are busy with seasonal gifting and holiday preparations. Likewise, the beginners forum probably has more activity with people interested in gifting telescopes but not knowing much about it.

The observing forums are pretty far down on the list and people may just look at the forums closer to the top of the list, interest waning as they progress through the list of forums. Would there be more traffic if the observing forums were at the top of the list? Hmmm.....

I think most people have an interest in satisfying their curiosity and purchase a telescope only to use it a few times and then relegate it to a closet corner. Tony Flanders recently brought this point up in another forum/post. Also, I don't believe it's limited to cheap or inexpensive scopes from some of the posts I have read.

I believe that most of us participating in the observing/imaging/sketching forums are the ones that are deep into one or more facets of science that astronomy and observing play only one part of. Likewise, when we pick up a new 'member' of these forums it is probably one with similar budding interest.

Weather patterns have a big influence on the activities and habits of most (if not all) life on this planet, including human activities such as war, construction, or observing the night sky. (I had my planetary Dob ready to observe Mars this morning, but Mother Nature decided I should sleep in.)

Well, another random thought just hit me: I'm hungry! Breakfast is long overdue.

Ed D


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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Ed D]
      #6254227 - 12/15/13 11:01 AM

Then why aren't more Intes 8" Maks up for resale? Heres another randon thought. Sleep! Good night.

Well, after this. Yea, good point on scrolling. How nany of us often scroll down to off topic, gardening, or space rocks? I usually stop scrolling right here and felt more comfortable in the beginners forum a few years ago. Thats with decades of experience.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 11:08 AM)


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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254244 - 12/15/13 11:07 AM

Quote:

Dave, next time someone bugs you for answers, refer them here.




Norme most of the questions I get these days are about some NEO media drivel, moon conspiracy, face /pyramids on Mars etc. etc. In particular from one of my wife's brothers. He gets chronic anxiety re. any 'threatening' NEO's, and seems to earnestly want to believe the others. After he leaves it's: (Me!)

Dave.


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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6254251 - 12/15/13 11:09 AM

Hmmmm. You tube, then? How many people think you're an astrologer?

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 11:12 AM)


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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254291 - 12/15/13 11:24 AM

Quote:

Hmmmm. You tube, then? How many people think you're an astrologer?




The answer lies in the stars!


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Nerotheroman
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6254333 - 12/15/13 11:42 AM

Thanks for welcomming me Michael

It's pretty interesting to follow this discussion.

Here is something I observed on German
astronomy platforms.

In my opinion we have 3 different types
of forums here.
The first one is quite technical
and has the same amount more or less
over the course of a year.

The second one is a mixed one.
Here you can see lots of people posting
about there observations during the summer and on special occasions like ISON for
example.
During winter there are less people,
because the weather is just ... in 90% of the cases and people prefer to go to the first forum to talk about their gear.

The last platform isn't a single platform.
It's a group of regional forums in which
the participation of the people is strong
through the whole year.

I think that's because of two simple things:

First people know each other personally, which lets them post easier ( yes many people are shy ).
And second their observation reports
aren't to scientifical, it's more about
the atmosphere of the moment.
To share your what you have seen AND what
you have felt.

Maybe it is similar in the states?


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6254368 - 12/15/13 12:03 PM

Hi Mathias, I don't think I fit in any of your categories! Although I have two university degrees in physics, I have no interest in making an effort to contribute to astronomical research unless that contribution fell into my lap. I just love to feed my soul with the beauty and wonder of the heavens, and I enjoy playing around with optics so I do hang out in the gear forums too.

As for cold weather - if I can overcome it surely anyone can. I used to abhor the cold but living where I live I had no choice but to deal. If I may be allowed to pat myself on the back at your expense, last winter I spent two uninterrupted hours at the eyepiece in -30C. There are two simple rules to follow in dealing with it:

1) wear the right gear
2) put it out of your mind - don't think about it and before you know it you've spent two hours stargazing and you weren't feeling the cold.

PS - I wish our neighbor Mars would come around more often - we love his company. It's been about 3 years hasn't it since we had a good visit?

Edited by nirvanix (12/15/13 12:06 PM)


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Nerotheroman
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6254397 - 12/15/13 12:22 PM

Well maybe scientific wasn't the right word.
I ment some people talk about a galaxy this way:
"It is very faint, close to a variable star and 9000 light years away from earth."

And some people report like this:

"Yesterday I saw this wonderful galaxy. It was amazing
even it was quite faint. I'd say it looked like a soup bowl.
When I thought about how long the light travelled till it reached my eye I felt really small.."

I myself prefer to write and read the "non scientific" way.
And most of the time this is how people here write in regional
forums.

I share your opinion about the weather!
There is no bad weahter, just wrong clothing

Sorry if my English leads to a misunderstanding sometimes.

P.S. Yep I miss Mars he is beautiful!
Time for him to come closer.

Edited by Nerotheroman (12/15/13 12:25 PM)


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kcb
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Nerotheroman]
      #6254675 - 12/15/13 03:27 PM

hi,
where is everybody,well most of us still have to work and work and work, when i am not doing that i am observing when clear with any of my many scopes,personally i am not a computer geek and i spend all my leisure times observing the moon planets double stars ,tracking asteroids,deep sky,aurora,,solar white light and hydrogen alpha,i love to observe,i want to see with my own eyes,i like being like the ancient astronomers and just observing and not just that but we have better telesopes and accessories than they did,but hats off to ancient astronomers as the history of astronomy and observations with eye and telescope is the real deal,kevin


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: kcb]
      #6254834 - 12/15/13 05:02 PM

That's great Kevin, glad you're enjoying all your scopes. If you can spare the time, getting on CN to give some enthusiastic reports about your observations can only benefit this hobby! I too am a strictly visual observer - I love that immediate and direct connection with the sky.

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ohioalfa64
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: kcb]
      #6254850 - 12/15/13 05:13 PM

Most observers have daytime employment. It helps pay the bills for astronomy gear and living expenses. Observation time is squeezed between sundown, bedtime, and leaving again for work in the morning. Winter weather does kill interest. We got 7" of snow yesterday. I am not as good as Canadians at ignoring extreme cold. When it's cold, I feel cold.

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djeber2
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #6254875 - 12/15/13 05:27 PM

I'm here stuck in the cloudy frozen snowy icy midwest

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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #6255041 - 12/15/13 07:06 PM

Quote:

I have no interest in making an effort to contribute to astronomical research unless that contribution fell into my lap. I just love to feed my soul with the beauty and wonder of the heavens, and I enjoy playing around with optics so I do hang out in the gear forums too.



Me neither and me too. These interests influence the forums we tend to hang out in.

Quote:

There is no bad weather, just wrong clothing.





Kevin, Ohio, sure, work is a big deal, as is family and other activities we engage in. Before retirement, and interested only in deep sky, that combination left few moonless nights each month to actually get out even if the weather was generally nice. That's totally understandable and probably a major contributor in most people's lives.

Still, some threads will get hundreds of views and few comments. So quite a few are lurking. Nothing wrong with that, but surely some lurkers have something to say, some experience or expertise. Something to add, explain, share.

I hate the cold - spent nearly a year near the north pole. What was amazing is the weather in Canada and sometimes in the northern mid west the weather was pretty similar. Maybe only a few degrees difference...briskly cold. Right, Don?



In the tropics, there is 6 straight months of cloud cover - just now entering the observing season. CN does not have a mosquito graemlin, either.

So, yea, it seems when the cold rolls in, people roll out. Jupiter rises at a descent hour, and people roll in. People roll in and roll out. Still, compared to the membership roster or world wide number of amateurs, serious or otherwise, it seems relatively few...just a handful of "regulars" like a bar on a lonely corner in a small town.

Edited by Asbytec (12/15/13 07:13 PM)


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #6255146 - 12/15/13 08:15 PM

My dob is chillin' in the back yard right now. I piled up all the snow into a huge mound and will make a snow cave later this week. Perhaps I will sleep in it one night.

Besides Jupiter, any recommendations for tonight . Moon is near full, guess I can look at what's left of the shady side.

I'll try for some doubles. Beta Monoceres is really nice (a triple).


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kcb
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6255192 - 12/15/13 08:35 PM


hi nirvanix,i guess i should report observations, and you are a fellow canadian so you understand that cold weather can bring dark transparent skies,i try not to miss them so i am lucky to have expensive well layered observing clothing and yes it can be harder to motivate yourself but with the right dress code some hot chocolate the cold can be great for your breathing and health,a runny nose can be a good thing under the stars,my skies are magnitude 6.2 and i live under 45 minutes from the worlds first dark sky reserve,torrence barrens,in the day time you are on a huge chunk of the canadian shield,and you actually look around thinking your on the lunar surface with all that grey miles of curvy rock,a bit off the topic of winter,a few nights ago the moon was high and lunar details through my 4'' f 15 skylight refractor were pleasing to the eye and i changed up scopes to a 10'' f 10 cassegrain to get a solid view of jupiters red spot,we are in for a treat this coming opposition as the red spot is actually red,a long time coming,chat with you all another time,kevin


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kcb
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6255207 - 12/15/13 08:42 PM

hi asbytec,
you mention a 150 mct, just wondering what make the scope is ? clear skies,kevin


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: kcb]
      #6255253 - 12/15/13 09:09 PM

Quote:


i live under 45 minutes from the worlds first dark sky reserve,torrence barrens,in the day time you are on a huge chunk of the canadian shield,and you actually look around thinking your on the lunar surface with all that grey miles of curvy rock




I didn't know about torrence barrens, thanks. I used to go up that way when I lived in Ontario 20 years ago.


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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: kcb]
      #6255481 - 12/15/13 11:32 PM

Quote:

hi asbytec,
you mention a 150 mct, just wondering what make the scope is ? clear skies,kevin




It's the Orion 150 MCT. Picked it up new and cheap on close out sale a few years ago. It gets a lot of use here in the tropics where the weather is moderate and the seeing behaves for about 6 months. Gotta get in all our year's observing in a few short months.

Nirv, literally "chillin" I suppose? Clear skies...


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David Gray
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Loc: Co. Durham UK
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6255631 - 12/16/13 03:03 AM

The going/having to work factor: Yes that is a nuisance – getting in the way!

Recent weeks I had occasion to go through my Saturn observations for most of the 1990s on a BAA matter - I should be doing '98/99 now! Observing sessions for those apparitions vary from 50 to 103 nights. That was just one subject: my Jupiter files were huge some years; then I have masses of other observations for those years alone – and all this in cloudy/”grubby” (to southerners!) n’east England.

My work (bakery) background then was:

Alternating shift-weeks (nights/days).

Nightshift weeks: 6 shifts 55-58 hours; 6 a.m. finish (Saturday a.m. usually later)

Dayshift weeks: 5 shifts 48-52 hours; 6.a.m. start finish times variable.

Then add 1hr/day travel times plus more for other related matters. This pattern actually 1965-98; (very long dayshifts prior: ’59-65) then 3½ yrs of all nightshift; then 7yrs of 4:30 a.m. to whenever starting. Then retirement!

Had I a 9-5 job I might have at least doubled the above output…!

Retirement –here are some things I started to get sick of hearing:

“You are going to get bored with all that time on your hands with nothing to do”; empty-headed moron-speak.

“You are going to have all the time in the world now to do what you want.” Really – at near 70 now! In actuality as far as my observing-endeavours go only as long as my visual acuity remains intact – then I will definitely disappear from observing forums etc. At this stage of life my vision could deteriorate any time in spite of my continuing best efforts to maintain the good sight I was blessed with. But I am doing my best to do all the things I want but the workload is getting daunting – hence my periodic CN absences. But hope I have paid my work-life dues to enjoy a few years of "please myself"!

Bakery-work: ok not the hardest in the world – but it’s not granny-in-the kitchen either; as I have seen some being shocked to find. In a semi-mechanised craft bakery there is a lot of heavy (hot!) fast-paced (deadlines etc!) manual work


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6255651 - 12/16/13 03:41 AM

Ever bake an astro-themed something-or-other?

To the people that say: “You are going to get bored with all that time on your hands with nothing to do”, I say "when an ox isn't hooked up to the plow it has no purpose in life, but an eagle soars and hunts at its leisure"

It's 2:30am here and I just came in from looking at Jupiter/moon but there is a lot of moisture in the sky so transparency is about 1/5. I'll try again before sunrise.


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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6255656 - 12/16/13 04:02 AM

Quote:

Ever bake an astro-themed something-or-other?




Can't say I have.

Was once consulted on a Saturn-themed birthday cake motif.

However my zeal for correctness was not 'kiddie-winkie' enough for the management!

But my produce was stellar .

Cheers,
Dave.


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azure1961p
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6255764 - 12/16/13 07:52 AM

Oh my gosh i did e swing shift - did it for eight years. In my thirties I rolled with it. Even preferred third shift. I tried it in my late forties - against my wifes pressing that Im older now - she was right, I was miserable. I take my hat off Dave, I couldn't have done it for as long as you did.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (12/16/13 08:03 AM)


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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6255778 - 12/16/13 08:11 AM

Thanks Pete,

Another diverting distraction I failed to include being a series of regular (one at a time ) girlfriends - I married my 10th - my steadfast soul-mate!

Looking back there must have been more hours in a day

Cheers,
Dave.


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Michael Rapp
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6255834 - 12/16/13 09:03 AM

To take a broader view, sometimes I wonder -- based on personal experience -- is that people get sucked in by the siren song of imaging and after spending all that money on the mount and camera, realize that planetary imaging is hard, time-consuming, ridiculously seeing-dependent, tedious, and the processing can be dreadfully boring at times.

Then, after having run the thousandth AVI through Registax and failing to get the expected accolades on the ten billionth blurry image of Jupiter, lose interest....

...and forget the joy and peace and sense of wonder of looking at a sharp planet in the eyepiece trying to tease out subtle detail on planets in which a thousand earths would fit.

(Wow, that came across as far more depressing than I intended. Also makes me seem critical about imaging, which I most certainly am not! Am I making sense? This coffee is weak this morning...)


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #6256118 - 12/16/13 11:41 AM

Michael, it seems like you found a good compromise with the Mallincam? I was just visiting the Night Skies Network last night. I wish more of those Mallincam guys were active on there.

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Michael Rapp
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6256417 - 12/16/13 02:44 PM

Yes and no.

With good seeing, the planetary view through the Mallincam is spectacular live. One of the broadcasters has a 25" Obsession and the views, with no processing what-so-ever, are better than the Pioneer photos of the 1970s in the excellent seeing we get down here during the summer.

With mediocre seeing, you'll often see better with your eye as the camera just can't keep up with the seeing undulations.

I drifted away from using my MCX on the planets as it is a lot of effort to set up my particular rig (maybe not for others) and I really need a good 2-3 hours to make it worthwhile for me.

(While not relevant to planetary observing, another reason I've drifted away from the camera is that it was just too easy to do deep sky. When I saw Leo I after hitting just a few buttons on the mount to slew to it, all the challenge had evaporated for me. Now, if I did not have access to a dark site, I would probably be 100% Mallicamming.)


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Asbytec
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #6256780 - 12/16/13 06:39 PM

Micheal, you touch on something that makes my 6" a pleasure to use. The challenge. Owning a 6" today is almost like reliving my childhood observing through my home made 6" Newt. I welcome the challenge but with decades of experience this time.

I was drawn in by the lure of imaging back in the mid 90s. Cameras, software, and techniques were not quite as good, at least not the set up I put together, and the results were not nearly as good as folks put out today. Imaging seems to have come a long way. Back then, anyway, it too a lot of time to set up and align everything. And it separated me from the subject. So, today there is more time to actually become one with the object.

I find that an enjoyable challenge and the result is also enjoyable to discuss with others doing the same thing and posting their own views. To me, this is what makes amateur astronomy social networking the place to be. So, maybe it's natural to be curious about where everyone else is.

David, for a second there I thought you were ranting about being retired. I was ready to set the record straight. It sounds like you are making the best of it, as am I when the weather cooperates. Really, it wasn't even until I retired before I became a regular in this forum. More time observing and more time to discuss those observations with others.


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azure1961p
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6256901 - 12/16/13 07:42 PM

Dave,

LOL, there were definitely more hours in a day - and more hours in a night!!

Pete


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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6259921 - 12/18/13 11:40 AM

Yeehay good seeing at last – well excellent actually!



Er....yes

I had returned to my Saturn ‘98/99 report, so may not have reappeared on CN for at least the rest of the week. But it cleared last night and saw Vega high in the west slowly blinking gently: so seeing had to be great……..Yes!!

There was two-tier patchy cloud: some high mackerel and very low-fast thinner patches racing northward, noticeably across the moon, and a degree of haze overall.

Uranus looked striated/banded straight off. Taking a look just now on ALPO-J I see that Stan had got a light area at the presented hemisphere 5 days ago but I had noticed none. Maybe I’d not got my eye in after a long spell away from the planet and the transparency not ideal.

After Uranus went to 27 Psc and used the Zeiss-Wildey 14mm Monocentric (x485) and got a sparkling view – like a mini-Izar. Considering posting if time – (back to Saturn).

Then (same eyepiece) Jupiter was ideally dimmed by the clouds with good detail. Then cloud increase thwarted my plans for Orion doubles.

Retirement is so laborious!

Cheers,
Dave.


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nirvanix
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: David Gray]
      #6259936 - 12/18/13 11:50 AM

Nice report Dave. What scope did you use at x485? Notice any good details on Jupiter?

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David Gray
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #6259949 - 12/18/13 11:58 AM

Quote:

Nice report Dave. What scope did you use at x485? Notice any good details on Jupiter?




My thanks - just posted the obs. here!

Cheers,
Dave.


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TechPan6415
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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6260839 - 12/18/13 08:00 PM

Quote:

But sometimes don't you just wonder, well, where is everybody?




The best things in life, the most rewarding and memorable experiences happen when you are not on the internet. I'll log out of here in a day or two once I am done looking up a few things and you won't see me for a good 9 months to a year...really man, life is SO much better without the internet.


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Asbytec
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Reged: 08/08/07

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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: TechPan6415]
      #6260901 - 12/18/13 08:42 PM

Tech, what you're saying is, "get a life." That's great advice in and of itself, the best things in life are free.

How many people live without the internet completely? Balance, I guess, is important.

I agree with you over a whole range of activities. I am not into social networking, but since there are few nearby, being in here is about the best and only place to mingle with like minded astronomy hobbyists. I don't play pool or meet people online, that's best done in the real world. But discussing Jupiter, for example, you gotta go where people know what you're talking about. If you have a real life supporting group, that's better and the internet can augment your experience instead of replacing it.

Those memorable views of Jupiter do not lie on the internet, they lay in the sky above. You can surf the internet, but wiping out on an a very real coral reef is far more exciting, rewarding, and memorable. The best belly laughs originate from the silly comment made by the guy next to you. The personal interaction seems to stimulate a good belly laugh, when you look over and see a red faced friend gasping for air in tears.

I think I understand your point, but socializing on the net is becoming a part of our lives, for better or worse. Everyone is connected to some degree these days, some more than others. Especially being retired with a warm cup of Joe in the morning. But, not always, you're right.

On today's docket - playing pool with some really good players, coming home to check the weather online then pop in here to see what's been said, then hopefully heading out to do some observing, finally sharing that observation online later. Snuggle and watch TV, too, at some point in the late evening.

Observing is living, but it can be a solitary pursuit.


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Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6260990 - 12/18/13 09:53 PM

For me, Cloudy Nights is about the extent of my social networking. My main participation these days are in the sketching and planetary forums, and I also like the ATM forum and the other observing forums. I have learned and done much more in a few short years here than all the pre-internet years observing solo and reading magazines. Many times I have wondered how far I would have taken my second go around with observing if it were not for the internet and Cloudy Nights, as well as all the other very informative resources that are literally available at my fingertips.

Well, my strut Dob should be cooled by now, time to play. If I see anything interesting I'll let y'all know tomorrow.

Ed D


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TechPan6415
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Reged: 07/29/12

Loc: Aspen, Co
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6261208 - 12/19/13 01:33 AM

Quote:

Tech, what you're saying is, "get a life."




Nah, you have one. I just like to remind people to live it beyond the keyboard...


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: TechPan6415]
      #6261310 - 12/19/13 04:24 AM

Ed, yea, you said it about right for me, too.

Tech, it worked...


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Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
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Reged: 12/18/04

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Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #6263078 - 12/20/13 06:31 AM

Folks, can we bring this thread back to Solar System Observing??????

Rich (RLTYS)


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PhilCo126
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Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: Where is Everybody? new [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #6290099 - 01/03/14 04:54 PM

There have been studies on the number of amateur astronomers per country. Try the CAP webpage
https://www.iau.org/public/publications/cap-journal/


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