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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5503916 - 11/04/12 01:20 PM

Quote:

4) They are uncomfortable being alone in the dark.


Funny nobody ever mentions this. It is the #1 reason I don't observe more. GW



This is certainly rational if you observe in a place where you could be disturbed by bears or mountain lions.
Or, perhaps, where unruly groups of people could cause problems. I mean, I know why I'm there. If they're not doing what I'm doing, why are they here so late at night?

Overcoming that fear when there is no rational reason to have it, though, is difficult to do.

I admit that if I am the only observer at my public site, I'm a little nervous at first. But then I get involved with observing and forget about the time. There's always another object on my list.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5503964 - 11/04/12 01:51 PM

Quote:

This is certainly rational if you observe in a place where you could be disturbed by bears or mountain lions.





This certainly applies to my observing; but I wouldn't give up observing, for the very small chance of an encounter. It's a little creepy walking back to the house, from the observatory; but again, chances are very slim of an encounter. I use my big rechargable spotlight to check the area around, before walking up. I also always have bear spray during this time.


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AdirondackAstro
sage
*****

Reged: 06/06/11

Loc: Plattsburgh, NY
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5504014 - 11/04/12 02:29 PM

Quote:

4) They are uncomfortable being alone in the dark.


Funny nobody ever mentions this. It is the #1 reason I don't observe more. GW




I've never admitted it, until now, but this is why I don't leave home very often to view.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5504343 - 11/04/12 06:25 PM

What makes you think you're alone in the dark?

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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5504362 - 11/04/12 06:38 PM

I left the hobby for a few years, My best friend and observing buddy moved away and I did not re rent the Camping/observing site after the folks in charge raised the river level that resulted in over 150 feet of river bank
land loss, so observing was no longer an option.
The land owner doubled the rent.. No thanks..
I moved and found my Girlfriend and re-discovered my hobby.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: AdirondackAstro]
      #5504410 - 11/04/12 07:18 PM

This is an interesting revelation ... posted on a web site and forum where probably 97% of the viewing is done during the night, with uncountable threads promoting the darker, the better ... Fear of the dark is something that's almost genetic in nature. Now that it's been brought up, I wonder how many really leave / stop pursuing the hobby because they're afraid of being alone in the dark?

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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5504453 - 11/04/12 07:42 PM

Fear of the dark isn't usually discussed much in these forums, probably because most people in here at least consider themselves rational and maybe even "scientific." People do seem to have an instinctive fear of the dark though, probably coming from distant prehistoric history. When sitting here typing, or planning an observing session with charts on my living room floor, such things don't occur to me... However, it's not without reason that I refer to one of my dark sky sites as "the haunted barn." Most of us though, especially those with an interest in viewing dim fuzzies, must get used to being alone in the dark. I have no idea how often a fear of the dark actually causes people to leave the hobby. Most probably wouldn't admit it.

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A. Viegas
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/05/12

Loc: New York City/ CT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5504729 - 11/04/12 10:40 PM

Quote:

I think there are many reasons for many of us to have gotten into the hobby. I guess with this post I am asking 4 things.

1. What drew you to the hobby?

2. What keeps some in the hobby long term and why do others quit?

3. If you've quit the hobby for a significant amount of time why did you leave?

4. What drew you back to the hobby.





I was a big time SciFI and science geek as a kid. In college I double majored with astrophysics and even did some of the very last parallax work using one of the last great Clark refractors still doing this research in the late 1980s... Unfortunately for me I ended up going to Wall Street and forgot about astronomy for 25 years until just this past year when on New Years evening I happened to unbox my 1990 Celestar C8 which had not collected a photon since maybe 1991.. I set it up outside and took a quick look at Jupiter using the stock 25mm celestron plossl... Whoa!! That was cool and I have not looked back since. Three scopes and various astro imagers and assorted eyepieces later I am now even starting to think about a dedicated observatory! Sort of weird to go from zero to full speed this quickly, now I find myself very addicted to the hobby... So much to do, so much to see and contribute, it's really fabulous!

Happy to be back!

Al


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bumm]
      #5504731 - 11/04/12 10:40 PM

Where I observe on my land or on forest or BLM land, I am not afraid of animals. These are in the desert or foothills. I do find that my senses are heighten, especially if I am alone. Music, loud stretching and especially podcasts on astronomy, astronomy recorded classes or my current set of classes keep me going as well. Sometimes just being alone with the sounds of nature at night is comforting. However, it is the head lights in the far distance that make me uncomfortable, especially if they are heading my way. Though I haven't had a negative experience with people in trunks at 2:00a.m., I have had some weird things with people in trucks where they sit there with their lights on just watching. That is when I usually make my way to my car. On my own land, I don't worry as you need a key to get on the land. Anyway, the night does not scare me. Weirdo's in trucks scare me, eh BlueGrass (George, thinking of Pit n Pole and Lakeside).

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5504766 - 11/04/12 11:23 PM

LOL ... Yes Jay, I remember... Didn't know if they were DEA, INS or what ... but you're right. I've spent quite a few hours alone up in the Uintas imaging overnight. There have been times when strange noises at 3 in the morning have given me pause ... but I always keep a rear door on the truck open behind me and place my mount and gear in front of me. This gives me some protection and comfort. I love the dark and the absolute silence found in remote areas but you do have to take precautions ..

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galexand
sage
*****

Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Bloomington Indiana
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5505260 - 11/05/12 11:17 AM

bunyon asked, "can someone who maintains an interest in astronomy but who doesn't find the time or money to be an active observer/imager be said to have left the hobby?" I'm going to turn that around. I love spending time and money on this hobby, and I'm not sure I really care that much for astronomy! I enjoy the technical arts of star hopping, picking targets, keeping an observing log, playing tricks with my eyes, playing with the EPs, and so on. It's a little bit Zen, a little bit video game, and a lot of not like my dayjob. And I really love that the longer I go at it, I learn more about different aspects of it.

And this year (my first year) is especially fun because every couple months if I wake up at 3am I can see totally new sky I've never seen before. Check some things off the Messier list, and maybe even get out the binocs to plot some new hops (that's how I discovered that I like the vista around Mirphak in Perseus through binocs better than I like Pleiades through anything). I figure next year will be fun because it will be like seeing old friends. The year after that? No idea. Maybe Mars will be near opposition again (got my scope just after Mars had passed too far to the west *sigh*)

I mean, I love thinking about cosmology and ETs and all that, but I don't really connect it to my observing. Astrometrics never really impressed me, and (excepting the obvious grouping of globulars around sagittarius) I don't really understand how anything fits into the real topology of the galaxy/universe. I'm just impressed "wow that star is so orange!" and "jeeze you add the barlow and that really is a triple, they weren't pulling my leg."


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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5505460 - 11/05/12 01:41 PM

I think that our hobby is like the Hotel California: you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

I have been practicing the hobby for more than 50 years, but somewhat intermittently. I have checked out a few times because of life's demands--"Overcome By Events" I think they call it--but I always come back.


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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: galexand]
      #5506136 - 11/05/12 11:02 PM

Quote:

I love spending time and money on this hobby, and I'm not sure I really care that much for astronomy! I enjoy the technical arts of star hopping, picking targets, keeping an observing log, playing tricks with my eyes, playing with the EPs, and so on. It's a little bit Zen, a little bit video game, and a lot of not like my dayjob. And I really love that the longer I go at it, I learn more about different aspects of it.




I've been thinking about this question quite a bit lately. I have concluded that stargazing and astronomy are two different but related things. Stargazing is the art of looking at the night sky (regardless of how you do it or what gear you use) and appreciating what you see there. It is more a matter of the heart, although there is a strong intellectual component as well.

Astronomy is the science - observing, measuring, classifying, theorizing, recording, creating simulations and models. All that stuff, and it, too, is good.

There is, no doubt, some overlap but I see one activity as being fundamentally an art, the other a science.


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stryder
member


Reged: 06/24/12

Loc: Cincinnati, OH
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: ensign]
      #5508590 - 11/07/12 03:48 PM

I know for me my issue has been my scope. I kind of made the mistake of wanting too much apature and got a huge 10" dob.

While it pull in fantastic views, it's just too big for me to practically use it as much as I want.

Hopefully when I get rid of it and get a smaller scope I'll be more inclined to go out and do more.


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: stryder]
      #5508623 - 11/07/12 04:03 PM

Quote:

I know for me my issue has been my scope. I kind of made the mistake of wanting too much apature and got a huge 10" dob.

While it pull in fantastic views, it's just too big for me to practically use it as much as I want.

Hopefully when I get rid of it and get a smaller scope I'll be more inclined to go out and do more.




I think this is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make: They read that "aperture rules" and get the biggest scope they can afford, not realizing that set-up can be time-consuming; pretty soon the scope collects dust. Sell that 10" dob and get a C8 or even an 80--100mm refractor. Or keep the dob and use it on those occasions when you DO feel up to setting it up, and use the small scope the rest of the time.

Bill


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: la200o]
      #5508687 - 11/07/12 04:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I know for me my issue has been my scope. I kind of made the mistake of wanting too much apature and got a huge 10" dob.

While it pull in fantastic views, it's just too big for me to practically use it as much as I want.

Hopefully when I get rid of it and get a smaller scope I'll be more inclined to go out and do more.




I think this is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make: They read that "aperture rules" and get the biggest scope they can afford, not realizing that set-up can be time-consuming; pretty soon the scope collects dust. Sell that 10" dob and get a C8 or even an 80--100mm refractor. Or keep the dob and use it on those occasions when you DO feel up to setting it up, and use the small scope the rest of the time.

Bill




A 10 inch dob is really easy to setup...certainly easier than an equitorial mount. Cool down might be another situation, but that applies to all scopes with mirrors (even more an issue for large SCTs)

Maybe the size was the issue here, but I find 10 inch dobs are quite managable. 12 inch tubes not as much.


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5508773 - 11/07/12 05:42 PM

Yes, a 12" is certainly more trouble to set up. But the poster I was responding to found the 10-incher "huge," which means it was too big to be worth it for him. Frankly, given my own schedule, I find my CPC too much trouble to set up for much of my observing and use my little refractors much, much more. It depends on your situation: if I had a big dob on wheels, and could wheel it out of my garage, it wouldn't be a problem. It just depends on each individual.

Clear skies,
Bill


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: la200o]
      #5509081 - 11/07/12 09:37 PM

As we get toward the colder months I also use my refractors more. Less cool down is a plus for me since I usually do not have a lot of observing time each night. Each refractor has it's own cool down timing, but in my case, I'd say both are 20 minutes or so. Maybe a large triplet refractor would have a little more time.

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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5509124 - 11/07/12 10:18 PM

Yep, here in Michigan that cool down time gets to be a big issue for me too.

Bill


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Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5509357 - 11/08/12 02:53 AM

Quote:

1. Popular influences from the late 1970's Movies: Star Wars, Close Encounters. TV: Battlestar Galactica, Project UFO, Cosmos. Carl Sagan sealed the deal.

2. Some really have a genuine interest, some dont. Those of us who are truly into astronomy often find time to help others.

3. Age 16-26 there are better things to do on weekends.

4. Comet Hyakatuke and Hale-Bopp




Man. Ray, where are you in Virginia? I just happen to live in the Richmond area, and we must be of kindred spirit. You damn near echoed my life's story when it comes to the hobby. I'm 47, you must be close in age. I got started at age 11 (in 1976), right about the time all those movies started coming out. And like you, I was absolutely awestruck by Cosmos. I was very active in the hobby during my teens -- I remember having to catch rides to meetings with fellow members of the Richmond Astronomical Society, where I became the 50-year-old club's youngest observatory key holder at age 14. By the time I was 16, however, I had a job and access to a car, and I developed a taste for exploring other kinds of "heavenly bodies" if you know what I mean. Then came school and other interests including ham radio, which is equally suited for nighttime hours and a heck of a lot more comfortable sitting inside a warm (or cool as the season may dictate) house. Over the years my old, trusty Criterion RV-6 and a Celestron 8-inch SCT sat there, quietly summoning my attention to no avail, and I finally sold them.

But I never lost the interest -- just the time. I'd find myself looking upward on a crystal-clear night and wondering when I'd peer through an eyepiece again, and every once in a while I'd pull out the binoculars and do some scanning.

Hale-Bopp came along and my interest renewed, and in the late 1990s I purchased a Meade ETX (the initial, manually operated one). That got replaced by an ETX-90EC, but aperture fever soon came back with full force and it was time for a Meade 8-inch newt. I found that too cumbersome to take out all the time so I soon sold it and got an Orion Starmax 127 Mak-Cass, but then my wife and I had a son and I my nights got busy again for a few years. Sold the Starmax as it was taking up too much room in a closet.

Now I've been divorced for two years and I have my nights free again, and seeing how I'm currently on the Board of the International Woman Hater's Society, my nights are free again. I have decided to divide my time between my two main hobbies, and I have a small "ham shack" in my bedroom and a nice, conveniently sized Celestron Nexstar 102 refractor in an equally nice carrying case that I can plop in the car and go observing at a nearby wildlife management area at a moment's notice.

And I don't have to ask permission or complete a honey-do list to get to do it, either!

Edited by Meadeball (11/08/12 02:56 AM)


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