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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Stargazer2012
super member


Reged: 09/01/12

Loc: Maine USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: SpaceOtter]
      #5509419 - 11/08/12 06:16 AM

I have always been interested in space and the space program. I thought I might try astronomy this year, but reality hit.

I am first of all a photographer and that is demanding enough, not to mention expensive. I thought photography was pricey, but astronomy is even more so. I simply cannot support both on my income. Fortunately I did not dive right in and spend a lot of money on astronomy.

I can see that astronomy, to do it as many do, is demanding of time and resources. It demands long nights spent outside, which in Maine at this time of year is very uncomfortable.

I'll always be fascinated by the stars and will continue to look upward, but that's as far as I am going.


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Stargazer2012]
      #5509505 - 11/08/12 08:14 AM

Quote:

I thought photography was pricey, but astronomy is even more so.




What makes you think that? Astronomy does indeed demand a serious commitment in time, but not in money.

For the price of a DSLR and one good lens, you could buy a telescope that would keep you busy observing new objects for a decade.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: la200o]
      #5509551 - 11/08/12 08:58 AM

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




There are several "biggest mistakes" beginners make: Getting a scope that is too big, getting a scope that is too small, getting a scope that is too complicated, getting a scope that is too simple...

This is why I encourage people looking for their first scope to find a way to see one in person.... reasonable expectations... Of course most of us learned the hard way.... trial and error.

Jon


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5509569 - 11/08/12 09:06 AM Attachment (7 downloads)

Quote:

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.




For several years my favorite spot was an abandoned helicopter pad that had been used by the forest service as a water station. It's about 6 miles from US-Mexico border located near a back road that bypassed all the border check points. Prime territory for smugglers of all types...

It was a lonely spot, other people were very rare. We called it the "Starpad."

There were times when I was lost in the eyepiece when a suspicious sound would bring me back to this world with a sudden rush of adrenalin...

Nothing ever happened but concern and awareness of the situation was definitely a rational response....

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (11/08/12 09:07 AM)


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Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: la200o]
      #5509611 - 11/08/12 09:50 AM

Quote:

I think this is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make: They read that "aperture rules" and get the biggest scope they can afford ...




Having been an avid amateur radio enthusiast for almost as long as I've been into amateur astronomy (my early teens ... 35 years), I can attest that this general sentiment applies to all hobbies.

In ham radio, you can buy a brand-new radio today that will get you "around the world" for far less than $1,000. Or you can go the elitist route and shell out the big bucks for a radio with all the latest bells and whistles, digital filtering to the hilt, LCD screens with spectrum displays, etc. The sky is almost the limit; there are two top-end radios out there that are going for $12,000 right now. And yes, somehow people are buying them.

Having been divorced AND lost my cushy government job that was paying three times what I'm making now, I was forced to throttle way back in all of my hobbies. Five years ago I owned a radio that cost me more than $3,000 (and that's just the radio -- the astronomical equivalent of an OTA). There was lots more to purchase with that, and I had it all -- studio microphone in "floating" bracket (looked like Rush Limbaugh's studio mike), an entirely separate VHF/UHF setup, nice antennas for each band, etc. My whole station was worth in the neighborhood of $6,000.

Last February I finally had enough money saved up to make an entry into the hobby again. $910 for a decent low-end radio (but still full of enough features that you could use it for a lifetime), accessory power supply, and a makeshift wire loop antenna for my apartment balcony. My first contact was with a station on St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic, some 5,100 miles "as the crow flies." All for about a sixth of the price of my former station.

Astronomy, photography, cars, computers ... to name a few that just jumped to mind ... it's all the same. It's being honest about what you really need vs. what you can afford vs. what you dream about. Exercise some self-control, don't lust after what the other guy has, and explore the capabilities of what you have. "To thine own self be true," as old Bill used to say.


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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: Meadeball]
      #5509636 - 11/08/12 10:05 AM

Quote:

Astronomy, photography, cars, computers ... to name a few that just jumped to mind ... it's all the same. It's being honest about what you really need vs. what you can afford vs. what you dream about. Exercise some self-control, don't lust after what the other guy has, and explore the capabilities of what you have.






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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: Meadeball]
      #5509746 - 11/08/12 11:08 AM

I agree with you Meadeball. The best thing about this hobby is you can have a no-shoot very capable telescope with accessories in the 400-500 dollar range. Or you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on very high end stuff. So the hobby can support just about every financial situation if someone is reasonable about what to get.

I do think some people miss that aspect...even on this site sometimes.


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Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5509805 - 11/08/12 11:36 AM

A few years ago, when I was just getting back into the hobby (Hale-Bopp time), my wife gave me a book for Christmas entitled, "Secrets of the Night Sky: The Most Amazing Things in the Universe You Can See with the Naked Eye" by Bob Berman of Discover Magazine.

So far it's been my No. 2 read, right behind Leslie Peltier's "Starlight Nights." It's 300 pages of basic (yet not dumbed-down) astronomy, including a few things that surprised even me after decades in the hobby. It was humbling to read all the fun, educational, and useful things you can do in our hobby with no outlay of cash at all (well, except for purchasing Bob's book, that is!) Best part is, it seems to have been written for the adult who's about to dive into making a telescope purchase. The message is, "Hold on! Take a step back and learn a little before you make that purchase." And then it tells you, at the very end, how to purchase a "real" telescope ... plus it has several appendices with some cool info like what you can do with a pair of binoculars.

I highly recommend it, and I see it's still available out there at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Night-Sky-Amazing-Universe/dp/006097687X Scroll down to the bottom and read the reviews. (No, I don't work for Bob -- I just love this book, as apparently lots of other people do.)

Edited by Meadeball (11/08/12 11:45 AM)


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Meadeball]
      #5509876 - 11/08/12 12:22 PM

Astronomy is not about buying things.... well, unless you make it that way! You can invest $600 and be set for life, if you want. A Dobsonian and some Plossl eyepieces will outlive you. I have spent a lot of money on astronomy over the years. $20,000-30,000, I suppose, just for equipment. If I had it to do over again, I've have a well-equipped C8 and a few moderate eyepieces. Less than $1,000, bought used. That's about the peak of enjoyment right there. GW

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