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

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

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

General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (show all)
JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby?
      #5492594 - 10/28/12 02:35 AM

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'm really interested in hear why some leave and have come back and why some stick through the hobby no matter what, and why some just leave and never come back. Some of the answers are pretty clear I think, but I just want to hear what others think. What are the signs of someone getting ready to leave the hobby? What advice if any do you give to those who want to leave? Oh, to clarify, I'm not leaving the hobby, I'm just waiting for new moon and hoping the weather is good. Again, I am just curious to what others opinions are on this subject.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492688 - 10/28/12 07:16 AM

Quote:

1. What drew you to the hobby?

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




Interesting questions...

1. What drew me in? Opportunity... My wife and I love to go camping, she loves the red rocks of the Four Corners area. The skies are dark and clear... a $5 broken down telescope at a garage sale... Early one morning out on the Arizona desert I was just looking around and stumbled upon some faint bit of nebulosity.. Later I found out I had "discoverd" the Orion Nebula...

2. I can really only speak for myself as to why I have stayed but I can guess why others leave...

I just love looking at the night sky, finding new objects, looking at old favorites, watching the seasons go by, learning the sky, finding my way around the sky unaided. Since that first night more than 20 years ago, things have not changed much... I have much better equipment, I know a lot more but I still just go out and look around to see what I can see.

As far as why people leave... the night sky in huge but this is a small hobby, it takes a certain combination of traits to enjoy it enough to be serious. Patience and curiosity critical.. I suspect that for many, it's something of a passing fancy.

For those who leave and return I suspect that for many, time is a factor. A young person or young couple, there might be time to enjoy it. The family grows, the jobs becomes more demanding, there is not enough time, not enough energy... The hobby is on the back burner but the flame is still there, waiting for the time when life has slowed and one again has the discretionary time and energy.

Jon


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

Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: N Colo front range
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492704 - 10/28/12 07:51 AM

1) I came into the hobby by way of the book my Dad bought me in 1956 showing a drawing of the Moon, and then looking through a small telescope. There actually were holes in the Moon!
2) I enjoy the peace and solitude of astronomy. Just me and the Universe. I seldom observe with others, exceptions being the grandchildren, and certain special events like the transit of Venus and the earlier partial (from here) solar eclipse, when I try to involve neighbors and friends.
3) I've never really left the hobby, although time was seriously reduced while raising my family and paying for the house, college educations, etc.
4) Reference #2. I enjoy being out when the world is asleep. Around 1 AM or so, the noise of traffic dies down, the darkness increases, and all my friends are arrayed above.


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


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492754 - 10/28/12 08:48 AM

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?



1) Always been interested in sciences and I suppose this was the first possibility as a kid of 10-12.

2) Expectations I suppose mean many go. I see too often that someone gets a scope, expects to make an astronomical discovery and almost always comes up with some theory of the universe and everything.
Many get a scope then ask "What can I look at?"
Many have no idea about the instruments they buy.
Hate to say it but modern astronomy is not looking through a scope, what we do is often more like birdwatching.
Here's a question: Do we take ourselves too seriously?

3) Didn't bother to observe for 5-7 years, kept scopes just didn't use them. Cannot give a reason. They were there if I wanted them.

4) I started again after starting a new job and the person I worked with was an astrophysicist. Then joined a club that does no real observing. Pleasant enough for a monthly talk of good standard. Most people there are easy going which as said makes it pleasant.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492755 - 10/28/12 08:48 AM

I don't think anybody really leaves astronomy; it's just that their involvement waxes and wanes. People certainly stop using telescopes; that's a rather fussy and demanding aspect of astronomy. But as long as you look up at the night sky, and know and love the constellations, you haven't really left astronomy.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Huber
sage
*****

Reged: 01/03/04

Loc: South of Cincy Ohio
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: FeynmanFan]
      #5492757 - 10/28/12 08:52 AM

Great Post -
#1 - It was Winter 1955 - Went on an outing with a science class to a teachers farm - One of the students had a 60mm Jason - First thing I saw was Orion (M42) - I was hooked and here we are all these years later -

#2 Still hooked


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5492763 - 10/28/12 09:02 AM

Quote:

I don't think anybody really leaves astronomy; it's just that their involvement waxes and wanes. People certainly stop using telescopes; that's a rather fussy and demanding aspect of astronomy. But as long as you look up at the night sky, and know and love the constellations, you haven't really left astronomy.






I have always had a casual interest,
got very involved mid 1990s for 10-15 years,
then, due to health and family issues, and burnout,
am less active now.
I have gone to bigger and bigger optics - 14.5" scope, 150mm binoculars
now more hand held binoculars and naked eye
also more internet and less observing

but still interested, and probably always will be-just more casual now

edj


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Rick Huber]
      #5492764 - 10/28/12 09:02 AM

I think expectations is the biggest barrier to staying involved in astronomy. Many people come to the purchase of a scope with Hubble photos in mind and then are baffled by the faint fuzzies they see. A second reason is time . . . I drifted away for some years due to job and life conflicts. That's one reason I suspect the average age here in CN and in most astrnomy clubs is north of 50 . . . folks are more settled and less career driven as they pass into middle age. Finally, I would imagine that some fail to understand that astronomy does require some financial and time investment, buy a department store scope and then toss it in the closet when it shows them not much at all. It doesn't take big bucks to enjoy astronomy, but it does require some bucks to do it right . . . and some patience to learn observing skills.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr Magoo
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: Franklin, Indiana
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492783 - 10/28/12 09:20 AM

I grew up in a "science" family with both my parents being scientists. My Uncle had a scope and that was the first look I got. From then on I was hooked. Like many, adult life and career made my hobbies take a back seat in my 20's and 30's. I got back into it by way of the Astronomy MB in Boy Scouts.

I built my first Dob a few years ago and that really inspired me. I love working on the gear and restoring old stuff, but I really need to spend more time out observing now. That is going to be my goal this next year. Going to work on a few AL awards that I've been trying to finish.

Working with kids a lot doing outreach, I've found that one of the worst things that makes people give it up are these cheap department store scopes with the shaky mounts. They advertise unrealistic magnifications and use pretty pictures on the box that people will likely not see with these scopes.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5492821 - 10/28/12 09:47 AM

I can tell you that my interest has gone up and down a bit. When I was going to dark skies often, it went from being really good to sometimes feeling a little repetitive. Or sometimes I was more interested in scanning the milky way then looking through the scope. That may be because I have no hint of the Milky way at home.

I find having a small group of people who are into observing helps. However, I don't usually like large groups...which is somewhat in my nature anyways.

When I had my first daughter I had a lot more going on so the interest slowed. I used my free time to go fishing...which is unfortunately opposite timing from astronomy (early morning to lunch).

However, I don't think I will ever go away from astronomy. In fact, I found that going away from it for a little bit helped revive my interest when I picked it up again. Sometimes when you go whole hog into something you can get burned out a bit. Now I feed comfortable with my observing...just need to get a house that better supports the hobby.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5492823 - 10/28/12 09:48 AM

1. What drew you to the hobby?

I'd probably have to get windy and write a book. I think I've always loved the night sky. One of my earliest memories is riding in the back seat of my father's car and looking UP at the back window and out at the stars... no idea where we were going. Later, in the later 50's, the planetarium at the University of Nebraska seemed like the most wonderful spot on this planet. It wasn't until I started taking late night walks when I was in high school that I really managed to learn the constellations, mainly due to a desire to know the sky like the ancient navigators... This led to me checking out a few bright DSO's with my father's binoculars, and I've been hopelessly, deliriously, in love with the night sky ever since.

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

All I can really speak for is myself. (see above) I'd expect though, that many have unrealistic expectations about what an amateur scope will show. Others don't have a really deep interest, and once they've been around the sky a few times, their curiosity is satisfied. Nothing wrong with this. Some lose interest when they find out that some amount of effort and learning are involved. I don't mean to sound elitist about this last bunch, but that's probably true in many fields.
Astronomy isn't an interest that requires a lot of time. I get busy and run down, and often don't take my scope out for months, but if I couldn't run out at night for a quick look at the constellations, I'd go out of my mind. Literally. I absolutely have to be able to see the stars at night.
Marty


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Mr Magoo]
      #5492843 - 10/28/12 10:03 AM

Interesting post!

"1. What drew you to the hobby?"

I don't believe I was drawn into the hobby. My entire life I have had a strong interest not only in the universe, but also in the evolution of life on our planet, geology, etc. I think of observing as a part of my bigger interests.

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

I believe many people become curious about the night sky and get a telescope, use it to satisfy that curiosity, then move on to another interest. Others observe as part of a bigger interest, like myself, and maintain a life long desire to observe.

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

Life is ever changing. Marriage, children and work all have determined how I spend my time. Also, I have other interests that I pursue, so I juggle my time accordingly.

"4. What drew you back to the hobby?"

One of my daughters is strongly interested in science and the universe like I am. One day we were in the back yard and began talking about the planets, and she pointed out Jupiter. On a spur of the moment I grabbed a target rifle scope and strapped it to a tripod, afterwards using a surplus spotting scope on that same tripod for many months. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ed D


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
wky46
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bumm]
      #5492848 - 10/28/12 10:05 AM

I have three hobbies- 1. Painting 2. Guitar 3. Astronomy. I pretty much devote most of my spare time to one and then the order of importance of those three changes with my mood. With astronomy, of course the weather plays the most important part so I can get sidetracked. And since the skies aren't cooperating my paintings #1. But as soon as the skies clear, astronomy will take its place Oh yeah... Seeing Saturn on Christmas Eve through my brothers little refractor 40+ yrs. ago gave me the bug!

Edited by wky46 (10/28/12 11:45 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bumm]
      #5492899 - 10/28/12 10:39 AM

Jay,
Hello. I tend to believe people stay or leave this 'hobby' for primarily two reasons. Time and expectations.

Time: Their life requirements push whatever aspect of astronomy they enjoy farther to the side, many times to the point where they simply abandon it.

Expectations: They have an initial avid interest, eager to learn. At some point, their expectations of what they want to see or do does not match what they actually can see or do.

There are dozens of factors that impact our expectations and the time we feel can be dedicated to amateur astronomy: Local skies, light pollution, need to make dark site trips, equipment quality and cost, complexity of use, ability to understand some of the essential basics of the physics involved, etc... Each person's ability to enjoy whatever aspect of astronomy peaks their interest drives their level of success and their length of involvement.

In my case, astrophotography is my primary interest. To me, it's been a life long interest. Even after struggling with its complexities and the associated cost and frustrations, my interest has not waned. What has changed, is my expectations and the time I can directly spend. As I've learned and grown in my abilities, my expectations continue to grow but the time I can directly spend is being impacted by the increasing hours I'm having to spend at work. I will not abandon my goal, it's simply taking longer to get there than expected ...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
aaube
super member


Reged: 04/10/11

Loc: Trois-Rivieres, Canada
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493004 - 10/28/12 11:47 AM

1. When i started sailing over 30 years ago, the only reliable mean of positioning, to go across the ocean, was the Sextant. You dont need much knowledge about astronomy per say to do this but you do learn the basics related to celestrial mechanics and the likes. I always like using a Sextant, call me crazy but there was something noble about it. As a bonus, the middle of the ocean is "the" dark site, there is just so many stars! This is what started the real interest in the hobby. Night after night, the show was just fantastic. The problem was, i just could'nt zoom in! Quite frustrating indeed as even in the calmest sea, there's always that tiny movement that makes it impossible to observe with anything but your naked eyes. I wanted to see more.

2. Cant tell about the others what there reasons are for staying or leaving but i can say this is the one activity i do that completely immerse me. Any probleam, stress, obligation, you name it is gone when the scope is pointing up. That in itself is probably enough to keep me in. Also, astronomy is such a vast hobby, it never gets boring. There's always something new to try.

Sincerely,

Alain


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

Reged: 04/29/04

Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5493026 - 10/28/12 12:02 PM

Quote:

The family grows, the jobs becomes more demanding, there is not enough time, not enough energy... The hobby is on the back burner but the flame is still there, waiting for the time when life has slowed and one again has the discretionary time and energy.





I fall somewhere between what Jon mentions here and what Tony Flanders shared.

2.5 years ago I was laid off from a 7-5 job and became self-employed. Now I'm up at 5 AM and most days I'm wrapping up paperwork around 10 PM. I'm so exhausted by that point I just fall into bed and try to get enough rest to tackle the next day.

I've set up a scope only a few times in the past few years, for a marathon or public observing session. Also, a lack of money to purchase gas to get me to these events has thrown a wrench into the works too. To top it off, my stepdaughter and grandchildren moved in with us this year. And while that'll give me opportunities to introduce them to the hobby, they're toddlers now so the interest isn't quite there yet. I've considered selling off some of my gear, our family could use the income. BUT.....

I will always have at least one or two scopes. I will check in here on CN every day. I really enjoy "armchair" astronomy and pick up books and magazines on the hobby every week. Someday, I hope to have more free time on my hands and get really active again like I used to be.

I haven't really left amateur astronomy, I'm just on hiatus from visual observing!


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

Reged: 11/20/10

Loc: Bethlehem NH/ Boston MA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: ArizonaScott]
      #5493095 - 10/28/12 12:52 PM

OK as a relative newbie (3 years) I will chime in...


1. What drew you to the hobby?

Always loved weather, the sky, and just looking up. I always found it fascinating how much is just above our heads. You don't have to go anywhere. just look up the there all the stuff is. The moon, planets stars all just soothe me. Then my wife kept at me to get myself a telescope for years, and finally she funded me one for Christmas. From then on it has been AWESOME..

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

I haven't quit yet...But what keep me in the hobby is the unending learning of astronomy. there is so much we know as well as what we don't know. I find reading up on Cosmology is something that keeps the wonder in my sails. And the internet with all its info... Not to mention the Cloudy Nights Forums.

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

Hasn't happened yet. I hope it never does.

4. What drew you back to the hobby?

I cant leave it in the first place. Love it so much!


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


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: ArizonaScott]
      #5493096 - 10/28/12 12:53 PM

1) A latent interest. I was fascinated by space as a kid and read everything I could get my hands on. Then life got in the way, other priorities.
2) Money, time and interest revived after kids grew up.

I don't know why some people leave. I will always love looking up at the night sky. I suspect that many may be curious, but relatively few will be passionate.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: ArizonaScott]
      #5493104 - 10/28/12 12:57 PM

1. Dad, sometime in the late 1940s. I am in love with seeing things--birds, objects in the sky, even clouds. I graze the related knowledge, but my main interest is in the seeing, better seeing, new seeing. 2. It seems they are often dissatisfied with their gear and expect too much from it. They start with Hubble photographs instead of cardboard refractors or binoculars, and that gives raise to expectations, and expectations are the mother of.... You get the idea.

Good questions.

Dark skies.

Jack


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
SpaceOtter
member
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: NorCal
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #5493115 - 10/28/12 01:12 PM

I can't be the only person here my age (early 40's) or thereabouts who credits the TV show Cosmos for launching my lifelong interest in astronomy.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jay_Bird
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/04/06

Loc: USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: SpaceOtter]
      #5493130 - 10/28/12 01:31 PM

1 - learning exotic & mythological star names and constellations from dad the former air-sea navigator starting maybe 2nd grade

2 - one aspect to keep in the hobby is to do what you can (eyeball, binocular, telescope, image, etc. may all fit schedule and location at different work-life situtations)and another is to do something new (learn the Lunar 100 or other new observing target, do a new activity like outreach or IDA)

3- scaled back to binocular / eyeball looks in grad school, and later moves to light pollution and poor weather locations.

4 - open ended nature of hobby. Lately, only occasional scope use and outreach, lots of binocular quick looks, walks with kids to darkest pockets in neighborhood, early morning previews of coming seasons. Living in SW USA means dark skies are a wonderful aspect of almost every camping trip.

good questions! interesting answers too!


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

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: SpaceOtter]
      #5493135 - 10/28/12 01:37 PM

If you thought the TV series was good, (and it was), taking that course in college was one of the best classes I ever took.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Grandpa Jim
old fogey
*****

Reged: 08/04/12

Loc: GREAT AMERICAN DESERT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5493173 - 10/28/12 02:18 PM

I was "drawn to the hobby" towards the end of my life because I have always liked the outdoors, and very often at night found myself looking up.........plus, I tend to be a bit of a loner, so me, a telescope, and the sky seemed like the perfect thing. I also want to introduce my grandson (7, soon 8) to some of the wonders of the night sky.
I have "considered leaving the hobby" for several reasons........first among them is that this turned out to be a LOT more expensive than I originally thought. It seems like there is *always* someplace to drop several hundred dollars
Secondly, although I have met a few nice folks here willing to share advice and help...........there seems to me to be a level of snobbery in this hobby, with a "mine is bigger than yours" mentality. (I ran into that at the local club as well, couldn't be bothered to help the "newb" - which is where I may have got off on the wrong foot, so I keep trying).
*Many* times, I have posted questions here, and although I did get a fair amount of help, I also! got many instances where my questions went unanswered.
I ask questions (some dumb, I'm sure), so that I don't have to make expensive mistakes and it aggravates me when I get no answer, and THEN I see a similar post to mine get answered by several (???). I'm old enough to have left "High School" behind long ago, and I don't like the behavior...............

Edited by Jim Jeffries (10/28/12 02:30 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Grandpa Jim]
      #5493240 - 10/28/12 03:25 PM

I'm 57 and began enjoying this hobby only a few months ago. I've always enjoyed the sky but didn't look up all that often; light pollution will do that. A couple of years ago I was dating this beautiful woman from Ukraine, she's a bio-chemist and scary smart. We used to hang at night time and look at the stars. It was awesome. (Note to self: never date a Ukrainian/Russian again, remember how crazy they are!)

Anyway, I stumbled across Brian Cox on Youtube and that was that. Bought an Orion 90mm Mak, looked at Saturn, and was hooked.

I suppose my interest may wax and wane, which is fine. You know, it tends to wane as the moon waxes and, um, never mind.


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

Reged: 10/24/08

Loc: Virginia
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493284 - 10/28/12 03:53 PM

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

Jay, there is more detail on the moon than in the deep sky sometimes. (not trying to start a debate, just something Ive discovered on my own) Dont wait for the new moon, make the most of what you have.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Grandpa Jim]
      #5493337 - 10/28/12 04:32 PM

Quote:


I have "considered leaving the hobby" for several reasons........first among them is that this turned out to be a LOT more expensive than I originally thought. It seems like there is *always* someplace to drop several hundred dollars
Secondly, although I have met a few nice folks here willing to share advice and help...........there seems to me to be a level of snobbery in this hobby, with a "mine is bigger than yours" mentality. (I ran into that at the local club as well, couldn't be bothered to help the "newb" - which is where I may have got off on the wrong foot, so I keep trying).
*Many* times, I have posted questions here, and although I did get a fair amount of help, I also! got many instances where my questions went unanswered.





Just don't worry about all that. I have been involved in this since 1989. You have to make it, and keep it, your own. There is a lot of snobbery and there is a lot of focus on equipment instead of the sky. Make it your own, enjoy it on your terms, and you will never tire of it! GW


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5493395 - 10/28/12 05:17 PM

My father and grandfather taught me the constellations as a very small boy. I've been hooked ever since. Got my first telescope in 1967 (3" reflector). Scopes and binos have come and gone, but I don't really feel I've ever 'left' the hobby.

I think folks leave this hobby for the same reasons they leave other hobbies.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Grandpa Jim
old fogey
*****

Reged: 08/04/12

Loc: GREAT AMERICAN DESERT
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5493411 - 10/28/12 05:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:


I have "considered leaving the hobby" for several reasons........first among them is that this turned out to be a LOT more expensive than I originally thought. It seems like there is *always* someplace to drop several hundred dollars
Secondly, although I have met a few nice folks here willing to share advice and help...........there seems to me to be a level of snobbery in this hobby, with a "mine is bigger than yours" mentality. (I ran into that at the local club as well, couldn't be bothered to help the "newb" - which is where I may have got off on the wrong foot, so I keep trying).
*Many* times, I have posted questions here, and although I did get a fair amount of help, I also! got many instances where my questions went unanswered.





Just don't worry about all that. I have been involved in this since 1989. You have to make it, and keep it, your own. There is a lot of snobbery and there is a lot of focus on equipment instead of the sky. Make it your own, enjoy it on your terms, and you will never tire of it! GW




Yep........that's pretty much the decision I finally made for myself as well. I will find help where I can, enjoy the good people I meet, and ignore the rest of it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BillFerris
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/17/04

Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493503 - 10/28/12 06:36 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?




As a young boy, I was drawn to observing the Moon and planets to feed a desire to know that sense of exploration and discovery. As an adult, that attraction remained, and was enhanced by my enjoyment of being outdoors in nature and by the creative opportunities observing offered. Observing was a calming activity that allowed me to escape the pressures of work and life. Sketching my observations provided a creative outlet.

Quote:

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




I don't know, it'll be interesting to read the replies to this survey.

Quote:

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




My interest in science and astronomy has continued but my active involvement in observing has waxed and waned. There have been two extended periods during which I was not an active observer. My first extended break from active observing occurred during the decade spanning my early-20's to early-30's. I was focused on finishing school and starting a career. Money was tight, and any "free" time was heavily invested in building relationships with co-workers and, ultimately, my future wife.

My second extended break from active observing began about 5-years ago and is ongoing. My son was born in 2000. Over the next several years, my body clock adjusted to accommodate a toddler's schedule. The all-nighters I used to pull with the telescope became late nights rocking my son to sleep, and early mornings getting him fed and ready for school. I also re-discovered an old activity that offered new challenges. Growing up in northern California, summer vacations typically involved backpacking or canoeing in wilderness areas with my family. In 2006, I started hiking and backpacking in Grand Canyon. This activity has largely replaced visual observing at the center of my recreational interests.

Quote:

4. What drew you back to the hobby?




My return to active visual observing in the early 1990's coincided with the early heyday of Hubble Space Telescope. My fiance gave me a 4 1/2 inch reflector as a birthday/Christmas gift in 1992. In March 1994, I purchased a 10-inch Meade Starfinder Equatorial and spent the next eleven years actively exploring the heavens. Though I'm not an active telescopic observer, I often carry mini-binoculars when backpacking and will use them at night to seek out old friends amongst the stars.

Bill in Flag


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5493575 - 10/28/12 07:29 PM

Just been cogitating a bit...
A few people have brought up the expense of this hobby for reasons of leaving it, or the unpleasantness of snobbery. The snobbery concerning the expense of equipment can sometimes definitely exist, in this and many other hobbies. However, you can spend as much or as little as you want on this hobby. One can go for building the largest telescope in the world, (EX$PENSIVE!) or one can enjoy delving deeper and deeper into the naked eye aspects of the constellations, asterisms, Milky Way structure, etc, for absolutely nothing. (FREE) In between, carefully chosen pawn shop binoculars and such can add considerably to what one can see with very little expense.
Few pursuits can be more expensive, or as close to free, as amateur astronomy.
Marty


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Dennis_S253
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5493593 - 10/28/12 07:40 PM

My dad had a 8" scope. I seen quite a few sites looking through that scope. But, I was in my last year of high school. I was playing guitar in a band and chasing girls. I remember one night he woke me up real early in the morning. He said, your gonna want to see this. So I got up and said what's going on? He said get dressed and dress warm. Then we "the family" went outside. Wow, comet West, I can still see that comet in my mind. But, years went by...job and family. Then one year I decided I was going to buy a scope. It's the B&L 4000. Mainly I just looked on a clear night when I knew a planet was up there. Sometimes I don't view, sometimes I do. In Florida, sometimes it just feels way to hot and humid. Right now is when my interest starts to peak and I pull out the ol' B&L and start viewing. I'll never quit, I just take breaks from time to time.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AdirondackAstro
sage
*****

Reged: 06/06/11

Loc: Plattsburgh, NY
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bumm]
      #5493615 - 10/28/12 08:01 PM

I got into the hobby almost 2 years ago when my girlfriend bought me a telescope for Christmas because I had mentioned to her once that I wish I had a way to view the moon better than just with the naked eye, and the cameras zoom function wasn't cutting it. Ever since then I have been very addicted to the hobby.

Not once have I thought about leaving this hobby. There are times when it's clear that I'll pass up going out, but there is always regret the next day when it's cloudy. I don't see myself exiting this hobby, especially not in the near future. The only thing that would keep me from progressing further is my lack of money, but I do pretty damn good for someone with almost zero dollars to spend on the hobby.

The online astronomy community here, other astronomy forums, twitter, and google+ have kept me extremely interested in the hobby. There doesn't seem to be a day that's gone by in these two years that I haven't thought about or done something to do with astronomy whether it's editing images, reading about the latest astronomy news, or even just something as simple as looking up on a clear night as I walk to my car, or as I walk into work on a winter morning.

This is such a vast hobby that I can't see it getting old. I enjoy sketching what I see through the eyepiece, and doing long exposure photography. Seems just these two things alone will keep me busy until I'm too old to stand at an eyepiece. Even if I cover all the Messier objects I can move to IC and NGC objects, you also have the Moon and Sun to keep you occupied. There is always something more you can do with to sketches or photographs, and if you feel you have ran out of objects you can just get a larger scope, and it's almost like the old objects are brand new again... at least that's how I felt jumping from a 114mm to a 150mm. I can just imagine jumping up 4 more inches of aperture.

The other night I didn't feel much like going out; I didn't have my cameras charged, camera card cleared off, and just didn't feel like dragging the scope out because the moon was too bright for DSO observing. I did drag it out when my girlfriends daughter and her friend started asking me questions about astronomy. Brought the scope out, aimed at the moon, aimed at Andromeda, and even pointed out constellations with my green laser pointer. Spent about an hour and a half out there with them, and they both got to see their very first meteor, very bright and very slow with a nice vapor trail behind it. Definitely gave me the urge to continue on with astronomy for the night.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Robert70
sage


Reged: 02/11/11

Loc: The Garden State: NJ
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: AdirondackAstro]
      #5493624 - 10/28/12 08:05 PM

1. Christmas present etx70at
4. Cloudy Nights and ES EP's


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
joseph07081
sage


Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Chippewa, PA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493632 - 10/28/12 08:11 PM

Quote:



1. What drew you to the hobby?

For me it was definitely the space race. I grew up during the 60's and I was an avid follower of the space program.


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

I think you will find this happens in many hobbies. Someone is exposed to something new, they think "this is cool" and take off with it, then as time goes by their interest wanes and they move onto the next "cool" hobby.

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

Usually the reason I step away is because of time or financial constraints. I am always looking up at the sky, but my active participation is subject to that little thing called "life". The past few years I have been focused on my wife's cancer and something like that can take a huge toll on time and energy.

4. What drew you back to the hobby?

I have always managed to sneak back into the hobby. This site and more specifically this forum often sparks my interest. While there may not be sufficient time for me to get outside and observe, I can still take some time and read about all of the exciting happenings in the universe on Cloudy Nights.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FordGalaxy
member


Reged: 07/06/11

Loc: Virginia, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493665 - 10/28/12 08:29 PM

1. Went outside, looked up.
2. My lack of committment, and willingness to alot astronomy to times when it's optimal, rather than obsessing over cloudy nights or fretting over poor weather with astronomy as a nearly sole hobby.
3. I'm never fully "in" this hobby, but I bounce back in from time to time. I walk outside at night quite a bit (feed the chickens,etc), and if it's a nice night-out I go starwatching.
4. The venus transit made me realize that I hadn't replaced an old scope that I had given to a friend's kids, and that I missed observing with something a bit better than cheap porro prism binoculars or an old russian spotting scope.

My advice is to get a great daytime hobby, and a great indoors only hobby. Rotate your time amongst them as time permits. Don't get so tied to a hobby that you obsess over it day and night, but don't forget about it so long that you lose touch with current trends in it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493669 - 10/28/12 08:32 PM

When I was two, living in Minnewaukan, N. Dak, my grandmother took me outside and pointed up at her Mag 7 skies. I was struck with awe and their beauty. When I was about 10, a friend took me to Ruth, Nevada--about 7 miles from Ely. A doctor friend had a 3.5 inch Questar. He pointed it at the moon, and I was startled with the detail I saw. I still consider the moon a friend, not an enemy of the night sky. I have been looking up for 67 years. Astronomy is the only hobby that has remained with me throughout my life. Over the years, I got into photography, hunting, a variety of sports and many other hobbies. They all went away. Astronomy did not. Astronomy gave me continuity in my life. My life's dreams always had astronomy as part of them, and my life's disappointments were often softened by the beauty of the night sky.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5493704 - 10/28/12 09:03 PM

Very well said, GeneT.

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


Reged: 07/27/10

Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5493803 - 10/28/12 10:14 PM

1.A TV show not that long ago(The sky at night).

2.Probably light pollution and lack of time.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Gary Riley
sage


Reged: 12/01/11

Loc: White Bluff, TN
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bumm]
      #5493814 - 10/28/12 10:22 PM

I became interested in Astronomy as a teenager during the Apollo Moon missions. My first telescope was a Jason 60mm refractor my parents got me one Christmas. I used that little 40X scope for a few years until I graduated high school.

I waned from the hobby for many years after getting married, raising a family, work and other responsibilities. Got back into the hobby a few years ago after my daughter and son-in-law gave me a Meade 70mm refractor one Christmas. This re-ignited my passion for stargazing again. Later on I purchased a 12 inch dob and several months ago purchased a Celestron 4 inch refractor.

I still have times of ebb and flow with the hobby but I still stay connected with it regularly and try to observe a few nights each month as time and the weather will allow. This hobby has taught me many amazing things about our universe. It also gives me a sense of peace and wonder each time I view a distant object thru an eyepiece. I hope I never outgrow that!

Clear and starry skies everyone!
Gary

Edited by Gary Riley (10/28/12 10:28 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07

Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Gary Riley]
      #5493869 - 10/28/12 11:11 PM

1. What drew me into the hobby was a fascination of looking up at the night skies and seeing the moon, planets and stars as a little kid, becoming attracted to science fiction stories, and then my parents buying me a "40mm, 40X" Tasco telescope in 1955 at age 10.

2. What's kept me in the hobby on and off is that I keep going back to my original childhood fascination with the universe beyond planet Earth.

3. I've quit and returned several times for various reasons, mainly work-related, that didn't leave me much time for hobbies, and I've been attracted to many different hobbies over the years.

4. What drew me back the most recent time is that I've finally retired from a full-time job and I no longer have any excuses for not going back to my first true love!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mistyridge
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/28/05

Loc: Loomis, CA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #5494047 - 10/29/12 02:52 AM

I got intersted at an early age with a 60mm refractor Christmas gift at age 10 and even more interested when in highschool with the launch of sputnik. This got me motivated to grind and polish and construct an 8" newt mounted on a GEM. which was a big scope in the late 1950s especially for a highschool student. From that point I have been active and inactive on and off until I retired. Now I can devote as much time as needed following various interests within the hobby, currently planetary imaging, at least for this year.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: mistyridge]
      #5494230 - 10/29/12 08:42 AM

I think a definition might be in order: 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 got my first scope in 1983 at the age of 12. I'd be reading Astronomy and S&T for a couple of years before that and have maintained a subscription to one or the other since. I have never not owned a scope. When the net came around, astronomy sites were the first bookmarked. However, there were long periods, occasionally a couple of years at a stretch, where I did not take a scope out. There were periods where I fell far behind in my reading.

Looking at the comments above, I'd have to say many of you would say I was "out of the hobby" though I don't consider myself to have ever not been an amateur astronomer. I would only consider someone to be out of the hobby if they come to a point where they are simply not interested in what is going on and even if they suddenly won the lottery and their kids were all raised and their spouse gave them leave to spend as much time as they liked out with a scope they still wouldn't.

It's a hobby, life will intrude and most of us, I hope, have more interests than astronomy.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Huber
sage
*****

Reged: 01/03/04

Loc: South of Cincy Ohio
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5494243 - 10/29/12 08:53 AM

The gods do not deduct from man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing. ~Babylonian Proverb

I think the same goes for amateur astronomers..


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5494300 - 10/29/12 09:37 AM

Here are some random thoughts.

Broadly speaking, I think people are drawn to astronomy for three different -- though overlapping -- reasons:

  • nature study
  • science fiction
  • techno-geek


In fact, just about all serious amateurs that I know combine all three, but in very varying degrees.

Science fiction is the most tenuous, because it really has nothing to do with astronomy. Science fiction is all about fantasy; astronomy is reality. Nonetheless, it's an empirical fact that a very large fraction of all amateur astronomers are or have been science fiction fans. Obviously no accident!

As for people dropping out, there are two very different categories here. Most people who think they might be interested in astronomy drop out almost immediately, when they find out it doesn't live up to their expectations.

Using a telescope isn't easy, even if it has Go To. And if you approach astronomy with nothing but sci-fi expectations, you're bound to be disappointed. No light sabres and space ships, and precious few knock-you-socks-off views. Like any serious hobby, astronomy requires effort; it's not passive entertainment.

But as I said earlier, once people have gotten past that initial (and quite substantial) learning hump, they never really drop out of astronomy. They may stop observing for a while, but the potential to resume is always there.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5494346 - 10/29/12 10:05 AM

1. What drew you to the hobby?

Various things really - a dark starry sky seen from the ocean chief among them, plus my love of Star Trek (and other science fiction) which also got me interested in space and astronomy.

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

I quit it for a while in the early 2000's, lack of money forced me to sell my scope and I just lost interest for a while.

4. What drew you back to the hobby?

I just can't stay away. I love astronomy.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Grandpa Jim]
      #5494407 - 10/29/12 10:38 AM

Quote:

I'm old enough to have left "High School" behind long ago, and I don't like the behavior...............




I totally relate to what you're saying. It's the "did you google this first" attitude.

If you need some help, send me a PM .


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Messyone
sage


Reged: 05/02/12

Loc: Down Under
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5494978 - 10/29/12 04:59 PM

I started in the mid 70's as an 8 year old. My dad had a book on navagating which had a double page star chart. He would take me outside and work out what was what. That was enough to get me in. My father was a scientist so getting a scope was an good thing...a Tasco 60mm f13. Spent years looking up with that small scope. Gave it away for a couple of decades while life got in the way but always looked up. Back in it again now I have time to put into it, just wish I lived in a better part of the world weather wise.
Matt


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5495039 - 10/29/12 05:30 PM

1. What drew you to the hobby?
Basically it was curiosity - i just wanted to learn/know.

2. What keeps some in the hobby long term and why do others quit?
All of my hobbies/interests take turns getting put on the back burner.
It doesn't mean i don't like them any more or that i'm 'quitting'.
It just means that they get put on the back burner for a while.

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
*****

Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5495150 - 10/29/12 06:53 PM

Quote:

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




Yeah, most of 2012...so far.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Alan Grant
member


Reged: 04/20/10

Loc: Deseret Territory
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: FJA]
      #5495237 - 10/29/12 08:03 PM

Another great thread Jay, hope all is well in Herimann and Chief Greenshirt hasn't got you.

What drew me to the hobby?
Sleeping out in the backyard as a kid and wondering, 'what is all that up there?"

What keeps me in?
A small, easy to use, intuitive telescope that can be used virtually instantly. This gets me out of the house more often and I am basically lazy.

I couldn't consider ever quitting, nights with the stars are too endearing.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZeroID
sage


Reged: 04/21/10

Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Alan Grant]
      #5495464 - 10/29/12 10:45 PM

What got me in ?
As a youngster a fascination with space and rockets and similar stuff.
More recently ? I guess I've always (like most say) had an interest but cheaper and better hardwrae and finally some time to devote to it.
Why do people stay/leave ?
This obsession is not for everyone. It is a rather committed hobby that tends to exclude those who cannot be bothered.
What keeps me in ?
Several things. The childhood space fascination is still there but the challenge both technically and mentally to build and find and learn is the real driver. My job fails to challenge me now after redundancy and the like so I put most of my efforts into astronomy because it isn't easy.
Will I ever leave?
Not really, As I age I will scale back my efforts I guess but the interest will be there till the day I die I reckon.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Alan Grant]
      #5495467 - 10/29/12 10:46 PM

Hey Alan! Glad to hear from you. I hope we can get out come New Moon on either my land or the Forest Land. Chief Green Jacket hasn't gotten me, he's endearing. Yes, the weather since I'd say July hasn't been very good for observing. I've been in the backyard several times with the new scope and that has been rewarding with doubles and open clusters. Now for a long night with November new moon if the forecast will cooperate. The great news is Daylight Savings is Sunday so we gain an hour of sleep and can get out earlier to observe! I'll let you know my plans if your interested as we get closer. I have to say, I've enjoyed reading the many and varied comments in this thread. Now back to the posting.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
evilmedic13
member


Reged: 06/23/12

Loc: Chicago,Il
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5495663 - 10/30/12 01:17 AM

1. What drew you to the hobby?

The wonders of what's up in the sky. Not much for an inner city kid, but enough to get my attention and make me want to know.
2. What keeps some in the hobby long term and why do others quit?

Don't know or care, that's for others to answer on their own.
3. If you've quit the hobby for a significant amount of time why did you leave?

I never "quit", life got in the way. I couldn't afford a decent scope for a majority of my life. I used a pair of 8x40 whenever I could. Plus, living in an apartment far away from work, and dark skies, didn't help. 72-108 hr work weeks back then really kept me from exploring anything other than my eyelids, and girls. . It really didn't help that I never owned a computer until 2006, either.

4. What drew you back to the hobby?

My wife bought me a 120mm scope for my 1st fathers day present. She remembered I was saving up for scope, a few months before she got pregnant , so that I could do AP. The scope money immediately became our rainy day/future plans fund. I'm an avid photographer, that was my main hobby for many years. I spent many a night taking astro photos when it met the conditions that were right for my equipment. What better way to learn, than to merge a hobby I was really good at with one I was so-so at? The perfectionist in me would force me to learn the sky deeply, so that I could photo the best objects to the best of me ability. Little did I know that AP was such an 800lb gorilla of a hobby. Yet, my regular photo gear still makes most of my astro gear look cheap. I've yet to have the brown santa show up at the door with a medium size box(compared to scope/mount boxes) that has a high 4 figure price tag attached to it, and that was 50% off. The closest was my SCT, and the wife didn't make a peep, because she said the size equaled the price.
For me, the future of this hobby will be great. The job I have allows me the ability to purchase just about anything I need to pursue whatever I want, and gives me the time off to do so. While my motorcycle aren't ridden nearly as much as I wish, due to my wifes schedule making me seem like a single, and only, parent most of the time. It gives me a lot to look forward to, especially in the future
My son loves looking at the moon through the refractor, I purchased the 11" SCT late in the summer. I can't wait for him to get older, so that we can go out on trips and look at the universe together. Until he's old enough to really understand what he's viewing, I will treasure watching him grow. I see me leaving him some darned good when it's my time to join the stars
. Hopefully, he'll think of me when he looks through it, just like when my Mom and I would go out into our yard late at night the summer before she died. I still think of her whenever I see a pretty sunrise, 25 yrs later.


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

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: evilmedic13]
      #5496465 - 10/30/12 04:37 PM

What drew me? Curiosity as a kid. Luckily, I lived in a small rural area where the skies were dark. It was also the 60s and the space race was in full swing--and 2001, A Space Odessy had just came out. And my parents got me a Tasco 60mm for Christmas.

What keeps some in the hobby long term and why do others quit? Life has it's own plans, regardless of what we want.

3. If you've quit the hobby for a significant amount of time why did you leave? Pretty much left the hobby after I grew up and left home---like I said above, Life has it's own plans....

4. What brought me back? I'm looking at retirement in another 3-4 years, and decided that it was time to take up a hobby to fill the hours (seems more like seconds though). Truthfully, I thought back and remembered the fun and excitement that toy scope brought me. Honestly, it makes me feel like a kid again; and the skies are as wonderous as ever (but gotta travel to get away from the lights now). Also, I can afford better toys now...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Alan Grant]
      #5496860 - 10/30/12 08:48 PM

With me, the night sky and astronomy has been a latent interest ever since childhood, courtesy of my maternal grandmother who, when sitting out in lawn chairs in her yard in a small eastern North Carolina town on clear summer evenings as dusk turned to dark, would vividly describe the beautiful brilliance of Halley's comet, which she saw back in 1910 when she was a young teenager. For my birthday when I was 11, she gave me a cheap "department store" reflector that had a single built-in plastic eyepiece and focuser, really just a toy scope, but it gave what then seemed nice views of the moon and many more stars than could be seen naked-eye. Alas, during a period of disuse a couple of months later, my mom tucked the scope away in the back of a closet out of mind and somehow over the next several weeks it disappeared before I thought of it again. My interest remained latent for nearly twenty years until I was living in Oregon and happened to come across a young man with a home-built reflector in a neighborhood park one night, where he showed me a view of a globular cluster. WOW! I went to a few public outreach events, including in the relatively dark skies up at Mount Hood, where I saw Andromeda for the first time in someoene's huge light bucket (probably only around 15", but to my unfamiliar senses it seemed improbably huge! I bought a used astronomy text and began devouring it.

Soon thereafter, my wife and I moved to Raleigh, NC to a house in a leafy yard and neighborhood not very well-suited for astronomical observing, due to tree canopy, slopes, and streetlights. The astro book somehow got lost in the move. And then, we bought a vacation house down at Sunset Beach, NC in 1995 and on one of my trips down there from Raleigh sometime around 2002, I stopped in Wilmington to browse a wonderfully eclectic, genteel consignment store that mostly sold furniture, but there among the lamps, chairs and tables was...a used MEADE POLARIS REFRACTOR, complete with tripod, eyepieces, and a barlow! I knew little about telescopes and Meade except that it was a brand name I vaguely familiar with as a maker of quality astro equipment, and so the asking price of $75 for this fine scope seemed an impossibly wonderful bargain to my ignorant sensibilities, never realizing that this particular model was what I would later on come to understand was a classic example of the dreaded "department store telescope" the owner was unloading precisely because he had realized how badly it had disappointed his own eager expectations to do astronomy with it. For the next three years or so, I intermittently struggled to make use of it, but increasingly it sat disused in the back of my bedroom closet at the beach. The latent flame of my interest in astronomy had pretty much flickered out until...

...fast forward to late spring 2006, when I had accumulated a few hundred dollars discretionary income from soccer refereeing, when on a whim I went to a public observing session of the Raleigh Astronomy Club and discovered there was actually a brick-and-mortar astronomy shop in Raleigh in the second floor of an office building near me ("Big Bang Astronomy"), so off I went one day the next week, and came home with a brand new Orion XT8 with its two included eyepieces (10mm and 25mm plossls). THE OTHER KEY FACTOR was that we had moved in spring 2005 to a different house that had a nice stretch of open sky relatively sheltered from lights by well-placed trees and lush landscaping, with a flat driveway and level front yard! It snowballed from there; here I am.

FAVORABLE OPPORTUNITY to observe and acquire suitable equipment is the key. YOU KNOW WHAT THE OTHER WAS? My discovery of the Cloudy Nights website, which is the base from which my serious, permanent education and interest (and equipment acquisition addiction) has taken off like kudzu on a southern roadside.

Out there are plenty of folks who will never really have the right combination of circumstances to facilitate developing their latent interest in astronomy. Living in a housing situation that lacks a suitable setting to do astronomy from without a car trip of five to fifty miles. Lacking knowledge of what sort of equipment is suitable for entry to the hobby, and which sort of equipment is ill-fitting or an outright hobby-killer (e.g. the Meade Polaris refractor). Lacking knowledge of such a tremendously helpful, educational resource such as Cloudy Nights. Lack of knowledge of suitable retailers to purchase suitable equipment from. And so on. FAVORABLE OPPORTUNITY is key to growing interest. UNFAVORABLE CIRCUMSTANCES (too difficult too often to create chances to observe) can kill it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5497087 - 10/30/12 11:38 PM

CN has caused me to spend serious money in astronomy. It's like it's owned by a business or something .

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
StarStuff1
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5498616 - 10/31/12 10:40 PM

During the 50's I was a kid fascinated by sci-fi and horror movies. One night the family was at a drive-in theater. "It Came from Outer Space" was the flick on the screen. Then the monster eye appeared (and you knew it would because of the "wooooieeee!!!" music) I would curl up in a ball on the rear floorboard with my eyes tightly closed. My father reached around and grabbed my leg causing me to cry out. He thought it was funny. I was scared and crying. This happened a couple of more times during the film and I became convinced to learn what I could about space to see if aliens really existed.

After several visits to the library and trying to view the sky with a toy 30mm refractor I became the butt of jokes about astronomy and space. Then Sputnik and other man made sattelites were launched and the Space Race was on. Finally a 75mm refractor on a spindly alt-az mount arrived for Christmas around 1962. Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon were unbelievable. Then one afternoon there was this bright thing in the western sky around sunset. No one knew what it was but I HAD A TELESCOPE. It was a satellite, Echo IIRC. My friends and family were impressed.

I was hooked. But then came high school, college, marriage, the military, kids, etc. Astronomy was put on the back burner. I did grab the 75mm refractor out from under my bed and set it up for the first Moon landing. Unfortunately, I have not seen that scope since.

Fast forward to the late 1970s. Those fabulous photos of the gas giant planets taken by Voyager were splashed everywhere. COSMOS came on TV and I watched every episode. My wife said I needed a hobby. At the time I was a Sales Manager for a large retailer, a company commander in the National Guard, an officer in the Jaycees and a father as well as a husband. I had no time for a hobby!

But when a local planetarium offered a beginning astronomy course I signed up. It was only one meeting a week for four weeks but by the time it was over I was hooked again. Several of us "graduates" decided we wanted to form an astro club. With the able assistance of the planetarium director we formed Bays Mountain Astronomy Club and it is still going strong today.

My interest in astronomy has stayed pretty intense. Traveling to Mexico and Aruba for total solar eclipses. Trips to many star parties as far away as the Florida Keys. Teaching astronomy labs at the local university for over a decade. Being a member of two astro clubs. ATMing, outreach, etc.

I must admit there have been a few bumps on the road. Trips to distant places for star parties or just observing have been cut in half due to the cost of gas. Light pollution has been a big problem but technological advances such as light pollution filters, astro video cameras and image intensifier eyepieces (IIEs) have provided many pleasurable observing sessions under less than favorable circumstances.

The photos and other data we have gotten from satellites we have launched to other worlds in the Solar System have been nothing short of astounding. The internet with CN and the astro mags are enablers of useful info and support.

As long as I am physically able I will be an "amateur" astronomer. It is much more than a hobby to me.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5499737 - 11/01/12 06:59 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?



I love science and love learning about scientific things. I also enjoy art. And I love pursuits I can do by myself or with others as I choose. It was a natural I would be drawn to bicycles and astronomy and music.
Quote:


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



I haven't seen everything yet, and I still enjoy the challenge of seeing objects through a telescope--finding them and then examining them. I've always been surprised at how much I can see. Others may quit because they see less than they expected to. I've always seen more than I expected to. I started when there were no satellite or spacecraft photos of anything and you had to look to see anything. Very few people attached a camera to a telescope and all the images were black & white in the magazines, and not very long exposures at that.
Quote:


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



Not applicable. This is my 49th year with a telescope and my 55th year of looking (first look was seeing Sputnik in 1957).
Quote:


4. What drew you back to the hobby?



I could see observing a little less for a few years and then coming back with a vengeance. I've done that over the years. but I can't envision quitting unless I go blind.
Quote:


I'm really interested in hear why some leave and have come back and why some stick through the hobby no matter what, and why some just leave and never come back. Some of the answers are pretty clear I think, but I just want to hear what others think. What are the signs of someone getting ready to leave the hobby?



1) They move up in scope size before they have enough experience to "see" through a scope. When they realize they can't see Hubble images no matter how big the scope is, they either get into astrophotography, or give up the hobby.
2) They don't like doing things alone. A club meeting is more fun than observing because they a) can't find anything and don't have the patience to do so, or b) can't see anything when they find it. This could easily be due to light pollution, of which there was very little around when I was young. I saw mag.6.2 stars and the Milky Way in my backyard. Today, probably <5% of telescope users have that kind of sky in the backyard.
3) They realize the impact of light pollution but are unwilling or incapable of driving 50-150 miles to get to a dark sky.
4) They are uncomfortable being alone in the dark.
5) They have poor night vision and so never get comfortable with their surroundings. I told someone once I could see across a field and see the tree line and even the boles of the trees with just the light of the stars. He told me he couldn't see ten feet, even after being outdoors for an hour.
6) Setting up and taking down a scope is too much bother. You do it a few times, and get tired of doing so.
7) You don't know anyone else interested in the hobby and you don't like doing things on your own.
8) It's a slow-paced, time-consuming hobby and you want instantaneous gratification in the 1 hour a month you can allocate to it.
9) You never learn the constellations and you always feel lost because you never know what to view and every object in your computer telescope's database says "Object below horizon"
Etc.
A million reasons to give up.
Quote:


What advice if any do you give to those who want to leave? Oh, to clarify, I'm not leaving the hobby, I'm just waiting for new moon and hoping the weather is good. Again, I am just curious to what others opinions are on this subject.



A. You will never see less than your first views through a telescope. Each and every year, you will see more--at the same power and in the same scope--because you will become trained at seeing. There is no other activity other than observing to develop observing skills.
B.Don't go for the faintest objects, nebulae and galaxies, at first just because that's what the Hubble takes pictures of. Hubble takes pictures of those because they are the hardest objects to see. Start with double stars, star clusters, globulars, bright nebulae like M42 or bright planetary nebulae like M57 or M27. Or get a nebula filter to help see the nebulae
C. If moving and using the scope is intimidating or too much trouble, get a smaller scope. If finding things is too difficult, get a computerized scope. If seeing things is too hard, plan a once-a-month outing to darker skies, even if just for 3 or 4 hours. You'll see so much more, you'll want to see more objects.
D. Go with a friend to observe or get a friend interested.
E. learn to draw what you see and make drawings. I promise you, in a year you'll go back to the drawing you made and compare it to the view you see now and say, "What was I? Blind?" You will be seeing more because drawing what you see is the fastest way to learn how to see.
F. Get a good Moon map and identify every crater with a name. You'll soon have favorites and you'll look forward to seeing them every night because the view is different every night because of shadows.
G. Read more about astronomy (start with the Backyard Astronomer's Guide) so concepts and information are old hat and not something new to memorize. Especially read the magazines if you can. It's fun to learn about things.
H. Remember, it's not work. See one object a night if you want, or 100. There is no right or wrong--it's all up to you.


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


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #5500601 - 11/02/12 09:34 AM

Quote:

What advice if any do you give to those who want to leave?




If this hobby has become a chore, or you feel obligated to do it, don't feel guilty about leaving. Maybe it's not your thing. Why do it if in isn't any fun? On the other hand, maybe the best thing is to back away, leave it for a time and then try again, possibly using a different approach. For example, if you've been using a goto scope exclusively, try learning ths sky and finding things manually.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: Why do People Stay or Leave the Hobby? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5503870 - 11/04/12 12:42 PM

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
A. Viegas
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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).

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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 ..

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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."


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


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


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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
stryder
journeyman


Reged: 06/24/12

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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.






Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
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)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Glen A W
sage


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

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (show all)


Extra information
6 registered and 14 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  cildarith, panhard, tecmage 

Print Thread

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


Thread views: 4723

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics