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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

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

Good morning,

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

Now I take your post as an invitation to do so

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

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

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

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

Greetings
Mathias


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,
Norme
Retired and living in a tropical paradise.

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

Thanks for responding.


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

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

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

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

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


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goodricke1
member


Reged: 05/18/13

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

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

They also serve who only stand and wait - Milton.


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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goodricke1
member


Reged: 05/18/13

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

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

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


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

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

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

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

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

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


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


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

Quote:

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

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



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

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

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

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


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

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

Thank you for welcomming me!

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

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

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

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

Best wishes
Mathias


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

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

Quote:



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

Best wishes
Mathias




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


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

Quote:

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


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

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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

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

Quote:

Quote:



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

Best wishes
Mathias




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





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

M11 truely is amazing


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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


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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

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

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

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

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

BrooksObs

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


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Nerotheroman
member


Reged: 03/02/13

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

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

It is pretty painless indeed


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Eric63
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/16/12

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

Hi Norme

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

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

Eric


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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

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

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


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