When it goes it goes and I’ll have yet less crap to collect dust. I guess, I take S&T more as a tradition (a habit really). I probably read between 30 and 50 percent of each issue. The sky map and Fred Schaff’s what’s up section, the sky this month, planets, etc. mostly, as well as the letters, 25 50 and 75 years ago snippets, the editorial and focus columns and the binocular highlight; a bit of the news and maybe a feature article and Jerry Olten’s ATM article. Then it gets thrown in the pile and the pile gets thrown out in January, with the start of a new pile. Much of it I have little interest in. Their is too much emphasis on big scopes (I have smaller scopes), and are far too many ads on high end stuff that I neither need nor want. Would I miss it? Probably somewhat. But I’d get used to it. There is nothing in it that I depend on that I can’t find on the internet.
Posted 02 April 2019 - 12:44 PM
The sky map and Fred Schaff’s what’s up section, the sky this month, planets, etc. mostly, as well as the letters, 25 50 and 75 years ago snippets, the editorial and focus columns and the binocular highlight; a bit of the news and maybe a feature article and Jerry Olten’s ATM article.
Dense, specific topics in medium/short form.
Their is too much emphasis on big scopes (I have smaller scopes), and are far too many ads on high end stuff that I neither need nor want.
My "read" of the situation is that's advertising hanging on by a thread. Sort of like an antique store that has "astronomical" prices for old junk - they're lucky of they make a sale a week, but when they do, it pays for the entire week. That's why the ad's and focus on large scopes.
An example of their marketplace - I'll do outreach for a friend, and someone with more money than brains will wake up to the fact they're seeing something finally through a small scope, so they hightail it back and bring out the monster (sometimes several trips), and attempt to get "free consulting" on how to see the same object with it. Often they bring an incomplete set of parts, or haven't a clue of what parts to bring, thus the multiple trips (missing connecting parts, counterweights, ...). Worst is was the huge SCT with the secondary rolling around on the primary, or the 20+" dob where they primary was never installed out of the shipping materials.
In short, they pickup the mag in the supermarket on a lark, by a $5K scope, the packages arrive, get stored somewhere, and then there's an event, they can't get it together , stored, ... lose interest, it gets sold at a estate sale.
For the small scope audience the marketplace is somewhat of an incompetently half-thought out business, considered as a satellite (heh) to the large scope described above (it's used to mine out more from bottomless pockets, so they don't want to upset that play, as the small scope ones have 10x the overhead/returns/"badmouth" - the big purchase crowd is too embarrassed to admit they shouldn't have bought and eat the cost quietly). To engage the small scope crowd you'd have to cycle through a fast moving set of small purchases of accessories like a "book of the month club" with a follow-on buy inducement (discount on accumulated purchase - "frequent buyer"). All it would take to kill it would be a little "badmouth" internet-amplified that no one could verify and it would be dead and drill a small financial hole in the ground. Which is how the astro marketplace self-wounds/destructs every time - it's a too fragile market, and easily "passion" becomes "inconsolable bitterness".
(Am a business development advisor for various financial concerns, and many ask my advice about analyzing business/strategies.) One of the more humorous is significant wealth individuals who pride themselves on savvy, who drop huge sums on obvious stupid ambitions ... so I take them through their own business evaluation logic to analyze in detail why it was stupid ... sublime torture when they fall into the traps they lay for own professional skills that they've consciously ignored. Some try to "right" said markets, with a resulting "knock-on" failure.
The root problem is baked into human nature. With "passion" in a hobby, it is hard to retain professional objectivity necessary to deal with such inside, as the hobby is often a means to "get away" from such "work". Most just "want what they want, when they want it" - the root again. People are people, will be people.
Posted 02 April 2019 - 06:14 PM
Another advantage to paper subscription is the ability to pass it on to an interested friend or neighbor.
People still bring me mags they get, folded open (or bookmarked), slyly handed, and ask me about "it".
They don't want to forward links via email/text/message, because they want "the personal". Businessmen often don't have the slightest clue about science/engineering/tech, yet want to appear knowledgeable, and to get a "pitch".
I've had people show up with an S&T out of the blue, because they see someone with a scope and they think that person might know. However, I'm not going to go quasar hunting for them
Posted 02 April 2019 - 06:47 PM
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Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:06 PM
At some of the outreach programs that we do, we give astronomy magazines away.
I started getting S&T with the Feb 1966 issue, and have had the subscription ever since. I keep all of them.
Several years ago, I purchased almost a complete collection from about 1949? to about 1968? (I'll have to go look to refresh my memory.) I enjoy grabbing an old one and flipping thru it.
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Posted 03 April 2019 - 03:44 AM
Recently I was looking online at some old Sky & Telescopes for ad research. It's fast but not that great of image quality (low res.). Then yesterday I came across the March 1978 issue in my studio. There's nothing quite like sitting back and thumbing through the real thing. Sadly, about ten years ago to cut down on clutter I cut out articles and photos from a lot of old issues and tossed them. The good news, I kept the first issue I bought (Dec. '76), and quite a few others that had special articles, a great cover, and the ones I never got around to cutting up.
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Posted 22 May 2019 - 02:47 PM
Classic Scope Nicknames
Yes, our scopes are just things, but I like to name mine anyway. And, it's often more efficient than typing out Brand + Model + Specs -- especially with a tablet or smart-phone "soft" keyboard.
Sears Model 6336 [Astro Optical 76mm F15 on EQ Pedestal] --> Big Rosie
Takahashi FC-50 [Tak 50mm F8 Fluorite OTA] --> Tiny Tak
APM 152ED F8 APO --> The Beast
Goto Hy-Score Model 452 [60mm F20 Achro on EQ Tripod] --> GHS-452
Hy-Score Model 457 [ASI 50mm F10 Achro on AZ Tripod] --> HS-457
Edmund 4" F15 Achro on EQ Tripod --> Saint Edna
Dakin 4" F10 Achro OTA --> The Dakin
Tinsley 6" F20 Cassegrain on EQ Pedestal --> The Tinsley
Vixen FL80S [80mm F8 Fluorite OTA] --> TBD
Criterion RV-6 F8 Newtonian on EQ Pedestal --> The DynaVinson (in honor of the original owner, who really loved this scope! Reading his observing notes is a real treat.)
Vixen VMC200L [200mm F10 Field Maksutov Cassegrain OTA] --> TBD
ATM 5" F5 Triplet OTA --> The Triple Nickel (from a fellow CNer -- Love It!!)
ATM / Edmund 6" F5 Newtonian RFT OTA --> Cyclops (upgrading to a 2" focuser was a very good move)
JW / Edmund 4" F15 Cassegrain OTA [1974 3B Mirror Set] --> 3B4BB
My Questar, orange C5 Astro, & black C90 Spotter don't need nicknames, but I'll probably come up with some eventually.
- clamchip likes this
Posted 22 May 2019 - 04:38 PM
I thought this one “ATM 5" F5 Triplet OTA --> The Triple Nickel” was The Thing!
Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:18 PM
I bond with some telescopes and I usually give them a name.
Some are just a telescope, no more no less, a scientific instrument.
I probably spent the most time restoring my Tinsley 4 inch of any telescope
but it remains just a Tinsley 4 inch.
On the other hand I've spent just as much time or more on my Allenscope, and
it started out life as the 'Hillbilly Super Planetary' as a joke, after observing with the scope
it was very apparent this is a serious instrument so I changed the name to
reflect the name scribed on the back of the mirror ALLEN.
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Posted 18 June 2019 - 04:40 PM
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has agreed to acquire Sky & Telescope (S&T) magazine and its related business assets, including the skyandtelescope.com website, SkyWatch annual, digital editions, astronomy-themed tours, and S&T-branded books, sky atlases, globes, apps, and other stargazing products.
S&T's current owner, the magazine- and book-publishing company F+W Media, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2019 after what court filings described as six years of poor strategy and management at the corporate level. The AAS, the major organization of professional astronomers in North America and a 501©(3) nonprofit corporation, was the winning bidder for S&T in a bankruptcy auction process that concluded on Monday, 17 June, pending approval by all parties to the transaction, final documentation, filing of final sales agreements and schedules with the bankruptcy court, and a successful closing process.
The AAS anticipates that S&T's staff of editors, designers, illustrators, and advertising sales representatives will become AAS employees but will continue to work out of the magazine's offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The AAS is headquartered in Washington, DC, but already has about a dozen remote staff members scattered from coast to coast. As it accomplishes the operational transitions needed to publish S&T, the Society anticipates making few if any changes to the editorial content or the way the magazine operates, and subscribers should see no interruption in its monthly delivery schedule. Enhancements and new products and services are likely in the future; these will be developed in partnership with the magazine's editors and readers and with the Society's members and other stakeholders.
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Posted 18 June 2019 - 05:04 PM
That is very good news indeed! I think that is a wonderful fit. It gives me hope for a long continuance of my favorite magazine.
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Posted 18 June 2019 - 05:13 PM
I just got an email from S&T reiterating this. Great news!
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Posted 19 June 2019 - 09:13 AM
Might see an uptick in coverage of scientific discoveries. I assume that AAS will give the staff free access to all of their other publications, and expect some of them to attend the annual meeting (next one is in Hawaii). They might also get to see previews of articles to be published, so there won't be a delay on reporting them.
AAS has a definite interest in public outreach, in part to generate support for astronomy research funding in congress, which is always in danger of cuts. But their style has been of the dry, academic flavor. This will give them access to a portal that isn't afraid of using a flashy marketing approach.
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Posted 01 July 2019 - 11:37 AM
Another beautiful day down here in Delaware. I left my 1976 vintage RV-6 out on the deck from observing last night and with the sky a beautiful blue, it makes finding Venus in the day very easy. A check of Sky Safari showed Venus is about 11 degrees from the Sun. I positioned myself so the Sun is in a tree . I keep a pair of vintage Selsi 10x50 binoculars focused at infinity and they have 5 degree FOV. So I stepped off about 2 1/2 fields from the Sun which should put Venus in the middle of the field and slowly scan around. It took 30 sec to find Venus. I then found were Venus would be above a branch in a tree and use that as starting point to go off when pointing the RV-6. Another 30 seconds and I had Venus in the finder of the RV-6. I got out my vintage 16.3mm Galoc. You have to have your finder well aligned with the main scope because even if your not too far from focus Venus will be invisible until you get it close to being focused in the eyepiece
Right now Venus is almost fully illuminated as small white dot but still fun to see in broad daylight. I took a hand held cell-phone shot.
Happy July 4th !
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Posted 11 July 2019 - 07:14 PM
The bride sews and found this vintage fabric to make a drop cloth to keep my grab and go free of dust! Cool, no?
BTW, it protects my AT60 ED.
The fabric is a vintage classic, but the scope is a modern classic!
Anybody else cover their set-up scopes?
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Posted 15 July 2019 - 07:27 AM
Clouds entirely ate moon an hour into my Barska & Zeny 70x400s and Celes & Bresser 70x700s "Cloudy stinkin' Lunar & maybe 1 star-test star" session. I've a clam-on-a-rail as fits all of them (the Celes being just a shady bit fat) and that's sitting on an Orion StarSeeker IV one-arm I generally use in manual. Heckuva 'grab-n-go' kit. (Got the mount w/ 80mm refractor for something like $50 or $75 less than the mount alone in '17 - Love You, Orion!).
Tonight's diag & EPs are: Zeny provided mirror diagonal and Celes 26mm orange Plössl, Celes Zoomer & generic H12mm & H9mm.
Tested the Celes PS70 & Zeny first. Both made sharp focus, good contrast even with clouds. That was around 2130MST. When I finished sticking the Bresser in the clam 2 minutes later, the moon was gone.
I gave up sitting there in the dark 20 mins later and went to figure out which reeds I should start with for that SGW Sax (#2), decided the mouthpiece would be okay for a while, gloated over my DGX-205 acquisition for granddaughter #2, the violin acquisitions for granddaughter #1 and myself, prayed for a Marching French Horn acquisition, re-affirmed my 60mm swear-off (minus the last bid I have out), ate a most delicious pork chop and bare rice, decided to keep the short 70s as finders, the Celes because it's green, the Bresser if it performs and to dig thru the other 70s and cull'em soon - real soon. Then I went back to sorting EPs, extenders, diags, caps, inserts, finders, T-Rings blah blah blah, checking the stinking sky every twenty minutes.
0210: Now I'm staring at the 'vintage' snap-clamp 60 ring wondering if I'm going to leave it on it's rather decent tripod, or cut the mount tab-ear off the ring base, drill it, and use it on a rail. The RKE 28mm is staring sidelong at me, begging to be cleaned and I've misplaced the SLR finder screws for the Tasco 10EF.
0230~0420: Skies are clearish. Vroom-vroom fired up the Barska and Bresser. Have some stars, moon and Saturn! Ran thru the Barska and Bresser, then back to Celes and Zeny. They all did okay - dimmer than normal star-test star, but sufficient - no garbage optics. Passed by the Vix A70Lf and threw it on. As usual, it was the sharpest, contrastiest, least colourful and the longest @ f/12.9. It didn't 'shame' the f/10s (or the 5.7s) though - they're not the same tool. Of the f/10s, I liked the build of the Bresser better, but the colour on the PS70 was better - maybe an objective swap? Maybe not - the green/blue-fringe is refreshing
Zeny: did well on moon thru clouds - quite well as a fact of matter - thin fringe - nice. SA a little apparent when slewing. CA - less than expected.
PS 70az: did better, of course. Barely a yellow fringe.
Bresser Callisto: Overall nice, but a thin green/blue-green fringe 1.5x as wide as the Celes fringe. pretty.
Barska: Just like Zeny. just like it.
Vixen A70Lf: Bit better contrast and bit sharper focus than all the others - not a large diff, but a noticeable one on stars.
And, finally, I gave the clammed Meade 390 15 minutes. ring-finger fingernail sized chip. Creates a small but definite noticeable flat in the outer 2~3 rings when star-tested, and some slight fuzziness @ focus - blackening should take care of that mostly? I expected it to be much worse. I have a replacement objective, but I want to play around with this chipper first. This was a "Don't fear the clam!"... nice deal. It was a hair jiggly on the StarSeeker IV, but settled w/i 3 secs.
So, that's what I done this nearly frustrating evening. And I'm out of peanutbutter
*I left out the part near the end of the session when I thought the Celes Zoomer had suffered instantaneous catastrophic multiple fracture failure for no apparent reason because I slewed after the moon and into the young peach tree leaves. Haaaaaa. really neat effect.
Edited by AstroKerr, 15 July 2019 - 10:39 AM.
Posted 15 July 2019 - 10:18 AM
Vixen A70Lf: Bit better contrast and bit sharper focus than all the others - not a large diff, but a noticeable one on stars.
I've found this little Vixen to be a good little scope, particularly on the moon.
- AstroKerr likes this
Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:55 AM
They say that confession is good for the soul. I think it's a way to admit you were wrong without actually saying it -- cool! For decades I expressed a lot of skepticism for claims made about APOs, and I seriously balked at the prices for new ones. Soon after I joined CN, I often referred to the Refractor Forum as the APO Forum -- and that was not meant as a compliment. But... then I bought my used Vixen FL80S from Koji... and, I started seeing stuff like this...
From a stubby 3" refractor half the length of my Royal Astro 76mm F15, which is a near-perfect example of the Classic achromatic refractor. On every object, and at every magnification from 15x to 250x, this short fluorite delivered views that challenged my venerable RAO. I had to re-think -- and that hurts (the thinking part, that is).
My Edmund 4" F15 is still my favorite scope. I love its goofy 1950s look. I like the steps Edmund took to keep the weight down -- like cardboard baffle tubes. And the unknown maker lens delivers superb views on every object. It is pure pleasure to use.
But then Thomas went & bought an Ascent 102 F11 ED. I read his posts on this new long 4" APO with a mix of excitement & dread. Could it challenge my Edmund? I can't even slam its price -- it's very reasonable. And, with my APM 152ED, I've found that the Chinese have come a long way in lens making.
Anywho, I admit that there's a place for APOs in the refractor pantheon -- especially for those who want to make DSO images. I don't know if this latest ED upstart will retire my two 4" achros, but it's getting tougher for me to ignore the flow of the market & the hobby. And as stubborn as I am, that says a lot.
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Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:04 AM
JW, I have a 100mm ED that gives essentially perfect images. DPAC's a textbook pattern at 133LPI and a clean null. Yet I still prefer my 4" Jaegers for visual use if I'm limited to 4" aperture.
To each, his or her own.
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