I have been following this forum since 2004. What's qualifies as a Classic has been a frequent topic. Recenty the 25 year old criteria was decided upon.. that was nice.
I recommend reading all previous threads before posting to this thread so you're up to speed..
I would prefer a cut-off date of 2000. Why? Simply because a lot of changes in the astronomy hobby started to occur around the late 1990s. 2000 is a nice round number. Yes, some of the changes started early and some later.
Some of the changes are good, some not so good, some very good. But I think we can look back and see the "modern" astronomy era of the last 20 years is different in many ways than it was before 2000. Some that come to mind:
China. You don't have to read the next part.
Chinese companies started to make inroads and today make a high percent of astronomy items. It took them a few years to increase their quality.
Japanese manufactured scopes made in Japan started to fade, many companies are defunct. Today Vixen sells scopes made for them in China, and Vixen and Takahashi make higher end scopes in Japan.
Most SCT telescopes are currently made in China.
New companies, such as TMB, William Optics, APM, TEC appeared, and some I forget, focusing on high quality optics.
A plethora of other companies making high end mounts and other items came and some of them also went.
Over more years we have other companies and products, such a Ioptron, the Chinese equitorial mount.
You can now buy a variety of Parallelogram mounts and alt/as driven mounts. The choice of apo refractors before 1997-8 was limited to maybe 6 companies in around 10 sizes, and today you can choose ED, Triplet or 4 element scopes in many sizes from 50mm to over 200mm.
Newer offering in eyepieces have increased a bit too.
The internet. You don't have to read the next part.
Retail stores are fewer; on-line buying or ordering is big.
Communications was through Magazines, or face to face in clubs. With the rise of the internet communication about astronomy now includes forums like this where, the consumers and users now contribute a lot to the discussions of astro gear and amateur astronomy.
The list goes on, but I think you get the idea.
Edited by Littlegreenman, 27 January 2020 - 03:12 AM.