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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:21 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Re. Cliff's comment " I occasionally buy a big Astronomy monthly mag but to be honest now don't find much of real interest to me in them." I suppose this also must apply to "Popular Astronomy". I buy the various magazines off the news-stand, depending on content, and one or two interesting articles in any one may encourage me to do so, (although they are quite expensive) especially if there is information about comets and other objects that I like to observe. Or interesting historical articles, reviews of books I may like to buy etc. I am not interested in professional astronomy which is generally cosmology or "computerized imaging" or "space travel" per se. Even pro-am or citizen-science really does not gel with me. Once you remove these from any astro-mag, there is not much left. The observing reports in Popular Astronomy and What's Happening next bi-month can be interesting but currently not much is happening! Most of my contact with the SPA is now through this forum although very occasionally I may send a report to a Section Director. I have never been to an SPA meeting in London, it is a long and expensive trip to hear another talk. In fact having given a hundred+ talks on astronomy to the old FTAG, plus innumerable camera obscura talks to the public, I am nearly completely talked out...there is a nice green, leather settee in the room where the FTA now meet and I can often be seen, near to the end of talks, dozing off and awaiting the chance to get out under the stars! regards maf


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
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Location: Manchester
Dear Bob & Mike
Bob - I hope you are right - but I feel that the chat forum is unlikely to attract the numbers it once did.
Mike - I can only say (the obvious - which I'm sure is nothing new to you !!!!) - do what you enjoy & b-----r the rest).
Amongst other things, though I'm really now very much out of touch with modern amateur astronomy, I recall a few years ago Astronomy attracted a few people. I personally never agreed with some professional astronomers who seem to think it is (Hu)man's destiny to understand the universe. However, from just attracting a few people for quite a while (ie astronomical society membership roughly reflects the number of people really interested in astronomy) a few years ago, I think there was a sudden national surge of enthusiasm - the Professor Brian Cox Factor! eg one society I was a member of had about 20 to 30 members for quite a while I think - then quickly went up to about 90 !!!. I don't know for sure but I suspect that society's memberbership may have now gone down a bit ?????


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
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Location: Manchester
Dear Mike
I only saw & read your today's post after I wrote my earlier today's post.
I think I go along with everything you just said.
Dare I say it, I actually think there are too many various monthly magazines on sale eg in WHSmiths - and mags are generally quite expensive. I think the SPA non membership mag cost is fine, I was fortunate enough to attend 3 SPA London meetings quite a while back and enjoyed them. A bit more recently I attended the "out of town" SPA meeting at Preston - I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the attendance was sadly abysmal (it was a Saturday of course & I think there was an "important" local football derby game.
Best wishes from Cliff


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
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Location: Wellingborough
I think interest in Amateur Astronomy/Skywatching has declined over the last few years. What we need is something big to catch the public's imagination. In fact I don't see any more direct participation on the SPA Facebook and Twitter pages than we have in the Forum currently. The handful of most successful (free) Astro Groups have a world-wide presence and are doing well, while smaller more local groups are struggling.

Maybe the close approach of Mars next year will liven things up? However I think we would need something bigger than that . A great comet with its tail across the sky or a large near Earth asteroid passing between the Earth and Moon, just far away to be a "miss" would help. Or a bright supernova (come on Beetlejuice) visible in the sky at midday!

Unfortunately I think we are more likely to experience a Supervolcano than a really bright Supernova'

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:36 pm 
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Location: Manchester
Dear BrianL & Brian
BrianL - I agree with your comments which I missed earlier, only now just seeing them.
Brian - I also agree with you. However, personally I'm really bothered too much that amateur astronomy isn't a mass sport. Perhaps one of its attractions for me is the relatively few people doing it. Although having said that I do not do any night sky observing now.
Despite the current supposed environmental concerns I do not think the UK general populace is really bothered about light pollution. As a retired Civil Engineer - though only lowly one - I have great admiration for the new Forth road bridge, but was horrified to see the recent bridge light up show on TV news. As far as I'm concerned the bridge is a beautiful structure not needing any nonsensical flashy lighting (such as used by pop stars to enhance their mediocre performances). Far better to turn off the lights and awarded the bridge construction workers a nice big bonus comparable to the company executives.
Sorry about the wittering - Cliff


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:00 am 
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Cliff: As to professional astronomers aiming to "understanding the Universe", I really think that this is completely impossible except in the very very small world, in our local surroundings, and even then we have a myopic and arrogant, anthropocentric viewpoint.
When it comes down to, we can only just look and wonder. What a great title for a book - To Look and Wonder. regards maf


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
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Location: Lancashire
The fashion these days is to be an iPhone zombie, which necessitates looking down, not up. At least, we skywatchers do have something in common with them: both types are detached from the apparently mundane around us.
The difference between us is that, while we disappear down manholes, the iPhone zombies collide with lampposts.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
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Location: Wellingborough
"i-Phone zombies" and "looking up" reminded me of this :

Attachment:
DIRlslCXUAAGK4A.jpg
DIRlslCXUAAGK4A.jpg [ 127.4 KiB | Viewed 387 times ]

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52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed


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