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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:53 am
Posts: 326
I was considering joining, but I have come here a number of times and there never appears to be any new posts, does anyone use this forum any more

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:41 pm
Posts: 1433
Location: 55° 57'N: 03° 08'W
YES, I use it all the time. It is preferable to other fora, since the users
are not only authoritative but never the use bad grammar, bad language,
profanities or blaspheme. Their spelling is also exemplary.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:24 am
Posts: 4375
Location: Greenwich, London
As one of the forum moderators, I can say that there are new posts most days, although admittedly it can be slow at times. All questions and comments receive replies (well nearly all). As stella said, everyone is very respectful, which suits me as I have practically nothing to do.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:06 pm
Posts: 175
Location: West Yorkshire
I often come and visit but rarely post.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Posts: 3400
Location: Wellingborough
I find that the posts/traffic on the forum waxes and wanes over the years but there is a core of observers/contributors who post quite regularly. Activity does seem reduced currently, possibly a reflection of the southerly declinations of the bright planets. The Moon seems to have gone out of fashion since LRO imaged every small boulder :?

I'd expect things to pick up next year as Mars brightens and is seen at higher altitude in the spring skies. We have to admit that Jupiter and Saturn will not be at their best for the next several years. To many, space exploration has become "routine". We need a great daylight comet, a daylight supernova, or a big near-miss asteroid to perk things up in general.

Also, I wonder how many potential posts go to the facebook and twitter pages of the Society rather than coming here. Just a few thoughts,

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Posts: 5214
The newly built 'prison block' of flats opposite restricts my view.
I have lost much of the planets and Sun, Moon anything.

The LED blaster 'security' lights mean night is day.

And I am getting older.

But I usually visit every day and I try to help if I can if questions are asked.

As to facebook, twitter etc. I will have nothing to do with them and the decline and fall of the Earth. :mrgreen:

Regards,
David


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:58 am 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Posts: 3053
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
There does seem to be a general reduction in postings here, mainly, I think, because chances of actually observing the night sky have been pretty much lost to the appalling weather over the last many-months. Saying that however, I wonder how many so-called "amateur astronomers" actually observe the sky regularly.
Seriously though, there are a huge number of (re)-sources on the Internet and also possibly far too many magazines on the subject to the point when some will surely fail. Particularly because some have become very expensive and all are more-or-less covering the same sub-subjects.
In many cases the local astronomy groups seem to be struggling too, especially when it comes to "signing up" on the committees etc. How many hundreds of talks on the subject can a person give or listen to? Or sleep through!
Once the ageing grey-beards finally give up (or die) , I fear that amateur astronomy will be a different thing altogether!
I also agree with David and his comment
As to facebook, twitter etc.
regards a greybeard astronomer maf


Last edited by mike a feist on Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:53 am
Posts: 326
Thanks, I have just paid my subs today to join

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5018
Location: Lancashire
Mike's full title is the grey-beard, hair-shirt, skywatcher.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Posts: 3400
Location: Wellingborough
Welcome to the SPA, Skyhawk. Good to have you aboard.

regards,

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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
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:48 am
Posts: 25
Location: Derby
Regarding Mike Feist's comment about ageing astronomers, this is a very relevant point for the continuation of the SPA generally. If this situation is recognised now then the future direction of the SPA can be planned and decided in good time by our committees, whoever they may be as the years role by. Is the young astronomer section of Popular Astronomy actually working in att racting the next generation for example?. ( I hope so!). When competing against other attractions for young people today even in the subject of astronomy a society formed in the barren years of 1953 has a tough game on it's hands. I believe The SPA's strong points are things like the biannual Cambridge meeting and other out of London meetings also, in fact, Popular Astronomy as well, could the magazine be offered outside SPA boundaries to attract young folk who may not know we even exist?. To finish- Has anyone seen the Astronomy Now advert for the next Astrofest. The main photo of the lecture crowd listening to Prof. Alan Chapman are almost 90% balding or grey haired! Steve P.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
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Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
"the grey-beard, hair-shirt, skywatcher."
Yes, that is indeed me! Or perhaps even " the grey beard, Luddite, hair-shirted, skywatcher!"
regards maf


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:32 am
Posts: 354
Location: New Farnley, Leeds lat 53.8N long 1.6W
Keep doing it mike, a lot of what we older sky watchers do is probably regarded as casual observation. But, that's not to say it's infrequent or trivial. Opportunistic is probably a more balanced epithet. Last evening the sky was beautifully clear at 10pm but streetlights and neighbours were bright, so I spent 5 minutes pointing out the chief stars of Argo Navis to family in the backyard. The forum - we may not boil over into print every five minutes but we are active, looking and mulling over what's said here. Bob


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 291
Location: Surrey
I find the ratio of views to posts very high on this forum - not to sure why people apparently view the posts but few seem to take part. This particular topic is one of the more active ones with a current ratio of 12 replies to 125 views but there are others with several hundred views and no replies. I have started a couple of topics that have had a number of views but no replies - it is rather off putting.

How do we get more people to take part in existing topics and then hopefully have the confidence to start their own threads ?

The other thing that may put people off is when they see the age of some of the 'pinned' posts at the top of the page - at least one has not been updated for 12 years. This gives people new to the forum a bad impression.

Also the general view seems to be that forums are 'old fashioned' and other Social Media are now the way to comunicate. I beleive the advantage of the forum is that it is structured so that you can follow threads you are interested in. With Social Media you end up following the person rather than the topic. What are other peoples views on this ?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:59 pm 
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Posts: 13
Some very interesting comments so far

Back in the 1970s, groups such as the BAA and the JAS (as the SPA was then) had a somewhat "captive" audience as it was difficult to find out about astronomy via other means. Over the past 20 years, information has become readily available via the internet and social media, making it less necessary to join such groups. We have to accept that for the vast majority, there is more prestige in having your images shown on the BBC than in being printed in PA. Posting images on Facebook or Twitter is also a quicker way to show them to your friends and family. Although some people are dismissive of Facebook and Twitter, they are my main source of astronomy news.

The resulting tendency has been for few younger members to join the SPA and hence, as in many groups outside of astronomy, for the membership to age (at a rate of about one year per calendar year). The SPA has tried to evolve to remain attractive, via initiatives such as the website, the Forum, Member Newsletters and its Facebook and Twitter pages.

However, much of this requires officers to put aside a lot of their free time. Historically, much of the key admin work would be carried out by people in their 30s and 40s, but the SPA, like many and other similar groups now finds that it has few members aged under 50 and quite probably a majority aged over 60. In such circumstances, it can be difficult to find volunteers. As people become older, they are more likely to have to cut back their voluntary work, possibly at short notice, due to health issues or needing to care for a partner or elderly relative.

The SPA was fortunate recently in being able to quickly recruit a new Treasurer, but the other key roles of Membership Secretary and Merchandise Manager have proved more difficult to fill. As you may be aware, in recent years, I have been doubling up by being Director of both the Meteor and Variable Star sections, but will be stepping down from these roles at the end of January ... two more vacancies to fill.

Although Forums tend to be less popular nowadays, the BAA has in recent years updated its forum and that is now quite active. The SPA's forum software is now quite old and could be updated, but would existing users be upset if the existing posts aren't migrated to a new Forum? ... should the categories be retained or revised? ... and someone would of course have to put aside some of their time to set up the new Forum ...

So if you know of anyone who can help fill the vacancies or just help in general, do encourage them to volunteer.


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