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djswan2002's picture
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Sky and Telescope

Hello,

Are there any readers of the Jan 2019 Sky and Telescope out there? Glancing at the lunar eclipse visibility map on p19, I immediately noticed that the UK was missing. I initially thought this might be a weird point about issue x (removed for obvious reasons), until I realised that of course the whole island of Ireland, including the Republic of Ireland, was absent. 

It would seem the contagion of issue x is worse than I first thought. Please don't talk about issue x on this thread.

David

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Jan 2019 'Sky and Telescope'

All I know is that the Australian Jan 19 'Sky and Telescope' printed my story about observing the main stars of Ursa Major (Big Dipper) from Noosa Heads , Aust at 26 deg South as a 'focal point' item so I am 'chuffed' with it. (See details in my account on this website) Of course we don't see this lunar eclipse in Australia so the local edition did not cover it. The Australian edition, glossy, 8 per year at 84 pages each draws key articles and reviews from its parent but includes a healthy amount of local content.

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Sky and Telescope

Hi David,

Being a Yorkshire Lad I only take S&T's free e-mail newsletter. In its article on the lunar eclipse its visibility map includes the British Isles.

Observing January's Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse

Clear skies,

     Alex.

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Hi Alex - I'm a Geordie ;).

Hi Alex - I'm a Geordie ;).

Just a bit of a fun observation. They've obviously corrected the figure for the web; here's the print version. How does this happen? Surely they just use stock maps.

David

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A R Pratt's picture
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Sky and Telescope

Hi David,

Some of my family are from the North East, so I particularly enjoyed last year's BAA meeting in Newcastle.

Zooming in to your print version the map background looks slightly blotchy and uneven off the coast of continental Europe, clearly interrupting the line of longitude. Perhaps some image processing was done to remove the UK and Ireland?

     Alex.

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I bet they selected the wrong object...

My guess would be that they made the figure in some tool like Adobe Illustrator, and while they were manipulating the labels into the right places, some numpty accidentally pressed the delete key with the wrong object selected. As Alex says, it looks like some amount of the outline is still visible, so possibly they even deleted the orange fill without deleting the outline. Or they were fiddling with the settings for the dark shading where the eclipse is visible, and accidentally had Britain selected at the time. :-)

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Sky and Telescope

Yes, very curious. I might mention it to Bob King on his web page on the eclipse.

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Sky and Telescope

I take the S&T and can't say I'd noticed.

Perhaps S&T thought the UK and Ireland are constantly shrouded in cloud so wasn't worth putting them on the map.

Peter

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That's a fun observation.

That's a fun observation. Perhaps it is a test for a subsequent Trump-centred edition where large parts of the world are erased.

I have to admit I let my S&T subscription lapse a few years ago. At the risk of sounding like a very old fogey it used to be a really good magazine that stood way above all of the others but now I think it is just one of many and I seldom found stuff of interest in it that I couldn't get elsewhere.  

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S&T

That's a quite reasonable comment. Some issues are great, others not. I like Sue French's deep sky bit, as she highlights stuff that looks good to amateur visual observers who do not have a giant Dobsonian.

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Sky & Tel as it used to be...

I had real problems renewing my Sky & Telescope subscription online last month - I gave up and sent in the renewal card by post, which they got. I love the old Sky & Telescope covers at Archive.org. They live long in the memory. By the early 1990s they started to use screaming headlines and that special look was lost. Nowadays the cover art never registers with me at all. The BAA Journal is still a joy though. https://archive.org/details/Sky_and_Telescope?&and[]=year%3A%221978%22

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Sky & Telescope

I must add though that despite my loss of enthusiasm for the modern Sky & Telescope covers the interior of the magazine is very well designed with excellent illustrations. I began my subscription in January 1986 - always looked forward each month to the articles written by Walter Scott Houston, George Lovi and John Bortle.

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It changed

The magazine changed after it was taken over. It went from being focused on the real enthusiasts with good (substantial) equipment review, observing accounts from experienced observers and cutting edge stuff, to a slim shadow of its former self and devoid of interest to all but beginners.

It still has some good writers, but a lot of the content is fairly lightweight.

Shame.

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Shame ...

That's what the market seems to need these days in order to remain financially viable as a main-stream publication.

More credit to The Astronomer for remaining true to its readership.  No glossy adverts, no dumbing down.

Of course, I'm just a reactionary elitist old-fart^H^H^Hogey

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Financially Viable

The problem is it went from owners who wanted to make a living to owners who wanted to be rich with the minimum possible effort.

You see it in business a lot. Buy something good, reduce standards, cut costs and milk that asset!

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Hi,

Hi,

I often wonder about the progression to grumpy old man status....

This is an excellent example, I subscribed to S+T for decades then I too let it slide a number of years ago. It's gone from a quite superior magazine with technically interesting articles (some even had formula!) to positive mediocrity. I decided to buy a CD compilation of all the past editions and the difference decade to decade is clear (I think so anyway).

Oh well, I suppose that's what called progress....

Cheers,

Bill.

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Sky and Telescope

I like S&T and have copies dating from 1978, when I first brought a copy, at JBO here in Cheshire. I have subscribed to said S&T, ever since.

It used to be a very high-quality Astronomy publication in 1970-1980-1990. But it is not as good- now there is a new editor and they have reduced the number of pages. I much prefer the book style Sky and Tel of the 1990s.

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Sky and Telescope

I agonised about renewing my S&T sub when it was due to expire a few months ago. I was very close to letting it lapse.
As others have said, it simply is NOT the quality publication it used to be.
This was not helped by having the same experience as Jimmy: renewing online did seem to be impossible from the UK.
I e-mailed the publishers and got an acknowledgement from a robot, but nothing from a human.
Eventually, my unbroken paper mag collection since 1981 swayed me to renew using the renewal card.

BTW, on the subject of The Astronomer magazine I recently informed Guy Hurst that there is a public house named 'The Astronomer' near Liverpool Street!

See    https://www.theastronomerpub.co.uk/

Guy was amused by this 'rival' organisation, fittingly part of the Fuller's chain!

Martin

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Back Cover

I used to lust after the Unitron refractors that were advertised on the back cover in the good old days.

Regards Andrew 

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Dropped S & T subscription

I too had an unbroken chain of S & T since the early 80's + a good cover of back magazines.  However, about 3 years ago I deliberately gave up subscription. Contents were becoming so trivial and uninspiring with regard to amateur projects. At one time I would read it cover to cover many times, but I was finding that I read quickly through it over breakfast coffee and never looked at it again, also true of many of the current crop of amateur mags which may go the same way for me.

Eric 

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Mag Recommendations

Any recommendations for which Astronomy mag or mags worth subscribing to now?

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Now there's a question!,  and

Now there's a question!,  and there's probably a near infinite number of opinions as to which is best... ;-)

PS. ...but apart from JBAA of course, The Astronomer...

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Mag Recommendations

It's not exactly a recommendation, but I stopped subscribing to S&T a few years ago. Instead, I decided to try Sky News: The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy & Stargazing. It only appears bi-monthly and is not particularly voluminous. But is has a very spacious and calm style, is printed on heavy, quality art paper (as S&T once used to be) and I particularly enjoy the images it offers, many of which are superb. I rather like it.

My father bought me a subscription to S&T, when I was starting out in astronomy, in the early 1960s. I found it pretty awe-inspiring, especially its full-page pictures; one of somewhere on the Moon's surface sticks in my mind to this day. And frustrating to see all those telescopes advertised for sale, but only to the locals. It was like seeing an Aladdin's cave without being able to go into it.

When I became a teenager, the sub fell by the wayside. I didn't take it up again until I was in my sixties. . .  and then dropped it again!

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My first copy of S&T

Front cover of my first S&T. Got on the last day of the Christmas hols in Jan 1974 at the Old Royal Greenwich Observatory

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perhaps S&T still of value

My view on S&T is that, along with nearly all the popular science magazines, it has certainly dumbed down over the years, and I cancelled my sub some 20 years ago.

However, as a teacher, always promoting astronomy wherever a chance presents, I am conscious of the fact that most students are not ready for the detail and depth of a publication like the BAA Journal. Sky and T gets it just about right for this level of interest. In fact I would argue that it does a better job than its competitors, and we currently use it in our school astro society.

 And I do enjoy a number of the articles, particularly the historical ones and the updates on space missions, which, not being able to get to BAA meetings regularly, have often escaped my attention.

One thing I find disappointing. Long time S&T readers will recall George Lovi’s centre spread sky charts, brilliantly drawn and clearly marked with RA / dec. None of the popular magazines now seem to include these. The book of Lovi’s sky maps is still, along with Nortons, my first port of call for checking unfamiliar skies.

 

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Sky and Telescope

Joseph Ashbrook was the editor back in the day when Jeremy got his first Sky and Telescope.

I started collecting mine in 1978. It was an excellent magazine. When JA was the editor, and it continued to be so until the new editor took over.

I am not saying he isn't a good editor. But I do wish there was more content, and they didn't just focus on the US population.

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Joseph Ashbrook

Agreed about Joseph Ashbrook. His "Astronomical Scrapbook" is one of my favourite browsing books. Published in 1984, it is a collection of many of his S&T articles.

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Sky and Telescope

I have to say I don't like the way S&T gets sent out to Subscribers, well in advance of the published date.

January I received March. And yesterday. A letter to renew my subscription which isn't due until August. 

Nik
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Astronomy magazines

I certainly agree with many of the opinions here regarding Sky & Telescope magazine. Like many, I stopped my renewal for the magazine shortly after it was taken over.Sky & Telescope for me was at it's best in the '90's under the editorship of Leif J. Robinson (who I had the pleasure of meeting once....he was a real gentleman). Writers such as Dennis di Cicco, Roger Sinnott, Alan M. MacRobert could be relied on to cover interesting topics (especially astrophotography) with style. I have a huge collection of the magazine dating back to the '50's and whilst it had lost the charm of the earlier decades it was a very comprehensive magazine and was in my opinion the best available. Sadly, it was all downhill from the buy-out. When I saw a feature in it on 'how to use a finderscope', coupled with the smaller format and less pages it was the end of the road for me and signified a significant shift away from more-specialist articles.

As a long time collector of the US's 'Astronomy' magazine I think something similar happened to that. My introduction to that magazine in 1981 was when Richard Berry (who I've also met!) was editor and what a capable editor he was. The magazine was really good at covering items of current interest (again, the burgeoning field of amateur astrophotography) of which Berry was a world leader. 

I think the UK's two leading astro-mags, The Sky at Night and Astronomy Now, which themselves have improved over the years, outperform those once-mighty magazines.