Sky and Telescope Reborn?

Forums General Discussion Sky and Telescope Reborn?

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    Grant Privett

    I saw some people were having trouble with their S@T subs which raised the question: is it back where it was before the venture capitalists got their grubby mitts on it?

    I recall a time when it was a superb read, catering for everyone from the new entrant to the seasoned observer, but there was a period, more recently, when it became little more than a thin comic that was 90% for newbies with a few small sops for the rest of us. They lost a lot of good writers around then.

    How is it these days? 

    Eric Watkins

    Grant, that’s a good question.  I gave up taking it a few years back the content was no longer of any interest to me and never received more than the one quick read over breakfast coffee.  I too would be interested as to what the content is like these days.  I’ve not seen one on a magazine self locally  to check out for some years,


    Daryl Dobbs

    Hopefully with the American Astronomical Association in charge of it they will get it back to where it once was, Pity Sue French left her Deep Sky Wonders column as that was very interesting, her book of the same name is an interesting reference source.

    I’ve not seen one in WH Smith in Newport (where I work but live in a valley outside of it), since my wife imported me here 5 years ago. Also they don’t seem to stock the other American magazine Astronomy either?

    Seems in the UK S&T is off the newsstands?

    owen brazell

    They are in the process of moving to new distributors as well as trying to digest the WB inventory. I think the hope was this will be sorted by the end of October. We will have to see.

    David Swan

    No problem getting the mag up here in one of the outer provinces – from the local WH Smith.

    David Swan

    Hi Grant. I have enjoyed the recent issues. Richard Wright, Rod Mollise and Dennis di Cicco know what they are talking about: the test reports in S&T are generally more incisive than those in the other mags. Bob King is very good with his celestial calendar. The general articles: the one on Saturn’s moons in September was excellent, as was the one on RW Aur in August. Mat Wedel’s binocular stuff is useful for me when using my RASA for lazy but enjoyable EAA (I get a couple of degrees).

    I don’t know how helpful this little commentary was, but it is still my mag of choice.

    Grant Privett

    Thats really worth knowing. I shall try a copy the next time I see one….

    The di Cicco reviews were always a high point for me. They could be trusted.

    Callum Potter

    It’s difficult to compare against previous era’s but I think the current S&T is a good read and worth the money. Possibly nearing its best. 

    I have a digital subscription, so not subject to the vagaries of stock at the local WH Smith, or the postal system. I’m currently reading the December 2021 issue which hit my inbox a couple of weeks ago.


    Michael E. Marotta

    Grant Privett wrote: “…  before the venture capitalists got their grubby mitts on it?”

    I object to the irrelevant political adjectives in a science forum. If for some reason, some notable entity in the astronomical communities were making a decision for what to an outsider appeared to be a bad choice for ROI (return on investment), for instance building a new research facility within a nation-state likely to nationalize it, then that could be a topic for discussion. 

    More disturbing was the fact that it went unaddressed by the BAA discussion board moderators. 

    To answer the question: Sky & Telescope is doing well because of the investment by the American Astronomical Society, which rescued it from the bankruptcy of its publisher.

    Grant Privett

    Apologies if my flippant cynicism inadvertently caused offence. It had not occurred to me I was making a political statement. I felt I was merely commenting on an aspect of modern day life familiar to many. Good products being tweaked to increase the profit margin and becoming less attractive to many. I would cite the frivolous example of a Mars Bar. The “New Improved”  iterations have made them smaller, always less substantial and always containing less chocolate solids. Same name, different product. 

    The S&T magazine was originally really very good indeed – many serious UK astronomers read it and I avidly consumed it when I returned to amateur astronomy in the early 90s.  I am proud to have had an article published in it. It was a great read. Something to look forward to. Then, someone else bought it.

    The reviews became less in depth, material of interest to non-beginners became less common, several good writers left and it became much, much, thinner. I certainly gave up my subscription as it diminished. From my viewpoint it became not worth the money when it stopped serving the whole community.

    I am delighted to hear S&T is thriving again and that de Cicco et al are still doing good work. If I ever come across a copy I shall give it a go.

    But, for future reference: what would be an acceptable non-political phrase to refer to the people who, from my viewpoint, ruined a quality product?  

    Alan Thomas

    People who know “the price of everything and the value of nothing”?

    Alan Snook

    S&T didn’t worry about making a political statement when they took a cheap shot (Dec 2020 p21) at Patrick Moore. They criticised Patrick’s politcal and social opinions which were not especially unusual for his time. I felt this was not simply a failure by the author but a full editorial failure. If the author could not write the article without denigration then it should not have been written at all. I doubt they would have attacked a living person or an American citizen in this way. I wrote to S&T but received no response. Much later they printed (Apr 2021 p6) a letter from a British Columbia reader which did little more than merely note the aberration. This wasn’t sufficient retraction in my book and so they have lost a 25-year subscriber. For these reasons I counsel all of you to shun S&T. 

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