Forum Replies Created
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.
It was a significant action by the AAS to do this. See the above posts about Cambridge University Press curtailing its line targeted to amateurs and then consider what it would have meant for the RAS to buy it. I mean that: RAS, not BAA. If you have a Ph.D. in astronomy and you teach at a university, you cannot (necssarily) be a voting member of the AAS: you can be an educational affiliate. (I am an amateur affiliate. I edit for the History of Astronomy Division. I cannot vote or propose a session topic or deliver a paper or even have a poster at a convention without sponsorship by a voting member.) The AAS is for professional researchers. So, their purchase first of Sky & Telescope and now of Willmann-Bell signals deep commitment to new directions.
I serve on an AAS committee for professional-amateur engagement. The committee was approved three years ago, given a chair eighteen months ago, and formed this past January. Nothing happens quickly at the AAS. So, this action to acquire Willmann-Bell was highly significant. They are to be congratulated for taking the action as it is in service to the amateur community.
Thanks for the links.
It is a fascinating story, of course. Myself, I am always in awe of those who could take an accurate sighting on a ship. I have a hard enough time in my backyard which is pretty much stable and steady.
Thanks! Like most amateurs, I do a lot observing and not enough reading and studying. I do tell my friends that the stars are pretty at any magnification but if you do not understand what you are looking at, you are missing the essence of the experience.
I am impressed with your instrumentation, the very fact that you have it. The American Astrnomical Society has (another new) initiative to reach out to its amateur affiliates and – with the purchase of Sky & Telescope – to amateurs in general. The story line is that in the 1920s when professionals were using sophisticated and expensive equipment, amateurs drifted away from the AAS. That may be true. But the fact is that now, just for example, you have basically consumer goods that would have been science fiction 100 years ago.
I just attended two AAS conferences this year, the 237th General Assembly and the 54th Dynamical Division. There were some interesting papers, but most of what I saw lacked what (if I may) I typify as British empiricism, you know, actually kicking the rock. So, I downloaded your graphs to a folder on my computer for Spectroscopy.
All of that is to say “thanks” for expanding my understanding.
When my wife and I were in college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces (1978), Clyde Tombaugh spoke to our engineering student group. I did an astronomy project for a directed study in physics using the campus observing dome, named in his honor. (It was not the department telescope. That was farther out and farther up in the mountains.)15 January 2021 at 10:27 pm in reply to: American Astronomical Society Reaches Out to Amateurs #583717
We had our first interaction tonight via Zoom. It was an informal introduction hosted by the AAS publicist, Rick Fienberg. About 25 people attended throughout the 90-minute session.
Thanks! I appreciate the work that went into this. You offered a good range of challenges, easy to difficult, across the field of knowledge in astronomy. It was nicely done. I am going to pass it along to our executive committee. If we use any of it, I will be sure to credit Nottingham and let you know.
Michael E. Marotta, BS, MA.
Austin Astronomical Society
STELLAE AVTEM HARENAE.
I believe that astonishing progress will come from a new paradigm. It might be that just as Newton spent two years away from school because of a plague, that now, too, perhaps some future innovation is forming in the mind of a brilliant youngster who has been freed from school.
There are so many examples from history of people attempting innovations by copying the past only to have them swept aside by a new perception of the problem and therefore its solution.
To give a mundane example, I have on my blog two essays about The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990). The work is a paean to engineering with the pencil as its metonym. Petroski explains (on pages 223-225) that engineers often were trained to draw by copying architectural treatments. As a consequence much Victrorian machinery has flourishes from Corinthian pillars and similar elements that serve no function.
So, too, with space travel. Chemical engines, nuclear power, solar sails, ram scoops they all may see some applications as we push out into the solar system and then edge out a bit beyond. Nonetheless, it seems to me from history that the solution we seek will derive from a radical perception, perhaps with new senses.
I say that because, in particular, if you went back to 1821, you would have a hard time talking to them about amateur radio astronomy and the markets for amateur spectroscopy.
Very good news. Thanks to all.
The book by H. A. Rey, The Stars: A New Way to See Them is a perennial favorite and many adults will endorse it. It helps to visualize the constellations. (Briefly on Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stars:_A_New_Way_to_See_Them )
Personally, unless your child is perhaps under 5 (maybe under 8), it could be a mistake to think of a “book for children.” I was given The Planets by Patrick Moore when I was ten. I still shelf it. Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno is an example of a book for learning to see the sky that will serve for decades as your child grows up. I trust that others here will have similar recommendations.
Congratulations on the publication and thank you for your hard work.
The example comes from A Student’s Guide to the Mathematics of Astronomy by Fleisch & Kregenow, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
The author has no plans now for a 3rd edition.