Author Topic: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?  (Read 101 times)

Chris Ingram

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What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« on: December 27, 2017, 07:21:31 PM »
I am not sure if this belongs here or somewhere else but since it seems a topic that would be of interest to newbies like me I thought I would put it here. Moderators if you think this should be moved, please move it.Are most of the people on this forum members of clubs?

I have often seen membership, or at least contact with a club as a recommended early step for those new to Astronomy.

I have my reasons for recommending clubs but i was wondering if club membership is still popular among the people of Cloudy Nights. If you are a member of a club, why? What do you get out of it?

If you are not a member of a club, why?  What keeps you from joining a club.

My other active hobby is Model Aviation. In this hobby clubs are struggling for membership.  Is that happening in astronomy too?I am just curious. No agenda here.



Michael Presley

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 10:02:53 AM »
I am a club kind of person.  I just joined a local Astronomy Club after being in the hobby for a year.

I have had many hobbies where I did it on my own. Those tend to come and go in a year or two. And I have had hobbies where I became part of a club. Those tend to span many years and perhaps a lifetime.
Joining a club, for me is a next step of commitment to the hobby. It connects me with like minded people with whom I can share my interests in person. I learn from them and I share what I know. Being a member of Cloudy Nights is similar to joining a club BUT it is virtual. I also like being around living people who share my interests on a local basis too.

Clubs also tend to be the best place to buy and sell used equipment.  You know the person you are buying from and, if what you are getting is complex, they are often happy to help you learn how to use it.
The other side of club life, for me, is getting involved.  Attending meetings, being part of the Outreach team, working toward a goal, is another level of engagement and I enjoy this kind of thing. It makes me think and it helps me learn.  People call or e-mail you about impromptu star gazing nights somewhere. I much prefer going to these "dark sites" with other people rather than alone.

Through other clubs I have joined I have made friends with people who don't live in my neighborhood and are in different walks of life. I can sit and chat with them about friends, family and careers going well beyond our club ties. Some were invited to my daughter's wedding. They are no longer just my club mates, they are my friends.
Club life is not for everyone, but I enjoy it.
My wife does not share my interest in my hobbies but she likes to attend and be part of the social activity that clubs have as well.  So she encourages my club membership. Picnics, holiday parties and the like. For her this is a way to be involved in my activities without actually being involved in the hobby.

So that is why I joined a club.  I might join a second one too.

naiciareamu

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 04:01:13 AM »
I live on an island and there's no club here, so I'm not a member of one.Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

tailipoma

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 07:32:21 PM »
I am also new to the hobby. Typically don't join clubs of any sort but did join the local astronomy club. They have a lot of outreach and good access to dark skies. I will remain a memberas long as I am learning, life time, and when able, will be happy to teach those new to the hobby. Learning, and teaching, two of life's greatest joys.

Todd Kue

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 01:27:33 AM »
Out in the desert there's safety in numbers!

Max Sandell

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 06:50:48 AM »
I am definitely not a club person, but I'm a member of my local astronomy club so that I can, with clean conscience, use their observing field.

omunsopoo

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 12:32:00 PM »
We have over 100 members, and I'm a member for the lectures.

ryarejalo

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 03:43:45 PM »
As I pointed out in another thread here (Outreach), I work the late morning to noon shift and am On Call every three weeks, so belonging to a club doesn't make much sense since the meetings are always at 7 PM on a weeknight and at a different location than where the local club has their public nights which are on a Saturday night. Otherwise, it would be a no brainer to join the club. Their dues aren't an issue at only being $20 per year....I spend more than that filling the gas tank in my car.

dedlowsthima

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 09:41:12 PM »
I'm a club member. I am also something of a loner. I rarely go out to club events but occasionally come to the lectures. The main thing I do with the club involves conducting outreach and popularization of astronomy. It gives me a forum where I can work with others to teach and raise awareness of the science. It also gives me the opportunity to poke around in an old historic observatory and put my hands on cool old gear.

I also enjoy reading observing reports and other posts on our fairly active email list.

Even though I don't go out to the dark site (yet) or take part in some of the other club functions, I still think that these functions are valuable to other astronomers, as well as the public. Anything that can help organize us and give the field another voice is worth supporting. So, I don't mind that my $30 (or whatever) a year goes to things that I don't directly use.

Jacob Julian

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 04:47:52 AM »
I'm in exactly the same boat as Tony. The club can do a lot of nice things but I don't need most of them. Occasionally there is a program that is of interest but after a day of work and meetings I really don't want to go to a meeting. Pay the dues, use the site, interact with the others that use the site. The folks that are mostly interested in meetings? I wish them well.

junktranasop

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 09:26:05 AM »
I've found joining a club good for many things;
o when researching telescope to buy, going to outreach or club site is very educational
o some clubs have outings to desert, great to have company, and safety in numbers
o having a dark zone club site with electricity and facilities can't be beat
o participating in club outreach events brings others into the hobby
o some like the social aspect, but I'm to far to attend regular meetings

swittetsakee

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 10:50:29 AM »
I joined our local club in May, and have been thoroughly impressed with the membership. They are savvy astronomers, intelligent and well-spoken, and just very nice folks. I feel fortunate to have such a great group of people co-interested in my hobby in my locale.

I've learned much from them already. One of our members (Paul72) did an excellent presentation on AP at the last meeting. He cleared up many of my previously unanswered questions, but perhaps scared me away from serious AP, at least until I gain some more experience. That's probably a good thing. At the May meeting we had a superb presentation by a young PhD from Notre Dame who talked about determining the age of stars. This sort of learning experience is gratifying to say the least, and wonderfully enlightening for a perpetually-curious mind. I hope she will return for another talk.  We are fortunate to have Notre Dame so near--a virtual cornucopia of bright minds from which to learn.

I wasn't able to make the club's annual Star Party in June, but I will be sure to do so next year. So far I'm signed up for an outreach day in October, and hopefully my Ha solar telescope will have arrived by then. Nothing is quite as rewarding as introducing our avocation to others, especially kids.

In summary, there is a lot to be gained from joining a club, but it also enables you to give back to your community as well. Both are important.

Lawrence Paez

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 11:27:56 AM »
I have been observing for more than 40 years, and have belonged to 2 clubs. Clubs are great, I have been very fortunate in that both clubs were full of very nice people. Our current club usually has an attendance on average of 10 t0 20 people on our star party nights. And we always have a great time,
Clusterbuster

David Williams

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 12:49:00 PM »
There are tons of reasons to join a club, but for me the most obvious and important one is access to the club's dedicated dark site, so that I know there is a place I can go with dark skies that I can set up my scope, plug into a power outlet, have a place to sleep, etc, that is free of all nasty ambient light, neighbor intrusions, or anything else that you guys deal with that don't have such a place. There are many many further benefits beyond that, but if everything about my club other than the dark site went away, I'd keep paying the same price for the membership without batting an eye.

Craig Olsen

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 06:57:59 AM »
I joined a club for access to their dark site and no other reason. Then I posted a typical beginner "help me!" thread on this forum, and found there are a couple members of the same club who post here too. There is strength in numbers, turns out.

I've only been "in the club" for a couple of weeks. My thoughts are likely to change.