Author Topic: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?  (Read 227 times)

micnoasolos

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2018, 01:07:24 AM »
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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.

Sounds like me, Tony.  Just joined a club near my second home just a few months ago since it's observing site is pretty dark and only twenty minutes down the road.  No good places near my primary residence.  I figured it would give me an easy place to go to anytime I want with no questions asked.  The club also has lots of big scopes I can use anytime I want.  And they're nice folks.  But, I declare, everytime there's an event it seems I just don't want to go.  I don't hear well, so that's part of it, but I think that the older I get I am becoming more reclusive.  I did go out there one night with only a good friend.  No one else around.  We had a good time although new light domes have sprung up now.  We both wonder if we will remain members.  I dunno, it's nice to have access, but when it comes to crowds and social stuff I'm beginning to see that I'm more of a loner than I thought.  I do enjoy people, though, once I get started.  I feel a bit guilty, like I'm using them.  Not sure what to do, unless I finally go to an event.  I may find that I enjoy myself more than I expect.  I should do that.  There's a party this weekend.  But we'll see.

Rick Perrigo

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 04:35:19 AM »
I currently belong to three astronomy clubs and have been a member of two others in the past. One can learn quite a bit about astronomy, observing, and gear if the club is a good one. Club membership may also provide access to loaner telescopes, an observatory, or remote dark sites.

Dave Mitsky

Joel Russell

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2018, 04:10:42 AM »
Belonged when I entered the hobby, still belong. Mostly for the dark site access...but with as crowed as the dark site is getting.......

Mario Evans

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2018, 10:51:07 PM »
I'm not normally a club joiner either, but I am in 2 astronomy clubs.
The benefit for me with both clubs is each club's public outreach.
I set up my telescopes Friday & Saturday nights at each clubs respective observing sites - when it isn't to cloudy.

Both of the club observing sites are in county owned recreation areas so the observing sites are available for public use.

Jay Cole

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 01:11:24 AM »
Was a member of a local club for a long time. They are totally into outreach, and I am not. Good lecture speakers, but I never really could go. I resigned and find that I go out observing on my own now, or with just a friend or two. Works nice that way. The club never helped me to become an observer, to modify equipment etc. They do not have a dark site location so there is no reason to be a member for me. Well, I am wrong. I am member of a club, a great club, CloudyNights.

corloconre

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 01:16:52 AM »
I belong to a very fine astronomy club, http://www.astroasheville.org . It has about 150 dues-paying members, and interests in two observatories. For one of them, we partner with the university here, with a pier each for their physics department and our club. The other more remote one on a mountaintop, we own outright thanks to the generosity of a local developer and the efforts of a past club president. I'm a member of the advisory board.

We have monthly indoor meetings with an excellent speaker program, and mostly get speakers from outside the club. We had one of the chief engineers from the James Webb Telescope project a few months back. This Thursday, we'll have a USCG lieutenant who teaches celestial navigation on the USS Eagle speaking to us. The meetings are free and open to the public. There are usually 60-90 folks at the meetings. Our meeting in December is a fund-raising auction with a holiday party.

We partner with the university for many outreach events, as well as doing numerous ones ourselves. We do two-three stargazes per month at a variety of sites, skies permitting. They're open to the public, tho' the ones at the campus observatory require pre-registration. We're doing one at Mt Pisgah on the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend, and I'll be going up tomorrow to post announcements at the restaurant, motel, and campground (we netted about 20 extra public attendees that way last time).

I initially found the club just because I was looking for a dark spot for winter observing, when the BRP is often closed. I had no idea what a treat I was in for!  My only 'gripe' with the club is that there are rather few of us actively doing outreach.

Jim H.

ropnolini

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 01:32:23 AM »
I love my club. Access to dark sites. Great loaner scope program that got me started. Very friendly and helpful people. If it wasn't for those people I wouldn't have been able to produce pictures like this with my scope. Also great outreach events like this that can't be measrued in words.Attached Thumbnails




Paul Hunt

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 12:31:42 AM »
When you are new to a hobby/vocation, it's pretty natural to seek out others from which to learn. That's the way it has always been for me. But, as time has passed and more and more information is readily at hand through technology and connectvity, I have seen many clubs/organizations slowly drift into anonymity, mainly through attrition as younger, new members become scarce.

Nathan Roberts

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 04:46:09 AM »
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When you are new to a hobby/vocation, it's pretty natural to seek out others from which to learn. That's the way it has always been for me. But, as time has passed and more and more information is readily at hand through technology and connectvity, I have seen many clubs/organizations slowly drift into anonymity, mainly through attrition as younger, new members become scarce.


A valid point, Dave. Adults often feel more comfortable with people their own age, subsequently avoiding efforts to bring younger people into an organization, especially kids and teens. But it's the youngsters that carry such organizations into the future. Kids are sponges for information, and there are few things in life more gratifying for me, personally, than introducing young folks to my interests. Astronomy isn't inexpensive, and young adults and teenagers don't generally have the resources to purchase costly gear. This make it contingent upon us to allow them access to our gear through club loaner programs, etc. But more than anything else, we need to make them feel welcome to our clubs.

Douglas Preece

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2018, 05:35:03 PM »
I joined a club a little over two years ago when I retired, mostly for the
purpose of having something interesting to do. I have been a loner in
the hobby since my teenage years so I have my equipment and style
built from my own experience and preferences. I also live at a dark site
so don't need to travel. Having others to talk to inside the hobby is a novelty
for me, same thing as when I joined Cloudy Nights, so hearing or reading
about the experience of others is pretty fascinating to me. That has been
the big pay off for me, just seeing how others do it. One thing I noticed is that
we on Cloudy Nights seem to like to nitpick the minutia while in a club that
meets face to face, the emphasis is more on just having fun. Sometimes the
most important things are easily overlooked or hidden fromnewbies when experienced
observers argue over the details by point and counter-point.

At my club we have a lot of members who can offer hands-on help within their expertize.
No one comes to me for anything involving astrophotography or technology in
general because I know very little but I get lots of requests to help collimate and also how to find things manually.
Those are my strengths and they get pooled with everyone elses strengths. Everyone
learns and everyone has fun. Cloudy Nights really is not that much different.

alnepensa

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2018, 02:45:15 PM »
The desert comments probably relate to possible injury or medical issues and being far from help.

ebalared

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2018, 12:00:22 AM »
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I've never joined a club. I'm really thinking of joining one to see if I can find an observing buddy or two and maybe some new dark sites. Closest club to me is an hour drive though and their dues are $80 a year.
One question I have to ask, three posters mentioned they seek safety in numbers in the desert. What is dangerous in the desert that requires a group? Animals?

It is not just the desert.  I live in a fairly safe area but heading off to a dark shore line or field alone makes me uncomfortable.  Perhaps too many werewolf movies.

wellbanstubars

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2018, 04:57:01 AM »
Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of truth in what you said, Davester9. Many traditional hobbies are going the way of the dodo bird and much has been written about the "graying" of amateur astronomy.

I'm sure you have noted the “graying” of the hobby as the majority of young people these days are captivated by entertainment rather than science.

http://www.astronomy...overtheuniverse

Rampant light pollution isn't makingattracting new blood to the hobbyany easier in today's device-happy world.

Dave Mitsky

Daniel Horton

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2018, 05:27:48 AM »
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I've never joined a club. I'm really thinking of joining one to see if I can find an observing buddy or two and maybe some new dark sites. Closest club to me is an hour drive though and their dues are $80 a year.
One question I have to ask, three posters mentioned they seek safety in numbers in the desert. What is dangerous in the desert that requires a group? Animals?

Unlike say, Iowa, Nebraska, etc where a farm house is only about a mile away, one can venture out 20 miles or more off the beaten path in the desert with nothing in sight. Snakes, coyotes, scorpions can mean some trouble. Having a few in the group means someone else can get help.

Jim Snyder

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Re: What is the benefit of joining an Astronomy Club?
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2018, 11:32:46 PM »
Yep, the hobby is 'graying'. FWIW, I just broached a related idea at our club's monthly board meeting. Based on a casual comment a year ago by one of our younger members, I've suggested that we try a weeknight public stargaze. She once commented that most young folks have uses for weekend nights that are more important to them. I can remember that being true for me, long ago.

So once it gets dark earlier, but before it starts getting uncomfortably cold, I think we'll offer one or more weeknight stargazes, well publicized. There are a few semi-dark place close to town that we can use. Our arrangement with the university even includes the ability to turn the lights out in one remote parking lot with advance notice.

Of course, our club, like some others, has a lot of competition for young peoples' attention. Our area has a busy live music scene, lots of outdoor activities, and a batch of micro-breweries. I think advance (but not by too much) publicity is important to making something like this go over. Local media including websites, the community college and other colleges, and grocery store bulletin boards come to mind.

Jim H.