Am I the only one disappointed in the new Sky at Night magazine?
For me, the one word that sums it up is: CLUTTERED!
1 - The article about nebulae.... PERFECT! Nice stunning photos of
nebulae that dominate the page - why not do the entire magazine like
that, then? S@N has about 5 photos per page average. Look at the Sky
& Telescope - 2 large photos per page. Astronomy IS big fantastic
photo's - not clutter. This particularly annoyed me on the readers
gallery pages, where the photo's were not done any justice at all
(again, compare with S&T).
2 - It may suprise you to learn that research astronomy is done in the
UK! To me, the British magazine should be SHOUTING at what wonderful
science is done in the uk, not leaving them as footnotes half way
through a story. Sorry, but I find it annoying when I see NASA getting
credit where you could equally credit European & UK astronomers, if not
moreso. e.g. I'd title the story about La Palma + WHT something like
"Big British 'scopes"! (Or something like that!)
3 - Telescope tests - excellent. Nice and clear, no clutter. I look
forward to the bigger toys in up and coming reviews.
4 - It started badly - 12 photos of Patric Moore in the first 5 pages.
I'm not a fan! reasons include PM passing of other people's
discoveries as his own; people writing books & articles for him and PM
passes them off as his (what does he know about TouCams?! Since I know
PM didn't write that sentance, I don't believe he wrote a word in the
entire magazine, which is possibly unfair. But he does "cry wolf" too
much, and so is doing himself an injustice); and the general public
think that all astronomers are old men;...
I know people will totally disagree with me, and fair enough, as long
as you understand my PoV on PM!
5 - Sky@Night episode bit. I'm sure they could find nice photos of
PeteL et al, without taking an excessive number of stills from the
video of people in mid sentance - Chris looks like he's just about eat
a fly, and Pete has his eyes closed! Could/should do better!
6 - I've not seen the CD-Rom myself... but I've been told not to
bother, since it pops up in a tiny sub-screen!
I could go on, but life is short.
Basically, I'll continue to be buying Sky & Telescope, mainly because
it is much better designed - clear & without clutter. (e.g. 2 columns
per page, not 4 column per page and columns that last for just 1 inch
before going to another column - that *is* dumb!)
I'm just glad I looked at someone elses and didn't buy it!
The only advantage in the S@N is that you get UK prices - although a
quick comparison between S&T & S@N confirms John's suspicions... Just
swap the dollar sign for a pound sign!
These may sound like an unnessesary rant - but I'm just hoping that
the magazine read this and so improve. I sooooo wanted to buy a good
british magazine, but I feel I've been let down. The content may be
good - but good content must be presented well, or I will just find an
equally good content on a better designed web page. Infact, a good
astro mag should be "pretty-pictures" driven, since the content can all
be found on the web, but hard copy glossy images cannot.
Any thoughts, comments? I hope the S@N team take on board some of
>PM passing of other people's discoveries as his own;
Got any evidence of that?
>I don't believe he wrote a word in the entire magazine, which is possibly
Of course it's unfair! (so why say it?). It is very clear from the style
that PM wrote a lot of those words, even if dictated. I've seen him type
articles and books word perfect at 100wpm on this old typewriter. This comes
from having the best all round knowledge of astronomy of anyone living -
even in his elderly state now he's still very sharp.
It needs to be remembered that without PM, we would not have a S@N magazine
I thought the magazine was a bit cluttered when I first flicked through it.
After reading the articles I am much more impressed, especially for the
<d...@star.le.ac.uk> wrote in message
>I don't believe he wrote a word in the
>entire magazine, which is possibly unfair.
He seems to be one of the least pretentious, most approachable and
genuine enthusiasts I have ever come across with a mass following of
fans inside and outside astronomy. This is rare indeed - and for an
old Etonian, well nigh impossible. Only Humphrey Littleton gets even
So there he is endorsing Starry Night for money while professing not
to know which side of a monitor to look at. He looks to me like
someone with a realistic view of a possibly expensive future in
professional care garnering a last few shekels but others may take a
less tolerant, (more anally retentive?) view.
N 51 02 E 0 47
I'd have said busy or lively perhaps. Not having bought an astronomy
mag for some years I was pleasantly surprised.
>4 - It started badly - 12 photos of Patric Moore in the first 5 pages.
I'm not going to get involved in matters discussing layout etc. but I
will pick you up on this. You make it sound like Patrick sits there
asking for more and more picture of himself to be inserted into the
magazine. I can tell you from personal experience, the exact opposite
is true and his desire is to see fewer pictures of himself!
>6 - I've not seen the CD-Rom myself... but I've been told not to
>bother, since it pops up in a tiny sub-screen!
Oh come on Das - you're supposed to be a scientist! "I was going to
investigate the structure of DNA but someone has told me it's rhombic
so I won't bother!".
I've only had time to look at two of the free programmes on the CD but
either of them would have justified the cover price on its own. I think
issue 1 will be a hard act to follow!
To "try" to watch the mpeg video via the cd is dire to say the least, but
run directly from the file, (full screen) it is brilliant. With a
broadband connection, downloading is not an issue so the "free" stuff on the
cd is pretty pointless. Anyways, I look forward to following the magazines
When is the next issue out? i would like to get hold of a copy as i
seem to have missed the first one
Got any evidence of that?
His treatment and knowledge of deep-sky observing and objects has always
been cursory at best and nothing shows this better than the obscenity that
goes by the name of the Caldwell catalogue.
And of course, there are shedloads of US amateurs that would put him to
shame, given half a chance and probably more than a few UK ones come to
Issue 2 on sale 28 June 2005
>When is the next issue out? i would like to get hold of a copy as i
>seem to have missed the first one
>On Fri, 27 May 2005 21:41:40 +0100, Clive <nos...@thankyou.com> wrote:
>>When is the next issue out? i would like to get hold of a copy as i
>>seem to have missed the first one
>Issue one was released on the 24th June Clive. I would be surprised
>if they have all gone!
Argh - 24th of May not June!!!
Gave up waiting for the complementary copy ;-) and got one from WH Smiths in
Carlisle today. Selling like hot cakes apparently. I got the last one but
they were expecting to get more in.
Got any evidence of that?
His treatment and knowledge of deep-sky observing and objects has
been cursory at best and nothing shows this better than the obscenity
goes by the name of the Caldwell catalogue.
And of course, there are shedloads of US amateurs that would put him to
shame, given half a chance and probably more than a few UK ones come to
I'm sure that there are plenty of people who know more about astronomy
than him, but few who have done so much to popularise it, both in this
country and throughout the world.
As to the Caldwell Catalogue - 'obscenity'? What strange area,
detached from the real universe, does this comment come from? It is a
list - good, bad or indifferent - nothing else. I really, really wish
that the standard of the Caldwell Catalogue was the biggest problem I
Do you notice how people who write this sort of stuff are too cowardly
to use their real names?
>On Fri, 27 May 2005 22:05:52 +0100, Pete Lawrence
>>On Fri, 27 May 2005 21:41:40 +0100, Clive <nos...@thankyou.com> wrote:
>>>When is the next issue out? i would like to get hold of a copy as i
>>>seem to have missed the first one
>>Issue one was released on the 24th June Clive. I would be surprised
>>if they have all gone!
>Argh - 24th of May not June!!!
thx david and pete, i was was wondering how david said issue 2 was out
on the 28th june and you said issue 1 was out on the 24th june :)
if thats the case i`ll go have a look round thanks again
>Ian Sharp wrote:
>> This comes from having the best all round knowledge of
>> astronomy of anyone living...
>Got any evidence of that?
>His treatment and knowledge of deep-sky observing and objects has always
>been cursory at best and nothing shows this better than the obscenity that
>goes by the name of the Caldwell catalogue.
Interesting description of the Caldwell catalogue. Why is it an
obscenity in your opinion? You give me your version and then I'll give
you the version from the horse's mouth so to speak ;-)
The Smiths in Stafford doesn't seem to have any. I was in a rush so I
couldn't find out if they'd sold out or just didn't have it to begin
Find me at http://www.ursaminorbeta.co.uk AIM/iChatAV: JCAndrew2
"We deal in the moral equivalent of black holes, where the normal
laws of right and wrong break down; beyond those metaphysical
event horizons there exist ... special circumstances" - Use Of Weapons
Who's been drinking rocket fuel then!!
It qualifies as an obscentiy in my view, simply because it's a shoddy piece
of work that I find (grossly) offensive. Others may not of course :) As for
why I think it shoddy, there are loads of links out there but
http://members.aol.com/anonglxy/lingmoor.htm is better than most.
G'won then, what's the horses mouth version? What I'm really interested to
know is did he get it peer reviewed prior to publication and if so, who
do you always try to come across as abusive and aggresive Chef?
> do you always try to come across as abusive and aggresive Chef?
No. Next question?
Like Chef I would like to hear Pete's version of the "true" story :-)
It had a fair balance of observational and scientific focus, and I
thought the 'virtual planetarium' on the cd-rom was a brilliant idea,
and the other bits & pieces were interesting too.
The telescope review was particularly interested, and I think I know
whats going on my Christmas list :) (somehow I can't see my wife
getting me it, but hey, you never know)
All in all I'd say worth a look.
As for AN, its been a good few years since I got hold of a copy (no
particular antipathy towards it, just doesn't seem to get stocked
anywhere round here) but I remember it as being a good mag for
observational information, whereas I read S&T as it is a good source
for the 'serious science' side of things. I think basically its a case
of horses for courses.
All the best & Clear Skies
As a real newbie to astronomy, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Even my 9 year
old picked it up and read it (not just looked at the stunning pictures) for
I will be subscribing to this so I'll not miss the next issue. Even get PM's
autobiography free too!
>obscenity that goes by the name of the Caldwell catalogue.
Glad to see you have a sense of humour... otherwise I would have to assume
you were just abusive.
Interested to know if you've ever met the man?
"Chef!" <prdeant...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
>>Got any evidence of that?
>Yes, plenty. Having known him for 36 years, having observed with him 'at the
>telescope' on many occasions, and comparing his knowledge against many
>others (also regarded as authorities).
There's an interesting, if ambiguous, reference to Patrick, in this
account of the life and death of Robert Burnham Junior.
Relevant passage is:
<QUOTE with some snipping, refers to events in or before 1966>
Thomas says Burnham was also disappointed by Lowell Observatory's
official position regarding the Handbook.
"The great problem I had with him was his handbooks. I offered to have
the observatory personnel here check what he put into them, but he was
reluctant and would not do that. And for that reason I told him he
could not make it a Lowell Observatory publication," Giclas says.
"We had a great English amateur that published books and stuff, but
the stuff he had in it was wrong. His name was Patrick Moore. In later
years, he learned enough to at least try to put the facts down
straight. But Burnham quoted Moore as many times as he quoted Henry
Norris Russell or some other famous astronomer, you know. And that was
the trouble; Burnham didn't know the difference between someone who
knew something and someone who didn't."
Burnham's Celestial Handbook, unrevised since 1977, remains a steady
seller and is essential (and much loved) reading and reference for
astronomers today. Perhaps Burnham did know the difference between
right and wrong but Lowell Observatory did not.
Has anyone bumped into any of the actual references to Patrick in the
Handbook - I haven't.
What I do worry about is the tendency of others (usually anonymous) to
vilify someone (anyone) simply because they are famous.
If the story of this list is as PM states it (and why should I question
it?), then he has made little or nothing from it. Sky publishing has
sold a few laminated cards. To the best of my knowledge, two books:
One poor, one excellent, have been published about it, neither by PM.
Either way as several people have said, it's only a list - end of
I would guess that PM is in great demand to have his name on books
(like the Springer series) and his picture and endorsement on S@N
magazine. Why? Because to the public he IS astronomy, and it is the
general public, not ourselves, who buy the magazines and books in
I disagree with PM's political view on every point, but I also abhor
another famous amateur's views on road safety. They are both good
astronomers, so on that front I am right behind them.
>I would have thought perhaps here the most important question is freedom
>of opinion. If someone criticises what Patrick says and then all the
>acolytes jump in giving the impression he is, like the Pope, infallible,
>He is not and never has been. He is a person like anyone else. A cult is
>dangerous and that is what we appear to have here. There are valid
>criticisms to many of the things he has done, and the Caldwell catalogue
Freedom of opinion is essential but it helps if opinion is based on a
degree of truth. It's easy to form a negative opinion about someone
or something if you're detached from that person. I've seen lots of
negative stuff written about PM based on information that is simply
>Like Chef I would like to hear Pete's version of the "true" story :-)
Patrick has told me this story a few times but I can't remember the
start (sorry - I'll ask him again when I next see him).
Basically, the C catalogue was put together on a quiet day (I
remember why it was "quiet"). It was then submitted it to a well
known publisher. According to Patrick it wasn't supposed to have been
taken that seriously at all. However, when the publisher got hold of
it the catalogue was rapidly elevated into a position of importance.
There are now people who devote websites to point out that the
catalogue was just Patrick's attempt to muscle in on the scene and try
to become as famous as Messier. If you've ever meet PM and ask him
about the catalogue, it's patently obvious that this is nonsense.
Like Das pointing out that there were lots of PM's photos in the
magazine and hinting that PM is the motivating force behind this - it
just isn't true.
I haven't! I'm sure he's a nice man in person, but I just don't like
watching Sky at Night. I can't give an exact reason either. :)) (Mind you,
the last time I saw it there were two old people standing around a piano,
"singing" the noises that pulsars, black holes etc. make. Things may have
improved since then!!!)
However.... I will admit that whenever someone utters even the slightest
dislike for Patrick, there generally follows a huge barrage of replies
saying how good he is, and how you have no right not to like him. Some like
him, some don't. I guess that's just life. (I can think of lots of people
who don't like me!!!)
PM may not be the best astronomer there ever was, nor even the best
about at the moment. He can however speak coherently to camera (which
I have tried to do and failed miserably)in what many people find an
entertaining way. As a result many are attracted to astronomy and that
can't be a bad thing. As one amateur astronomer (who shall remain
nameless) once said to me on another matter: (to paraphrase) "If you
think you can do any better then you are welcome to try".
The anonymity of 'nicknames' and the fact that insults can be made safe
in the knowledge that one will never have to defend them in person,
leads some people to the sort of childish behaviour exhibited in this
thread. Although I would like to think that someone here would defend
anyone else subject to this sort of attack, like the best treatment for
trolls, I suggest that we refrain from feeding the egos of the
'anonymous attackers'. However, reasoned comment by identified writers
is always worth reading.
A mate of my grandad's discovered a minor planet in the 30's, and asked
PM to verify it. Apparently, he passed it off as his own discovery!
> >I don't believe he wrote a word in the entire
> >magazine, which is possibly unfair.
> Of course it's unfair! (so why say it?).
Because he blaitently knows nothing about a TouCam! So someone else
obviously wrote that bit, and so the story should have be titled "By PM
So how am I suppose to know where PM's input finishes & starts, if
work by A.N.Other is labelled as PM's work?
My favorite example of this is of a hand drawing of the moon. It
says (in big letters) "By PM", and, in much smaller letters, "drawn by
A.N.Other"! So what exactly did PM do, then?!
All I'm saying is credit should be given where it is due, but PM
appears to take credit for everything, and not just the bit's he has
worked on. That smells of politics to me.
I'm sure that is not all PM's fault - i.e. companies want to use his
name - but he could have repeatedly said "Put my name after the guy who
did the majority of the work".
PM also has done nothing/very little in the fight against light
pollution, which grates me.
I think PM invented that as a list of interesting objects, which is
fair enough. I think private companies, again trying to put PM's name
on everything, are the probable cause of "PM fatigue" which has caused
much of the dislike of the Caldwell catalogue! Especially in the
Although I didn't buy a copy, my house mate did.
As for "Astronomy Now" - I cannot remember why I don't like that
magazine, but I haven't bought it for years. I've always gone for the
pretty pictures & design of the American S&T & Astronomy... and this is
from someone who usually enjoys critising Americans!
This is why I was disappointed with S&T mag - where are all the big
pretty pictures? (Appart from the excellently designed article on
Finally I managed to get hold of a copy of the magazine. My comments are
Quite high for an astronomy magazine.
2. Cover CD
All the content could be on the website. Most (I accept not all) of us
have broadband these days, and the additional cost of distributing a
cover cd could be cut by having online content. Maybe there could be two
versions of the magazine, with and without the cd (computer magazines
used to do this eons ago).
3. Good old PM
There are a lot of pictures of PM, and I get the impression that he
might have written an autobiography ;-) I like the man, and I'm quite
happy to see him in the magazine...although I'd prefer somebody slightly
more female and blonde ;-) I do agree with the comments about PM's name
appearing everywhere, but I guess that is how the BBC wanted it done.
4. Telescope Reviews
6. My PhD Topic
What a supprise to see some of the work that I'm *indirectly* involved
with appear in the magazine (the bit about the star with the least
amount of Iron in it). This was a nice touch ;-)
I'll probably buy it again, but it doesn't offer a great deal more to me
that AN (which is cheaper).
All the best,
A bloody good first attempt! Interesting and informative and hope it
keeps up the good start. I for one will be subscribing as soon as I see
the second issue!
Oh he has done something. He moved somewhere with sea on 3 sides :)
Don't tell me I'm still on that feckin' island!
You seem to have formed the impression that I was instigating some sort of
personal attack in my OP. I wasn't. I was specifically disputing Ian's
attribution, 'This comes from having the best all round knowledge of
astronomy of anyone living' - nothing more. PM himself never entered into
it. My subsequent remarks concerned the catalogue *not* the man.
> The anonymity of 'nicknames' and the fact that insults can be made
> safe in the knowledge that one will never have to defend them in
> ...However, reasoned comment by
> identified writers is always worth reading.
I'll rise to the bait...
Your point on nicknames is interesting. For starters, there's nothing in the
Charter (http://www.usenet.org.uk/uk.sci.astronomy.html) that refers to
the use or otherwise of nicknames. There's actually very little mention of
nicknames in any docs I could find regarding Usenet posts in general (see
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1855.html); what you do find in fact is advice
which specifically warns about the dangers of using your real name.
And of course, there are many reasons for users to adopt nicknames rather
than using their real names (see
http://www.unix.com/archive/index.php/t-14694.html, very few having
anything at all to do with keeping anonymous in order to diss some
unfortunate 3rd party.
Re: 'identified writers' sounds reasonable at first but unfortunately this
both ways, there's no guarantee that you are actually who you say you are
either. To be honest, I don't really care, neither can I bothered tracking
down to confirm it. The point being that I am far more attentive to *what*
you write. Seeing as how neither of us can definitively prove we are who
we say we are, all we need do is review the archives for previous posts
and then come to a view as to whether the other has a genuine interest in
UK astronomy, or not.
>Your point on nicknames is interesting. For starters, there's nothing in the
>Charter (http://www.usenet.org.uk/uk.sci.astronomy.html) that refers to
>the use or otherwise of nicknames.
While thats true, its also worth considering that common sense
indicates that if you want to be trusted, posting with a real name is
more likely to engender it.
>And of course, there are many reasons for users to adopt nicknames rather
>than using their real names (see
> http://www.unix.com/archive/index.php/t-14694.html, very few having
>anything at all to do with
the last phrase seems also to describe the relevance of this link to
>Re: 'identified writers' sounds reasonable at first but unfortunately this
>cuts both ways, there's no guarantee that you are actually who you say you are
This is true, but I refer you to my first point.
And of course, there's nothing to stop you posting with a nic as your
from and reply-to address, but posting a real name in your sig.
----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
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Finally got hold of a copy today. Print quality and photos excellent, some
I was a bit disappointed with the equipment reviews though, the DSI
'in-depth' look wasn't exactly that, more a list of features I could have
got off the meade site, most of the article taken up by a photo of it, not a
picture produced by it in sight. The Group test of the beginners telescopes
was a bit light on technical details, not too much explaining the scores
achieved. Maybe I expect too much as I find a lot of magazines these days
tend to lack full tests.
Overall worth buying again to see how it goes.