Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sky & Telescope & Me

Sometime in summer of 2002 I purchased an annual subscription to Sky and Telescope. Late this summer I passed on renewal.

As a newstand buyer my interest in astronomy grew to warrant creating a feeling of anticipation with the mail each month. I subscribed. Each month I'd pull the rolled up magazine from the tiny apartment mailbox careful not to tear any of the edges. After ripping off the clear plastic wrap off I first looked to the cover and then the table of contents to see what topic Gary Seronik's column on would cover about amateur telescope making. I am a penultimate armchair ATM'er with 2 incomplete projects collecting dust, and am easily impressed by the craftmanship and engineering of others.

Well Gary's column is not a regular feature and obviously S&T determined that amateur telescope making is passe. Like families gathering round the radio in the sitting room, it's an era past. Names of other early ATM evangelists like Albert Ingalls, Russel Porter, and C.L. Stong come to mind (from SciAm and through re-formatting the Amatuer Scientist was lost) and in my eyes Mr. Seronik shares this distinction. However, his column is very scarce. The telescope making columnis the key differentiator for me over any of the other pubs out there and was enough for me to continue the subscription knowing that the Internet provides a goldmine.

In a queer sort of way, the subscription served as my membership card for the astronomy community.

I thought I would miss receiving each issue but the wealth of info on the web and the astronomy blogosphere have totally accounted for the little contribution that magazine offered.