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StarGaZine - The Future


Grant
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We don't have a StarGaZine booked for this coming weekend.

StarGaZine was setup at a time when most astronomy societies were no longer meeting, not even virtually, and a lot of astro speakers were suddenly finding themselves without any bookings. We wanted to help and to provide some entertainment for the astronomy community during lockdown, with FLO's help paying the bills 🙂 

As we come out of lockdown attendance for the last few sessions has understandably decreased so we are considering, is there still a need for StarGaZine ongoing?

Should we continue organising StarGaZine talks and, if we do, should we make some changes to frequency, day of week, time, content, etc, to attract more people and ensure the effort / cost remains viable?  

Some thoughts I had:

  • Switch to fortnightly or once a month
  • Rejig the format to be more like a traditional astro society evening - a speaker followed by some sort of news update, or sky guide for the next month or show/tell where members can share their work, ask questions etc.. So we have less talks but we make more of them with more interaction after the speaker.
  • Consider switching to a mid-week slot - I suspect Sunday nights are not the best for people, most societies meet mid-week and this may work better for us as well?
  • Stop altogether except for more specialist events / talks so we stop a regular slot but have intermittent more specialist workshops / topics that a regular astro society might not consider, e.g. a Pixinsight workshop wouldn't suit a regular society.

It strikes me over the almost year we've been doing this, the most popular talks have been either practical ones to do with imaging and particularly image processing or, ones where a member has given us a talk so perhaps we should concentrate more on those areas?

All feedback welcome, good or bad but please be constructive 🙂

Thanks,

Grant

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I've found the Zoom talks to be the highlight of my Sunday evening. Only skipped two, the astro sketching / artwork (Due to having zero drawing skills) and the latest PI talk as it looked PI specific and I don't use PI.

But that's just me. 

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15 minutes ago, DaveS said:

I've found the Zoom talks to be the highlight of my Sunday evening. Only skipped two, the astro sketching / artwork (Due to having zero drawing skills) and the latest PI talk as it looked PI specific and I don't use PI.

But that's just me. 

Thanks Dave - that's really nice to hear.

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I think the talks have been brilliant, you have covered a wide range of interests and the speakers have been to a consistently high standard. A massive thank you from me for all of the effort you and the team have put in to set this up and maintain the high standard for so many weeks. I think with (hopefully) an end to meeting restrictions and increased socialising generally the attendance will drop off so it might be prudent to reduce the frequency. No doubt you have the numbers on the most popular talks, but I have really enjoyed the talks by SGL members and the image processing experts, including the software representatives.

When the dark nights return I would be up for contributing to some live imaging/EEVA sessions but of course I know how hard this will be to set up given the UK weather.

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Looking forward to Ivo doing other Startools talks , hopefully and the fact  you post them on YouTube is a bonus as you can watch at your own convenience,  I did thoroughly enjoy the meteorite man one like chatting with your mate in the pub , don’t be compelled you have to do every week just go with the flow ,as and when required 

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I've enjoyed them all and they've been a highlight to the week so thank you to all who made them happen. The processing ones have been popular with numbers and there have been some real highlights along the way and I've learnt something different from each one.

I had wondered if a notification on first site visit following the release of the next stargazine event each time might help raise awareness that the next one is about x on x at x time.

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Hi, I've attended many of the talks and found them very enjoyable and informative. I also attend two astro clubs regularly and the SGZ format complements them well - i.e. a focused single talk with q&a. It was great to have vendors come on and talk about their products, and to have overseas speakers from time to time. Also good to put faces to names!

Of late, I have already seen a few of the talks by regular circuit speakers and this may be a cause of reduced numbers.

I'd like to see the talks continue regularly but perhaps inevitably less frequently. I have missed a couple of talks by not seeing the announcement but now realise I can follow the SGZ forum and be notified of new announcements.

Sunday evening has the advantage that it doesn't clash with club meetings.

Huge thanks to FLO, Grant, Darren and all the speakers. You have really helped us to maintain our passion for astronomy during these challenging times.

What a great community this is!

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I have enjoyed them all, have missed the last few because Leicester City have been playing a lot of matches on a Sunday recently 🙂

Would love to see more tutorials using Afinity Photo especially now that it has dedicated Astro stacking tools etc.

Alan

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I forgot these were in form awhile and have caught up W it u a number of very interesting ones on YouTube. Go for quality and interest and pop them online afterwards, give us all something to watch again when it’s raining outside.

Peter

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On 14/05/2021 at 12:39, Grant said:

 

  • Switch to fortnightly or once a month
  • Rejig the format to be more like a traditional astro society evening - a speaker followed by some sort of news update, or sky guide for the next month or show/tell where members can share their work, ask questions etc.. So we have less talks but we make more of them with more interaction after the speaker.
  • Consider switching to a mid-week slot - I suspect Sunday nights are not the best for people, most societies meet mid-week and this may work better for us as well?
  • Stop altogether except for more specialist events / talks so we stop a regular slot but have intermittent more specialist workshops / topics that a regular astro society might not consider, e.g. a Pixinsight workshop wouldn't suit a regular society.
  • Weekly suits me, although I have to admit that I don’t join the Zoom meetings as SWMBO has TV she wants to watch on Sundays, so, I catch up on utoob later.
  • I don’t think you need to include sky guides, nearly* every other astronomy channel includes these, unless it is something exceptional - meteor showers etc. Don’t count as exceptional. The speciality sessions are generally interesting, and I’d like to see a processing tutorial with live Q&As once a month, a specialist discussion per current format monthly. If there is a “society” type meeting on a monthly basis, that may be good as I do not think we will have as much freedom for meeting in the near future as some do.
  • That may work for many - worth a vote on that option?
  • I think my comment above covers this option.

* there are a lot of channels that tell us the same things. We need to be different to stand out.

 

 

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I've really enjoyed all of the meetings i've attended.

I've missed a fair few as i often work Sundays. But thanks to FLO for putting them on.

If i had to pick a format with a view to keep them continuing, i'd go for the monthly or  option with a bit of rejigging as you suggest.

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On 14/05/2021 at 12:39, Grant said:

We wanted to help and to provide some entertainment for the astronomy community during lockdown, with FLO's help paying the bills 🙂 

You, Daz and the speakers have done wonderful work during difficult times. It must have taken a lot of organising! 🙂 

We will happily continue funding StarGaZine if you conclude the need is there. 

Steve 

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I have really enjoyed the series.

Sunday nights is relatively difficult for me, as other family things take priority, so I usually watch on catch-up. However, there is no guaranteed clear night for me (post lockdown anyway), and the YouTube videos work well, so I don't mind when talks are scheduled.

Those of us living in rural areas may not have easy access to a local society, and certainly a couple of hours driving would not add to the pleasure of a regular face-to-face event. So I think that talks as an extension to the forum is an excellent idea. However, I think it is better as a talk than as a 'virtual society meeting'. So I would not personally find value in generic 'other business'. 

As for topics, some science, some history, some techniques seem to work well. The challenge is keeping the pipeline filled. Monthly would be fine if we have run through the initial topics and speakers. One advantage of an online talk is that we can cast our net much wider and access speakers we may otherwise never get to hear from.

I would like the series to continue, but understand the extra load it puts on the staff.

 

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Hard to think that Covid could have given us any positives but I do think that introducing some of us to the power of a Zoom meeting is one of them. I have really enjoyed the wide range of talks that we have been presented with and believe that this format has more to offer than a simple ‘on-line’ club meeting so, for me, the current formula works well and it is refreshingly different to a typical club evening to make it stand out.

The advantage of Zoom is that we have a worldwide pool of speakers to call on and that is something rather special that no UK club was likely to have enjoyed in the past. 

Getting  good quality speakers is no easy task and the organising team have done really well in this regard but reducing the frequency to once or twice a month as we ease out of lockdown would make sense to me. Once we are out of the whole Covid thing, I believe that there is still an important place for StarGaZine  within the SGL community and I hope it is here to stay.

Sunday nights suit me fine but post Covid when social lives return to normal, we may have to revisit the choice of day.

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Having a good speaker monthly would give people a virtual astro club as not everyone lives close to a club. There are a lot of good club speakers out there!

 

Peter

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Posted (edited)

I am simply aghast I had no idea this was going on and missed every one I am sure there were topics I would have been interested and others a definite watch😢😢😢

Edited by wookie1965
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Hiya,

I would like to see the series continue ... perhaps monthly, as someone else has already mentioned. I made it to a couple of talks, but the Sunday evening timing made it difficult for me. I have caught up with several more on YT. Obviously there won't be a time that suits everybody, but an hour later on Sunday would work for me (dinner will have been eaten, kitchen will have been cleared up, kids will have been nagged about school in the morning, etc ...)

Kev

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Posted (edited)

A very big thank you to all involved in StarGazine as the work, hassle and time involved must be significant. This has been a very successful series with many of the talks ranking as excellent, including some topics I never knew I didn't know 😀

For me though, this has been via the YouTube followups as Sunday evenings are no use to me. 

If there is a desire to keep going and live attendance is the main driver, moving the day or reducing the frequency might work. However I suspect the YT option, being the most convenient, will always be best for most. Maybe then the question becomes, do you want to commit to a wider YT channel and how to stand out? Specific talks have a lot more interest than general 'society' aob, but that's just mho.

Edited by ampleamp
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I would like it to continue also if once a month then be it. Me happy with Sundays. Just my 2p worth and thanks for all the hard work done by all greatly appreciated

Andy

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I have watched and enjyed them over the last year or so .

There has been some excellent info for most astronomers.

I prefer the sunday evening and a move to once a month or once every couple of months would suit.

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