Re: Which to Choose; Absolute Encoders or 92 mm Stowaway

Michael Hambrick <mike.hambrick@...>

Good Points Joe.

Are you Canadian ? I ask because you mentioned Scouting International.

Anyway, the Boy Scouts of America offers an Astronomy merit badge that the scouts usually take at the summer camps. The requirements are pretty comprehensive. To name a few they must:
  • Describe the different types of telescopes including those that observe light beyond the visible spectrum, explain the purposes of at least three different types of instruments used with telescopes, and describe the procedures for cleaning and storage of telescopes and binoculars.
  • They have to identify in the night sky at least ten constellations including four that are in the zodiac.
  • They have to identify eight conspicuous stars, at least five of which are magnitude 1 or better.
  • Identify at least one red, yellow, and blue star and explain what makes them different colors.
  • They have make two sketches of the Big Dipper with the North Star at least four hours apart showing their orientation in the sky
  • List the five most visible planets in the night sky and note the ones that can be observed in phases. Look up (internet / book) to see when they will be visible.
  • Sketch the full moon and show at least five each seas and craters
  • Sketch the phase of the moon on at least four consecutive days at the same time and place.
  • Visit a planetarium or observatory and make a log book of what they saw.
  • Plan and participate in a three hour (minimum) observing session using binoculars or a telescope. List the objects observed and find each on a star chart
  • Investigate career opportunities in astronomy.
This is just a sampling of the requirements, but I was pretty impressed with what they were asking the scouts to do. You would have to agree that these activities would be a lot of fun to a scout who has an interest in astronomy.
Unfortunately, many of the summer scout camps are nothing more than merit badge mills, and even more unfortunately most of the counselors that the camps hire for the summer are just college kids looking for summer jobs, and they know little or nothing about the merit badge classes they are teaching. This is where the adult leaders (i.e scout's parents) come into the picture. The Boy Scouts have always tried to get the parents of the scouts engaged in the activities of their children's scouting activities, but unfortunately again there are far too few parents who will do this. Most just drop their kids off at the scout meetings and go out for a dinner. They see the week long summer and winter camps as an opportunity to take a vacation away from the kids. It is really sad.
Some of the scout camps get some extremely generous donations. At the first summer camp my son (an Eagle Scout by the way) attended they had two complete Celestron telescopes, a C8 and a C11 ! Unfortunately, the counselors had no idea how to set up and operate the scopes. Luckily I was there for the week and I was able to help them out, and I think the kids had a really good time on their observing nights. For the other seven weeks of camp sessions, the camp might have been lucky enough to get help from a knowledgeable adult leader for maybe one or two of the sessions at best.
Scouting has gotten a really bad rap in recent years. Some of it is deserved, but it is getting harder and harder for Boy Scouts to compete with the other things that kids are into. I think that a lot of this is the parents fault.
Sorry, but I kind of rambled on with this.

Best Regards

Michael Hambrick
TSR Global Manufacturing Support
PO Box 2000
Orange, TX 77631-2000
Phone: +1 (409) 882-2799
email: mike.hambrick@...

From:        "Joe Zeglinski" <J.Zeglinski@...>
To:        <>
Date:        2020-04-23 04:44 PM
Subject:        Re: [ap-gto] Which to Choose; Absolute Encoders or 92 mm Stowaway
Sent by:

Very well said, Chris,
    I never thought of it, but you are right-on.
Besides, an excellent scope and mount,  like those from AP, will eventually pass from hand to hand – as teachers retire, or the kids move on to more advanced equipment as it comes along.
    In the same vein, wouldn’t it be grand if Scouting International, established a special ASTRONOMY Badge, rather than something just relating to “outdoors and camping”. Maybe in the future they might concentrate less on finding their way through the forest – probably just streets, when we run out of woods -  than on travelling on pathways through the skies, as man’s journey inevitably reaches even farther afield, for our next generations.
Joe Z.

From: Christopher Erickson
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2020 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Which to Choose; Absolute Encoders or 92 mm Stowaway
Personally, I believe that we should...  
If you give it to a school, it inevitably ends up being controlled by school middle-management bureaucrats and spends the rest of its life in the back of a crowded supply closet, never to be seen by kids ever again. The tax write-off for giving it to a school will end up being next-to-nothing anyway.
If you give it to a dedicated teacher, that person is much more likely to learn how to use it properly and take it with them throughout their teaching career.
If you give it to a dedicated student, that person's life will be changed forever.
If it is a big, expensive, complicated telescope, consider selling it to another astro-nut who will love it, or work to establish an NPO in a local community to operate it, put it in an observatory, and perform outreach.
On Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 8:27 AM Michael Hambrick via [] <mike.hambrick@...> wrote:
That is a great suggestion. I have also thought about donating it to a local school. Only bad thing is I kept the pier to use with my 1100 mount.

Best Regards

Michael Hambrick

TSR Global Manufacturing Support
PO Box 2000
Orange, TX 77631-2000
Phone: +1 (409) 882-2799
email: mike.hambrick@...

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