Astronomy.SG - Moving On

Here is the place for the admins or moderators to do their annoucements. Or, if you have bought a new scope and want the whole world to know, do it here. Basically this is the place for any astro first-hand news.
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HELiX
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Astronomy.SG - Moving On

Post by HELiX »

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Greetings everybody,

So here's what's happening. As you probably have noticed, we've stopped providing frequent updates for the past month or two. In the past, this was because it was so difficult to keep the site up. But we're very sorry to inform you, that Astronomy.SG will be ceasing its operations for good in the way that we all know it. We don't know if Astronomy.SG's going to return, but it'll be inactive for a while to come. We're very sorry for this, but we've decided that it's the best course of action.

After a year and a half online, Astronomy.SG has evolved from a very simple initiative to a full-fledged website that ran on pure passion and voluntary effort. It filled a personal need and served a community we loved helping. With the onset of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the site grew and it became a source of information for the public. We expanded to host photos from astronomy events and even had a little store to offset the maintenance costs.

We were doing great and the response was hugely positive. We were invited to give talks by random groups which stumbled upon our site. We had a Straits Times journalist approaching us for an article on Astronomy. And we were even quoted as an official source by a news website. Readership jumped twenty-fold on days with a major celestial event like a solar eclipse. It was wonderful doing things that we really loved.

But it wasn't easy to maintain the site. The work of updating the website required immense labour. With new events every other week, there was no stopping to take a break. There was one of us at the beginning, but even after a massive increase of 100% in the work staff to uh, two people, it just wasn't going to cut it. We found ourselves caught in the loop of mindlessly feeding new updates and information into the website to keep it relevant, without any incentive.

Ah, incentives? Sure, much of the local astronomy efforts are voluntary. From star parties to competitions, everything is supported by our altruism to chip in. And that makes it an incredible community with the truly passionate ones around. But something like Astronomy.SG wasn't going to survive like that. We weren't going to claim five hundred CIP hours for our efforts. Popular blogs and media websites usually have a team of writers and income from advertising, but we had nothing.

And so we turned to the alternatives. We approached an astronomy-related vendor in hopes of commercialising the venture, but we agreed that it would conflict with the basis and principles of what Astronomy.SG was founded on. Efforts to find a team to take over voluntarily also failed to materialise after preliminary talks.

So, in the end, our decision to pull out from the site was largely based on our inability to continue serving the same cause. On a personal level, we've greater ventures to pursue in the meantime. Astronomy.SG has a been a wonderful journey for us, and we hope that every reader has enjoyed themselves as much as we did.

Thank you all and good bye!

Clear skies!
Derek & Rong'en
Astronomy.SG

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Gary
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Post by Gary »

Hi Derek & Rong'en. Sad to hear your website is ceasing operation but nonetheless congrats on the great job done so far. Your contributions to the local astronomy scene will not be forgotten. Your efforts in the form of astronomy.sg may have already triggered an important spark in some young minds who may grow up to be great astronomers, scientists, physicists, educators, ...etc.

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Tachyon
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Post by Tachyon »

Dear Derek & Rong'en,

Thank you for your efforts to promote Astronomy amongst School students in Singapore!

Although it was just 1.5 years, I hope it sparked off some interest in young minds on the joys of Astronomy. Your efforts are not wasted, I assure you!

Perhaps you can continue your good work there - albeit on a much smaller scale to prevent burnt-out.

Take care and clear skies to all of us!
[80% Steve, 20% Alfred] ------- Probability of Clear Skies = (Age of newest equipment in days) / [(Number of observers) * (Total Aperture of all telescopes present in mm)]

superiorstream
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Post by superiorstream »

Hi,All
Yes, Astronomy is v.hard to promote and of little commerical value and so in the end a lack of fund and a environment of ever increasing cost kill it.Try to promote it usually are met with disinterested altitude.Moreover it is a hobby which require knowledge in various aspect of theorical sciences which usually has little--or inexplicit--commerical value and hence hard to get response from a commericalized world of today.Even the developed nations are getting 'realistic' today--those professional they welcome as immigrant exclude astronomer or people in the theotical sciences.sign. [smilie=crying3.gif]

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fizzy123
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Post by fizzy123 »

superiorstream wrote:Hi,All
Yes, Astronomy is v.hard to promote and of little commerical value and so in the end a lack of fund and a environment of ever increasing cost kill it.Try to promote it usually are met with disinterested altitude.Moreover it is a hobby which require knowledge in various aspect of theorical sciences which usually has little--or inexplicit--commerical value and hence hard to get response from a commericalized world of today.Even the developed nations are getting 'realistic' today--those professional they welcome as immigrant exclude astronomer or people in the theotical sciences.sign. [smilie=crying3.gif]
Well, I doubt the initial intention for astronomy.sg was to promote astronomy, but more as a platform to keep local astronomers aware of the latest developments in this hobby and serve as a means allow the general public to take part in actual obs event like meteor showers. Astronomy has and will always be a niche hobby. With an extremely otaku image attached to it, and being not able to generate wealth and opportunities for ppl, there is just no incentive to dive into it, lest you are very passionate about it

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Tachyon
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Post by Tachyon »

It was not always like this. In the 1960s and 70s, there was a competition going on between US and the then USSR on space exploration. Fueled no doubt by pride and public display of technological advancement, part of the reason was to exploit commercial and military uses of new discoveries in space. Perhaps they were hoping to find a new element? Or abundance of rare resources on earth?

When it dawned on the superpowers that be that there were no 'gold mines' out in space, interests waned and astronomy was now delegated to nothing more than mental stimulation.

I was at a primary school last Thur and speaking to one of the teachers. She expressed sadness that astronomy was now taken off the school curriculum. The new topic? Money management! I am a proponent of financial literacy, but the move towards more 'commercial' subjects just seems so... mercenary!

Anyway, all it needs is just some astronomical calamity - large comet hurling towards earth, alien invasion, or even solar anomalies that will affect the earth (yes, I watched the movie '2012') to re-allocate budgets back to astronomy again.

Meanwhile, we need to continue our day jobs to fund our night hobbies!
[80% Steve, 20% Alfred] ------- Probability of Clear Skies = (Age of newest equipment in days) / [(Number of observers) * (Total Aperture of all telescopes present in mm)]

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