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So how about an Amateur Deep Field ?

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#1 NigelS

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 06:42 PM

I've been a bit reluctant to post about this idea as i have had some pretty negative responses and the odd "your crazy" remarks, but here goes anyway.

I had an idea of trying to replicate, as best possible with the many constraints i have, the original HDF carried out in 1996, i've been speaking with some professional astronomers, and even people at the STSI who seem to think the idea does carry weight and is possible with amateur equipment, so i'm just putting the idea "out there" to see what others think, feel free to call me crazy though :)

#2 Doug Brown

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:32 AM

I thought your name was Nigel not Crazy Though?

#3 JayKSC

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:43 AM

Nigel,

I'd say this is an ambitious, but doable, project. With modern CCD imaging gear and adaptive optics, the gap between amateur and pro imaging is rapidly closing. Over the past decade, I've been reading more and more about amateurs contributing to real astronomy research.

- Jay
South Florida

#4 Hrundi

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:51 AM

The problem would be seeing. The deep field galaxies are so small that you need to have insanely good effective seeing to pull it off.
That being said, I do believe that efforts to the order of SDSS and even a bit better should be within amateur reach.

#5 NigelS

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:04 AM

Thank you for the replies Gentleman, it's nice to see something positive being said about the project right now, to address a few points raised, and they're extremely important points at that.

The current plan is to conduct the research using the GRAS system, this gives access to excellent weather conditions, at high altitude, and some pretty hefty but still amateur class equipment, as crazy as i may be for taking on this project, i'm not that crazy to try it with an 8inch SCT from my light polluted garden in the middle of a city :lol: i'm lucky if i can see mag 4 stars from here let alone the objects from the HDF, which bring me to my next point.

Obviously i've been researching the original HDF at great length, and have read copious amounts of raw data logs from the STSI archives, i've also followed up using the SDSS data to plug in the target co-ordinates used and i was quite surprised to see some of onjects in the HDF as high as mag 15. An important discussion between myself and Dr Ed Wiley the head researcher at GRAS was we must find out the at least the brightest object in the HDF data .. once that is known, there is a better idea of what we can expect to see in the results, this also plays a key roll in the equipment we use at GRAS.

Jay, you have an excellent point regarding the advances in CCD imaging, AND adaptive optics, OK as amateurs we do not have CCD arrays liquid nitrogen cooled as hubble does, but we have access to off the shelf very powerful CCD cameras, that 10 years ago wouldve been concidered cutting edge technology available only to universities and NASA!! .. Also the same with adaptive optics, yes the units such as the AO8 are not as good as say the keck AO system, but i think the sheer fact an AO system that can be used / bought by amateurs is again a giant technological leap in the amateur field.

The project in my mind is doable, with correct planning, and meticulous data processing, wether or not we gather any scientific useful data, well we just don't know, i hope we do, but this is a project driven out of curiosity, just how far can we push an amateur system, in a years time i hope to have some sort of answer.

This certainly won't be an easy task, there are huge obstacles in place, and while not a scientist, or a pro astronomer, my love for both fields will be my driving force on this project, anyone who is interested in helping out of course is more than welcome, lets see if we can push the limits that little bit further, that's what science is all about right? :)

#6 LivingNDixie

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 10:18 AM

Nigel
It is already been done. Jack Newton posted a picture of the Hubble Deep Field at the 2009 TSP. He actually used a chip that had been planned to be used on the HST, basically they built several chips and he got one of the surplus ones.

As for doing this at the eyepiece, now that would be interesting.

#7 tatarjj

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 01:20 PM

I thought that about 10 or 12 years ago I saw an amateur deep field image in the back of Astronomy magazine.

#8 NigelS

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 01:23 PM

Interesting, i did do a fair amount of looking to see if this had been carried out before but couldn not find a definitive answer, if this has been done then i guess there's no need to repeat ?

#9 Ptarmigan

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 03:46 PM

I remember Jack Newton using a CCD camera at the area where the HST deep field was first taken and he recorded 25 galaxies from what I recall. :cool: :bow:

#10 azure1961p

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:06 PM



Whats really compelling here is that it can apply to the amateur community on a number of levels. A HDF type thing for different apertures. It'd actually be as cool to see deep field type thing from a C8 as much as from an 18" newt.

Pete

#11 sgottlieb

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 01:00 AM

http://tinyurl.com/yblthjl

#12 NigelS

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:25 PM


Whats really compelling here is that it can apply to the amateur community on a number of levels. A HDF type thing for different apertures. It'd actually be as cool to see deep field type thing from a C8 as much as from an 18" newt.

Pete

That was an idea i was thinking about, having the survey repeated by amateurs with different scopes, and categorizing them by aperture, i think it would throw up some very interesting results indeed.

#13 NigelS

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:33 PM

Nigel
It is already been done. Jack Newton posted a picture of the Hubble Deep Field at the 2009 TSP. He actually used a chip that had been planned to be used on the HST, basically they built several chips and he got one of the surplus ones.

As for doing this at the eyepiece, now that would be interesting.


I've been thinking about this some more, and discussed it with some other amateurs, and while Jack Newton may have conducted the survey, the fact that he used a CCd chip designed for, and built for the HST itself kind of puts it in a non-amateur league, the whole idea of the ADF was to use off the shelf equipment, available to any amateur (allbeit with deep pockets). I can hardly go to somewhere like optcorp or astronomics and pick up a HST "spare" CCD chip .. so i think i may not be deterred from going ahead just yet.

#14 mwedel

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 01:50 PM

Don't be deterred at all! Even if there tons of people doing off-the-shelf ADFs, it would still be a worthwhile project for you. The fact that hardly anyone else has done this--maybe no one without a spare Hubble chip--only makes it all the more interesting.

And don't worry about the naysayers, although I haven't seen any in this thread yet. From time to time you find people who will swear that you can't do the whole Messier list with 50mm binoculars, or that some dim DSO can only be seen in 20" and larger instruments, and so on. Sometimes they're right, but more often they're working from theory, not experience, and don't know that others have already achieved these things, sometimes with very modest equipment.

So I say give it a shot. Like Timothy Ferris says in Seeing in the Dark (nice link above, btw!), "You can't catch any fish unless you get your line wet."

#15 morecoffee

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

Anyone try/have amateur photos of the famous Hubble deep field area to look at? I assume amateur CCD cameras and software have improved in these 3 years. Thanks.

#16 Astrojensen

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:37 PM

An interesting idea would be to do a visual deep field survey of a limited area and see how much could be seen. During a discussion in the Vereinigung der Sternfreunde Fachgruppe Deep sky, it was suggested to do such a survey of Leo Minor. I don't know whether any actual observing was done, but Wolfgang Steinicke drew up a list of some 1300 possible objects.

http://www.klima-luf...e/LMI/Lmi_e.htm


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#17 morecoffee

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

I would have though others would have tried it since he said in a matter or minutes he could see 75 percent of what the Hubble can observe. I guess the difference might be his CCD I guess.

Anyone have a link to the Jack Newton Hubble Deep Field photo shown in the 2009 TSP? I was unable to find it. Thanks.

#18 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:52 AM

You know, same as with Cygnus X-1 and the galactic center, I've sketched the Hubble XDF and can say nothing was visible :) But is was a joke more than anything else anyway...

/Jake

#19 Unknownastron

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:52 PM

I shall not name names but for several years there has been a debate among the most experienced amateur visual deep sky observers and visual identification of some of the targets in the original HDF. At least one person claims to have seen some of the targets, several others doubt the claim. It must be noted the doubters are not claiming dishonesty on the part of the claimer, just inaccuracy. Those on both sides are in fact friends, I have a photo of them chatting amiably on a porch at a star party. I lean towards the side that they were observed. I do not believe the true ability of visual observing has been throughly researched, and at rare times of just the right conditions more is possible than we believe.
Clear skies and clean glass,
Mike

#20 Escher

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:32 AM

I'll admit to being the extreme greenhorn in these areas but just a thought here...

Couldn't we all agree on a specific coordinate, and then just each post images of what we capture and the exposure data?


I've not researched the deep field at all other than the bits I have read off an on over the years, so I'm not familiar with the area of the sky that was selected. It does seem like an interesting *challenge* in any case.






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