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Our refractors: for visual, or imaging?

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#1 Sky Muse

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:43 PM

Seemingly, casual, amateur astrophotography, as opposed to to that of the scientific community, amounts to little more than a brief, static, falsified increase in aperture, in that a camera attached to, say, a 5" f/6 refractor, collects more and more photons the longer the shutter is open, capturing on film what one would see live otherwise, in an instant, viewing through a much larger objective. Certainly many unfamiliar with the pastime upon seeing an astrophotograph believe that what they're seeing on film is precisely what they'd see when looking through the eyepiece. They look, and are disappointed. Of course, the photographer finds himself quite satisfied with the results, as he and he alone understands the difference. It's a very personal thing to the astrophotographer, and one which I fully understand; however...

I, personally, could never present my refractor as less than for what it truly is, which is why I am solely a visual observer, preferring live, dynamic views with my own eyes in the here and now. Besides, one could never duplicate here on Earth the photographs taken by the Hubble, or in future perhaps, those by the James Webb, if successful; the futility being just that.

We've all enjoyed on occasion viewing photographs of family and friends gone by, but they're only reflections and representations of who and what they were. Wouldn't you rather a "time portal" for observing them in their day-to-day lives, hearing their voices and watching them in motion, alive? Of course you would, especially the ones, during your own life, you had come to know and love. Home movies, photographs in motion, approximate the experience, but they wouldn't be the same, if said portal were in existence. Now consider...

Analogously, in your possession is a device, a "time portal" that will allow you to observe others alive still; said portal being, the refractor. When you view, say, Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, through your refractor, you see it as it appeared 640 years ago, and still alive, albeit at the point in its life where collapsing upon its core and then violently exploding outward into the void as a type II supernova is imminent, although in the distant future. However, there are those who believe that it may explode at any time during our own lives, its presence in the sunlit sky to be possibly far greater than those visible in 1054 and 1604 A.D....

...that is, barring an instantaneous, utter enveloping upon the event. :praying:

Not to worry, as the expanding Crab, another type II, is but a mere eleven light-years in diameter. :yay:

In short, which would be best upon the event: a static, regressive photograph, or a live observation?



#2 *skyguy*



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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

Concerning astrophotography ... there's an old saying ... "Never say Never!" ;)

#3 chboss


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:35 PM

There will always be a bit of both... :grin:

Visual observation has its special magic since no night is like another.
Depending on moon and seeing conditions the objects will make a different impression and that makes it exciting and relaxing at the same time.

best regards

#4 la200o


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:22 PM

I think the appeal of AP is creative. A good image is sort of an artwork. It's not for me, but many obviously enjoy it and get a sense of accomplishment from it.


#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:39 AM

In short, which would be best upon the event: a static, regressive photograph, or a live observation?


When people travel to the Grand Canyon, they both look and they take pictures. Myself, I happen to enjoy the visual experience more than the photographic experience, that's just my choice.

There is nothing false about an image and certainly good camera can show things that are not visible naked eye even in the amateur largest telescopes.

Telescopes are tools to be enjoyed in whatever way one pleases.


#6 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:23 PM

Again, "...falsified increase in aperture...", not the image itself.

"Telescopes are tools to be enjoyed in whatever way one pleases."

I agree.



#7 dscarpa



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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:36 PM

Lacking the smarts to do AP it's an easy choice for me. I do enjoy the work of others however and find it adds something to my viewing. David

#8 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:56 PM

I enjoy the photographs of the Hubble processed by others myself. Those to be taken by the James Webb space telescope, if it's ever launched into orbit, should prove to be even more spectacular.

#9 Lane



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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:15 AM

I was talking with the owner of a telescope store today and we got to talking about small refractors in 3" to 5" range, at which point he informed me they were almost totally useless for visual observing except for low power wide field viewing. He added that they only exist for AP.

I thought that was a strange thing for him to say, especially since he sells those kinds of refractors on mounts that are clearly not going to be used for AP and he has been an amateur astronomer at least 30 years or more. I was telling him about some of the things I had seen with my 92mm and from the way he was looking at me I am certain he did not believe a word I was saying.




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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:02 AM

Only visual

#11 t.r.



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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:19 AM

Me too! :watching: I think this quote sums it up for me...

"Considered as a collector of rare and precious things, the amateur astronomer has a great advantage over amateurs in other fields ... the amateur astronomer has access at all times to the original objects of his study; the masterworks of the heavens belong to him as much as to the great observatories of the world. And there is no privilege like that of being allowed to stand in the presence of the original." :bow:

--Robert Burnham Jr, Burnham's Celestial Handbook

#12 JIMZ7



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Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:25 AM

Likewise only visual even though I have a college degree in photography/video. :photo: Figure that out. :question: I once took pictures on a vacation & don't remember the vacation. I had to look at my pictures to remind myself what I saw. :foreheadslap:

Jim :refractor:

#13 j3ffr0



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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:48 AM

I'm 100% visual at this time. However, I love the idea of astrophotography. I think that is a joy that I will perhaps take up when I retire.

#14 Kunama


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:13 PM

Strictly visual for the refractor
Strictly a/p for the reflector .....

#15 Scott in NC

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:33 PM

I was telling him about some of the things I had seen with my 92mm and from the way he was looking at me I am certain he did not believe a word I was saying.

Hmm...sounds like he may not get out and observe much, if at all. One can be a salesman of astro gear without being an amateur astronomer. Maybe that's the case here. :shrug:

#16 moynihan



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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:34 AM

I enjoy the photographs of the Hubble processed by others myself. ...

Same here. Though at times i have done a lot of photography, i have never done AP/imaging. I leave that, like i leave wildlife photography, to those really keen on it. I do enjoy the images i see on CN, and thanks to their makers for sharing them :bow:

#17 jrbarnett


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Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

Did the creator give us eyes for looking at things or for looking at pictures of things?


- Jim

#18 Scott99



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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

Seeing the Orion nebula snap into focus in my refractor as I sit in the cold winter air has always sent a chill down my spine. A feeling I've never experienced looking at photos.

#19 sg6


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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

Always been visual, although I have 2 scopes and 2 EQ mounts that would be very good for AP.

One day I suspect I will attach a camera and give it a go. :question:

Suspect my greatest worry is that I might get something good out of it. :roflmao: :roflmao:

#20 rflinn68



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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:03 PM

Strictly visual for the refractor
Strictly a/p for the reflector .....

I have a f/4 newt astrograph and just bought the AT65EDQ for wide field. I LOVE the new apo for photography and for visual everything is so crystal clear. Star test on the apo amazed me. Now I REALLY want a bigger apo!! :lol:

#21 coopman



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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

Visual only.

#22 GOLGO13



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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:19 PM

visual only for a few reasons...1) money 2) lazy 3) mooch off others who create photos...saves me time and money :)

#23 Ziggy943



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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:51 AM

99% visual

#24 Tom S.

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:55 AM

I can totally relate to the feeling that visual observing has a certain je ne sais quoi that looking at astrophotos lacks. But let's just leave it at that.

I don't buy the idea that looking through a telescope eyepiece is more "real" than looking at photo. The light entering your pupil is highly processed and enhanced by telescope optics. If you really want some kind of direct experience of the stars, look at them with your naked eye.

Also, astrophotography for most amateurs is about much more than simply the finished product. They enjoy the process of creating the photos. I have done a little bit of AP and understand this thrill.

But frankly, I don't really understand why I'm thrilled to use telescopes, cameras, and software all made by other people to make a picture of something that's already been photographed gazillions of times, and not only that, but basically doesn't even change from one photo to the next.

#25 Messyone


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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:13 AM

Mine is for visual as I'm not at all interested in doing the hard yards for the final image....too much like work, not a hobby. Maybe, just maybe one day astro photography will suck me in. Til then I'll look at other peoples hard yards and marvel at the wonders my eyes can't see.

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