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how technological should astronomy be?

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#1 scottk

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:05 AM

I've read many posts from people with ten thousand dollar cameras complaining about updates and firmware. Going into a field to do astronomy is good. But at what point does the technology get in the way?

#2 newtoskies

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:21 AM

Personal preference is all. Besides this hobby I have another that I guess you can say I get technical. In this hobby I'm not worried about the tech stuff. The AP guys can get very technical, and that is understandable.
Surround sound....good for when I watch a documentary or movie, but not when I'm behind the ep.

#3 Maverick199

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:35 AM

When you spend ten thousand dollars on equipment, you expect top notch quality and support. That's not to say you can't be happy with a simple P & S. Its all about interest and hobby fever. I recall spending $$ on scale model but wanted the best brand of Japan and not settle for less. I have left that hobby years back. My interest then developed towards Astronomy and photography and now I want the best in both. When I spend $100 for a scope, while I expect a new package, I don't expect much in way of quality but if I spend $1000 or more, I would definitely go over an item closely.

#4 frito

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:43 AM

for visual, I agree tech can just get in the way.

AP on the other hand is a whole nother ball game, tech is nessisary for good results and repeatable sucess. yes as folks get deep into AP they end up spending tons of money and have extravagant setups, the reason is simple, to automate everything you can automate thus making the good results repeatable and easier to achieve consistantly. that being said one does not have to have an extravagant setup starting off with wide field, something as simple as a DSLR piggybacked on a visual scope on a EQ mount is all that is needed to get going and that is far from an extravagant setup.

#5 Ed Wiley

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 12:08 PM

Tech gets in the way when you no longer enjoy astronomy because you have to futz with too much stuff.

Ed

#6 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 12:23 PM

I've read many posts from people with ten thousand dollar cameras complaining about updates and firmware. Going into a field to do astronomy is good. But at what point does the technology get in the way?


That is a very good question, and the answer will vary from one person to another. My philosophy is, its not the technology that gets in the way. What gets in the way is obsessing over the minutiae and ignoring the grandeur of the universe...

To counter this possibility I have two telescopes. One is set up of imaging, and the other is strictly for observing...

My visual rig is a simple Bird-Jones newt on a simple gem with tracking motors and a hand controller. I do a rough alignment to get me close and I use the hand control to keep things in the FOV.

Once I get my imaging session going I just back and star hop. The only better therapy is twisting the right grip on my Harley...

#7 frito

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 12:28 PM

Yeah I do the same when i'm imaging away from home, i'll get my imaging rig setup and get it going then go do visual in my dob while it shoots away. once a basic automated imaging rig is setup its pretty trivial to keep it running leaving plenty of time to do visual in between changing settings on the computer and telling it to GO!

#8 Cliff Hipsher

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 12:30 PM

Tech gets in the way when you no longer enjoy astronomy because you have to futz with too much stuff.

Ed


Another way to look at this is tech gets in the way when you don't know why your futzing with what you're futzing with... :roflmao:

#9 Kon Dealer

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:38 PM

The only tech. I use is "goto".
If it were not for goto, I would not have seen a tenth of what I have seen.
LP kills the manual astronomer.

#10 Maverick199

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:46 PM

The only tech. I use is "goto".
If it were not for goto, I would not have seen a tenth of what I have seen.
LP kills the manual astronomer.


Absolutely! While star hopping is fun and rewarding, those like me who live in heavily light polluted cities get very little time and in that time, we want to see as much as we can. Also gives us more time viewing the object hands free then nudging the scope = more observing time.

Just to correct the equation, its not like only AP'ers spend $$, there are many amateur astronomers who spend $$ on super duper Refractors and Reflectors. Aperture rules so why not just settle for a simple mass produced Dobsonian? I am sure some will argue stating they prefer better optics, strehl, mechanical quality etc., I am sure folks don't buy Delos or Ethos for AP, point being, people spend and there is nothing wrong if that's their interest in the hobby.

#11 mich_al

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 02:31 PM

I've read many posts from people with ten thousand dollar cameras complaining about updates and firmware. Going into a field to do astronomy is good. But at what point does the technology get in the way?


Highly personal thing. Keep it as simple or as complex as you want. I personally like it fairly simple. The more complex it gets the more futzing is needed and the more that can go wrong to screw up the evening. For me astronomy is for relaxing and enjoying the wonders NOT some endeavor to see haw big a stack of electronics/optics/money I can manupulate into something.

#12 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 02:31 PM

It's amazing the odds and ends, and other do-dads that are out there available for the amateur astronomer, much of it having to do with polishing the cannon ball and not really indulging the hobby. When one starts asking "Are we having fun, yet", then maybe it's time to stand back and re-evaluate if what one's doing is actually worth doing at all.

#13 jrcrilly

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 02:41 PM

When one starts asking "Are we having fun, yet", then maybe it's time to stand back and re-evaluate if what one's doing is actually worth doing at all.


I've not seen anyone ask that; folks are capable of telling whether they are having fun or not. If someone ever did have trouble determining it, asking someone else surely wouldn't help. How would someone else know? The key is to do what one enjoys and not to worry about what others are doing or using.

#14 GeneT

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 02:43 PM

I'm an old guy and have stayed with visual only. Many younger people are tech savvy, and AP is just another technological venue for them to pursue. People are getting stunning results with fairly modest telescopes. Advances in photo chips and software are what make this possible. The money spreads are quite wide. Some people are satisfied with spending only a small amount of money. Others not. I have a friend who was not satisfied until he had purchased a mount costing $10K. People's interests and budgets sort all this out.

#15 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 03:31 PM

When one starts asking "Are we having fun, yet(?)", then maybe it's time to stand back and re-evaluate if what one's doing is actually worth doing at all.


I've not seen anyone ask that; folks are capable of telling whether they are having fun or not.


Sorry, it was simply a rhetorical question.

#16 mayidunk

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 04:00 PM

I've read many posts from people with ten thousand dollar cameras complaining about updates and firmware. Going into a field to do astronomy is good. But at what point does the technology get in the way?

In my opinion, it's when it interferes with what you really want to do!

For instance, having a good GOTO mount makes it so much easier to view "what's up!" For me, that works, and never gets in my way. However, for others, it may get in the way if their first desire is to learn the sky the way that others before us have. As for AP, I have not attempted to try that as of yet. However, I can see where starting simple can be a boon, allowing one to see where improvements might be made, while at the same time learning basics skills while experiencing some level of instant gratification. This, as opposed to spending so much time analyzing every aspect of the technology available, then expending all of your efforts, and time, trying to make it all work together. However, that in no way implies that going through this process is not in line with what makes this enjoyable for many people, because it does!

In the end, the final image (whether in the eyepiece, or on the computer screen) is the goal. The process of getting there is a very large part of that enjoyment! However, the point at which YMMV will depend upon how much time, and effort you want to put into the process that gets you to that goal.

They say that the voyage is more about the trip than it is about arriving at your destination. My experience is that I have enjoyed the trip as much as the destination. For some, they just can't seem to arrive because they're just having too much fun getting there, while others just can't wait to get there. In all cases, they have fun!

(At least, we all hope they do...) :grin:

#17 brianb11213

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 04:06 PM

Technology, however complex, when it's needed and when you know how to use it, fine. For beginners, electronic gizmos attached to telescopes are IMHO unneccessary at best, and usually far more trouble than they're worth. The only exception here is a good planetarium program running on a laptop computer, used to plan observing sessions, really worth while & I wish they'd been around when I was learning ...

There are two main reasons for not having electronics integrated into scopes: one, a failure in the electronics makes the thing junk; two, money spent on electronic gizmos is money which could be better spent on a more solid mount and/or better optics. An all singing, all dancing, wobbly mount is utterly useless!

#18 obin robinson

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 05:34 PM

But at what point does the technology get in the way?


To put it simple technology gets in the way when you can no longer enjoy astronomy. I'm sure that there are people who think a "simple" or "low tech" telescope rig would give them displeasure because it won't do what they want it to. Some people are happy with the basics whereas others are happy with complexity and versatility.

If you truly enjoy multiple computers, high end cameras, computerized mounts, and sophisticated focusing/collimation gear then it becomes part of your personal astronomy experience. It all has to do with what you as a person enjoy doing. As long as technology isn't getting into your way then enjoy what it is doing for you.

obin :)

#19 Achernar

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 08:04 PM

Astronomy will be as technological as those who participate in are technological, no more and no less. For those who just prefer the basics there is just as much roon in astronomy as those who enjoy the latest electronic cameras and computerized telescopes.

Taras

#20 Seldom

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 08:45 PM

Back when astronomy was being invented a straight stick (gnoemon) and clay tablets were regarded as high tech. I just used the stick to calculate my latitude. (Inspired by Fred Hoyle.) If you are interested in the basics, there's still a lot you can do with a pencil and calculator.

#21 stevew

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 09:39 PM

Tech gets in the way when you no longer enjoy astronomy because you have to futz with too much stuff.

Ed

I agree. I had a 'Go To" mount for about 3 months, I spent more time looking at the hand controller than the sky.
I sold it.
Besides I can "Go To" much faster than the motors on the mount.
Give me a telescope with good optics, and a star to steer her by, and I'm happy.

Steve

#22 DarkDisplay

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 09:50 PM

There was a time when people were happier and healthier without so much technology. Something to think about.

As for astronomy, a dark sky and two good eyes are hard to beat. Optically, I could get by with a decent binocular and scope. Remember, the folks we consider the greats of astronomy didn't have what we have to work with.

Best wishes,
Frank

#23 okieav8r

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 10:18 PM

Astronomy will be as technological as those who participate in are technological, no more and no less. For those who just prefer the basics there is just as much roon in astronomy as those who enjoy the latest electronic cameras and computerized telescopes.

Taras


Well said. Whether you do it old school or are a gearhead who uses the latest technology, there is room for everyone in this hobby. I'll never understand those who criticize everyone else for not doing it their way.

#24 herrointment

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:26 PM

The tech aspect of the hobby was part of the draw when I came back to it. I refused to learn how to operate a computer until 2010!

So bring on the tech....it's interesting!

#25 FJA

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 05:30 AM

It can be as technological or not as you want it to be. I don't like too much technology when I'm observing, because it just gets in the way, at the moment the most technological item on my scope is a dew zapper on my Telrad. That said I'm planning to get Argo Navis DSCs in the near future, but that's as technological as I intend to get.
I see imagers at star parties with enough cabling to circle the Equator five times and more blinking lights than the Starship Enterprise. It's not for me but other people enjoy that kind of observing. Each to their own.






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