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#1 Philler

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:26 PM

I might as well get this beef off my chest. I hate it when I hear an observer use the term "faint fuzzy" referring to DSOs. ("Oh well, just another faint fuzzy"). I have never used or ever will use this damaging  cliche' "faint fuzzy" describing a DSO or any other sky object.  One of the first things is that one can use it carelessly in front of the public at an outreach and leave a negative impression of amateur astronomy. You put a false impression in the minds of the public, especially aspiring beginners, that they can expect to see little from most DSOs. 

Now true, many objects are faint, but I, personally, don't see "fuzzy" when I look through my scope at a DSO.  I see the potential for detail and many times I am rewarded and surprised when I look at even the most illusive DSO. And when I read what other dedicated individuals here on CN observe, I read about the detail they find in DSOs they observe, and I sure don't read the word "fuzzy" in their descriptions.

I can understand those who, for whatever reasons,have to observe from  light polluted areas that are definately not dark sky areas, that they are not going to see much, But please, do our hobby a service and outreach to the public by not creating the impression that most of what we are observing are just a bunch of fuzzy puffs.. 


Edited by Philler, 17 August 2014 - 07:31 PM.


#2 kfiscus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:33 PM

Using the offending term might be lowering their expectations a little but they'very seen THOUSANDS of misleading images whose cumulative raising of expectations outweighs any harm you fear causing.


Edited by kfiscus, 17 August 2014 - 08:04 PM.

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#3 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:41 PM

I find the appellation quite apt in many cases. No matter how strenuously I might engage my imagination, certain objects with given aperture will never surpass the 'faint fuzzy' state to my eyes. Objects near the limit of detection necessarily must present little if any detail.

 

And it's better to be realistic about such matters with the uninitiated. I'm sure it does no harm to forewarn folk about the subtlety of these objects. Why, even the more spectacular objects leave some saying, "meh." 


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#4 herrointment

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 08:06 PM

They are what they is.


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#5 kfiscus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 08:06 PM

The list of DSOs that are presentable to the uninitiated is VERY short and they aren't that faint.


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#6 Feidb

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 08:24 PM

I use it all the time and don't find it the least bit offensive. I'm a strict visual observer and have logged almost two thousand faint fuzzies in almost five decades. I'm pretty dedicated to this stuff and I find a lot of other terms far more irritating, though none offensive.

 

I dare say this falls into the politically correct spectrum for some people. Just like when we're suddenly not supposed to use the term "newbie" anymore for new amateurs. Come on now! I personally don't care for being called an amateur astronomer, though I use it all the time to define myself for lack of a better term. Geez, time to take a chill pill and not let this stuff get to us. I was just on another discussion earlier today about what's a "serious" amateur. Now that term want's to make me gag, for a lot of reasons.

 

If I don't like a term, I just ignore it or don't use it myself. I your case, I think you should just do the same. As for those outside the hobby getting the wrong impression? I think there are a lot more things to give them the wrong impression than such a trivial term like faint fuzzy, especially when it's such a descriptively accurate word, coming from someone who has looked at thousands of them (a general term, mind you). I'm also sure there are plenty of people that can pick my language apart and find a hundred ways to twist my words around. After all, this IS a discussion forum. I really don't care. To each his own.

 

A couple of others also mentioned that at outreaches, we're not likely to show them faint fuzzies anyway. They're going to see the "tourist" objects, the ones that will slap them in the face. Then again, they're going to expect those Hubble images they see on the box of that scope they may have bought at the big box retailer with the 2-inch objective that they couldn't see, and still can't with a big Dob. Go figure... 



#7 jrbarnett

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 08:59 PM

I might as well get this beef off my chest. I hate it when I hear an observer use the term "faint fuzzy" referring to DSOs. ("Oh well, just another faint fuzzy"). I have never used or ever will use this damaging  cliche' "faint fuzzy" describing a DSO or any other sky object.  One of the first things is that one can use it carelessly in front of the public at an outreach and leave a negative impression of amateur astronomy. You put a false impression in the minds of the public, especially aspiring beginners, that they can expect to see little from most DSOs. 

Now true, many objects are faint, but I, personally, don't see "fuzzy" when I look through my scope at a DSO.  I see the potential for detail and many times I am rewarded and surprised when I look at even the most illusive DSO. And when I read what other dedicated individuals here on CN observe, I read about the detail they find in DSOs they observe, and I sure don't read the word "fuzzy" in their descriptions.

I can understand those who, for whatever reasons,have to observe from  light polluted areas that are definately not dark sky areas, that they are not going to see much, But please, do our hobby a service and outreach to the public by not creating the impression that most of what we are observing are just a bunch of fuzzy puffs.. 

From one of my old MIAITU signatures..."I never say anything looks like a faint fuzzy.  Not even a faint fuzzy."

 

:lol:

 

- Jim


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#8 Pinbout

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 09:00 PM

http://www.faintfuzzies.com/

 

You need to talk with alvin heuy, one of the best galaxy hunters.



#9 JimMo

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 09:05 PM

Really?  The term "faint fuzzy" annoys you?  To paraphrase Herrointment up thread, they is what they are.   :grin:


Edited by JimMo, 17 August 2014 - 09:08 PM.


#10 Philler

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:19 PM

I use it all the time and don't find it the least bit offensive. I'm a strict visual observer and have logged almost two thousand faint fuzzies in almost five decades. I'm pretty dedicated to this stuff and I find a lot of other terms far more irritating, though none offensive.

 

I dare say this falls into the politically correct spectrum for some people. Just like when we're suddenly not supposed to use the term "newbie" anymore for new amateurs. Come on now! I personally don't care for being called an amateur astronomer, though I use it all the time to define myself for lack of a better term. Geez, time to take a chill pill and not let this stuff get to us. I was just on another discussion earlier today about what's a "serious" amateur. Now that term want's to make me gag, for a lot of reasons.

 

If I don't like a term, I just ignore it or don't use it myself. I your case, I think you should just do the same. As for those outside the hobby getting the wrong impression? I think there are a lot more things to give them the wrong impression than such a trivial term like faint fuzzy, especially when it's such a descriptively accurate word, coming from someone who has looked at thousands of them (a general term, mind you). I'm also sure there are plenty of people that can pick my language apart and find a hundred ways to twist my words around. After all, this IS a discussion forum. I really don't care. To each his own.

 

A couple of others also mentioned that at outreaches, we're not likely to show them faint fuzzies anyway. They're going to see the "tourist" objects, the ones that will slap them in the face. Then again, they're going to expect those Hubble images they see on the box of that scope they may have bought at the big box retailer with the 2-inch objective that they couldn't see, and still can't with a big Dob. Go figure...

 

 By all means it's a free country, go ahead and use the term, but I never will.  And when did I say I was offended?  I don't know where you are coming up with this falling into political correctness. I don't care anything about political correctness. What's that got to do with astronomy? I think you are trying to read something into what i said which is not there.  And I don't need a chill pill, unless you need one.

 

 

I picked your reply because you seem to take what i said personally and I don't know why. You seem so defensive about this. I was simply expressing my opinion and was not singling out anyone here.

 

BTW, in the thousands of "faint fuzzies" you have observed, do you see any detail in any of them, or are they just faint fuzz balls?


Edited by Philler, 17 August 2014 - 11:32 PM.


#11 csrlice12

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:38 PM

Giant dustbunnies in the sky.....


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#12 Philler

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:12 AM

I find the appellation quite apt in many cases. No matter how strenuously I might engage my imagination, certain objects with given aperture will never surpass the 'faint fuzzy' state to my eyes. Objects near the limit of detection necessarily must present little if any detail.

 

And it's better to be realistic about such matters with the uninitiated. I'm sure it does no harm to forewarn folk about the subtlety of these objects. Why, even the more spectacular objects leave some saying, "meh." 

 

First Glenn I admire your work here.

 

But let's suppose you have someone completely new to observation and astronomy before you at your scope and they ask you what to expect to see in deep sky objects if they bought say an 8" Dob. Would you tell them that most of them are faint fuzzies? What if they started naming a bunch of specific DSOs, Would you tell them specific details either you have seen or others have generally seen?  

It's a bit ironic that most DSOs are referred to as faint fuzzies, yet I read over and over here and elsewhere people, including myself, go into the details they see on lots of different DSOs, some can be fairly easily seen, but more can be faint and illusive.  If I came to the Deep Sky Forum here on CN and just read that members were saying things like, "all I see are faint fuzzies", I think I would leave.


Edited by Philler, 18 August 2014 - 12:15 AM.


#13 csrlice12

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:26 AM

My master plan to corner the faint fuzzy photon market is unfolding beautifully, soon they'll be all mine, and they'll be faint fuzzies nomore....MUHAHAHA..... :lol:



#14 Philler

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:00 AM

Really?  The term "faint fuzzy" annoys you?  To paraphrase Herrointment up thread, they is what they are.   :grin:

 

Really? "they is what they are"  And are faint fuzzies all you see when you look at them in your scope?


Edited by Philler, 18 August 2014 - 01:01 AM.


#15 jethro

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:59 AM

I think I'm a serious faint fuzzy observer.
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#16 pepit

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:48 AM

You may find ''faint fuzzy'' an annoying term, but most of the time it's pretty accurate. Most deep sky objects are like that - they are faint, and they look fuzzy (something can look fuzzy even if there is some detail to be seen) - hence the name faint fuzzy. Maybe a bit depressing, but it's true.

 

And who said faint fuzzes aren't pretty? I mean, we all observe and enjoy them! Some of the grandest sights I have seen are, in fact, faint fuzzes. For me, this term doesn't tell us how dull galaxies and nebulae are, but how hard it is to get a good view of most deep sky objects. 

 

As to the impact of using this description in outreach, I partly agree. Yes, beginners may be put down by the term, but with a little more context they can realize why a ''faint fuzzy'' isn't necessarily boring - more like ''challenging, but beautiful''.


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#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:04 AM

But let's suppose you have someone completely new to observation and astronomy before you at your scope and they ask you what to expect to see in deep sky objects if they bought say an 8" Dob. Would you tell them that most of them are faint fuzzies?


You bet! Anybody who can't accept that fact isn't going to last long in this hobby. Saturn and the Moon are supercool, but you're going to get pretty tired of astronomy if that's all you ever look at.

It's always interesting to show the same object to multiple people at a public star party. About half of them take a quick look, yawn, and let the next person look. The other half look and say "oh wow!" Yes, even about things that are indisputably fuzzy and faint. The former are clearly not cut out for the hobby; the latter might be.

It's a bit ironic that most DSOs are referred to as faint fuzzies, yet I read over and over here and elsewhere people, including myself, go into the details they see on lots of different DSOs ...


I don't see the contradiction. The overwhelming majority of objects visible in any telescope are faint fuzzies. But that doesn't mean you can't see any detail in them -- on the contrary.

For a deep-sky observer, "faint fuzzy" is a term of praise.
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#18 Philler

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:22 AM

 

But let's suppose you have someone completely new to observation and astronomy before you at your scope and they ask you what to expect to see in deep sky objects if they bought say an 8" Dob. Would you tell them that most of them are faint fuzzies?


You bet! Anybody who can't accept that fact isn't going to last long in this hobby. Saturn and the Moon are supercool, but you're going to get pretty tired of astronomy if that's all you ever look at.

It's always interesting to show the same object to multiple people at a public star party. About half of them take a quick look, yawn, and let the next person look. The other half look and say "oh wow!" Yes, even about things that are indisputably fuzzy and faint. The former are clearly not cut out for the hobby; the latter might be.

It's a bit ironic that most DSOs are referred to as faint fuzzies, yet I read over and over here and elsewhere people, including myself, go into the details they see on lots of different DSOs ...

I don't see the contradiction. The overwhelming majority of objects visible in any telescope are faint fuzzies. But that doesn't mean you can't see any detail in them -- on the contrary.

For a deep-sky observer, "faint fuzzy" is a term of praise.

 

Well, I thought I was asking Glenn.    Anyway, I would prefer to praise them by expressing the details I can see in them even if they are faint  rather than labeling them faint fuzzies.  To me, the right term of praise is cool, awesome deep sky objects not faint fuzzies.

 


Edited by Philler, 18 August 2014 - 06:26 AM.


#19 Philler

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:43 AM

You may find ''faint fuzzy'' an annoying term, but most of the time it's pretty accurate. Most deep sky objects are like that - they are faint, and they look fuzzy (something can look fuzzy even if there is some detail to be seen) - hence the name faint fuzzy. Maybe a bit depressing, but it's true.

 

And who said faint fuzzes aren't pretty? I mean, we all observe and enjoy them! Some of the grandest sights I have seen are, in fact, faint fuzzes. For me, this term doesn't tell us how dull galaxies and nebulae are, but how hard it is to get a good view of most deep sky objects. 

 

As to the impact of using this description in outreach, I partly agree. Yes, beginners may be put down by the term, but with a little more context they can realize why a ''faint fuzzy'' isn't necessarily boring - more like ''challenging, but beautiful''.

 

I knew that the majority would be faint and challenging to see before I got into this hobby almost  30 years ago. And I agree that they are indeed grand, beautiful, challenging, misty, illusive and yes faint, but i have never thought of them as fuzzy.  


Edited by Philler, 18 August 2014 - 06:50 AM.


#20 Philler

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:52 AM

 

You may find ''faint fuzzy'' an annoying term, but most of the time it's pretty accurate. Most deep sky objects are like that - they are faint, and they look fuzzy (something can look fuzzy even if there is some detail to be seen) - hence the name faint fuzzy. Maybe a bit depressing, but it's true.

 

And who said faint fuzzes aren't pretty? I mean, we all observe and enjoy them! Some of the grandest sights I have seen are, in fact, faint fuzzes. For me, this term doesn't tell us how dull galaxies and nebulae are, but how hard it is to get a good view of most deep sky objects. 

 

As to the impact of using this description in outreach, I partly agree. Yes, beginners may be put down by the term, but with a little more context they can realize why a ''faint fuzzy'' isn't necessarily boring - more like ''challenging, but beautiful''.

 

I knew that the majority would be faint and challenging to see before I got into this hobby almost 30 years ago. And I agree that they are indeed grand, beautiful, challenging, misty, illusive and yes faint, but I have never thought of them in terms of being "fuzzy." 

 



#21 amicus sidera

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:49 AM

"Faint fuzzy" is one of those "cute" terms that seem to enter general use from time to time in any circle of initiates. While I think that the OP certainly has a point, in that its use does indeed lessen the avocation to a degree, it's only one of a multitude of things that do so; I'm considerably more put out by owners of $5000 computerized telescopes asking me to point out Vega or Arcturus to them for alignment purposes. :undecided:


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#22 jrbarnett

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:10 AM

 

Really?  The term "faint fuzzy" annoys you?  To paraphrase Herrointment up thread, they is what they are.   :grin:

 

Really? "they is what they are"  And are faint fuzzies all you see when you look at them in your scope?

 

Nope.  And no one said that faint fuzzies are all that can be seen.  But many targets are both dim and indistinct.  Is there a point in here somewhere?

 

There's no question that in every scope from every location there is a significant percentage of all that is observable for which the term "faint fuzzy" is an efficient descriptor.  It is a variable subset of all that is visible through a given telescopes under a given set of conditions.  There are objects that appear as faint fuzzies in my 80mm f/6 that yield loads of detail in my 16" f/5.1.  

 

By analogy it's like weather - a variable circumstance-dependent condition.  "It's grey and dreary."  It's not grey and dreary every day, nor from every location on any given day, but when it is grey and dreary from the observer's position, it's fair to dub it "grey and dreary".  

 

So if we were to not use the descriptive term "faint fuzzy" to describe the subset of targets that appear as both faint and indistinct in a given scope under a given set of conditions, what term would be more efficient and descriptive in your opinion?

 

Now here's a term that bugs me..."Semi-APO".  "APO" is binary - either it is or it isn't.  Like a light switch.  The light cannot be "semi-on".  :lol:

 

Regards,

 

Jim 


Edited by jrbarnett, 18 August 2014 - 09:12 AM.

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#23 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:23 AM


Now here's a term that bugs me..."Semi-APO".  "APO" is binary - either it is or it isn't.  Like a light switch.  The light cannot be "semi-on".   :lol:

 

Regards,

 

Jim 

 

 

 

Schrodinger's light switch is both on-and-off.  Until you walk into the room.  ;)


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#24 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:24 AM

I was observing several nebulae Saturday night with a 70" Dob.  NONE of them were faint, or even especially fuzzy.  :)


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#25 clmurphy74

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:46 AM

 One of the first things is that one can use it carelessly in front of the public at an outreach and leave a negative impression of amateur astronomy. You put a false impression in the minds of the public, especially aspiring beginners, that they can expect to see little from most DSOs. 

 

Now true, many objects are faint, but I, personally, don't see "fuzzy" when I look through my scope at a DSO.  I see the potential for detail and many times I am rewarded and surprised when I look at even the most illusive DSO. And when I read what other dedicated individuals here on CN observe, I read about the detail they find in DSOs they observe, and I sure don't read the word "fuzzy" in their descriptions. 

 

Most people at outreach events, like I had about 15-20 years ago, want full color, easy to see objects in the EP. 

At a novice session this weekend, I got to see the Ring Nebula (M57), having read here and been told by the gentleman who own the 12" dob, indeed see something, faint grey fuzziness.  What I saw came from having proper expectations.  The best view of M57 happened as I was stepping away from the EP, both relaxing my vision and not looking at it directly.  Suddenly, BAM! There it was.  After that, knowing more where to look in the EP, I did see some faint fuzziness.  The seeing conditions were not perfect and the other young lady deserved a look, so I did not have the luxury of standing there, teasing even more details out of the fuzziness.








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