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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377457 - 08/20/12 12:27 PM

Quote:



I know a guy that does only visual.
He loves to tell me 'You image, I imagine'.




Beautiful! "Suffice to say, what we behold is censored by our eyes."

(And, "I know a girl from a tribe so primitive, she can call me up without no telephone.")


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MrJones
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Reged: 09/15/10

Loc: Indiana
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5377528 - 08/20/12 12:59 PM

Quote:

I'm baffled by such "controversy."




Same. People do AP for the same reasons anyone does photography. And I don't know anyone that does AP that doesn't also enjoy visual astronomy.


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Maverick199
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377595 - 08/20/12 01:41 PM

Quote:

I've been trying to do AP for four years.
Admittedly I get out once a month at most.
I've had two pretty nice rigs. A NexStar11GPS and currently A Sirius mount with an AT6RC.
I have a total of about 5 images that are recognizable.

I will retire at the end of the year and hope to be able to spend more time on the endeavor, but I'm the first to tell you it's extremely frustrating and requires a lot of patience.




You have a much more versatile and should I say adequate equipment for imaging and I am pretty certain your skies or access to darker sites would be much more than mine, unless your sky condition is the limiting factor. I have as I said earlier minimal equipment and have dozens of good images from a severely light polluted and heavily populated city. No reason why you should feel frustrated in my honest opinion unless you are trying to attain perfection.

Quote:

I know a guy that does only visual.
He loves to tell me 'You image, I imagine'.




I would love to tell him, "You imagine, I will transform your imagination into an image".


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DonR
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/15/06

Loc: Georgia, USA
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5377632 - 08/20/12 01:57 PM

Quote:


I would bet I have seen a dozen recent posts here in the beginner forum saying, in essence, "I want to get into AP soon" or "scope would be for visual and first but AP later." I wonder if many of these folks realize the major investment in time, equipment, money and frustration involved in astrophotography at any level beyond sticking an iphone up to the eyepiece?





Be careful about sticking that iPhone up to the eyepiece - that's how many of us got started. My foray into astrophotography started innocently, with a telescope and primitive digital camera that I already had. That zero initial investment didn't pay off with great images, but neither were they disappointing or frustrating. Each one was uniquely mine, and the more problems I have had to solve to achieve better images, the more I have enjoyed the challenge.

Solving some of those problems has involved spending money. I have taken those financial steps one at a time, attempting to determine what expenditure would advance my capabilities without leading me into a dead end. I think most of my choices have been good ones, and none of them have been financially burdensome. For the money I've spent over several years, I could have purchased a premium large dobsonian, a nice apo triplet refractor or a decent mass-produced Ritchey-Chretien reflector, but I wouldn't be able to see nearly as much detail with them as I can in my images, without leaving my suburban back yard. And then there's the color ...

I believe in maximizing the benefits of expenditures where possible. A capable GEM, a premium focuser, a first class set of collimation tools - these are all investments that will pay dividends for visual astronomy even if the astrophotography bug fades away. Some beginners will heed the cautions and some won't. Some who don't will stick with astrophotography and some won't. I would caution anyone against jumping into the deep end of astrophotography without spending some time with visual astronomy, but I would also caution anyone who struggles with visual astronomy against concluding that astrophotography is out of the question. I know the night sky pretty well, having spent a couple of years with a 10" dob, star-hopping and just browsing. But it turns out that isn't very important in astrophotography. As Jon pointed out, astrophotography and visual astronomy really are two different hobbies.

To expand on what Tori wrote, astrophotography is about both the journey and the destination for me. The technical challenges, the creative possibilities and the satisfaction of achieving a unique and pleasing image, even if it only pleases me, are all things I enjoy. Knowing that there will always be room for improvement is part of what keeps me going.


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RTLR 12
Post Laureate
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Reged: 12/04/08

Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: DonR]
      #5377715 - 08/20/12 02:44 PM

I bought a DSI camera for $100 about 3 months after I bought my 8SE. I was told you can't do AP with an 8SE. The first night I got some very good shots of Jupiter. The second night out I got the Orion Nebulae and started the processing learning curve. I moved on to a CG-5 with the C8 and an 80mm guide scope. I was also told you can't AP with this set up. I'm glad people know that they can't do things, but don't tell me what I can and can not do. I know better. I'll decide that for myself.

Stan


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5377857 - 08/20/12 03:54 PM

i agree with Tori, there really is no justifying it, the only thing we need to justify is plunking down thousands to support said hobby unless of course we have no one else to justify it to... i, for one, will probably eventually dabble with AP, when i can afford to, for now, i just love getting out there and gazing at the wonders above.. visual all the way... but if i could, i would slap down 10 G's and put together a little rig like a TMB130, with Losmandy G11 and a decent CCD..

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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5377884 - 08/20/12 04:07 PM Attachment (143 downloads)

I must say that I get a huge kick out of all this talk of how expensive imaging is. After looking at what some eyepieces cost visual can be pretty darned expensive as well. Like most things, just because it can be expensive doesn't mean it has to be. Way back when we used to build our own cameras (and scopes) and develop our own film which engrained a strong sense of do it yourself and not being affraid to experiment just for the joy of it. That for me is the huge loss, somewhere along the line we lost the joy of learning something new. Just because someone else doesn't 'get it' should never slow us down.

One of these days I'll dig up some pictures of my old imaging gear, but just as a more modern example this is what I learned one this time around (my 4th trip though imaging)....


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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377895 - 08/20/12 04:12 PM Attachment (116 downloads)

I still have an absolute blast with simple kit when I'm in the mood for some fun. Never, ever, ever let anyone tell you what can and can't be done...

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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377904 - 08/20/12 04:14 PM Attachment (162 downloads)

And what you can do today with a modern DSLR is simply amazing. The key is patience, taking things one step at a time, and enjoy the ride. After a year with my little StarBlast DS-2000 gig I eventually put this puppy together. It served me well for many years...

Edited by jgraham (08/20/12 04:19 PM)


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5377910 - 08/20/12 04:19 PM Attachment (134 downloads)

And yes, I still love to get in some serious eyepiece time. In fact, I really enjoy how the imaging and visual expeiences enhance each other. Taking my own images and seeing that objects look like before they are processed beyond all recognition has been a great help. Plus, my source images make the best darned star maps ever.

Each should enjoy their little slice of heaven, in this case my homebuilt 16.5" f/6.7 Newtonian. I had this out a couple of nights ago trying to spot the central star in M57, pesky little bugger...


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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/17/12

Loc: Romeoville IL
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5377955 - 08/20/12 04:39 PM

The main problem with AP is it just sounds soooooo much easier than it is. You don't realize visually how imperfect tracking is, and I didn't realize just how quickly the sky is moving until I did AP. Yeah from the beginning of a viewing session to the end the sky is completely different, but seeing star trails after just a few seconds of imaging for me really showed me how dramatic it was.

It is extremely costly which a lot of people getting into it don't realize, and difficult to product something good. My problem was I did planetary stuff first which was easy. Just record a few thousand frames let registax do most of the work, a little Photoshop and poof Saturn or Jupiter. I like showing them off to my coworkers who are amazed at the kind of pictures I'm able to produce. DSO's are another nightmare and unfortunately the next "logical" step from planetary.

I do regret not taking more time on the visual side, mainly because I wish my bank account had more time to rebound after the scope purchase. I've now spend more on AP than my scope, with images worth bragging about. I'm too proud and too deep into hardware now to give up without getting some results, so that's where I stand. I buy almost everything second hand and I’m still buying the cheaper stuff. Can’t bring myself to spend thousands on a camera. But that’s probably the difference between someone that has pictures worth bragging about and me. They made the investment were I want the shortcut.
I don’t fault anyone for wanting to get into it, but I caution everyone I see post about it. More on the unknown costs that will be associated with it. It’s not my job to tell another adult what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Someone can buy a 16” dob and try to turn it into a canon…who am I to judge?

Jim


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TopherTheME
sage
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Reged: 02/11/11

Loc: Rochester, MI
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5378035 - 08/20/12 05:22 PM

Quote:

I bought a DSI camera for $100 about 3 months after I bought my 8SE. I was told you can't do AP with an 8SE. The first night I got some very good shots of Jupiter. The second night out I got the Orion Nebulae and started the processing learning curve. I moved on to a CG-5 with the C8 and an 80mm guide scope. I was also told you can't AP with this set up. I'm glad people know that they can't do things, but don't tell me what I can and can not do. I know better. I'll decide that for myself.

Stan




My thoughts exactly. I jumped into a AP shortly after my first scope when I was a beginner (still am). I shot the moon and bright objects through my dob and later on bought a EQ-1 and Orion ST80 for $150. It wasn't a great AP setup but it allowed me to take 1min exposures at 400mm with little to no star trails.

I personally don't find AP all that difficult and never really did when I started (although I'm not all the way up the learning curve). It just takes a little bit of time and patience. I think just because some people are incapable of doing things, they automatically think other people are incapable of them as well.

Picture of M101 from the second time I ever used my CG-5.


Edited by TopherTheME (08/20/12 05:29 PM)


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Jb32828
sage
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Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Orlando, FL USA
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: TopherTheME]
      #5378227 - 08/20/12 07:33 PM

Anyone who thinks "it cant be done on inexpensive rig X" really oughta find jgraham's old threads on his AP efforts with his ETX, of which I still have bookmarked in my browser.

Because of the proliferation of the DSLR camera at prices that make them available to the masses, many beginners who buy their first scopes already have a DSLR. I did. Its not a real stretch to imagine taking pictures of what they are viewing in their first scopes.

Here is the rub though. The marketing machine that steers people to the SCT for that combination of aperture with a goto computer, has also convinced people that simply adding your DSLR enables one to take astrophotos. To an extent, yes. The reality is that its cool to get that novelty first picture out of an SCT, but past that, the long focal length combined with either a fork mount without a wedge, or an SE type mount, isnt conducive to getting one to the next level of imaging. It requires at the best case a wedge; at the worst case a new mount...then you get the welcome excercise when you realize there is a lot more to getting nice round stars in a long focal length instrument than just buying equipment.

Unfortunately For me, I went through this excercise; more fortunate for me was that I took the advice of buying used gear to start. When I figured out all of this, I didnt take much of a loss at all when I rebult my rig. So now I happily move along with an imaging rig, and an eyeballs rig. My equipment allows me to do imaging work that I would place in the "very good " category, allowing me to enjoy my hobby from home, while my eyeballs use a dob that gets me deep enough at a dark sky site that I will have my hands full for many years working to finish my Messier pin and move on to the Herschels.

Lastly, lets not forget that while it takes at least a GEM, a scope and a camera, the quality of an image isnt solely dependant on the amount of money spent...a lot of image quality depends on the technique and experience level of the person operating the camera and processing the image.

Edited by Jb32828 (08/20/12 07:35 PM)


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BSJ
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Grand Isle, VT
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5378278 - 08/20/12 08:11 PM

Oh the marketing machine! The dealers and the magazines would all go out of business if they didn't have an infinite supply of people trying to upgrade their equipment, one piece at a time, just to get that one bit better than the last shot.

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Tim2723
The Moon Guy
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Reged: 02/19/04

Loc: Northern New Jersey
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5378340 - 08/20/12 08:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

And that, Brian, is ample justification for the hobby.




This is not a critism at all for your statement, please don't take it as such. Your statement got me thinking... Why does anyone need any justification for a hobby?

If people want to do it, they should. If they're grossly underestimating the effort required that's their problem, but it doesn't mean they're making a mistake.




Don't worry, I understand what you mean, and you got it. We don't need justification. It's a 'because it's there' kind of thing.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5378631 - 08/21/12 12:20 AM

You make some good points Jason. There is a very, very steep learning curve that takes hold when you become dedicated to imaging. Some say becoming obsessed. Either way, there is a point initially where you get a fairly decent image that you wouldn't mind framing and putting on the wall. It's at this point where you consider moving into longer FL, or fainter / smaller objects with an eye to moving from the DSLR into the cooled CCD realm. Oh, and yes, the $6,000+ mount begins to look more of a requirement and less of a dream.... and yep, that $3000 APO is a must too .... and for mid-range and higher equipment costs, these are just the entry level costs. Also for cooled CCDs with filter wheels and filters, factor in at least another $3000+... for starters.

But, that's the path many of the dedicated imagers have taken and there's a reason for it. Many imagers have produced some excellent work with an Atlas, a Canon DSLR and an 8" imaging Newtonian or a short FL refractor. You're limited though in what objects you can capture. Moving into longer FL, longer exposure, guided LRGB imaging requires a corresponding step up in equipment and technical understanding. The post processing work also becomes more complex and involved.

I don't make these statements to discourage anyone from wanting to learn about and getting involved with AP. For myself, I'm approaching my 4th year of dedicated imaging and I'm just now beginning to apply a great deal of what I've read and learned to my work. Sometimes, the complexity of what we attempt can be overwhelming. It's at this point where you simply stop and begin learning anew, hopefully applying what you've previously learned to the new requirements.

Most amateurs are visual only, with some dabbling occasionally with imaging. They'd rather spend the majority of their time enjoying the wonders of the night sky. I encourage everyone to initially follow that path. What you'll learn about the night sky will aid you immeasurably if you decide to take a more active interest in imaging. Dedicated imagers are just that. Rarely do we look through an eyepiece and if we do, it usually has a cross-hair reticule inside ....


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Tim2723
The Moon Guy
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Reged: 02/19/04

Loc: Northern New Jersey
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5378638 - 08/21/12 12:25 AM

Just goes to show how multi-faceted the hobby is. I'm strictly visual and could spend my time looking at pictures of the Moon that far exceed anything I'll ever see at the eyepiece. Yet I spend thousands of dollars to stand in the dark and look. It's no more or less crazy or sane, just a different facet.

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festa_freak
member


Reged: 12/22/11

Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5379108 - 08/21/12 10:36 AM

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5379123 - 08/21/12 10:47 AM

Quote:

I was thinking this way. I was considering a dob (xt10i) but I wanted future expandability into beginner AP. I saw posts about what could be done with a Nexstar 8SE and I almost got that. Really, the only thing that prevented me from getting it were reviews about it being unstable for even visual observing and the fact that it needs a power pack for any reasonable amount of observing.

I did end up getting an XT10i, I ordered it in May and am still waiting for it (yes, I am patient).




Where did you order it from? It looks like I could order one today and get it shipped in two days from Orion's website. I'd call the people up or cancel that order and get it from Orion directly.

Good luck!


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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5379271 - 08/21/12 12:20 PM

Quote:

...

Most amateurs are visual only, with some dabbling occasionally with imaging. They'd rather spend the majority of their time enjoying the wonders of the night sky. I encourage everyone to initially follow that path. ...




That seems excellent advice to me. Also, comments regarding equipment needs can be very misleading. "You need a GEM to do AP" - that sort of thing. It's a matter of degree...

There's a fellow in the imaging section who's done some very nice mosaics of the moon using an 8" manual dob and a $200 NexImage 5. So who said you can't do AP with a dob?

I also think one reason us noobs get to thinking of AP is that it's an expression of our excitement, that we want to share that excitement with others. Pictures is one way to do that.

So, get a nice viewing scope, add a camera like the Neximage, shoot the moon. That's a good intro to modern AP, pretty cheap to do, too. See just how good a picture you can get with your setup, get good at it. Then go from there.


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