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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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csrlice12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5379373 - 08/21/12 01:11 PM

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).




The only power my 10XTi uses is a 9v battery for the hand controller. I keep a spare battery in my kit.


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Raginar
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5379460 - 08/21/12 01:57 PM

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.

John Graham comes to mind as someone who produces wonderful images with a relatively modest equipment setup (OK, he has two identical setups... but still). It's expectations; I think you can do some amazing things with very little.

As for visual first: what about those of us with light pollution to deal with? The things I see through my mono camera with a few minutes of exposure completely demolish what I can see visually through the same equipment. Star hopping is fine when you can see your guide stars.. I unfortunately am lucky to have nights down to magnitude 5 or 6.

The other option people forget is video. It's almost a hybrid between visual and AP. Not so pretty pictures compared to AP, but a few that blows out what you'll see through a Nagler in a 16" dob. The views I got through my mallincam prior to moving on to mono imaging were staggering; it revitalized my interest in astronomy to the point I built a ROR .

I think that people planning from the start for AP is not a 'bad' thing. It keeps them from buying the cheaper equipment when they realize they could possibly be interested in more.

Clear skies


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379498 - 08/21/12 02:24 PM

Quote:

I think that people planning from the start for AP is not a 'bad' thing. It keeps them from buying the cheaper equipment when they realize they could possibly be interested in more.




I think the important thing is that people have realistic expectations.... $1500 buys a decent 80mm apo on a CG-5 ASGT and some sort of camera. It would be a good first astrophotography rig but very limited for visual astronomy. $500 will buy a scope that is much more capable for visual observation...

Reasonable expectations.... knowing a bit about what "and A-P" later means... A mistake many make is to try to choose a scope that can do it all, i.e. the first scope will be the last scope. Only when one has experience can one choose the right scope..

Jon


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sg6
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379515 - 08/21/12 02:45 PM

I find it difficult at times to say "Get realistic!!"
The number that want to look at planets, look at DSO's and do AP and all on a budget of less then some spend on one eyepiece is truely amazing.

Many will start by saying "I have been looking at and researching the subject ....."

It seems that the presumption is what is good for visual is good for AP is assumed. Trying to explain that many who are semi-serious about AP will use an 80mm apo on an EQ6 mount fails to register. Then comes the camera, always a DSLR weighing in at around 1Kg and "obviously" 18Mp is better then 14Mp. Pointing out that the AP side will use a mono camera with 2Mp also fails to register.

One forum had someone asking about attaching a DSLR to an ETX-80 for long exposure DSO imaging a day or two back.

Will agree with whoever earlier said that Visual and AP should be considered as 2 separate and preferably non-intermixable aspects. Trouble I often see is many getting a manual Dob then asking about imaging. No matter what is said some defender of the Dobsonian comes along with the one half decent shot of the moon taken by chance in the previous year and says "Here's proof that you can image with a Dob."

Yes Hubble has helped astronomy, but those images make people think "Superglue the DSLR to the scope and I can get better then them."

We have a TV slot once a year here, Stargazing Live, people saw an image of Jupiter through a scope and every retailer sold out of scopes. What wasn't pointed out was that the scope in use was an Astro-Physics 6" triplet refractor. Not quite your starter scope.


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csrlice12
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: sg6]
      #5379522 - 08/21/12 02:51 PM

"The number that want to look at planets, look at DSO's and do AP and all on a budget of less then some spend on one eyepiece is truely amazing."

It's because we are spoiled. We think that technology has come so far we can do anything for cheap nowadays. The universe has its own ways of dashing our beliefs....


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jerwin
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379535 - 08/21/12 03:00 PM

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim


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Jb32828
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5379773 - 08/21/12 05:31 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim




Jim nothing is a waste of your time that brings you a sense of self accomplishment and lets you kind of get away from the world for a while while doing it.

Personally, I am of the mindset that there is no reason I couldn't have an APOD; however, I refuse to let the fact that I don't diminish the sense of accomplishment that my images bring me. Don't let all of the noise dampen your enthusiasm...equipment is not the be all and end all of the imagng hobby. I made the point on the imagng forum that while we get stuck in these debates over what equiment works "best" I think we tend to forget that technique and the experience of the imager have a lot to do with the finished images, both in acquisitin and processing. Betcha Jerry Lodriguss could post some absolutely incredible images whether he was using his Tak or someone else's achromat on an eq-4 mount; he would pick a target the equipment is capable of, and his experience at both ends would certainly make for his usual expected outstanding work.


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Jb32828
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5379791 - 08/21/12 05:40 PM

Oh I think I should add that while my Dad is a professional photographer who happens to photograph Indy/Nascar events, he started off many years ago as an enthusiast, much like the beginners here who ask about AP. he started off with a humble film based rig...now, many years later, his camera equiment dwarfs the entirety of my entire astronomy investment by tens of thousands of dollars - Im pretty sure his camera body alone cost more than what I have in all of my astro gear. All of it acquired a piece at a time, to accomodate shooting a particular target. Sounds pretty familiar doesn't it?

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Tori
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Raginar]
      #5379869 - 08/21/12 06:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I wonder at all these posts that imply anyone said AP couldn't possibly be done cheaply. Particularly those that think I said it.

Someone called 2500 a modest equipment figure. I agreed with him that 2500 is modest compared with most astro photographers I know and most I see posting on here.

I can go outside tonight and take an astro photo with a piece of photo paper and a box and a pin and a couple pieces of tape. That's not the point. The point is that 2500 isn't a lot to spend in the AP hobby. Not that you must spend 2500.


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dw310
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: FarrOut]
      #5380007 - 08/21/12 08:45 PM

I'm one of the (fairly) newbies who was researching a scope several months ago, also hoping it could serve for AP some day. Here's why:

1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.

2. There are very cool objects in the sky that are far better defined by a stack of long exposure images than through visual observing. I may wanna do that some day.

3. I have a long standing hobby in photography with tons of DSLR equipment and lenses. So if I decide to do AP, a good chunk of the expense has already been paid.

4. I respect that AP is tough. What I don't like is how long the astrophographer spends tweaking at the computer. I may never take AP seriously for that reason alone. But I have suitable equipment if I ever want to try.

5. My scope is fine for visual also, so no harm done that it can also take some decent pics, if it is ever put to that task.

6. I may never take an astro pic. I just like looking up above. (Truth is, I don't even care what I'm looking at most of the time; I'm just mesmerized by what is out there.) But as I make fairly substantial investments (for me) into this hobby, I want to keep my options open. I want equipment that is versatile and can last a lifetime.

So I have my AP capable WO FLT110 which may (or may not) spend it's life doing visual only. So far I have been really pleased with it. I am so thankful for all the articulate posts on this site. I have learned so much reading them. The advice given to me as I was deciding on my purchase was invaluable. Many thanks to all of you, again, for your generosity.


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sixela
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380480 - 08/22/12 04:37 AM

Quote:


1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.



Fallacy #1: there is one thing that is "good stuff" and better than anything cheaper at _everything_ you're considering. Even if you want to do astrophotography, I'd have to ask you what discipline you're thinking of (planetary and long exposure imaging are also different hobbies _from each other_), and in all cases I'd have to ask you what seeing you normally expect, what sensor you're planning to use, and in the case of long exposure imaging what kinds of targets you're thinking of, before I could even begin to narrow down what's "best".

And in the case of beginners that want to do "AP later", what would end up best could very likely be much worse for what they want to do before "later", i.e. visual observation of a fairly wide range of targets.

One scope doesn't have to do it all. Most of the time, once you're dabbling with visual observation and a few disciplines in astrophotography, it's not uncommon for people to have two, three or four scopes, each with its particular set of purposes.

Quote:

2. There are very cool objects in the sky that are far better defined by a stack of long exposure images than through visual observing. I may wanna do that some day.



If all you think is that you "may" wanna a do it, then I would suggest ignoring it. You don't have enough experience to pick the correct AP platform anyway (I'm not trying to be condescending). Sometimes a $300 Dob and two years of observing is the best money saver even if you end up as an astrophotographer, if only because you'll know more thoroughly what you want to do and buy exactly what you need when you buy that $2500 setup. Although if you already _know_ that you're going to end up doing _only_ AP, that money might be better spent on an small refractor or 150mm Newt on an EQ3 (which you'll resell or reuse as e.g. a white light solar telescope for those sunny moments in which you feel the need to rip yourself from the keyboard after being fed up processing your AP images). I see you actually made that choice, and given your obvious interest in photography it's not unreasonable, but I'd at least consider looking through a larger cheapo Dob at a dark site to see if you don't want to complement it with something else (once you have an AP setup with an autoguider, a cheaper but larger visual scope will also allow you to do something less frustrating than looking at your gear in angst while it takes that 30 minutes sub).

Quote:

3. I have a long standing hobby in photography with tons of DSLR equipment and lenses. So if I decide to do AP, a good chunk of the expense has already been paid.



Actually, if you have tons of lenses I assume some are tele lenses, and then I'd suggest a small mount and using the DSLR plus lenses you already have for wide field AP. You'll get the correct feel for what a certain focal length's image scale is and learn everything there is to know about the image processing that way (and produce stunning images). But of course, that 110mm refractor is also just such a tele lens now that you have it ;-).

Quote:

What I don't like is how long the astrophographer spends tweaking at the computer.



I'm not sure AP is for you. AP serves to eke out detail in very low contrast features (usually taken in environments where the light pollution or sky glow dominates the raw images) or to beat the seeing by combining the best features out of hundreds of images (for planetary imaging). The reason that photos look a lot better than they used to when I started the hobby is in large part due to processing.

Quote:

5. My scope is fine for visual also, so no harm done that it can also take some decent pics, if it is ever put to that task.



Give me an ETX-70 and I'll gladly observe with it. But the question is usually: with a given budget, what is the best compromise?

Quote:

But as I make fairly substantial investments (for me) into this hobby, I want to keep my options open. I want equipment that is versatile and can last a lifetime.




That equipment is a figment of your imagination: every equipment pegs you in a corner. You still have all your options open even after realising that, since nothing says you _have_ to do it all with one scope. The assumption that if you manage to do it all with one scope it's going to end up being "cheaper" is often unjustified.


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Maverick199
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Tori]
      #5380513 - 08/22/12 05:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

When compared with (I dare say) most astro photographers, 2500 is in fact very modest.




I dunno, I've seen some fairly fantastic pictures from guys running a DSI and a CG-5 with some random widefield refractor on it. I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I wonder at all these posts that imply anyone said AP couldn't possibly be done cheaply. Particularly those that think I said it.

Someone called 2500 a modest equipment figure. I agreed with him that 2500 is modest compared with most astro photographers I know and most I see posting on here.

I can go outside tonight and take an astro photo with a piece of photo paper and a box and a pin and a couple pieces of tape. That's not the point. The point is that 2500 isn't a lot to spend in the AP hobby. Not that you must spend 2500.




I made that point and as you stated, compared to many AP'er's, 2500 indeed is a modest investment and not necessarily means one MUST spend at least 2500. Some can do it for even less.

Recently, I recall seeing some stunning widefield images of the Sagittarius region taken as follows:-

Samir Kharusi: Placing a DSLR on a rock and shooting 10 secs exposures.

Jerry Lodriguss: DSLR and a Fixed Tripod shooting 8 secs exposures.

They should be available at the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forums though Samir's may be a few pages back.

While granted you need dark skies to obtain such stunning images, even with expensive equipment, one still requires decent to dark sites to image anyway.

End of the day, like Sixela mentioned, talent and the art of processing plays a role.

In my case, I am limited to eternal light pollution and even if I could afford, I wouldn't buy anything more than what I have today simply because I wouldn't be able to get more than 2 minutes exposure at best before the subs look washed out. For the same reason I didn't buy an autoguider.

For those blessed with dark skies or access to dark skies, half the job is already done. The other half is entirely based on your passion.


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dw310
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5380571 - 08/22/12 07:06 AM

sixela-
You are way beyond my astro skills/knowledge as you reply to my post. I don't understand what you are talking about in several comments--not because you are unclear, but because your knowledge of the technology is way beyond mine.

Does that mean I can't buy a 110 refractor and enjoy it? Of course not. Will it do everything for AP or visual that a scope could do? Of course not. That was not a goal of mine as I purchased my first refractor. I wanted it to be portable enough for me to set up fairly easily, nice quality that can last a lifetime (I still have my original SLR from 1972) and capable of AP, if I ever decide to try that. And as you mention, and as I stated in my post, I may never do AP. But maybe I will. We'll see.

I didn't want a dob as snow is usually on the ground 5-6 months out of the year where I live. I was led to believe most of those cheaper dobs have particle board bases, so that was not for me.

My bottom line question is, what's wrong with me getting a 110mm refractor as my first refractor that can also do AP? If I never do AP, what did I sacrifice by getting an AP capable scope? I get great views. I'm enjoying it very much.


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Fortune07
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380590 - 08/22/12 07:30 AM

For me it's the thrill and wonder of capturing photons that have been traveling for longer than man has been on this earth. Those photons are my little piece of the Universe. My images are MY images, while they may never look like Hubble, they are a product of my time and effort, and there are a lot worse things to spend time on. As far as I know imaging is not a compition, if it is, I give up you win.

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amicus sidera
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5380665 - 08/22/12 08:58 AM

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? I recognize and respect the skills of a number of advanced astrophotographers, and I realize that for some it is an ultimate destination in this hobby, but I worry that most true beginners are missing out on the fundamental joy of astronomy by leapfrogging into AP before they really learn the sky or their equipment on the visual side. I am a strictly visual observer, and I have a hard time understanding the attraction of sitting behind a laptop for seven hours while a $20,000 scope/mount/camera rig absorbs photons from a faint fuzzy, but each to their own. I also doubt the need for one more pic of M51; it's not like it's going to sprout horns some night. But that aside, I would say to beginners, give it at least one (and preferably two) years in visual mode before you even think of snapping a shutter. You're going to miss the core of astronomy otherwise.




My feelings precisely.

While astrophotography is a fine pursuit, if one has the skies, equipment and inclination for it, it seems to me that beginners are being hammered with the idea that such work is a logical outgrowth of one's interest in astronomy - and it is not. The commercial media devote, and have devoted for years, large amounts of space to displaying astrophotos taken by experts in the field, with expensive equipment; the subtext has always been that this is what all serious amateurs are involved in, or should aspire to.

Note that a goodly percentage of the advertisements in these same media outlets are for astrophotography gear, or instruments that are astrophoto-capable... economic imperatives dictate that fresh fodder be brought in incontinuously to feed the astronomical economy. After all, if a neophyte simply purchased as visual-only telescope of modest aperture, a guidebook and a set of charts, and was happy with that for years (which circumstance was the norm not so very long ago), what would be the profit in that, save for the initial outlay? Very little, and we can't have that, now can we?


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festa_freak
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: GOLGO13]
      #5380812 - 08/22/12 10:30 AM

Quote:

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!




Well I'm from Canada so shipping charges would be huge. I got it from Canadian Telescopes which is located in BC.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: dw310]
      #5380871 - 08/22/12 10:58 AM

Quote:


My bottom line question is, what's wrong with me getting a 110mm refractor as my first refractor that can also do AP? If I never do AP, what did I sacrifice by getting an AP capable scope? I get great views. I'm enjoying it very much.




There are certainly many, many good choices as a first scope. And investing in a quality refractor has a lot going for it, particularly in a location where snow and cold dominate the scene for many months of the year.

But every scope has compromises, that is why most observers have more than one telescope. If ones primary goal were viewing faint galaxies, resolving globular clusters, seeing fine details in planetary nebulae, getting the best possible planetary views, then choosing a scope with astrophotography in mind would result in a scope that was less capable in terms of it's visual prowess.

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: sixela]
      #5380875 - 08/22/12 11:01 AM

Quote:

Quote:


1. If I buy the good stuff now, I won't have to sell to upgrade later. I will already have well-suited equipment. It's cheaper in the long run.




Fallacy ...




Agreed. This is indeed the fundamental mistake that many beginners make, and it's a big one.

All-purpose scopes do exist, and they do have their uses, notably as travel scopes. But one thing that they strikingly fail to do is save money. Quite the contrary!

Beginners who try to start with all-purpose scopes are likely to cheat themselves on both ends. They will end up with scopes that are too small to yield really impressive visual images and are also too unstable to take really high-quality astrophotos.

Moreover, in the grand scheme of astrophotography, optical tubes are the cheapest part. So trying to economize there is penny wise and pound foolish.

Remember, a telescope is a camera lens -- neither more nor less. So building a system around a single telescope is like trying to build a DSLR system around a single lens and multiple bodies.

Almost all serious astronomers own two or more telescopes, for extremely good reasons. Not only is it cheaper, you also get better results than you possibly could with a single scope, no matter how expensive.


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WaterMasterAdministrator
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: festa_freak]
      #5380904 - 08/22/12 11:17 AM

One of the reasons for having a 'Beginners' forum is so that folks that are new to the hobby, or are perhaps just considering getting into the hobby can ask 'beginner' level questions. It is no wonder that so many ask questions about AP (Hubble, marketing, inexpensive DSLR's, whatever).

Threads like this one can be helpful to point out the widely varying opinions of the larger amateur astronomy community. And certainly, personal preference plays a large role in those opinions. In general I don't really understand the point of the OP. Every time a new member asks that question here it gets the same wide ranging opinions. That's a good thing. For every dedicated visual observer that discourages, there's a dedicated AP'er with counter arguments.

The purpose of this forum is to provide a place where those questions can be asked, over and over again. It is incumbent upon those experienced members who enjoy offering advice to beginners to offer our opinions and experience, and then congratulate the beginner when they finally do make a choice (even if it's not what we recommended).

Kind of like raising kids...


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Raginar
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Re: Why Oh Why AP for beginners? new [Re: jerwin]
      #5381013 - 08/22/12 12:25 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think many people get blind by the people who post in the 'beginners' imaging forum with not-so beginner equipment or experience.




I agree. I wish there was a beginner, intermediate and advanced imaging areas, for DSI and solar system stuff. I usually feel pretty proud of stuff I take but after seeing what others post (while saying they had bad seeing conditions) is intimidating and often makes me think I'm completely wasting my time. When dealing with a true beginner they usually think my planetary stuff is pretty good.

Not sure when someone should graduate from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

At the same time I think the beginners want the advice and experience from the intermediate and advanced guys. Though the advanced guys are typical in another realm in terms of equipment and commitment.

Jim




Jim, I feel the same way. Most the pictures I post get ignored; the 'beginners' are discussing things I'm not quite ready for. Maybe we need a new forum for 'real' imaging beginners? :P


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