Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Aperture versus experience
      #5805927 - 04/18/13 12:02 AM

Here's the hypothetical. It could pertain to deepsky as well but for the sake of simplicity, lets use Mars...

Say you have a novice observer with a 10" Reflector looking at Mars with all his heart for the first time ever. Along side him we have a high ranking visual observer with seasoned expert skills and experience also with a 10" identical scope.

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?

I'm going to throw out 12-15" in aperture - my guess.

On deepsky the same scopes, again and a seasoned expert with a novice, but now its M51.

How large a scope might a novice need to see the same nuances? There's real technique here.

We often debate scopes but what about abilities?

Thanks guys.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Arizona-Ken
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/31/08

Loc: Scottsdale, Arizona
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5805938 - 04/18/13 12:12 AM

Gee, it must be really, really cloudy where you are.

Arizona Ken


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Arizona-Ken]
      #5805953 - 04/18/13 12:27 AM

It might be cloudy where he is, but someone asked the question in another forum. Gosh, Pete, I just dont know. It might be a complex problem because we dont know what experience means, or how good the novice is at attention to detail or how good his eyes are.

I would think experience is important, however. How much? I dunno, but it does take a while to learn to really observe. I remember, even with the same aperture, it took me a while to recognize (through experience) how small Jupiter's white ovals are. Once I understood what to look for, they became easier. And the more I observed Jupiter and Mars, the more I could see...in the same aperture.

Maybe this is not really an aperture problem at all, just an experience one. There are probably folks who briefly glance at Jupiter in a C14 and only see it's two prominent EQ belts pretty much like the view in a 60mm refractor (APO, of course...LOL. KIDDING!)

Here's my nickle, got $0.03 change?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Asbytec]
      #5805965 - 04/18/13 12:46 AM

Its probably fairly difficult to nail down because acuity can be so fluid. There's that age old understanding that subsequent observations during an apparition will quicken the eye brain detection to the point previously invisible things will begin to show with clarity. The observer will often think the seeings improved but the eye brain has accommodated the demands of the repeated tasks. That's the edge Im referring to.

I think a lot of beginner success or failure is a perception or expectation thing too so that's factored in.

Pete

Ken, your avatar is perfect.

Edited by azure1961p (04/18/13 12:47 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5806084 - 04/18/13 04:52 AM

Quote:

Here's the hypothetical. It could pertain to deepsky as well but for the sake of simplicity, lets use Mars...

Say you have a novice observer with a 10" Reflector looking at Mars with all his heart for the first time ever. Along side him we have a high ranking visual observer with seasoned expert skills and experience also with a 10" identical scope.

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




Planets are fundamentally different from deep sky in this regard.

Planetary viewing is almost always limited by atmospheric seeing, and in most locations a 10-inch scope is pushing the limits of what the atmosphere will allow even in the best circumstances. So even for an experienced observer, it's a fairly rare night when using a scope bigger than 10 inches will yield significantly improvements.

You would do better to start with a much smaller scope as the base scope -- say, an 80-mm refractor. In that case, on a night of superb seeing, doubling the aperture might, just possibly, compensate for inexperience.

Translating that to your 10-inch scope, that means that on the 1-in-100 night that occurs at the best locations, a newbie with a 20-inch scope might see as much detail on Mars as an experienced observer with a 10-inch scope.

In practice, an experienced observer will almost always see more, regardless of which telescopes the two are using.

On deep sky, it depends greatly on the target. For some large, low-surface-brightness galaxies and nebulae, aperture is almost irrelevant. In those cases, again, an experienced observer will always see more regardless of the instruments the two are using. In fact, the inexperienced observer won't be able to detect the object at all regardless of how big a scope he or she is using.

On objects like globular clusters, the gap is much smaller. For bright spiral galaxies like M51, it's somewhere in between. Here, I think a newbie with a 16-inch scope would have a good chance of seeing as much as an experienced observer with a 4-inch scope -- assuming dark skies, of course. But it would depend greatly on the newbie. I've known people who couldn't see M51's spiral arms through a 30-inch scope under dark skies.

I know for a fact that Sue French has seen things in her 4-inch refractor that I've failed to see in my 12.5-inch Dob. And I'm not exactly inexperienced.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Maverick199
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Arizona-Ken]
      #5806146 - 04/18/13 07:00 AM

Quote:

Gee, it must be really, really cloudy where you are.

Arizona Ken




I would also like to factor in dark sites. How much would that attribute towards what the novice sees vs the experienced?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jpcannavo
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/21/05

Loc: Ex NYCer, Now in Denver CO!
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5806153 - 04/18/13 07:06 AM

There is no question that any “as-if aperture gain” function here is multidetermined. But nonetheless the phenomenon is likely quite real, and often reveals itself on a case-by-case basis. (this perhaps at odds with an earlier post of mine suggesting it be conceptualized across a population).

I can clearly recall one night, early in my deep-sky experience, at the Oregon Star Party. I was standing with a handful of experienced observers (one of them, I think, was Steve Swayze) who where commenting on H II regions in M33 with a moderately large dob (16”, 18” ? I’m not sure). I took a long hard look – focusing on the relevant portions of the field - and then quietly slinked away feeling like a dumb-posterior (ahem), I couldn’t see dingy!

Frustrated, I wandered over to some scopes of significantly larger aperture (22” or 25” ?), which began to reveal some of what I could not see earlier. I remember truly thinking I needed an eye exam, as other similar phenomena had occurred that night. It was later that I came to realize that the needed Rx here was experience.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5806168 - 04/18/13 07:33 AM

Nice account Joseph. I noticed in deepsky things like realizing the most sensitive part of the retina is between eye looking straight ahead and to the bridge of the nose made a difference. The other thing I realized - and this is a CN thing, faint stars and small planetary nebula can stand and benefit from far higher magnification than I was using. Another is becoming familiar with the look and elusiveness of those fringey features. Lastly, time. More experienced deepsky observers can put in a whopping amount of time on objects I wrote off with the same aperture - even the same galaxy. I was amazed Jake Saleronta (spelling) saw details in a face on spiral I gave five minutes and moved on with disappointment . He on the other hand spent well over an hour with the same aperture and began to see clumpy arm shapes. I'm into this for decades - I just recently found out Im too quick to move on. Experience is a progressive thing!

Tony, You make a good point. For the simplicity of it I assumed good seeing. The refractor would've been a more logical choice for the example but most experts use larger aperture. I understand your angle here however.

Thanks.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mark Costello
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/08/05

Loc: Matthews, NC, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5806276 - 04/18/13 08:55 AM

Quote:

Here's the hypothetical. It could pertain to deepsky as well but for the sake of simplicity, lets use Mars...

Say you have a novice observer with a 10" Reflector looking at Mars with all his heart for the first time ever. Along side him we have a high ranking visual observer with seasoned expert skills and experience also with a 10" identical scope.

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?

I'm going to throw out 12-15" in aperture - my guess.

On deepsky the same scopes, again and a seasoned expert with a novice, but now its M51.

How large a scope might a novice need to see the same nuances? There's real technique here.

We often debate scopes but what about abilities?

Thanks guys.

Pete






Hi Pete, this is a good thread and I saw it's antecedent "side trail" in the planetary reflector thread.

In another forum (Cats & Casses) someone (Eddgie IIRC) wrote that with patience one can see a lot with any scope. I believe that. Several weeks ago, in the Refractor Forum, I wrote that I wasn't seeing discernibly more planetary detail with my 5" achro then I had with a 4" F6.5 achro I owned before that, attributing that to the extra false color in my current refractor. By the following week, I was ready to eat my words. The interceding weekend, I had a 45 minute session with Jupiter, sketching it. At some point in that session, I hit me that two extra bands and a lot of swirls in some of the major bands had showed up. I was seeing more with Jupiter than I ever saw with any other telescope I owned. A couple of these were 6" and 8" Newtonians. Although I believe I have a nice refractor, IMO it was extra degree of patience and willingness to draw and write about what I was seeing that allowed me to see far more details in Jupiter with a 5" refractor than a 6" and 8" reflector....

Best Regards....


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Mark Costello]
      #5806542 - 04/18/13 12:31 PM

I think that this is one of those issues that has so many variables it's next to impossible to quantify.

A number of years ago I was observing Jupiter with an 80mm achromat from my light-polluted driveway. My son, about 15 years old at the time, asked if he could have a peek. He then started describing in great detail features that I was having trouble seeing.

Ahhh, to have 15-year-old eyes. . .

In this case youth and enthusiasm trumped age and experience.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
StarStuff1
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: ensign]
      #5806565 - 04/18/13 12:44 PM

Yes, a lot of experience at the eyepiece will reveal more details. Try this: set an egg on a table and draw it. Try to get the smallest details. This will help your eye "train" itself to see faint details on planets in any scope.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5806566 - 04/18/13 12:44 PM

Quote:

Lastly, time. More experienced deepsky observers can put in a whopping amount of time on objects I wrote off with the same aperture - even the same galaxy. I was amazed Jake Saleronta (spelling) saw details in a face on spiral I gave five minutes and moved on with disappointment . He on the other hand spent well over an hour with the same aperture and began to see clumpy arm shapes. I'm into this for decades - I just recently found out Im too quick to move on. Experience is a progressive thing!

Thanks.

Pete




I am continually learning the same lesson. 5 minutes just isn't long enough to get a deep feel for the features of an otherwise grey fuzzy. I just recently started giving a minimum fifteen minutes for each object even if they are not getting sketched. I find even this amount of time is short for trying all the observing tricks and playing the waiting game with variable seeing.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Eric63
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: ensign]
      #5806572 - 04/18/13 12:46 PM

Very interesting thread and one that could help many newbies with aperture fever. I would love to increase my aperture right now to see more, but I think it would be better to learn to see more with the aperture I have before jumping to the next. This way I will better appreciate that larger scope when I decide to upgrade. (or Perhaps this is another way convincing myself since I’m too cheep to get another scope )

Eric


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Eric63]
      #5806739 - 04/18/13 01:27 PM

Yes, but your FIRST view of Saturn/Jupiter/Mars, etc... is the one you remember....do you remember your 350th view? The experience will allow you too "see" better (not more), eeking out the fine details; but it's that first view that really determines if there is a 2nd...or 350th....

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5806781 - 04/18/13 01:52 PM

Well, I would certainly like to experience more aperture. Alas, my application for a grant to purchase a 20" reflector to conduct some experiments on the question at hand wasn't approved.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5806973 - 04/18/13 03:43 PM

Hmmm...that's a good one. I learned a long time ago not to expect objects to appear bright and colorful unless they're bright and colorful.

Might be why many scopes end up on e-Bay. Look at some of the telescope advertisements. Folks see a telescope in front of or next to a long-exposure photograph. Folks buy the telescope and don't see the 'photograph'. Now they're disappointed.

So to answer your question. I don't think experience or aperture is the issue, it's expectations.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Kraus]
      #5807431 - 04/18/13 06:40 PM

Quote:

So to answer your question. I don't think experience or aperture is the issue, it's expectations.




Expectations are, in many way the key to life. Realistic expectations are the result of experience.

Personally, I just like looking through a telescope at the night sky. Big or small, top notch or not so hot.. I enjoy it.

The whole idea of gauging skill by aperture, I just figure we see what we see. If I with someone who is more skilled than me, hopefully they will help me out. If I am with someone who is less skilled than I, I hope to be able to help them...

But, if one wants to track ones gain in skill or amateur against amateur, probably the "Smallest aperture I saw X" with is a viable measure. Unfortunately, such comparisons can bring out the competitive aspects... I enjoy using smaller scopes because they challenge my skills and help me develop them...

So, such a tool looks like: Beginner Jon barely saw NGC ???? in his 10 inch wizbang. Experienced observer Wilbert can see NGC???? in his 4 inch Didley from the same site.. That's a measure of experience, how much aperture can you give up?

Jon


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5807474 - 04/18/13 06:52 PM

I got "trained" early on, being forced to put up with observing with a little 2.4 inch f/11.7 refractor for a number of years as a youngster. This experience taught me how to push myself and learn how to eek-out objects and the very faintest detail using proper dark adaptation, averted vision, proper power selection, and other viewing techniques. This was true of several of us in our club who also started in the late 1960's with the small refractors and then eventually worked up to the larger apertures some time later. When I 'graduated' from my little refractor to my 8 inch f/7 a few years later, the amount of detail I could see was astounding, so all that "training" really paid off. Indeed, one night a few years ago, I had my 100mm f/6 refractor out on my driveway testing the 8.5-12mm Speers-Waler eyepiece I was reviewing, and abruptly saw the dust lane in M104, which surprised the heck out of me. Some others I observe with could not see the feature in that aperture, so I began to notice this difference more and more. I could really notice this one night when we were observing the Horsehead at one of our club's star parties. It was quite faint, but after seeing it several times before, I had little trouble getting it in my Nexstar 9.25 inch SCT with the H-Beta filter. However, a friend with a 10 inch couldn't see it in my scope. He hadn't come up through the ranks (started with a 10 inch), so his observing experience hadn't been as fully developed. Eventually, he gained at least some of that experience and closed our observing "gap", but I find that even now, I still tend to have a small but definite edge over others in our group who didn't start out "small". It might be a 20% to 25% gain in "effective observing aperture", but it is hard to judge an exact level of improvement, as levels of observing experience vary widely. On planets, the difference due to experience is less noticeable, but may still be there, especially when looking at the finest low-contrast detail. Clear skies to you.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5807559 - 04/18/13 07:30 PM

Percival Lowell had a REALLY big scope (almost even by today's standards)
http://www.lowell.edu/news/2013/03/its-time-to-restore-the-clark/

Yet he saw a lot of stuff on Mars that wasn't really there.
There's no substitute for experience and a good eye.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
HCR32
sage


Reged: 08/27/10

Loc: Australia
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5807564 - 04/18/13 07:33 PM

I had a first timer look at Jupiter through a 6" at about 180x and didn't know what he was looking at to the point where he had to google an image of Jupiter to spark off he's imagination. I couldn't believe it. Some people need things to slap them in the face. My guess would be 10" for experience, 16" for novice.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Perigny270
super member


Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Temiscaming, Quebec
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: HCR32]
      #5807603 - 04/18/13 08:14 PM

My best evening of looking at Jupiter was last year when I decided to set up my backlash settings. I aimed at Jupiter with my 13mm and fiddled all evening. Boy, did I see lots of detail that night. The virtues of patience all came out. And I understood how much the more experienced astonomers could see so much. You cannot be in a hurry. And BTW I appreciated the value of my observer's chair.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Perigny270]
      #5807855 - 04/18/13 10:35 PM

You know, before I got my 6" Mak I was primarily deep sky with large Dobs and 10/11" SCTs. A quick look a Jupiter now and then, man, I missed so much in those scopes. I see so much more in my 6" these days because the planets have become my primary focus. I study them instead of just glancing.

So, no idea what I was missing earlier. I just know the planets are stuffed with features in that smaller 6" aperture. So, from inexperience to experience, there is a 4" aperture advantage right there. Maybe more so, because I never "observed" the level of detail in those larger scopes that I can see in a 6" MCT.

Dang it! Wish I had known, but deep sky was my primary interest at the time. No regrets, kind of...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5807935 - 04/18/13 11:31 PM

Quote:

I got "trained" early on, being forced to put up with observing with a little 2.4 inch f/11.7 refractor for a number of years as a youngster. This experience taught me how to push myself and learn how to eek-out objects and the very faintest detail using proper dark adaptation, averted vision, proper power selection, and other viewing techniques. This was true of several of us in our club who also started in the late 1960's with the small refractors and then eventually worked up to the larger apertures some time later. When I 'graduated' from my little refractor to my 8 inch f/7 a few years later, the amount of detail I could see was astounding, so all that "training" really paid off. Indeed, one night a few years ago, I had my 100mm f/6 refractor out on my driveway testing the 8.5-12mm Speers-Waler eyepiece I was reviewing, and abruptly saw the dust lane in M104, which surprised the heck out of me. Some others I observe with could not see the feature in that aperture, so I began to notice this difference more and more. I could really notice this one night when we were observing the Horsehead at one of our club's star parties. It was quite faint, but after seeing it several times before, I had little trouble getting it in my Nexstar 9.25 inch SCT with the H-Beta filter. However, a friend with a 10 inch couldn't see it in my scope. He hadn't come up through the ranks (started with a 10 inch), so his observing experience hadn't been as fully developed. Eventually, he gained at least some of that experience and closed our observing "gap", but I find that even now, I still tend to have a small but definite edge over others in our group who didn't start out "small". It might be a 20% to 25% gain in "effective observing aperture", but it is hard to judge an exact level of improvement, as levels of observing experience vary widely. On planets, the difference due to experience is less noticeable, but may still be there, especially when looking at the finest low-contrast detail. Clear skies to you.




Great thread Pete,

I had a similar "starting out" experience to David's. 11 years old, 3" f/10 Edmund newt, useless finder, sliding cardboard tube focuser, wobbly mount that wouldn't point straight up without tilting the whole scope/mount together.

I observed for four years with that scope and learned much. Then I got my 10" f/7 newt and was, like David, blown away with what it could reveal.

I too think how you start off can impact the training of the eye. By the time I got my 10" I was already observing individual targets for 20 minutes to an hour before moving on to something else.

I had also developed a very deft hand at focusing, and recentering objects. Modern dobs are a breeze compared to a scope like I started with in this regard.

One of my current scopes is a 5" newt with what is generally accepted as a very poor focuser, and it is. I would have killed for that focuser on my first scope though, so I don't mind it so much compared to what others say. I still have a very deft touch.

And I still have a trained eye. I developed both when very young and they still serve me well.

I look through other people's scopes on the field all the time and see details clearly they can barely detect. These are people with bigger scopes than I will likely ever own who have been observing for 10 or more years in many cases. I get told I "must have very good eyes" all the time and I did when I was young, but now they are just average eyes.

I don't know if there is an answer to your question Pete, at least not one better than the ones above in the thread. I do know that I "see" more than much less experienced folks do through their own scopes.

At the same time, there are a bunch of folks in this forum that could show me a thing or two through mine!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chaoscosmos
sage
*****

Reged: 01/26/13

Loc: Mission Viejo CA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5808043 - 04/19/13 01:11 AM

While acknowledging all that has been said here, it doesn't necessarily take too much astronomical observing experience to enjoy viewing stars of unending variance of brightness, color, and pattern in a wide field across the night sky. In that case I think an awareness, curiosity, and appreciation of nature is just about all one needs.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: chaoscosmos]
      #5808125 - 04/19/13 04:51 AM

Quote:

While acknowledging all that has been said here, it doesn't necessarily take too much astronomical observing experience to enjoy viewing stars of unending variance of brightness, color, and pattern in a wide field across the night sky. In that case I think an awareness, curiosity, and appreciation of nature is just about all one needs.




Ray:



I envy those just getting started, the big thrills, the excitement, the learning and understanding, it's all in front of them...

Jon


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jpcannavo
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/21/05

Loc: Ex NYCer, Now in Denver CO!
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5808211 - 04/19/13 07:04 AM

Proving to be a great thread Pete!

In drawing attention to these flowers of highly cultivated skill, we diminish nothing, exclude no one, and in fact highlight something so lacking in our culture: The ability to slow down, experience deeply, wait, ponder, be awed, and walk through life embracing the art of being unjaded.

So many analogies here to being a musician, where we often savor, and reflect on (and sometimes agonize over!), the process of developing technique, while simultaneously appreciating (an sometimes envying!) the sensibility of those less preoccupied with virtuosity, but no less devoted.

It's all good, its all part of the same thing.

Joe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kenrenard
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: jpcannavo]
      #5808230 - 04/19/13 07:26 AM

Pete,
I have found this thread very interesting. Being a novice observer today I see more than last year when I only had 6 months observing. I think sketching helped quite a bit. I also believe time looking at the object is the difference. I read in Stephen O'Meara's books that he spends 3 to 4 hours per object over several nights to get the most detail out. With me having a young family and not the best weather it wouldn't be practical for me to devote that time to one object. But, I can devote 20-30 minutes!

I did notice something watching experienced observers work. They move slower and take more time to look. I see this at my club viewing nights. Some folks look and say I got it and move on. Others look and study and contemplate. I am not saying there is anything wrong with either technique, just slower sees more.

I still have no idea how Stephen O'Meara, Jay Freeman, and Sue French see what they do!

When I read Freedman's accounts of the Hershel 400 with a 55mm I am spellbound. I don't think 15 inch would have helped me on some objects

Ken


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5808319 - 04/19/13 08:55 AM

Thanks guys Im glad this topic is well received.

Joseph, I think the worst thing in the world is to come to the end of ones life and realize it went be in a rush of experience that never slowed down to "smell the roses" as they say. I've grown up with some people still living and passed - its a sad thing when you see it. Particularly, workaholics I think suffer greatest here with the test coming as retirement sets in and instead of time to do the things that was always pushed aside, dysfunction sets in and they waste away. I wouldn't be at all surprised if senility and/or dementia were fueled (sometimes) by such people's perception of what a meaningful life was or ought to be and how they that it isn't.
Ok digression over. At anyrate I would imagine the naturalist in general has a sense of what it means to slow down and appreciate the more meaningful things in life the others are often numb too. Observing just happens to be a great example of this.

I enjoyed your points Joseph. As well I appreciated accounts and testimony of others here. The leap from humble beginnings to full fledged pro grade is something we all enjoy it would seem. The most humble beginnings I can think of is Walter Scott Houston's childhood creation of a telescope- eyeglass specs in a paper mâché tube. That my first *real* telescope had a low power that was my first scopes high power was utterly intoxicating to me as a new teen.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: HCR32]
      #5808440 - 04/19/13 10:37 AM

I can only say, letting myownself be the inexperienced observor from decades ago to now with more experience, that one night a few years ago I began to see the dust lane in the Sombrero from a red zone with an ST80. Had it not been for the wisdom gained from experience it would've never been apparent. Mainly, wisdom gained over time has taught me to use averted vision better and to keep looking for long periods of time as the atmosphere changes. Even though my young eyes could've seen more decades ago I see more now simply due to things I've learned through the years.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5808619 - 04/19/13 12:54 PM

Quote:



Obviously the expert will see more.

Pete




I dont think that is a given at all. eyesight, LP and maybe other factors will come into play. The "expert may see less but know what he is looking at more so than the novice. Being able recognize what you are seeing does not necessarily mean you see more.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: chaoscosmos]
      #5808750 - 04/19/13 02:11 PM

Quote:

While acknowledging all that has been said here, it doesn't necessarily take too much astronomical observing experience to enjoy viewing stars of unending variance of brightness, color, and pattern in a wide field across the night sky. In that case I think an awareness, curiosity, and appreciation of nature is just about all one needs.




100% true Ray. My two boys 13 & 11 observe with me a lot. One is into OC's and Nebulae, the other is a double star lover. They are both novices but get as much enjoyment from viewing as I do. Everything is still so fresh to them.

I answer questions and ask some of my own about what they see and have a great time with that. Their take on things is very entertaining and interesting.

I don't worry too much about fine details I can see (with them or anyone else for that matter) unless it comes up naturally somehow. I just want them to enjoy it and remember it as something fun, exiting, and relaxing.

The music analogy mentioned previously also fits well.

So does fishing. You don't have to be Babe Winkleman or Jimmy Houston to enjoy fishing. A kid that can't even tie a hook can enjoy it as much as anyone.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
TexasRed
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/17/11

Loc: East Texas
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5809802 - 04/19/13 11:13 PM

Since experience enables us to see more, Sue French must be a very well-preserved 125 year-old. I think she can see H II regions in M33 through an empty toilet paper tube. When she says she sees something clearly through her 4", I wonder if I'll be able to glimpse it through my 12". When she says she only glimpses something through her 4", I know it's going to be beyond my capabilities entirely with my 12". I hope she's an organ donor and her eyes go to a deserving amateur astronomer.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: HCR32]
      #5810183 - 04/20/13 07:39 AM

Quote:

I had a first timer look at Jupiter through a 6" at about 180x and didn't know what he was looking at to the point where he had to google an image of Jupiter to spark off he's imagination. I couldn't believe it. Some people need things to slap them in the face. My guess would be 10" for experience, 16" for novice.




I have had similar experiences but as it turns out many “first looks” are done with the eye not at the FP and they really cant see anything. I also think when pressed to explain what/if they are seeing anything many may say they see something when they actually don’t but say yes because of the expectation.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jeff heck
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: stl,mo.
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5811643 - 04/20/13 07:46 PM

My take is experience trumps aperture, plus a good dark site adds to the mix. Experience is the only variable you cannot purchase or drive to, it is earned by making the effort and tallying up the photons. I have the good fortune of observing with some very knowledgeable amatuers, Astrodj being one of them. Last August we met a a green dark site and I was impressed with Dale's ability to see the entire bridge in M51/ngc5195, even though it was not in prime position.
I also pointed the scope at galaxy ngc6946 in Cepheus and asked him to describe what he saw. He could make out two arms, though faint, on this face on spiral. With ngc891 he saw a bit of pale yellow along the darklane. I commented that he must have good eyes, but since then I have learned that experience was the reason, a trained eye. Take time with each object is a good lesson to learn, wait for that moment of clarity and learn to relax at the eyepiece.
Anyway, it pays to join an astronomy club if only to learn from like minded amateurs who will regularly point out details in objects I did not know existed.

Edited by jeff heck (04/20/13 07:52 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: jeff heck]
      #5811673 - 04/20/13 08:10 PM

6946 is no easy galaxy !!!! That one fella I kno of here on CN actually began to see clumpy forms with an 8" is boggling but educating to me.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5812168 - 04/21/13 12:45 AM

It was an incredibly good night Pete, about as good as it gets from a green zone. And Jeff's 16" Teeter with Paracorr and Ethos was blowing me away. He showed me a thing or two that night as well.

So did another fellow with a big ole 16" Meade Starfinder. I learned a few things that night about some DSO's and saw some details I had never seen firsthand before.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5813058 - 04/21/13 01:28 PM

Quote:



I did notice something watching experienced observers work. They move slower and take more time to look. I see this at my club viewing nights. Some folks look and say I got it and move on. Others look and study and contemplate. I am not saying there is anything wrong with either technique, just slower sees more.





I think going rapidly through a number of objects is a perfectly reasonable thing to do if you're new to the hobby. I, for one, wanted to see as much as I could as quickly as I could. This is probably like taking a 'survey' type course when you're new to a subject.

Having completed the 'survey', it's perfectly natural to dig deeper, to spend more time in more leisurely and perhaps deeper pursuits.

I find the thrill of the hunt enjoyable now as well as teasing out more detail in familiar objects.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: ensign]
      #5814393 - 04/21/13 11:19 PM

I am a musician. It is very important for me to know every note, understand all the theory, and be able to perform a song with precision and accuracy, time after time. I study hard learning songs in these ways. And yet, if I am not careful, there is something else that I may miss, something which is the essence of the song, it's soul and beauty. I must not forget to let the song come alive and live within my emotions---touch me, if you will. It is a place beyond the mechanical acts of studying. I become the song. The chords, notes, the structure are all still there, but thoughtless to me. It can become quite nearly religious at that point.

Analogously, my observing can be at the same level. It is the reason I sometimes go out with just one low-power eyepiece and scan the Milky Way, letting my thoughts wander among the stars. It is one way I truly become ONE with all that is.

Edited by RussL (04/21/13 11:21 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: TexasRed]
      #5814709 - 04/22/13 07:14 AM

Quote:

Since experience enables us to see more, Sue French must be a very well-preserved 125 year-old.




What counts is the number of eyepiece hours, not years. And more to the point, number of attentive eyepiece hours. Gawking at beautiful objects is fun -- I do it all the time -- but it's not the same as studying them.

Sue is a bit fanatical. Clear, moonless hours are rare in the Northeast, so she tries hard to use each and every one. She's one of the few people I know who schedules her social life around the phases of the Moon.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5815764 - 04/22/13 05:28 PM

If the telescope size ranged between 4 and 15 inches, I would say that experience would rule over telescope size. So many people look--but, don't see when starting out.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
stevecoe
"Astronomical Tourist"
*****

Reged: 04/24/04

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: GeneT]
      #5819077 - 04/24/13 02:30 AM

"She's one of the few people I know who schedules her social life around the phases of the Moon."

Now I remember how I got divorced;-)

Steve Coe


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
lordhaw
member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Canada
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: stevecoe]
      #5819715 - 04/24/13 12:43 PM

I just have a little 76mm Newtonian. But starting out I couldn't really see details in anything. Now after 2 years at it with this little scope I can pull details out of objects I never saw before and see dim objects I couldn't before. Granted the aperture is extremely limiting as are the quality of the optics but the experience in trying to get details (sketching helps here) with that limited aperture will carry over nicely to my next scope. Even just spending more time on an object allows you to pull out a surprising amount of details. Planets are largely featureless however, with some faint banding on Jupiter now visible where I couldn't see anything before. So I'd have to say patience at the eyepiece, eye training over time and experience helps a lot.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
sopticals
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/10

Loc: New Zealand
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: lordhaw]
      #5820937 - 04/24/13 10:02 PM

I remember when I was in my teens (very early 1960s) using my first real scopes. A 76mm (3") newt and a 60mm (2.5") refractor. Did attempt to draw some major Martian surface features.Whether I actually was looking at real detail,(thought at the time I was), or not, or just wishful thinking I dont know. Dont know what others experience is with viewing Mars with such small apertures?

Stephen.(44deg.S.)

Edited by sopticals (04/24/13 10:04 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: sopticals]
      #5821166 - 04/25/13 12:53 AM

Quote:

I remember when I was in my teens (very early 1960s) using my first real scopes. A 76mm (3") newt and a 60mm (2.5") refractor. Did attempt to draw some major Martian surface features.Whether I actually was looking at real detail,(thought at the time I was), or not, or just wishful thinking I dont know. Dont know what others experience is with viewing Mars with such small apertures?

Stephen.(44deg.S.)




During the 1969 and 1971 apparitions of Mars, I too had a 60mm (2.4 inch) f/11.7 refractor that I observed the planet with at powers from 117 to around 150x. I could make out some of the major albedo markings like Syrtis Major, Sinus Sabaeus, Mare Erythraeum, Mare Acidalium, and Mare Sirenum/Cimmerium, along with the south polar cap (in 1971). It was a lot easier in the fall of 1973 when I had an 8 inch f/7 Newtonian at my disposal, but considering the limited aperture, I did OK with that little refractor. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Starman81
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: Metro Detroit, MI, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5822568 - 04/25/13 04:48 PM

Quote:

She's one of the few people I know who schedules her social life around the phases of the Moon.




I think there's a few of us here that do this... My wife wants me to take her on vacation. I said sure--it doesn't matter what month you pick just make sure you pick a week when the Moon is full!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: sopticals]
      #5825949 - 04/27/13 09:49 AM

Stephen I am confident you weren't imagining it. At even mediocre apparitions those size instruments reveal quite a bit - clouds and hazes included.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
gnowellsct
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/24/09

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5826856 - 04/27/13 06:10 PM

Well the expert will see more even if the image is a sharp ccd image the size of dinner plate and they're both looking at it from three feet. Because the true novice doesn't know what he's looking at and the first time you look at something you're not that attuned to details, as a rule.

There are exceptions. I had a professional artist who had her first time at the eyepiece and she sat a long time at the eyepiece. She really took in every last detail first time.

But if you're looking at jupiter say the first impression will be a white disk then the next impression will be a white disk with bands. Typically if you coach the viewer he'll see the blue festoons and maybe the little red spot etc.

It's pretty much this way with any observation. A lot of people don't see what's in front of them. There was an experiment in NYC where they had a guy asking directions from a stranger. While they were talking two guys carrying a large obstruction, like a large piece of plywood, come between the two people talking. During that time the guy asking instructions ducks out and a new guy stands in his place. It can be a different coat, different hat, different height person.

Only a small % of the people giving directions noticed that the person asking had been switched.

GN


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
northernontario
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Porcupine, Ontario Canada
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5826990 - 04/27/13 06:56 PM

There was a time when I needed my 16 inch Dob to spot M101.

I spotted it recently with my 6 inch refractor. I didn't see vivid detail. It is a tough object due to it's low surface bightness, but a few years a go, I never would have seen it with a 6 inch, because I wanted to see something...anything...big and bright...and I want to see it now.

I would say it is more about patience and a realistic expectation from the gear you are working with.

But, don't kid yourself.. There is a reason they make 2 meter mirrors.

jake


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BillFerris
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/17/04

Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5828038 - 04/28/13 10:36 AM

Quote:

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




It's a non sequitur. Aperture can't compensate for an absence of experience.

Quote:

We often debate scopes but what about abilities?




A dedicated novice who takes advantage of every clear night, researches and experiments with various observing techniques can build a solid foundation of experience and skill during a single planetary apparition. Two-to-three years of dedicated observing is enough time for any person to develop the skill and technique to get just as much out of an aperture as an observer with many years experience.

Bill in Flag


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5828177 - 04/28/13 11:51 AM

Quote:

Here's the hypothetical. It could pertain to deepsky as well but for the sake of simplicity, lets use Mars...

Say you have a novice observer with a 10" Reflector looking at Mars with all his heart for the first time ever. Along side him we have a high ranking visual observer with seasoned expert skills and experience also with a 10" identical scope.

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?

I'm going to throw out 12-15" in aperture - my guess.

On deepsky the same scopes, again and a seasoned expert with a novice, but now its M51.

How large a scope might a novice need to see the same nuances? There's real technique here.

We often debate scopes but what about abilities?

Thanks guys.

Pete




My answer would be that if the expert has a 10". the beginner will never see more, regardless of how much bigger the scope is. He could be using a 200" and would still do worse.

Now if the expert had a 60mm refractor, there might be some size scope where the beginner would see as much. But actually, I doubt it.

EDIT: I want to be sure that people are aware that I am talking about looking at Mars here.

Edited by Madratter (04/28/13 11:56 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5829379 - 04/29/13 12:02 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




It's a non sequitur. Aperture can't compensate for an absence of experience.






Not a all this sequitur is grounded in premise. There is a definite edge the seasoned observer has particularly in the midst of a observing program where the eye/brain is quickened in response and sensitivety that a novice could not hope to have. However arming the novice with a large enough telescope can offset this disadvantage through greater angular resolution , image scale and improved contrasts as a result. The question then is how big a scope would the novice need to match the trained observer or said another way how small would the experts scope need to be to match the level of detail perceived by the beginner with the 10",

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
BillFerris
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/17/04

Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5829421 - 04/29/13 12:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




It's a non sequitur. Aperture can't compensate for an absence of experience.




Not a all this sequitur is grounded in premise.




Your premise is flawed. You equate the benefits of experience with the benefits of observing with a larger aperture. This fails to take into account two critical factors: knowledge and skill. Both develop as an observer gains experience. Neither is available as an add-on when moving up in aperture.

Bill in Flag


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: northernontario]
      #5829582 - 04/29/13 06:15 AM

Quote:

But, don't kid yourself.. There is a reason they make 2 meter mirrors.

jake




I think Jake sums up the question very handedly here.

I don’t care how "skilled" you are, equipment can bring out detail even the most skilled observer cannot see with a moderate instrument.

Case in point


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5829602 - 04/29/13 06:52 AM

Well I totally I totally disagree here Bill . There is no substitute for experience which is the reason a beginner would need greater aperture to see the same details an experienced might see readily with less. The premise isn't flawed at all. I appreciate your view points but I disagree.

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5829614 - 04/29/13 07:15 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




It's a non sequitur. Aperture can't compensate for an absence of experience.






Not a all this sequitur is grounded in premise. There is a definite edge the seasoned observer has particularly in the midst of a observing program where the eye/brain is quickened in response and sensitivety that a novice could not hope to have. However arming the novice with a large enough telescope can offset this disadvantage through greater angular resolution , image scale and improved contrasts as a result.




I think you're both right.

On the one hand, experienced observers routinely see things with small instruments that novices have no hope of seeing with any instrument. On the other hand, novices armed with big telescopes routinely see things that no observer, no matter how experienced, could hope to see with a small instrument.

To take an example of the former, an experienced observer can spot Barnard's Galaxy fairly easily through a 60-mm telescope under dark skies. I doubt many newbies would be able to see Barnard's Galaxy through any instrument, regardless of how big.

To take an extreme example of the latter, try spotting Jupiter's belts with 7x35 binoculars. Can't be done. But even a raw beginner can see the two main belts easily through a decent 4-inch telescope.

So, as Bill says, aperture and experience aren't interchangeable. Neither one will substitute for the other. It's much the same as aperture and dark skies; neither one will substitute for the other.

On the other hand, there are obviously cases where aperture can compensate for lack of experience and/or bright skies. Resolving a globular cluster is a good example.

However, expecting to come up with a neat formula is unrealistic.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5829617 - 04/29/13 07:17 AM

it is not just seeing, but understanding what you see

an experienced observer can see more in a small scope that novice in a big scope

edj


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Qwickdraw
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5829682 - 04/29/13 08:37 AM

Quote:

it is not just seeing, but understanding what you see

an experienced observer can see more in a small scope that novice in a big scope

edj




No offense but I think some here are letting their attitude of being "all that" get in the way of the facts. Unless you think an experienced astronomer with a mediocre aperture scope can resolve an image of Jupiter better than This than there really is no argument. Yes, I went to the extreme to make a point and I know the image was from the Hubble.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5829853 - 04/29/13 10:24 AM

Quote:

Quote:

it is not just seeing, but understanding what you see

an experienced observer can see more in a small scope that novice in a big scope

edj




No offense but I think some here are letting their attitude of being "all that" get in the way of the facts. Unless you think an experienced astronomer with a mediocre aperture scope can resolve an image of Jupiter better than This than there really is no argument. Yes, I went to the extreme to make a point and I know the image was from the Hubble.




Except in practice we observe from under this atmosphere instead of in space. And that makes a huge difference.

I think it is unfortunate the way the question was originally worded. If it had been the beginner has a 10", how small would the experts scope have to be, I think the question is more interesting. And lately, he is now putting it that way as an alternative framing of the question.

My best views ever of Mars and Jupiter have been through my 20" Obsession. But those times were rare, and even then I doubt the new user would have been able to use that extra aperture to their advantage. For one thing, I have my doubts they could even get the thing critically focused.

I also think that the question is more interesting with DSOs than with planets.

I like Tony's response a few messages back.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
echoes1961
member


Reged: 09/14/12

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5830507 - 04/29/13 03:22 PM

Quote:

Quote:

But, don't kid yourself.. There is a reason they make 2 meter mirrors.

jake




I think Jake sums up the question very handedly here.

I don’t care how "skilled" you are, equipment can bring out detail even the most skilled observer cannot see with a moderate instrument.

Case in point




1- Aperture RULES!

2- Experience very good thing.

3- Eyes age and details lost.

4- Go big, especially the older you get.

So it could also come down to how old the experienced observer is, againts a younger newcomer who has 20/20 vision and might be able to spot the rings of Saturn with his eyes only!

So the older you get increase your telescopes aperture to compensate for failing eyes experienced or not IMO.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Madratter
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: echoes1961]
      #5830537 - 04/29/13 03:37 PM

Quote:


1- Aperture RULES!





Let me state clearly, so the pillaging can begin, that I emphatically disagree with this statement when presented with no caveats. There are too many instances where this is simply not true.

I have scopes between 4" and 20" in size. I do not always use the 20". In fact I have 4" and 6" scopes I bought AFTER I owned the 20". My 8" I owned prior.

Edited by Madratter (04/30/13 09:47 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
DOTrevino
member


Reged: 11/16/09

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Madratter]
      #5830693 - 04/29/13 04:51 PM

As I get more experience, I realize that not a single factor can *rule*. It is a combination of factors. I rather be at a dark location with a smaller instrument than with a larger aperture in light polluted skies.

When I first looked at Jupiter with my first telescope (a 4.5 inch reflector) I just saw a circle of light. I learned that the bundled eyepieces were not that great so I got a new eyepiece. To confirm my new eyepiece was good, I tried it first on a 12.5 inch reflector, and I saw for the first time cloud belts on Jupiter. I then took my new eyepiece and tried it on my own smaller reflector and indeed I was able to detect at least some of the cloud belts. Why was not able to see them before?

Last weekend, I was able to find Jupiter at dusk (no totally dark yet) and lo and behold, I could see the main could belts using only a 70mm refractor, and in fact, I thought I saw more details than when I used my 4.5 reflector many years ago.

I believe experience and a dark location can compensate greatly for lack of aperture in several instances, unless you are suffering of intoxicating aperture fever.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
echoes1961
member


Reged: 09/14/12

Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Madratter]
      #5830913 - 04/29/13 06:53 PM

Quote:

Quote:


1- Aperture RULES!





Let me state clearly, so the pillaging can begin, that I emphatically disagree with this statement when presented with no caveats. The are too many instances where this is simply not true.

I have scopes between 4" and 20" in size. I do not always use the 20". In fact I have 4" and 6" scopes I bought AFTER I owned the 20". My 8" I owned prior.




Yeah...I agree, 20" is too big, too hard to deal with. So yes a good 6" or 8" is up to the job. For my 52 year old eyes I've found the 10" is perfect. I should have mentioned that the 10" is the best for in town viewing IMO and with the "seeing" never being that great in the city, smaller (10" and under) is of course the better choice.

Happy trails


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5831175 - 04/29/13 09:45 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Obviously the expert will see more. The question however is simply: how large a reflector would the novice need to be able to see the same details as the expert?




It's a non sequitur. Aperture can't compensate for an absence of experience.






Not a all this sequitur is grounded in premise. There is a definite edge the seasoned observer has particularly in the midst of a observing program where the eye/brain is quickened in response and sensitivety that a novice could not hope to have. However arming the novice with a large enough telescope can offset this disadvantage through greater angular resolution , image scale and improved contrasts as a result.




I think you're both right.

On the one hand, experienced observers routinely see things with small instruments that novices have no hope of seeing with any instrument. On the other hand, novices armed with big telescopes routinely see things that no observer, no matter how experienced, could hope to see with a small instrument.

To take an example of the former, an experienced observer can spot Barnard's Galaxy fairly easily through a 60-mm telescope under dark skies. I doubt many newbies would be able to see Barnard's Galaxy through any instrument, regardless of how big.

To take an extreme example of the latter, try spotting Jupiter's belts with 7x35 binoculars. Can't be done. But even a raw beginner can see the two main belts easily through a decent 4-inch telescope.

So, as Bill says, aperture and experience aren't interchangeable. Neither one will substitute for the other. It's much the same as aperture and dark skies; neither one will substitute for the other.

On the other hand, there are obviously cases where aperture can compensate for lack of experience and/or bright skies. Resolving a globular cluster is a good example.

However, expecting to come up with a neat formula is unrealistic.




Hi Tony,

I agree. I was thinking more like a rule of thumb approximation. The variables are too steeped to allow a nifty equation to surface out of it.

Thanks for your comments!

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5831641 - 04/30/13 06:42 AM

Quote:

I was thinking more like a rule of thumb approximation.




The one thing I can say with confidence is that your initial estimate -- multiplying the aperture by 1.2 to 1.5X -- underestimates the importance of experience.

There are few cases where a beginner with an 8-inch telescope will see more than a highly experienced observer with a 4-inch telescope.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
galexand
sage
*****

Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Bloomington Indiana
Re: Aperture versus experience new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5833582 - 05/01/13 02:09 AM

After so much great commentary, I can't add much more than a "me too", but I would point out that I simply don't think any amount of aperture can make up for experience. Without some sort of expectation from what you are looking at, to the new viewer it is inevitable that a lot of detail will come across as, "yeah, it's a blurry blob, so?" Or, in the case of Mars, "it's red, so?"

But I will put a slightly friendlier spin on that -- I think the benefits for a "highly experienced observer" may be slightly overblown. I am certain that many things continue to improve over time, but I think that the most important improvements occur very early on. The learning curve is the steepest at the beginning.

What I mean is that after 10 years you are still going to be learning new tricks, but they won't be "as big" as the things you learned in your first couple months playing with a telescope. So the OP asked, "what size scope would let the beginner see Mars as well as the expert?" and I would answer, "the size that means the beginner has spent every night for a month viewing Mars."

In a month, you will not quite be an old hand at it, but if you make a concerted study of a single object for even a month, you are no longer truly a beginner either.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)


Extra information
5 registered and 4 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  cildarith, panhard, tecmage 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 2778

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics