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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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nmitsthefish
super member


Reged: 06/17/13

Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: microstar]
      #5969545 - 07/13/13 08:09 PM

Quote:

After hours collecting light and calibration frames, processing, and coaxing an image out of the shadows you know that small wonder of the universe in a way that is akin to how an artist knows her work in a way that no casual observer can experience.




I like that analogy and I totally agree, I hope my post didnt sound condescending either. Perhaps I should've compared it to an artists portfolio as well as a photo album, which, in the art of photography, is synonymous anyway.


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CelestronDaddy
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 08/22/09

Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: dcriner]
      #5969570 - 07/13/13 08:26 PM

I've been a visual astronomer since the 1970's. I get real enjoyment from just observing and spending time eyeball to eyepiece looking at all types of objects. Even enjoy binocular and naked eye astronomy ....

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nmitsthefish
super member


Reged: 06/17/13

Loc: Northern Berkshires, MA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: CelestronDaddy]
      #5969577 - 07/13/13 08:29 PM

http://youtu.be/pV58YptFTK0

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CelestronDaddy
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 08/22/09

Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: nmitsthefish]
      #5969638 - 07/13/13 09:18 PM

Impressive video

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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: dcriner]
      #5969655 - 07/13/13 09:31 PM

I continue to observe visually for two reasons.

When we observe the stars with our eyes, we are consuming star light; the electro-magnetic energy of the light strikes the eye and is changed into the electrical chemical energy of the eye/brain system; turning into an image within the brain. We are changing one form of stored energy into another form of stored energy, just as when the apple is eaten and digested. We are actually consuming light.

The light from a distant star is created within that star, is part of the substance of that star. So when we observe the stars with our eyes, we are touching the star.


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CelestronDaddy
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 08/22/09

Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5969665 - 07/13/13 09:37 PM

Otto, Interesting... Never thought of it that way

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karstenkoch
sage


Reged: 04/21/12

Loc: GMT+9
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: CelestronDaddy]
      #5969716 - 07/13/13 10:22 PM

Keith, I'm visual, but I still hear you! To me visual astronomy is usually not about looking at colorful 3D-like scenic vistas like those from the Hubble, though I would LOVE THAT if it we true. Rather, visual is often about looking at something that may be exceedingly small or faint and comprehending in your mind's eye what it is that you are seeing. It is the work of the HST team and other imagers like you that enrich the observing sessions of us visual folk by helping us to really "see" what we've got in the crosshairs.

Don, you really captured the feeling and essence in your post of what I love about observing. I was gazing at Venus shining in the West this week just after sunset and really saw it in a different light (he, he). It was still too light to see Polaris, but I noted in my mind where I knew it to be in the sky. Then, I reoriented my view so that Polaris was "up" and the plane of the ecliptic was "horizontal" from my perpsective. Looking at Venus that way and imagining the orbits of the Earth and Venus as lanes on a racetrack around the Sun, I could really feel/see/understand how I was looking backwards from the Earth at another planet that was catching up to us on the inside track. Then, I could imagine how at the moment it passed us it would be exactly between us and the Sun. And, I didn't need a telescope or camera to see any of this ... I just needed to be outside looking up!


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Mike B
Starstruck
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: shake, rattle, & roll, CA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: CelestronDaddy]
      #5969720 - 07/13/13 10:28 PM

Totally agree! Good analysis... i think i'll remember that one for later retrieval.

Or, stated more poetically:
Quote:

Our uplifted eyes imbibe this heavenly elixir, and the essences dissolve into our minds and hearts, forever changed and grateful.




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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: CelestronDaddy]
      #5969721 - 07/13/13 10:28 PM

As with all good ideas, this is not my own. I got it from somewhere else.

"The light from a distant star is created within that star, is part of the substance of that star. So when we observe the stars with our eyes, we are touching the star."

It actually goes further; because time "stops" for anything traveling at the speed of light, including for light itself; from the perspective of the light of the star which our eyes touch; we touch that stuff of the star--at the surface of the star.


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Mike B
Starstruck
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: shake, rattle, & roll, CA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: karstenkoch]
      #5969733 - 07/13/13 10:37 PM

Quote:

Then, I reoriented my view so that Polaris was "up" and the plane of the ecliptic was "horizontal" from my perspective.



Precisely! And with Saturn up there and not too far to the left, your mind's eye can connect-the-dots to establish the ecliptic- Saturn, Venus, Sol. Then all it takes is a li'l imagination to project oneself upwards, where the curve of the horizon becomes obvious, and the fact that we're standing on the *BLEEP*-eyed edge of a large ball, witnessing the universe, becomes more clearly depicted.

Maybe the word Don was looking for, as that 12 year young astronomer, first grasping the scale & magnitude of our galaxy, might be "epiphany"?


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karstenkoch
sage


Reged: 04/21/12

Loc: GMT+9
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Mike B]
      #5969750 - 07/13/13 10:51 PM

Before the internets jump on my error, it would have been more precise for me to say the "north ecliptic pole in Draco", but "polaris" is close enough for gubment work

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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Mike B]
      #5969790 - 07/13/13 11:27 PM

At first, I was a strict visual observer out of necessity and economics. When I finally had the wherewithal to attempt AP (astrohphotography), I took my requisite blurry picture of Jupiter and the moon and decided I neither had the interest nor the funds to do it. I'd rather look at the real thing, not memorex. There were plenty of other people to spend phenomenal amounts of money and time with shrinking apertures to take those sometimes still blurry images on first film and be disappointed when they were developed, and then when CCD's came along, be able to fold, spindle and mutilate the images and turn out something rather decent.

They could collect hundreds if not thousands of beautiful images. Yet I began to notice that a lot of these imagers were more concerned with the technology, the process and the results than what they were actually imaging. Just not my thing. I could look at their images and appreciate them more than they could. (I'm generalizing here).

Back in 2009, I'd become quite jaded to organized amateur astronomy. I found increasingly that the hobby seemed to be dominated by the AP crowd not only in the magazines and ads, but in the clubs. What were most of the articles about? What were most of the meeting presentations about? Who were the people who showed up at those meetings usually interested in?

The final straw came when I was at a star party at my favorite dark sky site at Redstone Picnic Area on the north shore road of Lake Mead, Nevada. There was a fair group of people there and at the time, it wasn't any club event, just a bunch of people together from all over Las Vegas.

As the night progressed, though there were a few Dobs around, including mine, the conversation was dominated entirely with AP this and AP that, model this and model that, image this and image that. It was like Chinese water torture! Good thing I was busy finding faint fuzzies, though it was hard to tune some of it out. Despite having the largest aperture by far, not a single person came over and asked for a look until one guy finally approached. A newbie (new amateur is the new politically correct term) and asked me how I took photos with my scope! When I explained that I couldn't take photos with it and had no interest in taking photos with my scope, he almost choked. It was like I'd just dropped an extremely dirty word in front of a bunch of third graders at show and tell. He clammed up and walked away.

That incident was a-typical of the attitude I'd been seeing from many new amateurs for quite some time. They'd come into the hobby automatically assuming the goal of EVERY amateur was to take images. If you weren't already taking them, you were saving up for the gear to take them.

I fired off a rant on my local club's e-mail message forum and took some heat from the AP crowd! Needless to say, I ruffled some feathers but at the same time, I drew the attention of one of our member's at large, Roger Ivester. He and I got to talking and discovered we are both, like many of you, strict visual observers. We have NO interest in AP. From that, we started the Observer's Challenge.

The intent of the Observer's Challenge was to encourage visual observing and for the participants to actually LOOK at the objects, and not just go "oh nice" and move on. On the other hand, since we actually had nothing against APers, we allowed anyone to participate, including them. To this day, four years later, we are still going strong with a mix of visual, APer's and a video participant.

Still, the main core of the Observer's Challenge is visual observing, which is ALL I do. Some of you have given your philosophical reasons for why you perfer visual. You've pretty much covered mine, more eloquently but I'll add this.

I'd rather see a poorer, dimmer representation of the real thing, live, not Memorex, than a processed image. Though images are pretty and can show much finer detail, which I still appreciate, it's like vinyl records. I love having that album and cover art, but there's nothing like seeing the band in person. A different experience. More immediate, details are heard, but plenty of details in the music are missed that you can go back over on an album. Yet the band is right in front of you, just like that faint fuzzy in the eyepiece.

By the way, I've seen a different experience with AP even now. If you look at the Orion Telescope site, for instance, when someone posts an image, there will be hundreds of hits gushing about how great the image is. However, when someone posts a drawing about something they saw visually, you'll be lucky to see twenty hits. I still think AP has a huge edge over visual, at least in some circles.


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Feidb]
      #5969831 - 07/14/13 12:25 AM

Variety is the spice of life. I enjoy getting in some serious eyepiece time as much as anybody and I also haveva lot of fun with my cameras and even using my cameras to observe with. (These old eyes just don't work as good as they used too,) Enjoy whatever facet of this wonderful hobby that you like and have the heart to let others do the same by whatever means that they choose.

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Javier1978
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/12/09

Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: jgraham]
      #5969898 - 07/14/13 01:50 AM

After observing for one year, I decided to try AP and after a while I became obsesed with it. I was always wanting something more, my equipment was never enough. Combine that with a very limited budget and you will be very unhappy with the hobby for sure.

Also, Iīm not really into technology, so I did AP with a quite cheap and simple equipment (never had a Go to mount in my life or used a computer in the field), with some decent results for that equipment ( http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Number/5021704 )

Well, after three years or so I reallized that that way of doing AP wasnīt funny any more and I just didnīt want to spend more money in the hobby to buy a good mount, so I sold my equiment and got a 8" dob for pure visual. The last year have been a joy with my beloved dob. I have three chinese plossls and a barlow and I think Iīm done with the equipment (I really liked the 13 mm Ethos when I tried it, yet I donīt desire it, my plossl are just fine for me)

But I have to say I donīt think AP is all about equipment or technology. For me it was kind of magical to hear that subtle noise of the shutter closing after a 5 minutes exposure and run to see in the little display of my camera that colorful little piece of universe that I had captured, what a beauty, what a joy! The same joy that I have seeing Saturn or Fornax cluster today.

AP is a beautiful hobby and I donīt think I "failed" with it. For me, it was extremely demanding with the equiment I could afford and stop enjoing it. Sometimes I miss it...

Clear skies.

Edited by Javier1978 (07/14/13 01:58 AM)


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steveyo
super member


Reged: 03/13/12

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5970066 - 07/14/13 08:31 AM

I'm purely a "looker", and an avid "sharer", too. (Pssst, hey kid! Wanna see somethin' cool?) Digesting photons sent from distant places is pure joy, about which many previous posters here have waxed poetically. Showing someone a picture of Saturn has none of the impact, the gasping reaction, compared to their first live view of the ringed planet. I still feel that way myself, and continue to gasp over something or other every time I observe.

But there's something magical and thrilling about AP and deep space photos, too. I get chills thinking about the feeble light from those too-dim-to-see details and DSO still trickling in enough to impress their effect onto film or digital light recording media. Coming in from observing, I often google up those gorgeous photos of the objects I've just seen. ...oh...that's what it really looks like..


Edited by steveyo (07/14/13 08:35 AM)


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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: steveyo]
      #5970195 - 07/14/13 11:00 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

For me, the title of this thread says it all. While I really, truly, appreciate and admire the art produced by AP practitioners, the best I can phrase my point of view is that a processed image is something I look AT, and am occasionally astounded by the beauty of the product, the alternative in a live view through an eyepiece is something I am part OF. I liken it, at times, to seeing life happen versus viewing Forrest Gump. Hard to trust an image any more, especially with the application of the Hubble Palette to photographic images - it just ain't there.

As with steveyo above, I am an avid "sharer"; 95% of my telescope experience is public outreach. I phrase it "seeing through others' eyes". But as much as I truly enjoy purely visual observing (don't get me too wrong: both my wife and I have taken award winning pics through the use of telescopes, more like a chore than observing), I can appreciate others' point of view and admire their work. Not for me, though. Nothing beats the elation of getting the collimation just right on my 18" Teeter or 10" SCT at a public event, and seeing the look on a first time observer's face when they see a DSO for the first time. And to be at the Grand Canyon Star Party embedded among a half-dozen other volunteers, and hearing the visitor reactions at any number of objects in view, is what keeps me going in this hobby. Right up there with personally seeing something new to me, like the being shocked by the Blinking Planetary Nebula the first time I saw it. Or, this year, when waxing moon was in its first few days at GCSP in the early evening, seeing the Lunar Poodle and Sea of Tranquility with the Apollo 11 landing site for the first time, heck, I was as giggly as the visitors.

I have branched out a bit, though, and have started down the video path. Not for personal use: nothing beats the dynamic range of the human eye and brain working together in real time. But using a Mallincam Junior is not really AP, since the max integration time is four seconds, and what it does for visually and physically handicapped visitors, and children as well, at the scope unveiled a whole new point of view for me. The reaction of the public to M4, Saturn, and the Moon at GCSP when seen live on the monitor was astounding. For these "hit and run" visitor experiences, live video made the teaching and show and tell experience much easier.

I was sold on video use for public outreach by my wife's reaction. She taught physics and earth sciences for many years, won awards for her work in teaching astronomy, but has a congenital defect in night vision. After several surgeries replacing corneas and lenses, it turns out she has a membrane over the rods in her retina and can't focus eyepiece views. It left her literally in tears, because she can not see all the things she had been teaching. As a result, when she helps me by running the SCT at a public event, I need to put the object in the field of view (she can see bright planets and double stars in the eyepiece, nothing else). My first night in the yard learning the Mallincam for GCSP use, I had M13 on a 13" LCD monitor. She came outside just when I got it in view and said, "So THAT'S what people are talking about!" Live view, just relayed to a monitor. I had the same reaction with some kids at GCSP who had been having a traumatic night going from scope to scope and not able to figure out the use of an eyepiece. When they saw a two and a half inch view of Saturn on the monitor, you couldn't dynamite them away from the table. Same with the core of M4. Live, visual, overcoming limitations that was stealing the joy we feel at the eyepiece. Here is a shot of a daytime outreach my granddaughter Karina and I did at GCSP. We set up a Lunt 60mm solar scope at the Kaibab Learning Center to show the sun to about 15 three to seven year old day care children. Behind me, our lead Interpretive Ranger Marker Marshall had a spotting scope on the moon. In the image on the screen, the orange ball of the sun, with five filament strings, prominence feathers all around, and several storm areas on the disk, were entrancing the students. They never would have gotten the view through an eyepiece since they were so young. No processing, running live at 1/2000 second shutter speed. But about a five inch image helped the visual experience for the kids. But that's the limit for me...visual observing is real life, AP is art. I use the Mallincam to bring the real time visual experience to those who can't make use of the eyepiece.

Edited by Skylook123 (07/14/13 11:03 AM)


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AngryHandyman
sage


Reged: 06/28/13

Loc: Nanaimo, BC
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5970339 - 07/14/13 12:39 PM

I absolutely love looking at images taken by others, I'm glad they're willing to share the results of their craft. AP is what initially got me curious about astronomy before I had a scope but a year and a half into my astro journey and I've learned more about my preferences and for me visual observing is what I want to spend my time doing. The sense of wonder I get sitting at the eyepiece is what keeps me coming back for more while beautiful images taken by others satisfies my original curiosity that drew me into astronomy in the first place. Maybe sometime in the future I'll try my hand at it, never say never, but for now it's just me, my scopes and the sky!

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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: AngryHandyman]
      #5970809 - 07/14/13 05:29 PM

The advantages of visual are immediated gratification with much less work.It is also the difference between watching a National Geographic park video and being at the park in person.

I can certainly see the advantages of video astronomy aswell .

The APers give us great pics and,their examples of stunning pics sell lots of AP gear which sits unused once the would[be APer discovers that good pics are not too difficult but great pics require a large investment of time and money.

I can grab/drag a scope out pretty quickly for visual but often don't have the time foe taking pics.Maybe once or if the "observatory" ever gets built....


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Mxplx2
sage


Reged: 09/12/12

Loc: NE PA USA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: BigC]
      #5971105 - 07/14/13 07:55 PM

I used to go on vacations armed with a camera and take pictures of everything I came in contact with. The trouble was I didn't get to SEE where I was until I got home and looked at the pictures.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Starman1]
      #5971151 - 07/14/13 08:28 PM

Quote:

The night is a very special time: the air feels different, and the quietness of the world is almost palpable. If the sky is clear at the same time, and you are under dark skies, that special experience just continues all the way up.




Every so often I spend an evening doing astrophotography. At the end of the evening, I realize I have spent the evening looking at a computer screen rather than enjoying that quiet, unique, serenity of an evening with a telescope.

Jon


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