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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Skylook123
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Mxplx2]
      #5971288 - 07/14/13 10:11 PM

Quote:

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.




A few years ago I read about a psychological study of tourists taken over an extended period of time. Different nationalities were involved. The subject of the study was the effect of taking pictures on memories retained of the trip. The result was that at the end of the spectrum of people who took many, many pictures, they remembered the pictures. The other end, little or no photography, they remembered the nuances of the trip.


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brianb11213
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5971649 - 07/15/13 04:13 AM

Quote:

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.



Yeah, that's about the size of it. Imaging may well give results which are better technically but visual observing is much more fun. If I had to do imaging only, I'd give up.


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azure1961p
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5971767 - 07/15/13 07:22 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




A few years ago I read about a psychological study of tourists taken over an extended period of time. Different nationalities were involved. The subject of the study was the effect of taking pictures on memories retained of the trip. The result was that at the end of the spectrum of people who took many, many pictures, they remembered the pictures. The other end, little or no photography, they remembered the nuances of the trip.




Interesting study and it makes sense. I agree with it too but like wise those who sketch or take log notes or diary I am sure reap the experiences well too.

Pete


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azure1961p
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5971770 - 07/15/13 07:27 AM

Quote:

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.




Not if you are using a diagonal flat or reflector. In these cases the photons strike the glass reflective surface - warm it ever so slightly as a result. That's the end of that photon - it never reaches your eye. A photon of similar value is then reflected up the tube and into the eyepiece.

Pete


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nmitsthefish
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Reged: 06/17/13

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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5971834 - 07/15/13 08:45 AM

Quote:

Not if you are using a diagonal flat or reflector. In these cases the photons strike the glass reflective surface - warm it ever so slightly as a result. That's the end of that photon - it never reaches your eye. A photon of similar value is then reflected up the tube and into the eyepiece.




I don't know if that is necessarily true. It sounds like you are referring to circlon theory, in which case it would be the same through any pane of glass including a refracting lens. Anything else I've read on photon reflection/refraction does not mention this phenomenon so I don't know how accepted this theory is. It totally could be true but are there any other sources that can confirm that?


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microstar
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5971948 - 07/15/13 10:13 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




A few years ago I read about a psychological study of tourists taken over an extended period of time. Different nationalities were involved. The subject of the study was the effect of taking pictures on memories retained of the trip. The result was that at the end of the spectrum of people who took many, many pictures, they remembered the pictures. The other end, little or no photography, they remembered the nuances of the trip.




Again, astrophotography is about like tourists snapping pics on a vacation as a symphony is compared to a kid with a kazoo. An astrophoto can take 20+ hours of work. By the time you are done you know every subtle nuance of that region of the universe, the color of every star. It's also not the same looking at someone else's images because we usually only have time to look at it for a few seconds and only gather a course impression - to the imager it was a labour of love. We are just appreciating the wonders of the universe in different ways, so why does it have to become "visual is pure and deep and spirit-transforming but imaging is shallow"? I appreciate that many (most?) agree that we are united by a sense of wonder - that is ultimately why we share this forum. I love the descriptions in this thread of the existential connection to a mysterious and unimaginable universe because I share that sense of wonder even though I'm 95% imager/5% visual.
...Keith


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: desertstars]
      #5971979 - 07/15/13 10:35 AM

Quote:

For myself, I've never gotten over the thrill of finding and seeing these things for myself.





I agree! The excitement of finding & seeing these beautiful night sky beauties has never faded away for me. Even viewing old favorites, that I've seen many times, is still as thrilling as when I saw them for the first time!


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FJA
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5972001 - 07/15/13 10:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

For myself, I've never gotten over the thrill of finding and seeing these things for myself.





I agree! The excitement of finding & seeing these beautiful night sky beauties has never faded away for me. Even viewing old favorites, that I've seen many times, is still as thrilling as when I saw them for the first time!




I totally agree, I like to see as much as I can and, each session, I hunt out objects that I've not seen before but, at the beginning and end of my observing sessions I like to go and say 'hello' to some old friends and they never get boring.

We're all different and each to their own but when I see posts on the net, or hear it at the local club, from beginners who want to dive straight into imaging I wish they'd stop and consider visual observing first. Too many people seem to want to dive straight into AP without giving visual a chance,no doubt hoping they'll be able to somehow get great images from the word go. I suppose that, being a bit of a die-hard visual observer, I can be accused of bias but a lot of newcomers to the hobby think AP is the only way to go when in reality, it isn't.


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WesC
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: FJA]
      #5973000 - 07/15/13 07:43 PM

No offense intended guys, but all of this analogy being passed around about observing being the experience and AP being like taking a photo of a game or concert or a national park vs actually being there in person is simply incorrect. Think about it... in those contexts the photograph is less than the experience of being there, because you can actually GO to a park or a concert or a game and see, hear, smell, taste and feel everything... but astronomy is exactly the opposite. We can't ever BE there, we can only SEE from a great distance and we are severely limited by our weak human eyes, the turbulent atmosphere, light pollution and our equipment. And in most cases, except for meteorites and satellites, there isn't even any motion to detect by looking visually because things move to very, very slowly.

This is where the camera sensor has a distinct advantage.

You simply cannot see with your human eye and a telescope... no matter how dark the sky or how big the aperture... the range of light that a CCD camera can capture. You can't look longer and capture more light like a camera can. You can't enhance the speed of motion in the planets and asteroids and comets to learn more about them like a camera and computer can. The camera can ALWAYS see more and deeper than the human eye, especially considering wavelengths beyond human visibility that make up much of the universe's structure. From this we have learned a massive amount more about the universe than from purely visual observations. The camera and computer are just another observing tool, just like the telescope and eyepiece.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with pure visual astronomy, but I don't think its fair to use false analogies to defend it (like that is even needed) as though AP is some kind of disconnection from the universe like looking through your iPhone camera at a live concert. Its not the same thing at all. Its expensive, its difficult and its not for everyone, but that doesn't mean its a lesser thing. I suspect a lot of the people who got into AP were probably disappointed with how little they could actually see visually and wanted more.


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BigC
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: WesC]
      #5973117 - 07/15/13 09:05 PM

I certainly wasn't belittling AP.

Perhaps a different analogy:

visual is like running track,whereas AP is like riding motocross!!?

Seroiusly, "seeing" the detail captured by the camera is simply a "second-hand" experience .In its way it is little different from viewing an infared,UV, or X-ray. Something that the human eye cannot see has neen made available in representional form.This doesn't mean it is not valuable.


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Mike B
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: BigC]
      #5973208 - 07/15/13 10:01 PM

Dare we say that "visual astronomy" leans more touchy-feely, whereas electronically assisted astronomy tends more techie?

Electronically (or chemically for old school ) collecting photons, in a mechanical, artificial manner, is no question more efficient; the human eye-brain (yes, technically "chemical" ) is soo very limited. So if one is intent on maximizing their photon count, and retaining hard evidence of having done so, you'll be wanting a camera. Kind of like where gas-chromatography is far superior at determining chemical constituents than human taste/smell is.

If, on the other hand, you've slaved over a grill to produce the perfect steak, from marination to presentation, you'll not likely be stuffing it into a GC, but rather into your own mouth! Who cares about accurate test results or trace element counts? And if you & your spouse are in a restaurant with said steak, enjoying an anniversary (my 32nd is this Thursday, btw ), complete with whispered sweet-nothings, there's probably no better way to frost the moment than by dragging a camera crew & their boom-mics along with. Oh yeah, you'll have a thorough & accurate record of the proceedings... for what that might be worth. Of course, this might be entirely appropriate if you're filming an installment of "The Bachelorette", featuring a private & romantic meal.

So i s'pose it depends on what one's intent is, there under the stars. If dining on starlight, then go visual, and savor the flavor of the ages, rolling those photons around in your eyeballs before finally swallowing! If catching photons in bulk, otoh, bring all the mechanical help you can muster.

As far as sheer "discovery" goes, the technical has for some time outpaced the human, tho the random human still shines thru... and even those humans using cameras are being outdone by even MORE technically advanced surveys, some not even ground-based and/or manually implemented. So this discussion isn't about scientific values... just personal sentiments.

As such, we visual folks have the likes of Stephan O'Meara to strive after, trying to see what he sees. You imager types have the HST to tilt windmills for. We wish you all the best, and look forward to seeing your results.


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guangtou
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Reged: 03/27/10

Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Mike B]
      #5973691 - 07/16/13 08:14 AM

I am a very serious visual amateur and a very casual two-bit photographer. I usually set up a camera on a tripod with a wide angle lens facing the direction of the sky I am observing, add dew heater and remote timer and then leave it alone. Then I set up my binoculars. After my eyes have dark adapted I want to keep them that way.

The way I observe is I close my eyes and then open them at the ep and try to make a mental picture of what I see. I close my eyes again after my initial study and try to remember the details, open my eyes again and repeat the process. The pic isn't for sky and telescope. There's always a chance something amazing will happen!


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: WesC]
      #5973843 - 07/16/13 10:31 AM

Quote:

No offense intended guys, but all of this analogy being passed around about observing being the experience and AP being like taking a photo of a game or concert or a national park vs actually being there in person is simply incorrect. Think about it... in those contexts the photograph is less than the experience of being there, because you can actually GO to a park or a concert or a game and see, hear, smell, taste and feel everything... but astronomy is exactly the opposite. We can't ever BE there, we can only SEE from a great distance and we are severely limited by our weak human eyes, the turbulent atmosphere, light pollution and our equipment...




Actually, the analogy is spot on. People aren't talking about going out to the stars; they are merely describing the visceral experience that it not the same when you look into a computer display. I do a lot of both imaging and visual observing, and the two pursuits are very different. As you point out, you can go fainter, and learn a lot more about astronomy by imaging. And it's obviously superior if you want to make measurements. What you don't get, at least in my experience, is that sense of a commute with nature.

I think that is the attraction that the OP and many others in this thread are describing, and the analogy of seeing something live versus seeing it on a display couldn't be more valid. I can be there under the sky, albeit many light years away from the subjects, and it couldn't be more different from looking at a display.

Tom


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jgraham
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5973906 - 07/16/13 11:09 AM

"we visual folks"... "You imager types"...

Somewhere in all of this the idea of being an amateur astronomer free to enjoy all that this hobby has to offer has gotten lost. There is no One True Way. As someone who has been in this hobby for over 50 years and am still learning something new every day I can tell you that there is a huge overlap between different observing styles and interests.


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Michael Rapp
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: jgraham]
      #5974132 - 07/16/13 01:18 PM

Quote:

Somewhere in all of this the idea of being an amateur astronomer free to enjoy all that this hobby has to offer has gotten lost.




There is a great deal of truth in this and I've even found myself in this trap.

A few months ago I was wrestling with whether I wanted to be an imager or do visual astronomy. It is a false dichotomy as I, thankfully, found out.

I now do both. My visual interests are in the solar system, binocular observing, double stars, and rich-field viewing of open clusters. My imaging (Mallincam) is almost entire galaxies and nebulae, with an occasional globular thrown in.

What led me down to the either/or trap is limited time. If I only have limited time, I need to choose one or the other. Once I got out of that line of thinking, I started to have much more fun in astronomy and enjoy what both approaches have to offer and how they complement one another.


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Gastrol
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5974194 - 07/16/13 01:43 PM

I did film AP a long time ago. But ever since getting back into the hobby a couple of years back I've been strictly visual. I just like the minimalist aspect of the hobby now, spending the entire evening with the dob at a dark site, for instance. Set up, and observe.

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Steve OK
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5974221 - 07/16/13 01:56 PM

I'm glad to see this discussion coming around to the point made by Michael and John in the previous two posts. I hate to see this framed as an "Us vs. Them" issue. Since early on, I've been fascinated with astrophotography. I learned how to develop film and make prints as a result, which led to a side "hobby" of photography in general. Looking at my early work, like images of Saturn taken with the 6" Newt I built the summer I turned 16, still reminds me of that budding passion. Life and work got in the way for a couple of decades until the first crop of DSLRs hit the market. With one of those in my hands, the obsession was re-ignited. For a while, the only thing I did under dark skies was make images. I could spend a week at my dark site without looking through an eyepiece. Now, after a decade of that, I am calming back down and rediscovering the wonder and beauty of visual astronomy. Both aspects, visual and imaging, are important to me. I love them them both, and they complement each other. Working for hours on an image of M42, for example, leaves it imprinted in my memory so that when I see it through the scope I recognize details that I had previously missed...a tiny star in a certain place, subtle dark regions here or there that are now familiar. I am a "full immersion" amateur astronomer...visual, imaging, deep-sky, lunar, planetary, double star, solar. It's all good!

Steve


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desertlens
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Steve OK]
      #5974252 - 07/16/13 02:10 PM

Quote:

It's all good!




Agreed. I'm a visual observer only. I've been a photographer all of my life and decided against AP because I didn't want to deal with the complexity. That being said, we all make personal choices and there are no absolutes. I'm thankful for those observers whose beautiful AP work is very common these days. They are doing me a favor and having some fun for themselves.


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Mike B
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Steve OK]
      #5974378 - 07/16/13 03:09 PM

Quote:

I hate to see this framed as an "Us vs. Them" issue... Both aspects, visual and imaging, are important to me. I love them them both, and they complement each other... It's all good!



Well stated!

Quote:

"we visual folks"... "You imager types"...



I hope it's understood that my comment, and tone, were somewhat tongue-in-cheek. It really is 'all good'!

Quote:

Working for hours on an image of M42, for example, leaves it imprinted in my memory so that when I see it through the scope I recognize details that I had previously missed...a tiny star in a certain place, subtle dark regions here or there that are now familiar.



The same effect can be enjoyed by sketching!


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Joy of Visual Observing new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5974615 - 07/16/13 04:59 PM

This may seem like heresy to some (what doesn't when you venture into the visual vs. AP swamp?) but I do not consider video astronomy via Mallincam or other similar instruments to be AP. In fact it is really more like using a somewhat different eyepiece to do right-now visual observing, since most people I see who use video rigs are basically looking at what their scopes are aimed at in real time on a screen. Yes, taking those images and storing them and processing them later is more an AP activity, but to me using a video rig in the field for simultaneous observations of just another form of visual astronomy.

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