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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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Ira
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5584601 - 12/22/12 07:47 PM

Quote:

Well nearly three decades ago while an undergraduate in college I routinely got to play around with the research telescopes whenever they were not being used by the faculty. In fact, as I ran the public observing sessions for a year I was able to utilize the 20" Clark refractor and the 24" F14 classical cassegrain every week and for one summer I interned at Oak Ridge and got to play with the 61" reflector too! So in terms of comparison, and mind you I just got back into Amateur Astronomy about 10 months ago so my memory may be a bit foggy... BUT... for DSOs I find the color and detail produced by the Mallincam Extreme (MCX) to be extremely pleasing. Soon after I left University and ended up in a total non-Astronomy field I bought a C8 and literally used it maybe 3 times. The disappointment was massive, going from the college telescopes to the C8. I kid you all not, i packed the C8 away and it remained in storage for over 25 years until 11 months ago when I took it out and found my way back into the hobby. Since I discovered using the Mallincam Extreme the joy and wonder I remember while in school came back and now I am planning on getting bigger and better instruments. So from my perspective, I can say that video astronomy has re-awakened my passion for Astronomy in a way that visual just never did once I left school. I suppose that unlike most others here on CN, I started in Astronomy using such high-end instruments that I never got to experience 'faint fuzzy wonder' in small apertures.

Equally interesting has been my experience with the new Mallincam SSI planetary camera... With my C8 or C11 barlowed, I have to say that the image of Jupiter easily rivals what I remember seeing through the 20" clark refractor.

I wish I had recorded what I saw back then so I could more accurately compare what I can see on the Mallincam cameras to what I remember seeing as an undergraduate with those large telescopes. Yet, I think the key factor for me has been how using the Mallincams has been a re-awakening for me in terms of my love for Astronomy. I believe that if I had not gotten into video astronomy that I probably would have packed the C8 back up and left in storage for another 25 yrs... so for me at least, I can say that video astronomy has exerted a powerful pull and definately drawn me back into the hobby.

Al




This hits it smack on for me. There is a limit to what every aperture can show no matter how long you squint or look askance. I want to be hit between the eyes and I'm way too old to be lugging about huge telescope pieces. The Mallincam brings it all into range. Whether you like that experience or not is something personal. But if you haven't actually tried it yourself (that means operating the camera, too, not looking at someone elses screen), you should withold judgement. It's alot more like observing to me than I ever imagined it would be before doing it myself.

/Ira


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5584610 - 12/22/12 07:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I was really wondering how this compares to what you folks have seen in a large dob.




It's an apples-versus-doughnuts comparison. The big difference is that with electronically enhanced displays -- either this kind or old-fashioned photomultiplier tubes -- something is either there or not there. It's very different from the experience of glimpsing something with averted vision.

Video observing is a whole new category. It's not really imaging, nor is it really visual observing, but combines elements of both.




Tony,
This is simply not true. You don't use averted vision with a video camera, true, but you do build up an image both mentally and visually. Some exposures will only show one thing; it comes out a little better with a different exposure or setting; then a little better still with a different setting; all the while you are building up a visual memory of what you saw, just as if you were waiting for the seeing to improve, switching eyepieces, adding filters, etc. etc. In that respect seeing = seeing. It is EXACTLY the same.

/Ira


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5584614 - 12/22/12 07:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

M51's spiral arms are definitely visible through an 8-inch scope under dark skies. Not even difficult once you understand what they look like. The key is to concentrate on the dark areas inside what at first looks like a uniform circle of light.





Ok, well, if you're satisfied with this, so be it. But this is entirely disappointing to what I see with my Mallincam. I see observatory quality views, not suggestions of this or that arm glimpsed through this or that dark area.

/Ira

Yup. Like this:



Observed with my 150mm f/8 Sky-Watcher achro. Baader Maxbright bino, magnifications 30x, 60x, 80x and 120x. SQM 21.4. Somewhat hazy. NELM about 6. Image best at 60x.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark




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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584632 - 12/22/12 08:08 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

There have been quite a few posts complaining about the dynamic range of a video camera vs the eye, how the core is burned out in extended objects, etc etc. Let me just say this: YOU DON'T GET IT. You use a video camera the same way you use your eyepieces. You build up a mental image over time with what is shown on the video screen, just as you build up a mental image of what you see over time with your eyepieces. I can start out with a short exposure of M42 that shows just the Trapezium and a few other stars. Then as I extend the exposure time, I start to see the nebulosity it is embedded in. Then the dark area around the Trapezium where the stellar wind has blown away the gas and dust, then more stars, then more nebulosity, and oh brother, it's even pink, just like it's supposed to be. Not just kind of pink, but glowing hot pink everywhere, then the dark dust lanes become very prominent, then I begin to see the hydrogen gas that connects M42 to M43 and the gas around M43 has dark lanes in it, and it's black and pink. All this takes some measure of time. Maybe as much as 30 minutes or more. And it's all very dynamic. Then I decide to take a picture of the final result and show it here. So, you say, "Hmph, see burned out core, not good." Well of course, the core is burned out in the final picture. But my mental image, built up over the course of 30 minutes doesn't resemble the final picture at all. Plus I can share it with even the most rank beginner as I go along. You know the kind, they look at M42 in a telescope and say, "I don't see anything at all."

/Ira

Edited by Ira (12/22/12 08:11 PM)


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starrancher
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584694 - 12/22/12 08:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'll take my eyepiece view under pristine skies over the camera view all night long and twice on Sunday night .
There is something special about the eyepiece view that cannot be substituted by any other means .
The intimacy and tranquility of it all cannot be recreated with a camera .
Awestruck through the ocular . That's astronomy .




Starrancher,
Have you ever personally used a video camera for astronomy?

/Ira




Personally no . But I have attended star parties with the "Andromeda Society" while still in the high desert of southern California where a section of the observing field was set aside for "video astronomy" . Anywhere from six to twelve members would have the monitors set up with various objects on display to view what I guess were more or less "live" images . It was an experience that I would say is "different" .
Was it interesting ? Yeah . Am I old fashioned ? Probably . Is it my cup if tea ? No .
It just seems like it's missing out on the reality in some way . An electronically produced image that to some extent is limited in the confines of the resolution of the monitor amongst other components involved . To me it's just not "real" . There is the feeling of really being there when you see the object with your own eye through the glass that can't be achieved any other way . I don't look down upon those who do it . It's just not what I perceive as "observing" or an "observation" . To me it's somewhat removed from reality in that the I guess I would call the "intimacy" of the grand experience of observation . I'm not into the challenge so much in say , testing or pushing myself to see , as much as I am into the shear awe inspiring experience of what a quality and asthetically pleasing view can hold . If seeing is good and it's a rare night that enables one to see the entire helical structure of the Helix nebula for instance or the dust lanes of M31 and the star cloud NCC206 within it are popping , or five spiral arms direct vision in M33 , I can literally spend hours on one object in awe just letting the mount track it , take a break , come back and enjoy the view again . There are those nights that don't occur too often and taking advantage of that view means more to me than just moving on to the next object .
I'm sure everybody has their own personal idiosyncrasy of what enjoyment of the hobby is . The video thing just isn't mine .
An old observing buddy of mine used to spend all night missing out on the relaxation and enjoyment of a grand night under the stars in an uneducated attempt at CCD imaging and getting nowhere but fully frustrating himself . I'd tell him "Dude ! , just put that stuff away , get out an eyepiece and relax and enjoy for cryin out loud !". Being it touch with nature is the personal experience that is where it's at for me . The serenity and tranquility of it all . A way to relax , and it truly is one of the most relaxing exercises one can partake in .


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584714 - 12/22/12 09:16 PM

De gustibus non est disputandum.

I just suggest that people give it a personal try before they imagine what it is like. Before I started using the Mallincam I used to go back and forth with myself about why wouldn't this be the same as just looking a photos on line. Well it's not, but exactly why it's not is a bit difficult to say.

/Ira


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starrancher
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584717 - 12/22/12 09:17 PM

Quote:

M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. In my C8 under dark desert skies this barely shows as two bright smudges at the core of the Whirlpool and its companion. This really rocked me back on my heels.




I have actually seen as much detail that the camera image shows in M51 with my 8 inch Schmidt Newtonian using a Plossl under the dark skies of the Mojave desert in southern California on a good night .


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584736 - 12/22/12 09:26 PM

Remember this is a hand held iPhone photo of a tv screen. It doesn't show the knots of star forming regions that are visible. Plus, I'm not sure what 8" scope you were using, but I observe every night under the dark desert skies of Israel. I'e been out literally hundreds of times, and my C8 doesn't come close to the view of what my Mallincam shows. Indeed this is something like a 45 second integration of M51. I would say it would be physically impossible for an equivalent size telescope to show the same thing visually. But no disrespect meant. Perhaps you have exceptional vision.

/Ira


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584738 - 12/22/12 09:28 PM

Obviously I've been lucky to achieve some of the views I've had in my 8 inch scope . You might even say some think I'm flat out lying about them and that it can't be done in that size scope . But it can !
It's not just a great dark sky site that makes it happen on its own , it's the transperency and atmospheric stability that's important also . What was achievable on one lucky night of perfection , might take years to achieve again , if ever at all .
Can you say "being at the right place at the right time ?" .


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Ira
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Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584742 - 12/22/12 09:31 PM

My observing location is 1 KM from the only research observatory in the Middle East. Can you say, "I am always at the right place at the right time."?


/Ira


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starrancher
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Reged: 06/09/09

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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584754 - 12/22/12 09:44 PM

Quote:

My observing location is 1 KM from the only research observatory in the Middle East. Can you say, "I am always at the right place at the right time."?


/Ira





Lol . I have no doubt that your observing site is great , but what I'm mean is that not only darkness , but transperency and stability all have to be working in tandem . I've had views of NGC7293 that were absolutely photo quality sans the color and other nights it's just a round patch without even the hint of the hole in the middle . Same location , same scope , different night .
Maybe it's the awesome optics in the Meade Schmidt Newt , cause I know my eyes are far from being great .

Then again , maybe it's those awesome Meade 4000 series Plossls I'm using .


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Ira
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584756 - 12/22/12 09:46 PM

It really is all about the equipment!

/Ira


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BillFerris
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Reged: 07/17/04

Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584767 - 12/22/12 09:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

I was really wondering how this compares to what you folks have seen in a large dob.




It's an apples-versus-doughnuts comparison. The big difference is that with electronically enhanced displays -- either this kind or old-fashioned photomultiplier tubes -- something is either there or not there. It's very different from the experience of glimpsing something with averted vision.

Video observing is a whole new category. It's not really imaging, nor is it really visual observing, but combines elements of both.




Tony,
This is simply not true. You don't use averted vision with a video camera, true, but you do build up an image both mentally and visually. Some exposures will only show one thing; it comes out a little better with a different exposure or setting; then a little better still with a different setting; all the while you are building up a visual memory of what you saw, just as if you were waiting for the seeing to improve, switching eyepieces, adding filters, etc. etc. In that respect seeing = seeing. It is EXACTLY the same.

/Ira




Video observing and visual observing are not exactly the same. They are, in point of fact, very different. When video observing, one looks at a video display generated by an electronic device. The display is an interpretation of the image formed by the telescope. When visual observing, one is looking at the image formed by the telescope.

An appropriate analog would be to compare watching a football game on TV versus watching the game in person. Both can be very enjoyable activities. Personally, I'm thankful for live, televised coverage of NFL games. As a long-time Green Bay Packers fan, I would much rather attend the games in person but, due to living 1,500 miles away in Arizona, I have to be satisfied with watching the games on television. And I do enjoy watching my team on TV, just ask my wife and son who know by the enthusiastic, rafter rattling shouts of joy coming from the living room when the Packers score a touchdown.

But as much as I enjoy watching the games on TV, I am the first to acknowledge the objective fact that my experience is not the same as that of a fan watching the game unfold in the stadium. It is not that I enjoy the games, less. But my experience of the game is different. This is not a matter of opinion but rather of objective fact. The experience of being in the stadium is different from that of watching the game on television.

The same is true for video observing and visual observing. Both are very enjoyable activities. But they are not equivalent. The experience of looking into an eyepiece at the image formed by the telescope is different from that of looking at a video display of the telescope image. Please, understand, I am neither saying nor suggesting that one is objectively better or worse than the other. Each activity offers the potential of delivering great joy to the participant. Each is deserving of a forum where enthusiasts can share experiences, and discuss equipment and techniques. However, they are in fact different activities. Hence, the creation of the "Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy" forum.

Happy Holidays,

Bill in Flag


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5584778 - 12/22/12 10:02 PM

They are obviously different experiences. What I was responding to in Tony's post is that "Something is either there or not there" in video observing. That is not true, as I explained.

/Ira


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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584781 - 12/22/12 10:05 PM

The first time I saw M33 was with the SN8 outside of Landers California , I could count five spiral arms direct vision (no averted vision needed) . At the next star party a month later , I couldn't see that same quality in the image . I went for a walk and stopped by a member that had a twelve inch Dob . It was an Obsession or Starsplitter or something in that realm . In other words , it was a premium scope . I asked him to get M33 in there as I was not quite understanding why it didn't look the same as it did a month ago . He focused it up and without a doubt the view was superior to what I had in my SN8 , but yet not as good as what the 8 inch had last month . I commented to him that last month it looked better in my 8 than it looked now in his 12 . "Well yeah" he said , that's entirely possible that you caught it on a great night in the right part of the sky and didn't doubt that what I'd seen was the truth .
To this day , I have never seen M33 like that through my 8 inch the way I saw it that first night . Same for the Helix . The first time was the best Ive ever seen it . I'll keep trying , but can you say "beginners luck ?" .

Edited by starrancher (12/22/12 10:08 PM)


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ZRX-Steve
sage


Reged: 03/31/08

Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584882 - 12/22/12 11:38 PM

My 20" Obsession isn't even in the same ballpark as my 12’' F/4 On a GEM for most objects. For planetary, the dob wins hands down though. Also for setup time the obsession wins. It's a big commitment to get setup and aligned for video astronomy.

I've wondered the same as you, how big would I have to go to equal the 12" + Mallincam. I suspect Glenn is right. 5x aperture sounds about right.

/s


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David Knisely
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: nytecam]
      #5584999 - 12/23/12 01:32 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

Quote:

Quote:

... I am kind of spoiled in terms of CCD imaging, as I have a friend who does them from a dark-sky site with his own observatory using some of the finest CCD cameras, mounts, and equipment available to the amateur today.... I think that if I were to go the electronic route, I might be tempted to follow his example rather than go with a single-shot camera system.


David - when [or more probably - if] you do, I guarantee you'll get an immense satisfaction from your own efforts however modest which beats pro pictures books any day. I'm sure this applies to your visual observations. Some presume astronomy is an elite hobby reserved for those under perfect skies - I don't




I may do it someday, but the technology has changed so much over the past decade that what we will get in a few years may kind of leave the current Mallincam in the dust. However, when I see images like the one I am posting below, well, I just sigh and sometimes don't see much use in sticking on a short-exposure camera system on my SCT to get a somewhat grainy color image of my own of that object. The image below of M81 is a section of an finished image created by Minnesota amateur astrophotgrapher Rick Johnson. It was done with a 14 inch LX200R on a Paramount ME using a SBIG STL-11000XM camera. It also shows the faint companion galaxy Holmberg IX (UGC 5336) which is tough to see visually in my 14 inch Dob. After seeing this, it would be kind of tough to go back to something like a Mallincam. Clear skies to you.


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Dwight J
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5585039 - 12/23/12 02:22 AM

Well David, you aren't "seeing" that image of M81 either. CCD imaging requires hours of processing and a large investment in equipment. That SBIG camera costs ten grand, the mount twelve grand, etc. Not really a form of electronically assisted observing. If you have seen a Mallincam in action the images are not "grainy" unless done poorly. Mallincams and the like are not a replacement for visual observing, rather another way to observe, especially from a light polluted back yard location with MODEST equipment. I don't need to guide either as exposures are seconds to a couple of minutes. I would like to see what your friends equipment would show in a single 60 second exposure of M81.

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GlennLeDrew
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5585072 - 12/23/12 03:54 AM

I've observed M51 through a 24", and the detail recorded by my Mallincam and 8" SCT, even at the reduced focal length provided by the f/3.3 reducer, is superior, and a heck of a lot easier to see, too.

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nytecam
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Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5585111 - 12/23/12 05:15 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

... I think that if I were to go the electronic route, I might be tempted to follow his [Rick's]example rather than go with a single-shot camera system.


David - when [or more probably - if] you do, I guarantee you'll get an immense satisfaction from your own efforts however modest which beats pro pictures books any day. I'm sure this applies to your visual observations. Some presume astronomy is an elite hobby reserved for those under perfect skies - I don't


I may do it someday, but the technology has changed so much over the past decade that what we will get in a few years may kind of leave the current Mallincam in the dust. However, when I see images like the one I am posting below, well, I just sigh and sometimes don't see much use in sticking on a short-exposure camera system on my SCT to get a somewhat grainy color image of my own of that object. The image below of M81 is a section of an finished image created by Minnesota amateur astrophotgrapher Rick Johnson. It was done with a 14 inch LX200R on a Paramount ME using a SBIG STL-11000XM camera. It also shows the faint companion galaxy Holmberg IX (UGC 5336) which is tough to see visually in my 14 inch Dob. After seeing this, it would be kind of tough to go back to something like a Mallincam. Clear skies to you.


David - I too applaud Rick's excellent work - he's one of the few on the CCD Forum who's images are correctly orientated, annotated and analysised [much as a visual observer would] rather than the commonplace swoon of visual impact.

Having in the past done visual and photofilm [including hypered/ cold-cam] I love the modern astro digicams sensitivity but for some it's an excuse to brag about fractions-of-a-day to expose on a single object This is not for me - I like to observe, via my cam, many DSOs that my fickle weather allows. The other night Orion's Belt bordered on averted vision but my cam ignores these conditions to go deep - can't ask for more


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