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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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Ira
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Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs
      #5581110 - 12/20/12 05:24 PM Attachment (160 downloads)

After a long wait and learning curve, I finally got out with my Mallincam Xtreme and gave it a spin in the dark. I was rather astonished at what I saw and wondered how it compared to what you see in deep sky objects through a large dob. The biggest scope I've ever looked through is my C8 which I was using with a Mallincam telecompressor for the attached shots. I know that's hard to believe after 50 years in astronomy, but I've almost never been to a star party, never had close friends who were into astronomy, and am pretty much of a loner when I go out, except of course for my star tours, where no one has a scope except me.

In any case, I was pretty astonished at what the Mallincam did through my modest C8. The photos here were taken just by holding up iPhone to an ancient 4" LCD display of terrible quality and unknown resolution, but that's all I had on hand. The hot spots you see in the iPhone photos and the screen discolorations were no where near as prominent to the eye.

Anyway, I was really wondering how this compares to what you folks have seen in a large dob. I was especially blown away by M81 which filled the entire screen of the display with its spiral arms. Heretofore, I have only seen the bright core in my C8.

Here and in a few other posts are the photos.

/Ira

M81


Edited by Ira (12/20/12 05:26 PM)


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581115 - 12/20/12 05:27 PM Attachment (106 downloads)

M82

Prominent star burst knots, dark disruption lane, twisted arms.

Edited by Ira (12/20/12 05:27 PM)


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581133 - 12/20/12 05:32 PM Attachment (111 downloads)

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.

Edited by Ira (12/20/12 05:35 PM)


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581141 - 12/20/12 05:36 PM Attachment (78 downloads)

M43 and the light bridges connecting it to M42 below.

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IVM
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581142 - 12/20/12 05:37 PM

It's comparable. The links below are to my sketches of M81, M82, and M51.

http://ivm-deep-sky.blogspot.com/2011/03/crop-of-snowy-fields.html
http://ivm-deep-sky.blogspot.com/2012/08/clusters-in-m82.html
http://ivm-deep-sky.blogspot.com/2011/04/m51.html
http://ivm-deep-sky.blogspot.com/2011/06/supernova-in-m51.html

EDIT: Where I observe from, my 16" is not universally considered "large".


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: IVM]
      #5581164 - 12/20/12 05:45 PM Attachment (80 downloads)

M1, the Crab Nebula, finally looking like a "crab".

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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: IVM]
      #5581167 - 12/20/12 05:48 PM

Nicely drawn. Looks like a 16 incher might be the minimum to bring out the same detail I saw with my Mallincam.

/Ira


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Astrojensen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581199 - 12/20/12 06:05 PM

Mallincam = imaging. That makes it extremely hard to compare with visual observing, IMO. The "depth" and brightness difference range visible with the human eye is staggering, but the camera sees color and much fainter objects, by integrating light over time. The visual output on the screen is compressed in brightness and contrast difference by many orders of magnitude, compared to what the eye see in the eyepiece, giving the on screen images a flat appearance. It is like comparing a book and a movie about the same story. They are similar, yet very different. In the first, the image slowly build up in your mind, while in the second, you see lots of flashy images, but they aren't a product of your own imagination and observation. This is both good and bad. It is objective and easily shared, but it is not as intimate and emotional.

That is at least how I feel.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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GlennLeDrew
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581201 - 12/20/12 06:06 PM

For nebulous objects of low surface brightness, the Mallincam makes visible details which would require for visual work an aperture at least five times larger.

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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5581207 - 12/20/12 06:10 PM

Thomas,
After actually using my Mallincam, I couldn't disagree with you more, but I won't argue the point. I understand why you would think so, I just don't feel the same way. In any case, I am trying to compare what is visible in my Mallincam Vs. what size scope I would need to experience the same thing in an eyepiece, since to me the experience is comparable.

/Ira


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highfnum
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581237 - 12/20/12 06:36 PM

what is glow at bottom of screen

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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581239 - 12/20/12 06:37 PM

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 .


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Astrojensen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581244 - 12/20/12 06:38 PM

That's why I said "that's how *I* feel". I've tried a Mallincam on a 18" dob at a star party and, sure, it showed lots of details, but to me, the result didn't feel any different than watching any other astroimage. Interesting, because of the details, but not emotionally involving like visual observing, since the camera completely remove the personal achievement aspect of visual observing. Thus, to me, they are not the same.

Each to his own.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: highfnum]
      #5581253 - 12/20/12 06:46 PM

Quote:

what is glow at bottom of screen




It's an old, low quality monitor whose uneven brightness is exagerted by the iPhone and how I was holding it up to the display. Hope to get a better display soon. Also to capture the best images you wouldn't want to use an external camera. You'd want to bring it in to a computer, digitize it and save the results. The Mallincam Xtreme's output is all analog video, composite and S-Video.

/Ira


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581255 - 12/20/12 06:47 PM

Astrojensen and Starrancher,
I understand your points of view, but trying not to discuss that aspect of the Mallincam in these posts. Perhaps I will start another thread for that.

/Ira

Edited by Ira (12/20/12 06:48 PM)


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mattflastro
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581287 - 12/20/12 07:14 PM

Perhaps your queston needs a bit of rephrasing . Instead of asking how much bigger needs the scope to be in order to see the same details visually as in the smaller scope using a Mallincam, the simpler question would be how much bigger needs the scope be in order to see anything at all . Compare minimum scope sizes that allow seeing certain objects visually and with the Mallincam. Forget about whether they look the same or different and if the subjective impression gives the same feeling etc. Just the plain and simple see vs. not see .

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A. Viegas
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581299 - 12/20/12 07:22 PM

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


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Lorence
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5581796 - 12/21/12 01:53 AM

Quote:

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




I was drawn back into video astronomy before the Mallincam. The Mallincam was the icing on the cake. At least it was until Rock introduced the Universe.

It's a CCD camera, not video but I use it for live viewing. It is as live as a long exposure video image. In it's lowest resolution the Universe is comparable to the Xtreme.

You can decide what a high resolution "Live" image is comparable to.

This is a 3032 X 2016 pixel "Live" image of M42. It is a stack of ten 30 second images. The stacking was done by Deep Sky Stacker Live and developed one image at a time on the screen as they came from the camera. No other processing.

http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/8325010/or/653867975/name/M42-full-10x30-sec.jpg

Meade 10" using the Mallincam focal reducer. (0.5ish if I remember correctly)

To Ira, I think you would need one of those ladder equipped Dobstrosities to equal your C8 and Mallincam Xtreme. Enjoy the camera, you won't regret it.


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PEterW
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Lorence]
      #5581891 - 12/21/12 05:05 AM

Another point to remember is that the mallincam (and image intensifiers) are sensitive to longer wavelengths. The galaxy has a lot of red emission nebulae.... Which are all hard for visual observers, but pretty easy for the imager/video/intensifier crowd.
I'd say the m51 looks better than I remember from a dark sky with a 20". Scope prices ramp up massively, these technologies allow us to get bi scope performance from littler scope (thought the technology does have a sometimes high cost of entry). Another benefit is the ability to use aggressive filters to allow observing from Non ideal locations, where visual observing is rather pointless.
Might as well say that anything that improves the view is good to help with outreach where sometimes he views can be disappointing.

Peter


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581954 - 12/21/12 07:05 AM

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.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5581955 - 12/21/12 07:08 AM

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.




You need to work on it more. 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.


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Astrojensen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5582036 - 12/21/12 08:28 AM

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.




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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jgraham
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5582099 - 12/21/12 09:07 AM

“I am trying to compare what is visible in my Mallincam Vs. what size scope I would need to experience the same thing in an eyepiece…”

Hmmm, I’ve been using my cameras to observe with for the past 10 years and I came to the conclusion that you can never see through the eyepiece what you ‘see’ with a camera, particularly a camera like the Mallincam. The specific issue with the Mallincam is that there is so much in-camera processing that it can never match the natural appearance of an object. At best, the view provided by the Mallincam can provide some guidance as to what to look for through the eyepiece, and sometimes you’ll see new detail visually simply because you didn’t know that it was there. The closest that I’ve come to having a camera that approximately (very roughly) the visual experience is a monochrome camera where the only adjustments you make to the live image is brightness, no non-linear operations like curves, gamma, or contrast. Of course it’s fun to make those changes live to bring up faint detail, but that blows any equivalence to what you could see visually through any size telescope.

In the big picture, I used to consider my little Orion StarBlast (4.5” f/4) fitted with a live view camera (any of the Meade DSI/DSI Pro series cameras running Envisage) to be roughly equivalent to my 16.5” f/6.5 or my 16” f/4, but that’s not quite accurate. I can easily see far fainter with my StarBlast, but the view can never, ever, ever, ever, ever match what I see visually, the techniques are simply too different. The two methods of observing can complement each other very nicely, but I don’t think that you can ever compare them on an equal basis.

Enjoy your camera.


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IVM
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5582269 - 12/21/12 10:51 AM

I agree with Tony and Thomas regarding the arms in M51 (note though that the Mallincam image in the OP is very detailed). That's a great drawing, Thomas, and reminds me of the view I had ONCE with my 7" (minus the "bridge").

Since I already answered the real question in the OP as I could, and since the discussion has turned to theoretical matters, I may add that the way I see it, visual observing, traditional astrophotography (excruciatingly long exposures and lengthy off-line processing), and live or quasi-live photography (digital or analog short-exposure CCD, displayed as video or stacked in real time) are three different hobbies. I have done a little bit of each, and so far settled on visual for its especial tranquility, its especially human challenge, and to make the most of my access to good dark locations. In all three hobbies, however, the main attraction (besides the technology per se and the elements of personal challenge and even competition) is to make the cosmic wonders materialize before your eyes through your own observational efforts. (Professional observational astronomy was defined as visual and is now defined as CCDing.) Thus all three hobbies are instrumented observation and are similar in the most fundamental way and different from the (also worthwhile) hobby of “armchair astronomy”, where one browses through images made by others or watches live observational broadcasts set up by others.


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bobhen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: IVM]
      #5582402 - 12/21/12 12:22 PM

There’s an excellent article about video astronomy in the February issue of S&T (I get the digital issue so I already have February). The article is written by Rod Mollise. All the virtues, the whys, and the advantages that video observing offers, are explained in-depth. Rod’s blog also has a few articles on video astronomy that are also well written.

Bob


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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5582761 - 12/21/12 04:23 PM

All the detail in the images posted above , aside from any color , I have achieved through Plossl eyepieces in an 8 inch under a pristine sky , without having the overexposed galactic cores etc ruining the true view . M51 and it's spiral arms show every bit as good as this camera image in this situation . If one refuses to get out from under the light done , then I guess it increases what can be seen , but the over bloated cores don't do the image any justice . I'll take the color free image through the eyepiece and leave the abominated images behind with a bit of money for the fuel tank if needed .

Edited by starrancher (12/21/12 04:35 PM)


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GlennLeDrew
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5582849 - 12/21/12 05:06 PM

The gains afforded by a low-resolution video camera apply more to extended objects. And the lower the object surface brightness, the greater the disparity between what is imaged and what can be seen. A target like the brighter, inner parts of M42 can be just about as well seen visually through the same scope as when imaged. But the outermost bits are definitely more readily discerned via the camera. And really dim stuff, like the notorius Cave nebula, will require for a visual equivalence an aperture *at least* 5X larger.

The awfully poor resolution of the eye at low brightness and contrast levels is the limiter. In this comparison aspect, detection alone is not enough. Glimpsing a mostly formless haze with something approaching averted imagination is not in the same league as easily discerning details well more than 10X finer than the eye could possibly make out.

And in that vein, the aforementioned comparison between the image and drawing of M51 (a not extremely dim object at all) still puts the image well ahead in terms of fineness of detail easily seen vs that which pushes the eye to its limit.

Part of the equation must include the *ease* with which the details are seen. The briefest glance at a screen, or prolonged scrutiny of a view in which visual system noise is striving to subsume what there is to see. That difference has got to count for something.


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Dwight J
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5582984 - 12/21/12 06:21 PM

The advantage the eye has over the Mallincam is in viewing a wider range of brightness ie: the Orion nebula. The camera burns out the centre of the nebula when you attempt to catch the fainter outer portions. Visually I have seen the core and the faint outer regions simultaneously, not possible with a Mallincam. M31 is another example. Viewing the HorseHead, on the other hand, is child's play in virtually any sized scope with a Mallincam. I strained to see it visually using a H-beta filter and a 16" Newtonian. M51 was great in the 16 (just had had the mirror recoated and a smaller 96% secondary installed at the time). This was after hauling it out to a pristine dark sky site and high elevation and much younger eyes. Where the Mallincam really shines is showing deep sky objects using a relatively small scope from my light polluted back yard while I enjoy the view from my heated shed during -20C nights.

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george golitzin
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5583500 - 12/22/12 01:38 AM

Very true what Dwight said about dynamic range--I was thinking the same as I looked at the OP's mallincam images. The detail on M51 and the arms on M81 were comparable in those images to what I saw in my 16-inch, and close to what I see in my 18-inch--but I like the view much more in my dobs, because of the greater dynamic range my eye enjoys.

But for showing someone--a school group, for example--details in DSOs from an LP site, the Mallincam seems a very valuable tool.

-George


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bobhen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5583816 - 12/22/12 10:15 AM

The images presented here are in NO way indicative of what is seen on the screen. Read Rod’s article in S&T and take a look at the accompanying images – they are very CCD-like.

There is no way that you will see anything even remotely close to the detail in a video image of M51 that you will see in ANY amateur scope – even the largest under the darkest sky – not even close. And you can see this CCD-like detail in 20 to 45 seconds. The horse head nebula, the dust lane in 891 with its feathery edges, the outer shell of the bubble nebula, the pillars of creation in M16, are all easy targets that show tremendous CCD-like detail without using averted imagination and with an 11-inch SCT and a 45-second exposure. And these can all be seen in the most horrendous light pollution that you can imagine. There’s no need to travel anywhere or limit your deep-sky observing because of travel or time limitations or even because of the full moon.

Yes it is true that the core of M42 will be blown out if you want to see CCD-like detail in the outer nebulas regions BUT if you want to see the core just take a 5-second exposure and you will see sharp detail in the core of M42 that no amateur scope of any size will show. So for M42 it does take 2 exposures – just like you would need 2 different eyepieces to get different views of the same object.

Question: I presume people buy large telescopes so that they can see fainter objects and see more detail in brighter objects. If that’s why you bought a telescope, then you would be better served with an 8-inch SCT and a video camera than you would be using any large Dobsonian. If your goal is to somehow commune with nature or the night sky or some other esoteric activity then you can certainly get that same “feeling” by just standing out under the Milky Way in a dark sky BUT, of course, you don’t need a telescope at all for that.

If finding these objects is fun for you then give up the GOTO and stick with visual. BUT finding is not seeing detail and seeing detail is what we are talking about.

Eyepieces and telescopes are tools for seeing faint and distant objects - nothing more. And the video camera (with a simple 6-11-inch telescope) with its near real-time views is a better tool for achieving that goal than is the large-mirror Dobsonian. Besides, if you get tired of seeing all that detail you can always take the video camera out. BUT if you are looking for a cure for aperture fever (which is really just the quest to see more and deeper by gathering more light) then that cure is spelled VIDEO.

Bob


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nytecam
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5583838 - 12/22/12 10:37 AM Attachment (29 downloads)

Thanks to our DSO visual observer friends hosting this topic and excellent images Ira from, I presume, from near perfect desert skies. With >8M neighbours here in London I don't have the luxury of dark skies but my SX Lodestar-C can match your Mallincam any day - M43 below in 20s exp for comparison. For DSOs some visual-assist is essential hereabouts

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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: bobhen]
      #5583844 - 12/22/12 10:42 AM

Quote:

I presume people buy large telescopes so that they can see fainter objects and see more detail in brighter objects. If that’s why you bought a telescope, then you would be better served with an 8-inch SCT and a video camera than you would be using any large Dobsonian. If your goal is to somehow commune with nature or the night sky or some other esoteric activity then you can certainly get that same “feeling” by just standing out under the Milky Way in a dark sky BUT, of course, you don’t need a telescope at all for that.




That is an oversimplification if there ever was one. It's partly true, in some cases, but there is MUCH more to visual astronomy than what meets the eye, so to speak.

Quote:

BUT if you are looking for a cure for aperture fever (which is really just the quest to see more and deeper by gathering more light) then that cure is spelled VIDEO.




Sorry, but no. The more deep images I see, the more I am hit by aperture fever, because I want to see these objects through a telescope, directly, not through a camera. There is a dynamic range in the real, live view through an eyepiece, that the camera and screen can't match. Some day it can, perhaps, but not yet.

Quote:

BUT finding is not seeing detail and seeing detail is what we are talking about.




That is precisely why we need a bigger scope! To see details with our own eyes. But again, it is an oversimplification. Seeing the maximum amount of detail is not always the most important thing. Best framing and best contrast for the prettiest view, for example, can make visual observing a real pleasure. I don't always hunt for maximum details.

Bottom line: Visual observing and astroimaging are so very different that they almost can't be compared. They also seem to cater to very different personalities. Visual for the poets and romantics, imaging for the analytical and logic minds.

None is more important than the other. We need both art and science.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: nytecam]
      #5583872 - 12/22/12 11:05 AM

Two problems with today's fast CCD/video technology are thick stars and the narrow dynamic range. The lack of "seamlessness" compared with pure optical setup could probably be disregarded; after all a truss Dob is not "seamless" at all to set up.

But blown stars spoil it all for me; even most heavily post-processed images have them. Also, the narrow dynamic range. The latter in practice is more often a function of the monitor device (LCD nowadays) than the camera. Regardless, it is the simultaneous presence of sharp (stars) and diffuse (nebulosity), and of a broad range of brightnesses that make the views through the eyepiece seem "out of this world". In truth the broad range of brightness is present in common daylight views, but in our terrestrial views it is hugely spread out spatially and we never focus on it.

As I had to remark with regret earlier on this forum, it seems to me that quantum mechanics teaches us that no observation can be "immediate" (i.e. that it cannot be said that the discrete photons we perceive were once certain discrete photons emitted by the object). So it is just the current limitations of CCD/video technology and attachment to certain unique aspects of the view through the eyepiece that do not permit me at this time to leave visual observing. More detail does not for me compensate for the low quality of the image. I use good photographs to guide my visual observations and help me see more than just the obvious.

EDIT: Having read Thomas's post above I feel compelled to add that I have thought of myself as an "analytical and logic mind"


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: nytecam]
      #5584113 - 12/22/12 01:35 PM

Nothing against using a camera to catch deep-sky objects, but by definition, it isn't really visual observing (anymore than taking out one of my large coffee table books of professional astro-images and looking at them). To get these images requires time exposures, as they are not exactly real-time video-like images, although the exposure times have gone down considerably from what they once were. 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. He spends hours and hours capturing multiple images and stacking/processing them to obtain pictures which rival or exceed those produced by professionals. Those shown here with the Mallincam, while interesting, do not come even close to what my friend produces. 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. I don't like the hassle, but I do like the results. Clear skies to you.

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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5584210 - 12/22/12 02:40 PM

Not to pile on (and assuming that the original question has indeed been answered), one should mention specifically the issue of noise.

If I remember correctly, the intrinsic quantum efficiency of human receptor cells is around 60%, i.e. on the level of back-illuminated CCDs and 2-fold higher than in simple ones we amateurs use. The visual processing also allows effective integration on the scale of a few seconds. The reason we don't see like a video camera is heavy noise suppression that we humans cannot turn off. If you filter the under-1-min exposures so heavily as to match the unnoticeable levels of noise in the visual image, the contrast on the scale of typical galaxy arms will be suppressed almost to invisibility and details within the arms will be wiped out. To bring them back, stacking or multi-minute exposures will be necessary.

This is all imprecise and based on my rather limited experience, but I wanted to mention noise in addition to the bloated stars and dynamic range as the reasons I have not been doing much "real-time" imaging. But all this talk paradoxically makes me want to do it again soon


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5584228 - 12/22/12 02:55 PM

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

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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: george golitzin]
      #5584292 - 12/22/12 03:42 PM

Quote:

Very true what Dwight said about dynamic range--I was thinking the same as I looked at the OP's mallincam images.
-George




I haven't seen much talk about the dynamic range of our eyes. When I was twenty one I could see objects halfway to the edge of the universe.

I've been twenty one three times now. Every time those objects get further away and fainter. The last time I looked through an eyepiece all I could think was, "Sorry Mr. Bowman, it's not full of stars."

If I last long enough to be twenty one another time I'll still be seeing more than I was ever able to see at any of those previous twenty ones thanks to Mr. Mallin. I wonder how long it will be before he gets the credit he deserves for breathing some life back into this hobby.

It will be interesting to see what Rock will be building next. I've got Universe serial # 001. You can bet I'll be at the front of the line for the next one.


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5584584 - 12/22/12 07:38 PM

Quote:

For nebulous objects of low surface brightness, the Mallincam makes visible details which would require for visual work an aperture at least five times larger.




Glenn,
This is my impression, too. Alot of the drawings don't show the arm detail that I was able to observe with my Mallincam. That makes my little C8 the equivalent of a 40" observatory instrument!

/Ira


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5584589 - 12/22/12 07:40 PM

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


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5584593 - 12/22/12 07:43 PM

Quote:

Perhaps your queston needs a bit of rephrasing . Instead of asking how much bigger needs the scope to be in order to see the same details visually as in the smaller scope using a Mallincam, the simpler question would be how much bigger needs the scope be in order to see anything at all . Compare minimum scope sizes that allow seeing certain objects visually and with the Mallincam. Forget about whether they look the same or different and if the subjective impression gives the same feeling etc. Just the plain and simple see vs. not see .




I would say that if I were to rephrase my question it would be, "How does what you SEE in your big dob compare to what I SEE with my C8/Mallincam combo." The experience is obviously not the same, but that's not what I was asking about. I realize that the wording my original post was fuzzy and could leave itself open to different interpretations.

/Ira


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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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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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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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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5584632 - 12/22/12 08:08 PM Attachment (15 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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 (29 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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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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ZRX-Steve
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: nytecam]
      #5585359 - 12/23/12 10:45 AM

I have a ten year old daughter, and my passion is astronomy outreach. With the exception of planets, it's hard to get viewers excited about faaaaint, grey fuzziness. Mallincam fits that spot so well. The wow factor for outreach is fantastic. Plus, if you are having problems with an image, bump up the integration, bump up the sensitivity and voila! Good image.

No averted vision or averted imagination necessary!


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #5585410 - 12/23/12 11:20 AM

The weather here as iffy last night with a bright moon and haze. I got out my wide field imaging gear and spent the evening observing faint emission nebula with my monochrome CCD operating in live mode with an H-alpha filter. We get so few clear nights here that it's nice to have options to get the most out of each one. At the moment there are no more clear nights in the forecast. I'm glad I was able to spend a pleasant evening in the comfort of my house observing with my gear sat outside collecting a heavy coating of frost.

Now, if we get one of those cold, clear, moonless nights I'm bundling up and getting my LightBridge 16 out, but it is nice to have options.

Have fun!


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David Knisely
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5585628 - 12/23/12 01:30 PM

Dwight J wrote:

Quote:

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.




I never said that I was "seeing" M81 with Rick's image. However, the quality of Rick's images (and the fact that he has targeted a few objects for me in specific requests) kind of makes me a little less enthusiastic about what I might be able to achieve. However, a lot of Rick's results are more about his abilities rather than some costly camera, as he rarely uses the full resolution of it (bins a lot). There is absolutely nothing wrong with using something like a Mallincam to enhance the experience of amateur astronomy, but in the end, it is imaging. Clear skies to you.


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skyguy88
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #5585631 - 12/23/12 01:32 PM

Quote:

I have a ten year old daughter, and my passion is astronomy outreach. With the exception of planets, it's hard to get viewers excited about faaaaint, grey fuzziness. Mallincam fits that spot so well. The wow factor for outreach is fantastic. Plus, if you are having problems with an image, bump up the integration, bump up the sensitivity and voila! Good image.

No averted vision or averted imagination necessary!




I agree completely and would add that beyond the wow factor you can explore an object and its significance in much greater depth because you are not busy coaching each individual and defending your scope. That yields deeper engagement with visitors and a richer experience..and it's more fun for the presenter.

Another important benefit is that visitors all see your targets in focus, which, I suspect, is often not the case with ep outreach.

Bill


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Astrojensen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: skyguy88]
      #5585680 - 12/23/12 02:03 PM

Especially younger people in the audience seem to like the electronic approach to observing. That said, I also think it is important to show them the sky the old fashioned way, ideally with a low-cost telescope, so that they don't get the impression that astronomy is a ridiculously expensive hobby. It can be, but it doesn't need to be. Many people are also totally unaware that you can see a lot with a small telescope.

In the end, I think anyone who does outreach should do it in a way that he or she is familiar with, be it imaging or visual. That way you are most familiar with the subject and can give the best presentation.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Astrojensen
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5585685 - 12/23/12 02:06 PM

BTW, I feel a little guilty for starting a huge discussion. All I wanted to say with my first post was that imaging and visual observing are so different that they are hard to compare, nothing more. But perhaps it had turned out like it has anyway, even if I hadn't written it.

But lots of good posts here.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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IVM
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5585839 - 12/23/12 03:49 PM

Reading some of the above (and it is a thought-provoking reading) I am beginning to think that those of us who are visual observers dabbling in or switching to video (that would include myself a couple years back) are doing outreach to ourselves, so to speak, having tired of our objects' faintness and difficulty of observing!

But the extreme faintness is an important aspect that makes our objects look "out of this world". (Remember that a nebulous object's surface brightness is the same when observed from any distance. This is demonstrated by the Andromeda Galaxy and by our own Milky Way galaxy - the Great Nebula in Andromeda is equal in surface brightness to the neighboring Milky Way in the sky. And both are gone in polluted skies.) So faintness is a cosmic attribute, and learning to see faint objects and faint detail is learning to see the cosmos like it is. This is what I like in visual observing, and this is what observing with a camera removes from the experience. (We could dim the monitor to 10% at any time of course, but that would be crazy.)

That said, all this talk nonetheless just reminds me that photography as a process is extremely enjoyable and rewarding, and that the modern technology allows it to be near-real-time for that extra enjoyment factor even in the case of astrophotography, and that maybe I should drag out my little CCD or my cooled Stellacam III soon again.


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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5585919 - 12/23/12 04:45 PM

All in all , good discussion with things learned and maybe broadened even my sometimes narrow way of thinking a bit .
Maybe .
Me be severely old fashioned .
Although I do like my go to mounts .


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azure1961p
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5586319 - 12/23/12 09:47 PM

Ira,

Visual observers of deepsky prize the natural skotopic vision views. I'm with you on the Mallin
- I don't love it but Im getting your drift in attenuation control and all but it's still not the same thing as visual -eyepiece only. It's simply different vision altogether and it removes the first person experience. I think they are both cool frankly but challenging people who haven't observed thru a vid cam in real time as being uncredible is missing the point of why they prefer no electronic middleman serving it artificially. It simply lacks the presence of the strict visual experience where an ocular is the only thing separating them.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (12/23/12 09:48 PM)


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azure1961p
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ZRX-Steve]
      #5586366 - 12/23/12 10:19 PM

Quote:



No averted vision or averted imagination necessary!




Great for getting a child interested and a dandy way too but to avoid averted vision observing is extinguishing part of the magic in visual pursuit. You can have both.



Pete


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5586721 - 12/24/12 07:25 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

Quote:

Ira,

Visual observers of deepsky prize the natural skotopic vision views. I'm with you on the Mallin
- I don't love it but Im getting your drift in attenuation control and all but it's still not the same thing as visual -eyepiece only. It's simply different vision altogether and it removes the first person experience. I think they are both cool frankly but challenging people who haven't observed thru a vid cam in real time as being uncredible is missing the point of why they prefer no electronic middleman serving it artificially. It simply lacks the presence of the strict visual experience where an ocular is the only thing separating them.

Pete




Pete,
I think if I doubted anyone's credibility it was just having to with whether or not they had direct experience doing video astronomy. I, too, used to feel the exact same way about video astronomy. "Why the heck would anyone want to do it? Isn't it just like sitting in front of your computer looking at someone elses's images? It's not observing; it's imaging, etc. etc." If it weren't for the fact that I do star tours and outreach professionally I would never have considered video astronomy. But there is just so much through the eyepiece observing you can do in an hour with a group of 50+ people. So, I went the Mallincam route.

I never expected to be so entranced with it myself. That's why I believe very strongly that if you haven't done it, and just imagine what it's like, you may be (but not necessarily ) very mistaken.

Below is a photo of my current set-up for personal observing, outreach and star tours. It's an iOptron alt-az MiniTower Pro mount with a C8 mounted on the right and a WO 80mm fluorite refractor on the left. My Mallincam is shown at the prime focus of the C8, small video monitor on the tray below the scopes.

I set up and tear down every night in the desert, so I was afraid such a setup would be time prohibitive. But after much trial and error I have figured out how to set everything up in about 30 minutes. The Mallincam takes only about 5-10 minutes to set up.

Last night was the first night I used it with the public. I offered everyone the opportunity to view both through the refractor and, of course, with video. Without exception, after a quick view through the scope everyone sat back down to watch the video screen. No one complained that they could have stayed in their hotel and look at astronomy pictures online.

After everyone left, I came back to enjoy M42 myself. Gosh, how many times have I seen this in 50 years? But, there I sat in the cold desert, entranced, watching this old friend for over 30 minutes as I had never seen it before.

Give video OBSERVING a try. You may never go back.

/Ira


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5586993 - 12/24/12 10:59 AM

"You may never go back."

I'm always puzzled why different observing styles are cast as this way or that as though they are mutually exclusive? Weird, and kinda sad.

At one time I had a setup similar to this, only the other way around. I found that the field of view of an e-finder made from a 35mm f/4 achromat fitted with a Type 1/3 CCD was similar to the 6" f/5 Newtonian that it rode on. It was neat to use the live image to see what there was to see in the field and then look for it through the eyepiece. My most common setup is now a camera on an SN6 and binoviewers on a 16" LightBridge.

Enjoy.


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ErixAdministrator
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5587066 - 12/24/12 11:40 AM

I've really enjoyed watching the crowds around the live video feed at our club outreach star parties. It's a great addition to the various telescopes available for people to view with.

The Mallincam has also made viewing possible for an astronomy friend of mine whose health makes it nearly impossible for her to have long sessions directly at the eyepiece. It's great that there are so many options available to enjoy the hobby.


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ensign
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Erix]
      #5587103 - 12/24/12 11:56 AM

Quote:

. . . 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.




I think this sentiment hits the nail on the head. It certainly resonates with my experience. I've had a Mallincam for quite some time now and I've derived a good deal of enjoyment from it. Over the past season, I've spent most of my time observing with my new Edge HD strictly through eyepieces. I've enjoyed this as well. Pure visual and video observing are different in many ways. But they're both good. What a wonderful time to be into this hobby!


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ensign]
      #5587147 - 12/24/12 12:26 PM

I've been giving some thoughts to the original question of comparing big Dobs with video and this is what I came up with...

First of all, I was sold on camera-assisted the very moment I started using my original CCD camera. My very first target was M1 with a cobbled-together Orion StarBlast on a DS-2000 mount and a Meade DSI. I was utterly shocked how I could easily see the nebula with this simple setup using 15 second exposures when it was practically invisible from my back yard with my homebuilt 16.5" f/6.5 Newtonian. I've long since adopted my cameras as an observing aid and they never fail to amaze me with what they can show with the most modest equipment, even my little ETX-60. As a bonus, when using my cameras to observe I operate my telescopes from inside my house where it's warm and dry in the winter and cool and comfy in the summer.

Camera-assisted observing allows me to see fainter and in much greater detail than I could ever see visually, plus I can easily grab a photographic record of my observations. I find it so enjoyable to go on what I call an NGC-hop around a section of sky, stopping to look at every deep sky object shown on whatever star atlas I'm using.

Throughout all this I never lost my visual observing roots. I pretty much keep my imaging gear setup separately from my visual gear and when the weather is nice I'll set up both. I'll never forget one night that I did this after a long spell of imaging-only and I went to look at some of the objects that I had been observing with my cameras. I was struck by how different they looked visually, to the point that they bore almost no resemblance to their camera counterparts. However, one valuable thing that the images did for me is that they showed exactly where there was detail to be seen that I had previously missed simply because I didn't know to look for it in the first place, thus began a long period of synergism between my visual and camera observing.

About a year ago I decided to make a dedicated effort to pull out all of the stops to spiff up my visual kit within my budget. I realized that my eyes are probably on the verge of declining as I get older and I wanted to do everything I could to see things for myself while I still could. I refurbished my 16.5" and bought a 16" LightBridge (I love my biggo 16.5", but it's a very basic homebuilt scope). I've got a comfy spot in my back yard and a nice basic set of eyepieces and a binoviewer (best money I ever spent).

Here's what I've observed...

Camera assisted observing is great! I can see deeper, darker, and in greater comfort than I ever dreamed. I can easily reach magnitude 18 from from red-zone back yard without breaking a sweat. For pure observing I much prefer a monochrome camera for it's high sensitivity, low noise, and high contrasty.

However...

Observing through my big Dobs I found that the background sky is a deep velvety expanse and not a blotchy blue. Deep sky objects are soft and subtle and not grainy, bright, brash, contrasty, and full of blotchy colors.

Each method has it's own merits and weaknesses, and I've found that the two compliment each other nicely.

I absolutely agree with what was said above, this is a wonderful time to be an amateur astronomer.


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BillFerris
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Ira]
      #5587247 - 12/24/12 01:33 PM

Quote:

Give video OBSERVING a try. You may never go back.

/Ira




The same can be said of CCD imaging, DSLR astrophotography, lunar/planetary observing, comet hunting and a host of activities within the hobby. It is because this hobby offers such a broad variety of activities that CloudyNights offers amateur astronomers a wide selection of forums. Whether a newcomer to the hobby, an experienced observer, an atm'er or a talented imager, CloudyNights has a forum for you and your interest.

Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy was created to give video astronomy enthusiasts a forum to share their observations, discuss equipment and techniques. For those who prefer video astronomy to visual observing, V&EAA is the perfect venue to celebrate the joys of that activity.

However, to come into this or another visual observing forum and actively encourage folks to try video astronomy with the enticement that they may never go back, is disrespectful both to folks who enjoy visual observing and those who enjoy video astronomy. While both activities can be greatly rewarding, there are quite different. One, is imaging. The other is visual observing. If you want to recruit people to the activity you enjoy, I suggest you do so in the appropriate forum.

Bill in Flag


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5587310 - 12/24/12 02:21 PM

Obviously, no disrespect meant. Just another one of my many enthusiasms. So sorry if I offended you. So, try video astronomy. It's just so complimentary to visual astronomy.

/Ira


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5587314 - 12/24/12 02:25 PM

Quote:

"You may never go back."

I'm always puzzled why different observing styles are cast as this way or that as though they are mutually exclusive? Weird, and kinda sad.

At one time I had a setup similar to this, only the other way around. I found that the field of view of an e-finder made from a 35mm f/4 achromat fitted with a Type 1/3 CCD was similar to the 6" f/5 Newtonian that it rode on. It was neat to use the live image to see what there was to see in the field and then look for it through the eyepiece. My most common setup is now a camera on an SN6 and binoviewers on a 16" LightBridge.

Enjoy.




And I am always puzzled why some people take an expression and warp it into it's most negative possible form. It's a figure of speech, for Pete's sake.


/Ira


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Lorence
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5587385 - 12/24/12 03:17 PM

Quote:

It is because this hobby offers such a broad variety of activities that CloudyNights offers amateur astronomers a wide selection of forums. Whether a newcomer to the hobby, an experienced observer, an atm'er or a talented imager, CloudyNights has a forum for you and your interest.

Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy was created to give video astronomy enthusiasts a forum to share their observations, discuss equipment and techniques. For those who prefer video astronomy to visual observing, V&EAA is the perfect venue to celebrate the joys of that activity.

However, to come into this or another visual observing forum and actively encourage folks to try video astronomy with the enticement that they may never go back, is disrespectful both to folks who enjoy visual observing and those who enjoy video astronomy. While both activities can be greatly rewarding, there are quite different. One, is imaging. The other is visual observing. If you want to recruit people to the activity you enjoy, I suggest you do so in the appropriate forum.

Bill in Flag




The title of this group is Deep Sky Observing. Care to point out why looking at video image is not considered observing.

When you get right down to it the only real observing is naked eye. Anything else requires some sort of technology. Is there some unwritten law that the technology has to be over a hundred years old before it is acceptable in this group? Should one be excluded from this group because he uses a GoTo telescope? Some say you're not really an observer if you can't find the objects yourself.


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Ira
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Lorence]
      #5587556 - 12/24/12 05:32 PM

And with this I shall exit this post. I have no desire to provoke a fight. Thank you to those who answered my original question. The information was quite useful to me. And thank you to those who expanded the topic in useful ways.

To all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

/Ira
"Yes, Virginia, there is a sanity clause. "


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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5588184 - 12/25/12 08:18 AM

This is exactly the sort of review "in attitude" I have been searching for. Lets look at the mallincam as like a set of 2-3 good Naglers in your budget, yet it can, in limited ways, give you 2 and 3 times the scope aperture. The Thomas-Denmark style comment that it is not really like using your eyes falls apart if you understand the nature of human vision, which is electro chemical with your neuro system after all. Your brain is an adaptive optic computer providing range that a camera will never achieve. We all know that! However it is de facto "Live viewing" though the camera accumulates more light than your eye. Read the definition of classic (Al in the above reports) vs romantic (Thomas) (romantic), in light of definition by Robert Pirsig in Zen..Motorcycle Maintenance. There's a leap for all but the old-timers like me. I will now leap to the Mallincam world with my perfect Zambuto 18" in tow, and with a great set of Naglers in hand as well. Great discussion guys..what I have searched for months for! Thank you so much. Al DenBleyker

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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Aldb]
      #5588452 - 12/25/12 12:58 PM

Merry Christmas to all from one of the hopeless (romantics) .

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wfj
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5588800 - 12/25/12 07:02 PM

Merry Christmas.

Everything in its place. I've windows, security cams, and professional cameras around the domicile as well. And while they can render the same effect, each is used differently.

Even when communicating the sky to others, each of these hasn't reliably scored with certain folks. At one star party, one gentleman expressed the thought that unless he saw the Death Star itself exploding a planet in real time, nothing really would matter to him. Hard to please.

It takes a certain desire to wish to perceive anything ... to fit something into one's cognitive model.

I started out visual, went quickly to film astrophotography (because of amplifying as this), then having become a paid journeyman photographer working for a pro, slowly accumulating skill/equipment/capability. Sucked all the fun out of it fast (and dollars). I turned all my scopes into cameras (later for my kids having to undo those transformations when they wanted those same scopes...). One more thing happened once too often.

At the same time, I added video cameras of varying kinds to the local observatory scopes, using realtime (and near realtime) video to communicate to community groups. Vidicons, plumbicons, image orthicons, and more!

If what they wanted to see was a picture, only a picture would do. If what they wanted was a sketch, a sketch (or video) would do. But many had me take off the camera afterwards to attempt to directly perceive what they could through the eyepiece.

For some conjuring the "faint fuzzy" was torture, for others sublime. Its certainly the case that for any detail/quality perception, you'll consume resources and require skills no matter the process.

We all set limits and expect certain returns from an activity. Often for me its a 4" refractor for 5-15 minutes with two EPs, checking on a handful of targets. I get what I expect and occasionally more. Sometimes its a larger scale "expedition" with the bigger, during the better.

But always its about perception serving cognition. It simply matters to me to know whats in the sky.

I *still* use video for outreach to groups. I occasionally do digital astrophotography to capture a moment (albeit hours!).

And I appreciate the efforts of people like Maurice who shoot approximate "eyeball" snaps of objects that help me confirm my observations.


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skyguy88
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: wfj]
      #5591535 - 12/27/12 05:46 PM

I've been concerned that this thread didn't do justice to video observing and that someone thinking about this option would not get an adequate sense of how well the technology works. My February S&T arrived today with an article, "Observing with Astrovideo Cameras" by Rod Mollise. It incorporates seven Mallincam images that are representative of what you can expect. I've seen better and monitor views always seem to be better than recorded views but these provide a fair measure of where the technology is today. So anyone who is curious about what to expect, have a look.

On the original question here, Mollise suggests that the oft-cited claim that video systems provide a 3 times effective aperture increase is an understatement. I think that 4-5 is probably closer. 8 or 10 years ago a S&T article on the early versions of these cameras suggested an an increase of 3 to 4. Back then exposures were limited to about 2 seconds. Current versions reach one or two minutes or more.

Bill


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jgraham
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: skyguy88]
      #5591551 - 12/27/12 06:04 PM

The effective increase in aperture is a rough call and it depends on many factors. For example, I can easily see the central star in M57 with my ETX-60 fitted with my DSI Pro III operating in observing mode (real-time processing only), but I'm still not completely sure that I have seen it in either my 16" or 16.5" scopes. I'd also point out that there are many options for electronically assisted observing and that there is a forum dedicated to this topic.

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skyguy88
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5591845 - 12/27/12 09:25 PM

The February S&T has a nice article on video astronomy by Rod Mollise. The cover title is Video Astronomy:Cutting-Edge Observing.

Bill


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Lorence
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5591870 - 12/27/12 09:59 PM

Quote:

I'd also point out that there are many options for electronically assisted observing and that there is a forum dedicated to this topic.




Deep Sky Observing
A dark place to discuss deep sky observing and observations

A dark place indeed. Certainly not a place for sharing new ideas and experiences.

While your in the mood for pointing things out could you please point out where it says "Visual observers only. Video observers use another entrance"


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starrancher
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Lorence]
      #5591955 - 12/27/12 11:13 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'd also point out that there are many options for electronically assisted observing and that there is a forum dedicated to this topic.




Deep Sky Observing
A dark place to discuss deep sky observing and observations

A dark place indeed. Certainly not a place for sharing new ideas and experiences.

While your in the mood for pointing things out could you please point out where it says "Visual observers only. Video observers use another entrance"




This is the same reason we have to label a desiccant pack that comes with your new shoes with "do not eat" or a bottle of lamp oil with "do not drink" .
After all , I always thought that every pair of shoes came with a little bag of candy , I mean what else would one expect . Or that a bottle of clear liquid that says LAMP OIL on it with even a picture of a lantern on the label was my favorite drink .
Oh yeah , cruise control on your RV doesn't mean you can get out of the drivers seat while running down the highway and is not the same as auto pilot and you're not supposed to go to the fridge and make yourself a sandwich .


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azure1961p
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: starrancher]
      #5591985 - 12/27/12 11:44 PM

Because its realtime (I'm assuming) then the mallincam does belong here. If it were accumulate now, process later or tomorrow it'd be the imaging forum. And frankly who knows - maybe the mallin cam WILL have its own forum here one day.

Pete


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BillFerris
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Lorence]
      #5592062 - 12/28/12 01:15 AM

Lorence, do you disagree that the "Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy" forum exists specifically for discussion of topics related to--among other subjects--video astronomy?

Do you deny the fact that video astronomy--watching a video display generated by an imaging device--is fundamentally different from visual observing?

Is it your opinion that, unlike astroimagers, atm'ers, swap & shoppers, beginners, gear hounds and video astronomers, visual observers are not deserving of a forum where members can discuss subjects related to that specific interest?

Is it asking too much to expect others to acknowledge the fundamental differences between visual observing and video astronomy, and to allow folks who enjoy visual observing some space to discuss that activity?

Bill in Flag

Quote:

Quote:

I'd also point out that there are many options for electronically assisted observing and that there is a forum dedicated to this topic.




Deep Sky Observing
A dark place to discuss deep sky observing and observations

A dark place indeed. Certainly not a place for sharing new ideas and experiences.

While your in the mood for pointing things out could you please point out where it says "Visual observers only. Video observers use another entrance"




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Feidb
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5592386 - 12/28/12 10:09 AM

Well this IS Deep Sky Obvserving, not Visual Obvserving, specifically, though one could split hairs...

I have an observing buddy that uses a Mallincam exclusively, right next to me, a hard core visual only observer. We get along just fine, though I'm set up, ready to go in five minutes where it takes him over an hour to get going. In his case, he can't look comfortably through an eyepiece, any eyepiece and he's tried. That's why he went for the Mallincam in the first place.

I have a 16-inch reflector, he has now a 4.5-inch refractor and we get about the same things, though he can eke out more details many times where I can see them clearer but dimmer.

He keeps the screen facing away from me to preserve my night vision, I only go over to his screen when I need confirmation of a detail or to help him confirm he's on the right object. He comes over to my scope when he wants to try and see it through an eyepiece but usually can't see it very well due to his eyes.

I don't take offense to him being there.

As for talking about Mallincams here, I don't get upset when someone shows an image, though if they start getting real technical, I think it's time to move to the AP threads, so probably the same with the video thread if they get technical. However, for general deep sky, I don't see a problem.


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jgraham
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: BillFerris]
      #5592400 - 12/28/12 10:24 AM

"While your in the mood for pointing things out could you please point out where it says "Visual observers only.""

Whoa there now, don't read something into my comment that I did not intend. As far as I am concerned there are many ways to observe. My comment was to only point out that there is a forum specifically for electronically assisted observing. Even there you'll find spirited discussions of what constitutes electronically assisted observing and what does not. Goodness knows that I get regularly blasted there for violating the sanctity of someone's definition of what is and is not electronically assisted observing.

So much to see, so few clear nights...


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ensign
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5594252 - 12/29/12 11:58 AM

I find that the Video and electronic assisted forum topics are pretty much exclusively about gear, much like the eyepiece or refractor forums.

While gear is an important aspect of this hobby, after a while I want to stop talking hardware and ask the questions, "What did you see?" and "What did you find that's worth checking out?"

I assumed that this forum was for that purpose, with less emphasis on the gear itself. Am I mistaken?


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IVM
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ensign]
      #5594283 - 12/29/12 12:11 PM

Administrators should answer that, but as a member I agree with you. It would be terrible though if this forum becomes overwhelmed with non-visual. Serious visual observers already are retreating not only from under the light domes but also to special corners of the dark sites that are not illuminated by the lights the fellows with cameras deem dim.

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Tom Polakis
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: IVM]
      #5594369 - 12/29/12 01:09 PM

I have to admit that I am coming into this discussion very late, and have not read every post in the thread. What I think I am reading is that folks who look at images on a computer display consider that to be "deep sky observing," and want to discuss it in this forum.

Seriously? I think I'll join a travel forum to discuss my impressions of exotic places gleaned from Google Street View.

Tom


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Feidb
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5594554 - 12/29/12 02:39 PM

Funny, they just came out with a rather large article on Mallincams in the latest S&T.

To tell the truth, my eyes glaze over the second anyone starts to get technical here or especially when they mention "brand" names. I want to know what they saw, not what brand or what gear they used. Just what "aperture" and "magnification." Maybe sky conditions too. In fact, it's got to the point where I've taken the brand names out of my signature block because I just find that a distraction that leads to endless arguments as I've witnessed time and time again in the eyepiece forums, for example.

I really don't care how you get there, whether it be the eyepiece (though that's often assumed here under "observing"), camera, or video. You "see" something and you talk about it. Simple. When you start throwing in brand names and gear specifics, you lose me because I don't care. What does your eye see either on film, video screen or in the eyepiece? What impressions do you get from that image? What don't you see? That's what visual is all about, regardless of medium.

Am I wrong here?


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ErixAdministrator
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Feidb]
      #5594601 - 12/29/12 03:14 PM

There are various ways of observing. The description that goes with this forum is:

Quote:

A dark place to discuss deep sky observing and observations




Please keep in mind that there are gray areas that can overlap a bit. If it were to turn into an equipment discussion, then it would need to moved away from here. I realize this thread has veered into that area several times, but it's also been good for people to discuss what we can observe through both methods, visual or video assisted - which was more in line with the original post.

It appears this thread has strayed quite a bit from its purpose. Let's please get it back on the right track.


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jgraham
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: ensign]
      #5594615 - 12/29/12 03:26 PM

Good point. The Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy forum is an equipment forum and not an observing or imaging forum. It takes a while to get used to that. They used to jump all over folks for posting images, particularly if they weren't taken with a particular product. How strctly they enforce the forum guidelines keeping it an equipment discussion comes'n goes.

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Bill Weir
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: jgraham]
      #5594722 - 12/29/12 04:59 PM

I think this thread hits the nail right on the head of what this dude was trying to get at in this thread. http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5478752/page...

If you like what you like then good on ya. Tell me once and only once that I should check it out and maybe I might like it too. If I tell you no then take it as no. Repeating the same thing over and over more than likely won't make me change my mind.

Bill


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John K
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5597940 - 12/31/12 01:05 PM

Stubborn old Bill,I'll have to agree with you.

But lets just keep the screens well shielded for us electronically deprived observers.OK Folks.


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plav1959
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Re: Mallincam Xtreme vs large dobs new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5598421 - 12/31/12 05:24 PM

Agreed Bill. The thing that bugs me the most is proselytizing from some people on both sides of the issue - "video is not observing" or "why would anyone want to use eyepieces". I do both and enjoy both equally. There is no right or wrong or better or worse. Just enjoy what you do and don't push your opinions on others.

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