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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Escher
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Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Anyone else abandon visual for AP?
      #5707352 - 03/01/13 03:16 PM

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..


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GlennLeDrew
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5707492 - 03/01/13 05:01 PM

I've been looking since 1975-6, and photographing since 1983, going back and forth with more emphasis for a time on one or the other. Indeed, images can and do reveal so much more, especially for fainter nebulosity and galaxies. But in spite of that, a view through the eyepiece has a quality no image can fully capture. There is a certain aesthetic about a live view which for me probably won't be fully superseded by imaging.

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Feidb
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5707513 - 03/01/13 05:20 PM

Gag. I have no iterest at all in AP and never will. I don't condemn it for you and those that like it, it's just never been for me and never will. However, I know lots of people that have abandoned visual for AP and those that dabble in both.

A lot of times, I see the hobby being overwhelmed by APers and I'm not alone in that notion. However, I don't lose any sleep over it. I just think a lot of newcomers to the hobby get skewed perceptions. More newcomers than I can count have approached me thinking that the ultimate goal of ALL amateur astronomers is to image. When I tell them I have no interest in it at all, it's like I cursed in front of a bunch of third graders at show and tell.

AP is just one aspect of the hobby like visual. Some like both while others, you seem to be one of them, swing toward AP. Whatever makes you happy.

I'll take aperture and live over "Memorex" any day.


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5707545 - 03/01/13 05:43 PM

I am a 100% visual guy. I have friends who are primarily AP. Watching them set up, align the mount, dying when a green laser shoots by, and so on proves to me that I would not have the patience for AP. For those who do, I salute you!

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5707583 - 03/01/13 06:09 PM

For what it's worth, most of the astrophotographers that I know -- and I know a fair number of the great ones -- are also enthusiastic visual observers.

It's hard to do astrophotography in isolation. Like all other branches of photography, it's all about interpretation. Part of that is guided by the astrophotographical tradition. But it also helps when you aim to produce a photo that resembles the actual appearance of objects to the human eye.

Edited by Tony Flanders (03/01/13 06:12 PM)


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jgraham
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5707592 - 03/01/13 06:19 PM

This is a rich hobby with so many different ways to enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoy god ol' visual, real-time camera assisted observing, and dedicated imaging. It is particularly rewarding how these different activities enrich each other.

Have fun!


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5707661 - 03/01/13 07:24 PM

A lot of the AP folks I see also have a visual scope set up next to their imaging rigs, so I don't think there are that many who are totally AP. From my perspective, with the extremely long exposures that are possible today, plus the exotic processing software, the AP process is just too far removed from real astronomy, especialy for those who aim their highly computerized scopes at a target all night long and sit behind a keyboard feet (or even miles) away indoors. I know they produce some spectacular images, but it's just not for me, and I would say they are still a minority in the hobby.

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5707712 - 03/01/13 07:55 PM

I do a small amount of AP. When the evenings over, I have captured a few images and I have put away the equipment, I feel as if I have spent evening looking at a computer screen... Which I have...

Visual observation, it's communing with nature in quiet solitude, it can be a meditation.

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5707792 - 03/01/13 09:04 PM

Quote:

The AP process is just too far removed from real astronomy.




Real astronomy? That makes me think of the kind of stuff that professionals do. It's a lot closer to AP than to visual observing, that's for sure!


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Escher
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5707820 - 03/01/13 09:22 PM

Interesting.. very interesting...

I think my point comes from a jaded standpoint - I was on the "aperture" quest for years...

Then one night last fall I took some shots, just for fun... and in seconds - literally - I was seeing things I had been searching for, for years! M51 was elusive to me - I was it directly one time back in 98 or 99, and never since - even though I hunted for it all the time... maybe I'm just not a very good observer... but that was the turning point for me.

There are some targets I do enjoy visually - Orion obviously, M57, M13 and the other clusters... So maybe I was a bit harsh in my initial statement...

Also - I'm not planning on being the guy who has a crazy rig with a tone of equipment and alignment nightmares... I decided to go hyperstar and keep my exposures under 1 minute.... maybe even mallincam one day.

So - maybe "abandon" was too strong of a word - lets just say your primary focus shifted from visual to AP..

I'm just glad my quest for more aperture is over... that was not fun.


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5707826 - 03/01/13 09:25 PM

For me it was a factor of aging - not wanting to haul big dobs out, putting up with cold (even in summer in my climate), and failing vision. My observing buddy felt the same but his vision is even worse. I still prefer visual but it happens a lot less these days. Deepsky video came at the right time for us. Astroimaging is something I still do but processing images for hours doesn't have the appeal it once did either.

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A. Viegas
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5707856 - 03/01/13 09:41 PM

I agree with Dwight. video astronomy is a nice blend of "live" viewing without the painstaking post processing... Then again I sometimes set up two telescopes, one with Mallincam and video monitor and then another one with binoviewer or eyepiece for visual. This allows for the best combination... Of course first things first... We need CLEAR SKIES! It's been 4 weeks and I in serious withdrawal...

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Madratter
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Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5707872 - 03/01/13 09:56 PM

Quote:

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..




I dabble with the AP side from time to time and am doing so now. But I am primarily a visual observer and think I probably always will be.

I look at many astrophotos and frankly think they are completely overcooked. They not only have little resemblance to what can be seen in an eyepiece, they have little resemblance to what could be seen even with a much more sensitive eye. They remind me of caricatures where stuff is completely overemphasized.


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Madratter
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Reged: 01/14/13

Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5707881 - 03/01/13 10:03 PM

Quote:

Interesting.. very interesting...

I think my point comes from a jaded standpoint - I was on the "aperture" quest for years...

Then one night last fall I took some shots, just for fun... and in seconds - literally - I was seeing things I had been searching for, for years! M51 was elusive to me - I was it directly one time back in 98 or 99, and never since - even though I hunted for it all the time... maybe I'm just not a very good observer... but that was the turning point for me.

There are some targets I do enjoy visually - Orion obviously, M57, M13 and the other clusters... So maybe I was a bit harsh in my initial statement...

Also - I'm not planning on being the guy who has a crazy rig with a tone of equipment and alignment nightmares... I decided to go hyperstar and keep my exposures under 1 minute.... maybe even mallincam one day.

So - maybe "abandon" was too strong of a word - lets just say your primary focus shifted from visual to AP..

I'm just glad my quest for more aperture is over... that was not fun.




That lust for aperture is a difficult thing to cure. But with time, I have definitely come to appreciate smaller scopes. I have had a 20" f/5 for many years and the views in it can certainly be spectacular. But I also have 4", 6", and 8" telescopes, and lately I'm just as likely (actually more likely) to be looking through one of them.


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ahopp
sage


Reged: 05/24/12

Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5707883 - 03/01/13 10:05 PM

50/50 for me.

Tony


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kansas skies
sage


Reged: 12/02/12

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: ahopp]
      #5707944 - 03/01/13 11:03 PM

I dabbled in astrophotography years ago and found it to be somewhat frustrating. I remember setting for hours patiently guiding the scope, only to have my efforts ruined by someone in an automated photo lab. This sent me down the path of setting up a darkroom, which was another (expensive) exercise in futility. All in all, I found life to be much easier as a purely visual observer. I do have to admit that my efforts at astrophotography weren't all bad. I did manage a few moments where I experienced limited success. Still, for the most part, it was not what I anticipated. Now that I see the results people are achieving with digital photography, I've been thinking about giving it a try once again. This time, however, I'm approaching just a little slower. I've been a visual observer for so long now, and I've learned to appreciate subtle details that only a visual observer can see. So, even if I do manage to conquer astrophotography, I don't ever see giving up the purely visual experience.

Bill


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jgraham
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: kansas skies]
      #5707968 - 03/01/13 11:27 PM

I'm in a similar situation as some have described above.The handwriting is on the wall that my eyes (and ears) are in decline. I built big and bought big to stuff as many photons in my eyes as I can while I still have time. But I've also developed my Plan-B in the form of camera assisted observing using smaller telescopes that are easy to set up and operate from inside my house. It has been wonderful how taking my own unprocessed source images has enhanced my visual observing. These images make the absolute best finder charts and they show me exactly what to look for.

Fun stuff.


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Astrodj
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: kansas skies]
      #5707974 - 03/01/13 11:29 PM

Quote:

I dabbled in astrophotography years ago and found it to be somewhat frustrating. I remember setting for hours patiently guiding the scope, only to have my efforts ruined by someone in an automated photo lab. This sent me down the path of setting up a darkroom, which was another (expensive) exercise in futility. All in all, I found life to be much easier as a purely visual observer. I do have to admit that my efforts at astrophotography weren't all bad. I did manage a few moments where I experienced limited success. Still, for the most part, it was not what I anticipated. Now that I see the results people are achieving with digital photography, I've been thinking about giving it a try once again. This time, however, I'm approaching just a little slower. I've been a visual observer for so long now, and I've learned to appreciate subtle details that only a visual observer can see. So, even if I do manage to conquer astrophotography, I don't ever see giving up the purely visual experience.

Bill




+1.

My experience differs only in that I don't really have any desire to get re-involved with AP, I have come to realize I am happiest at the eyepiece.


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chaoscosmos
sage
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Reged: 01/26/13

Loc: Mission Viejo CA
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5708031 - 03/02/13 12:35 AM

I'm busy enough photographing earth bound subjects, so I have no desire to shoot what's above the atmosphere. Plus, I figure that if I want to see a more detailed version of what I see through my small scope, all I have to do is look at images from the Hubble or from astronomers who have vastly greater resources to make AP then I ever will. It's already an expensive enough hobby just viewing, and astronomy is not my only hobby. But beyond that, getting outside and seeing things and feeling a direct connection with it all is the thing I really like.

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Dave74
sage
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Reged: 10/23/12

Loc: Gelatinous, MA
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: chaoscosmos]
      #5708034 - 03/02/13 12:38 AM

General OBSERVING and Astronomy

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leviathan
sage


Reged: 11/29/11

Loc: Azerbaijan
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Dave74]
      #5708093 - 03/02/13 01:45 AM

I'm mostly a visual observer, about 90% of a time. Astrophotography for me is something that I sometimes NEED to do, or even HAVE to do. For example, asteroid 2012 DA14: I found it and observed for 10-15 minutes with my binoculars. But we wouldn't get a results if I didn't shoot it at the same time by photocamera near me. Another example are my friends, who mostly prefer AP over visual, and under dark skyes we usually split observing time by 50/50 for visual and AP.

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Tom and Beth
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Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5708126 - 03/02/13 02:37 AM

Quote:

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..




I've tried AP off and on for 4 decades, just recently trying again.

That said, while the camera is busily taking Pics, I'm on the other scope. "Abandon" visual? Why?


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leviathan
sage


Reged: 11/29/11

Loc: Azerbaijan
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #5708149 - 03/02/13 03:15 AM

Yeah, start that routine automated process, configure mount, guide, DSLR/CCD, check first several shots - and go observing on big Dob.

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ThreeD
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/08

Loc: Sacramento suburbs
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: leviathan]
      #5708479 - 03/02/13 10:24 AM

Different strokes for different folks and for those that enjoy AP that's great. Personally I have no desire to do it.

For me it is about the hunt and, as Jon said, communing with nature so I'll stick with my eyepieces. If I want to see pretty pictures I'll check out NASA or the works of those amateurs who do enjoy AP but for me there is a certain mystique about seeing things with my own eyes that can't be achieved with a photo.


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NeilMac
Carpal Tunnel


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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Dave74]
      #5708763 - 03/02/13 12:44 PM

I like to document what I see.

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Astrojensen
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5708934 - 03/02/13 02:41 PM

I've been a visual observer for two decades now, most of the time with very small telescopes, no more than 3"-4" as the largest and most of the time with 2" - 2.5" being the most commonly used aperture.

I've tried astrophotography, back in the ol' film days, before electronics took over. I did get some really good results, considering my equipment, but after a photo session, I felt stressed and tired, not relaxed as when I had been doing visual. Later I've tried webcamming and instantly got VERY good results, but the end was the same. I was always frustrated over something in the imaging chain and realized it was an endless money pit and a massive black hole of frustration that would end sucking all joy out of the hobby for me. I abandoned it there and then and has not taken it up since.

Now I am purely visual and happy as a clam. I recently got a 12" dob and it is a powerful scope, but I am still finding myself enjoying my 63mm Zeiss tremendously, so I guess I am not hit by aperture fever. Actually, I was out yesterday, hunting obscure galaxies and planetary nebulae with it. I didn't miss the 12" for a second. Oh, I knew it would do a lot better on many of the objects, but then a 20" would do even better and a 40" better still. It never ends. I am as excited about seeing IC 342 in the 63mm Zeiss as I am seeing it in the 12". There may not be so many details, but I am seeing it with my own eyes! That is a very powerful experience for me, regardless of the scope I use at the moment.

I also find it tremendously fun to go after some real challenges with the little Zeiss and hunt for objects almost no one has seen with such a small scope. I like the challenge of pushing myself and the scope to the very limits of detection. I like this more than looking at parade objects with the 12", I think, but both are fun pastimes. I've always been interested in visual observing as an activity in itself, its history, the theory, results in practice, record-breaking observations, drawings and reports, etc. It is a great shame that not more observers are interested in analyzing their observations and training themselves to see more and get more experience through experiments.

Myself, I plan on continue being a visual observer for as long as I can drag myself out under the starry sky.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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Footbag
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5709106 - 03/02/13 04:35 PM

I'm a 99% imager, but there have been many times I wished I had another mount so I could observe while imaging.

As for AP, I just prefer it because I have something to show for it. Also, you can capture much more with a camera then you can see at the EP.

I do think video astronomy is the future. For those who don't have the nostalgia for the EP, and tend to have trouble just looking through one; The question always becomes "can we pull it up on the screen?"


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microstar
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/05/08

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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5709208 - 03/02/13 05:45 PM

I mostly do AP, probably 98%/2%. It takes a certain kind of patience (masochism?) to stick with AP - not sure I would have if I didn't have the observatory. I enjoy the technical aspects of the hobby, I enjoy tweaking precision equipment to make it perform at its best, I enjoy the software challenges (I'm a bit of a computer geek), and I really enjoy the art of bringing an image out of the background noise. Works for me, and this is definitely a case of "to each his own" because clearly it's not for everyone. And in the end it's much more than the picture - viewers will spend probably a few seconds looking at it, but the creator of the image has spent countless hours teasing out the details and struggling with color intensity and balance. I can appreciate details in my images that I know no one else will even notice, so in that sense it's not much different than those who enjoy viewing the subtle details at the eyepiece. And I still enjoy the occasional visual and being alone under the stars. There's lots of room in this hobby to accommodate all varieties of enjoyment and for flip-flopping from one mode to the other every night or every decade.
...Keith


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jeff heck
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: microstar]
      #5709510 - 03/02/13 08:24 PM

Books on tape ruined me for braille...

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: microstar]
      #5709976 - 03/03/13 06:03 AM

Quote:

I enjoy tweaking precision equipment to make it perform at its best, I enjoy the software challenges (I'm a bit of a computer geek), and I really enjoy the art of bringing an image out of the background noise.




To each one's own...

I spend my days in a research lab with a large budget and some very nice equipment, much of which I have designed myself and tweaked myself.

At night, I just want to enjoy the night sky in a simple way.

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: jeff heck]
      #5709981 - 03/03/13 06:10 AM

Quote:

Books on tape ruined me for braille...




I assume you're joking, but the statement is worth examining in more detail.

Books on tape have their place, but they will never replace conventional reading, whether with your eyes or braille. People fluent with braille can read at least as fast as sighted people, easily four or times faster than you can absorb words with your ears.


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5710070 - 03/03/13 07:59 AM

No interest whatsoever in imaging on my part, except someday maybe solar.

Bill


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star drop
contra contrail
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Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Snow Plop, WNY
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710098 - 03/03/13 08:18 AM

Visual for nearly 38 years and loving it.

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JIMZ7
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Loc: S.E.Michigan near DTW
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: star drop]
      #5710165 - 03/03/13 09:11 AM

I went to college for photography/video & never used that knowledge for astronomy. Visual astronomy since 1957.

Jim


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jeff heck
Pooh-Bah
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5710292 - 03/03/13 10:22 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Books on tape ruined me for braille...




I assume you're joking, but the statement is worth examining in more detail.

Books on tape have their place, but they will never replace conventional reading, whether with your eyes or braille. People fluent with braille can read at least as fast as sighted people, easily four or times faster than you can absorb words with your ears.



It's a Seinfeld qoute, nothing more, nothing less. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Edited by jeff heck (03/03/13 10:44 AM)


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Escher
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Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: JIMZ7]
      #5710298 - 03/03/13 10:25 AM

Interesting responses - although I think I should to a test and post the same message in the "AP" section.

I hope my original post didnt come across as bashing visual observing - frustration - yes, I definately have that going in regard to visual, but a lot of that stems from my location and sky quality I'm sure... I'm also not a very patient person, so I just am not the kind of person who will hunt for an object for hours - even though I have in the past...

Seems like that last statement is counter intuitive for AP, right? Most AP'ers spend hours and hours on one subject... Not really - since I'm not saying I'm about the processing side as I just like the extra detail I can get via a CCD..

I'd be curious to see if anyone has ever made a correlation between a CCD exposure time/F ratio and a visual observation via a scope of X size? Maybe you need a 16" scope to equal a 3 second CCD exposure at ISO1600 and F10 or something...

Edited by Escher (03/03/13 10:26 AM)


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Escher
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710302 - 03/03/13 10:28 AM

The books on tape comment is interesting.. .because - I actually have "read" more in the last three years than the previous 20.

I mean, I *read* about 100-200 pages a day on various forums, etc... but to sit and read a novel - I have no time... So I listen in the car or at work while I'm processing data.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710319 - 03/03/13 10:34 AM

Quote:


I hope my original post didnt come across as bashing visual observing




I saw no bashing of either side in your original post, just a question interested in knowing other amateur's experiences. Probably most have tried AP at one time or another. For me, I can image more than I can see but I just don't find the imaging experience enjoyable.

Visual can be a hike on a trail in the mountains, AP is like photographing a single vista point.

Jon


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NeilMac
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710333 - 03/03/13 10:42 AM

Quote:

Interesting responses - although I think I should to a test and post the same message in the "AP" section.

I hope my original post didnt come across as bashing visual observing - frustration - yes, I definately have that going in regard to visual, but a lot of that stems from my location and sky quality I'm sure... I'm also not a very patient person, so I just am not the kind of person who will hunt for an object for hours - even though I have in the past...

Seems like that last statement is counter intuitive for AP, right? Most AP'ers spend hours and hours on one subject... Not really - since I'm not saying I'm about the processing side as I just like the extra detail I can get via a CCD..

I'd be curious to see if anyone has ever made a correlation between a CCD exposure time/F ratio and a visual observation via a scope of X size? Maybe you need a 16" scope to equal a 3 second CCD exposure at ISO1600 and F10 or something...




I think it has allot to do with vast variations with people being left/right brained. Some think the Moon is boring, others find it fascinating. Nothing is black and white, some people have very good memory recall and the images are as fresh as when they first saw it, others loose detail in seconds.
I think this is a good topic to see how different people are in their thinking.


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JayinUT
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710366 - 03/03/13 10:56 AM

At this point I am a visual only guy. The ATM bug has hit me thanks to a friend and I am making a six and a eight inch scope. ATM leads more to visual I think. I can see in fifteen years as I will be sixty three a malicanor its successor coming into the picture. Nothing wrong with AP and I have two good friends who do it, one for around 2000 dollars and my daughter wants to do it so she'll learn from him, but for now I'll stick visual.

What is interesting to me is what people getting into the hobby are doing who are in their thirties and early forties. Do most start visual and migrate to AP? Do they start in AP? What are the triggers that move one from visual to AP or back again? For those who do both which is done more? I bet the answers differ by as much as their are different individuals in the hobby but it would be interesting to read more replies to the thread. Good reading, thanks for the thread.

In another aspect as a professional educator I know there are different learning styles and though we usually have several styles we prefer, you we tend to lean toward one. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner and thus my preference for visual observing. I have put a lot of money into visual between scopes, and mirrors, eyepieces and now land. I don't think my wife would let me invest in AP right now as we have kids in college and our son is in Italy for two years so nope, not I'm a visual guy only.

Edited by JayinUT (03/03/13 11:46 AM)


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csa/montana
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5710383 - 03/03/13 11:00 AM

I'd love to try AP; but I don't have the money required for a setup for it. Even if I did; I highly doubt I'd abandon visual; as it brings such joy and relaxation to me, as I visually see things, first hand.

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kansas skies
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5710740 - 03/03/13 02:24 PM

Quote:

Visual can be a hike on a trail in the mountains, AP is like photographing a single vista point.

Jon




That's an interesting thought, and for some reason, I've never looked at it quite that way. I find that living in Kansas, there's really not much to see. I will qualify that by saying that there are certain times of the year, mostly having to do with certain aspects of farming or ranching, that the scenery can be somewhat picturesque, but usually the scenery's pretty drab. For that reason, anytime I go anywhere touristy, my impulse is to take a million pictures so that I can remember my experience later on. At the end of one such trip, after taking the million pictures (an exaggeration), I realized that I somehow missed it all. So now, when I go somewhere new, I try to remember to put the camera away once in awhile and simply enjoy the experience.

Bill


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Kraus
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: kansas skies]
      #5711035 - 03/03/13 05:15 PM

I did the opposite. I started with astrophotography then went just visually as I felt I was missing the sky. So what if the Cigar galaxy has more color in a photograph. Locating and staring at a selected object is far more rewarding to me. And my fourteen incher actually does bring in a tad of pink or red so seen in M-42 and M-82.

Tonight, the Horse Head. The skies in Middle-Georgia are clear. Temperature is 44F and relative humidity is 48%.


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NeilMac
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5711093 - 03/03/13 05:47 PM

Quote:

I'd love to try AP; but I don't have the money required for a setup for it. Even if I did; I highly doubt I'd abandon visual; as it brings such joy and relaxation to me, as I visually see things, first hand.




?? use a Point and shoot with a steadypix, $50.


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skinnyonce
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5713893 - 03/05/13 05:55 AM

what makes the difference how we gather photons as long as we gather them,,Im not sharing mine youll have to get your own

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csa/montana
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5714039 - 03/05/13 09:32 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I'd love to try AP; but I don't have the money required for a setup for it. Even if I did; I highly doubt I'd abandon visual; as it brings such joy and relaxation to me, as I visually see things, first hand.




?? use a Point and shoot with a steadypix, $50.




I've tried that; I was disappointed. When I said AP, I meant the more specialized (say expensive) equipment.


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ensign
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5714107 - 03/05/13 10:16 AM

Quote:

I agree with Dwight. video astronomy is a nice blend of "live" viewing without the painstaking post processing... Then again I sometimes set up two telescopes, one with Mallincam and video monitor and then another one with binoviewer or eyepiece for visual. This allows for the best combination... Of course first things first... We need CLEAR SKIES! It's been 4 weeks and I in serious withdrawal...




I, too, have indulged in video observing but am surprised that some others who do so talk about abandoning their eyepiece collection. Video observing is enjoyable, but it is a different (and I thnk, complementary) activity when compared to through-the-eyepiece observing. FWIW, I actually enjoy through-the-eyepiece observing more than video.

I often observe at a site where astrophotographers do their thing as well. Some have shown me the results of their efforts and I have to acknowledge that many of these are beautiful works of art.

However, the activity of astrophotography seems to involve setting up your gear, pointing it at a particular object and having a snooze (sometimes for several hours) while your gear collects photons. This is followed by hours and hours of painstaing work at a computer refining and enhancing the raw data you collect in the field.

As such, astrophotography and manual observing are two very different but related activities. Depending on your interests, skills and temperament, one or the other may appeal to you. Neither is inherently superior or inferior to the other. But they sure are different.

For us here in Southwestern Ontario, it's been more like four months of cloudy skies. So I feel your pain . . . and then some.


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hfjacinto
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Dave74]
      #5714267 - 03/05/13 11:40 AM

I enjoy both, but there are times like when planes fly through the field or clouds come in or the mount hits the meridian that I want to do visual and then some pictures come out great that I am happy doing ap.

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Javier1978
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5714497 - 03/05/13 01:31 PM

Just like Kraus, I gave up AP because I felt I was missing the sky and there was no joy for me in it any more. I have been doing pure visual for a year now. The more I learn, the more involved I become, I love it!

Plus, I have one 8" dob, three chinese plossls and a shorty 2x barlow and I donīt feel that I need more than these. It would be nice for sure, but I have plenty to enjoy and learn with me gear. I hated the object dependency from AP.


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Mike7Mak
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Javier1978]
      #5714606 - 03/05/13 02:36 PM

I've got a Meade 102ed on a LXD650 set up in the obs beside the imaging rig. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've fired it up in the last 5 years, usually to peek at Jupiter or Saturn. I'm thinking of turning it into a portable imaging rig.

Visual just doesn't do it for me. It 'was' fun for a while but there are only so many things in the sky you can 'see' well. Even some of the Messiers are simply 'oh yeah, I can tell it's there'. That got old real quick. Being barely able to tell it's there ain't 'seeing' it in my book.

Maybe if I had a 36" dob on a mountain top in AZ I'd feel different, but most likely I'd just put a camera on it.


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Mr. Bill
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5714700 - 03/05/13 03:29 PM

Another option is video imaging...kinda combines both.

I'm strictly visual (tried my hand back in the day with hypersensatized emulsion film) but last year at the Golden State SP we were camped next to a fellow with a video rig on a C8. Very impressive images in 30 seconds and in color!

This may be in my future when my eyes start going.



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Matt Wallin
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5715052 - 03/05/13 06:31 PM

I have so much fun learning the sky and exploring it with my 10" dob visually, I love navigating the stars. I also really geek out on the physiology aspect of human vision, exploring my sense of sight and wringing maximum detail out of my 'equipment'. Though it can be tiring, I find relearing how to see with averted vision to be an interesting *inner* space exploration that complements my outer space explorations. Really, *really* focusing on something while not looking directly at it is so at odds with everyday experience, I feel like I'm really stretching out my brain! I'd love to acquire a Canon DSLR and start playing with AP, but I don't think it would be my primary activity on my observing nights.

Edited by Matt Wallin (03/05/13 06:35 PM)


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kansas skies
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Matt Wallin]
      #5715158 - 03/05/13 07:15 PM

Quote:

I also really geek out on the physiology aspect of human vision, exploring my sense of sight and wringing maximum detail out of my 'equipment'. Though it can be tiring, I find relearing how to see with averted vision to be an interesting *inner* space exploration that complements my outer space explorations. Really, *really* focusing on something while not looking directly at it is so at odds with everyday experience, I feel like I'm really stretching out my brain!




Very well said!

Bill


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Jb32828
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: kansas skies]
      #5715308 - 03/05/13 08:37 PM

I do both. Primarily imaging though. I tell you what I like best about AP is also having a pier out back and literally being up and running in 15 minutes, and then sitting in the house sleeping while the camera and mount are doing their thing. I also like getting a great result and having that sucker printed and placed on the trophy wall in the office.

Now, if we could get some cooperative weather when my work schedule permits it would be a great help.


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tecmageModerator
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5715370 - 03/05/13 09:09 PM

Quote:

I'd love to try AP; but I don't have the money required for a setup for it. Even if I did; I highly doubt I'd abandon visual; as it brings such joy and relaxation to me, as I visually see things, first hand.




Same here. I've sometimes thought of building a Barndoor Tracker and buying a used DSLR. The only other things required are a tripod and camera mount. It's just a matter of time before I try it.


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shawnhar
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: tecmage]
      #5717347 - 03/06/13 09:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'd love to try AP; but I don't have the money required for a setup for it. Even if I did; I highly doubt I'd abandon visual; as it brings such joy and relaxation to me, as I visually see things, first hand.




Same here. I've sometimes thought of building a Barndoor Tracker and buying a used DSLR. The only other things required are a tripod and camera mount. It's just a matter of time before I try it.



Don't do it, don't go down the rabbit hole, therin lies madness!

Used DSLR-125
Old Used 10" Fork mount SCT - 550
The pic I took of M81 (even though it sucks compared to Hubble) - Priceless.
And I'll tell you why... Because I discovered a new object I didn't even know existed. There is a little dwarf galaxy beside M81, Holmberg IX, it's basically M81's Magellanic cloud. As a difuse object of Mag 16.5, there are no amateur scopes you are going to look at that with. (Well maybe 2)
The point I want to make is I don't understand the separation, I use imaging to enhance my astronomy experience, I try to find out what all the extra stuff is the camera picks up. I know they aren't masterpieces but I learn new stuff all the time because of it.
I image about 80% now, but i am kind of the odd ball on this, I got no go to or setting circles, so I star hop to all my imaging targets, I gotta find it 1st.
The biggest thing is, I think, my backyard kinda sucks for visual, oh sure, M13 looks awesome and the bright objects are fun, but M74 is at the very limit of human perception in my 10", and M101? forget it, ain't gonna happen.
But I have had several dark sky trips.....ohhhh....THAT's the way it's supposed to be. M33 naked eye, no problem seeing M101, oooo that galaxy in sculptor is cool.
I didn't abandon visual, I changed it to a treat, something to be savored like a good bottle of spirits you save for a special occasion. If I lived in a dark site I would be all over visual, and don't get me wrong, when the weather is not freezing I image with one and visual the other, but when it's cold out it's nice to tell the camera to take 100 exposures while I go be nice n warm inside, then finding out what you got is kinda half the fun.
Guess I'm kinda weird, most folks seem polarized visual/AP, I couldn't find jack squat when I started visual and my 1st pics looked like garbage...both skills have since improved and both are enjoyed.
But I do see the calm contemplation thing at the eyepiece, kind of like sitting beside a calm lake in the afternoon on a pleasant day with a cork and a hook, I also see the AP version of that, which is like zooming down the lake in a bass boat at 50 mph. (Look at those chumps on the shore, they don't even have a boat!)


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dawziecat
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: shawnhar]
      #5719978 - 03/08/13 08:01 AM

Seems I've been trying AP ever since about 1956 or so. Even before I had a telescope. Of course, it was a hopeless task for a 12 year old back then. I didn't even get star trails before dew formed.
When I finally got a telescope, I was thrilled to see things like the moon and Saturn. But, in reality, I was disappointed in most everything else.

That hasn't changed for me. I've used my own telescopes visually and those of others too. Up to 22 inches. The visual experience just isn't that exciting for me.

AP has reached the point where a mere camera lens and a so-so mount can rival or beat the best professional images taken in the 50s with instruments like the 48" Schmidt on Palomar Mountain.

Still, AP is difficult and demands a range of skills to tease the most out of the data. That it is very challenging is its allure.

So, yes, since the advent of digital photography, I have totally abandoned visual for AP. And I have some fancy new EP's and a binoviewer that will likely be hitting the classifieds soon. They just don't get used. I have done HUNDREDS of hours of AP in the past two years. My C11 has only been mounted a couple of times and that is usually for the benefit of others.


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Widespread
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #5720140 - 03/08/13 09:46 AM

Bob Berman had an interesting article in Astronomy a few months back where he contrasted the fun, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of visual observers at star parties with the intense, focused and stay-away-from-my-rig vibe of imagers.

I think he categorized them as different tribes, although, as evidenced by above posts, the two groups are not discrete.


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careysub
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5720240 - 03/08/13 10:41 AM

I was always fascinated by the night sky even as a very small child - my attraction to astronomy is the wonder and amazement that fills me when looking up at a dark sky, even with the naked eye - a feeling that has never left me.

Unless you are quite wealthy and persistent any AP image you produce will be far inferior to the work of thousands of others, easily obtained over the web, and even those pale next to the work of professional instruments.

But you can only see the sky with your own eyes, sharing the experiences of Galileo, Messier, and Herschel.

It is a lot like the difference between going on a trip to see an unspoiled part of nature for yourself, and simply looking at photographs of the same thing.

With a visual telescope you are seeing the very same photons produced tens and hundreds of millions of years ago (even billions of years if you go quasar hunting).

I will never forget seeing the Whirlpool Galaxy for the first time in a 17.5" Coulter homemade Dob in 1982, it was a magical experience no image could ever match.

(BTW - I am a software engineer and I spend my professional life in front of a computer screen, and much of my private life as well. I am eager for the chance to get away from it.)


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Mr. Bill
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Widespread]
      #5720246 - 03/08/13 10:44 AM

That's been my experience at star parties....sometimes it can lead to real conflict with bad feelings.

The majority of problems IMO are due to the computer screens used by imagers, even with red filters, casting light either directly or indirectly and won't allow total dark adaptation that visual observers need in order to see subtle contrast detail.

It doesn't take much light to keep you in a semi dark adapted state.



Edited by Mr. Bill (03/08/13 10:58 AM)


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Escher
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: careysub]
      #5720341 - 03/08/13 11:38 AM

Quote:


Unless you are quite wealthy and persistent any AP image you produce will be far inferior to the work of thousands of others, easily obtained over the web, and even those pale next to the work of professional instruments.




While I used to think the same thing as well, and while it is *technically* correct...

For me - even though my images may not even be *good* by most standards, they are my record of having "been there"... It like taking a picture of the grand canyon - there are thousands of pro shots that you could never even come close to replicating, but you take the picture anyways - because its your proof that you were there.

I need a tangible thing - and thats just the way I'm wired... even if its not a great image - I can look at it and remember that I saw it.

And I wont abandon visual, I may have said this before, but that was too strong of a word...


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microstar
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: careysub]
      #5722339 - 03/09/13 01:27 PM

Quote:

I was always fascinated by the night sky even as a very small child - my attraction to astronomy is the wonder and amazement that fills me when looking up at a dark sky, even with the naked eye - a feeling that has never left me.



Astrophotographers feel that too!

Quote:

Unless you are quite wealthy and persistent any AP image you produce will be far inferior to the work of thousands of others, easily obtained over the web, and even those pale next to the work of professional instruments.



But they are your pictures! There are millions of children and any one you produce will be inferior to the ones you see on TV - so is it a waste of time to have children?

Quote:

But you can only see the sky with your own eyes, sharing the experiences of Galileo, Messier, and Herschel.



But even if its on the computer screen you are seeing it with your own eyes...

Quote:

It is a lot like the difference between going on a trip to see an unspoiled part of nature for yourself, and simply looking at photographs of the same thing.



Now here's where I really have to take exception - it's not like this at all! It may seem that way to a visual observer because you are only ever seeing other people's pictures. When you make your own image you are spending hours and hours collecting the data, calibrating, stretching, color-balancing and enhancing. For the astrophotographer I'd say that relationship to the picture transforms it in a way that no one else can experience. Using my children analogy again - to everyone else your kid is just that, but to you that child represents a lifetime of care. They simply cannot be perceived in the same way.

Quote:

With a visual telescope you are seeing the very same photons produced tens and hundreds of millions of years ago (even billions of years if you go quasar hunting).



And I'm pretty sure those photons are the siblings of the photons that you collect on your CCD and see transforming your computer screen.

Quote:

I will never forget seeing the Whirlpool Galaxy for the first time in a 17.5" Coulter homemade Dob in 1982, it was a magical experience no image could ever match.



No image that someone else made could ever match...

Quote:

(BTW - I am a software engineer and I spend my professional life in front of a computer screen, and much of my private life as well. I am eager for the chance to get away from it.)



To each their own. Lets not create artificial divisions here over what is "better". Astrophotography isn't for everyone, but neither is visual observing. But we are all looking and wondering at an astonishing universe that reaches into the core of what it is to be human. We just have different ways to experience it.
...Keith


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JMW
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: microstar]
      #5722494 - 03/09/13 03:29 PM

Most of the scopes I have serve well for both. If I am going to a dark site for multiple nights, I will bring my trailer and enough equipment to do both. Once you start an imaging sequence there is plenty of time for observing. I can't imaging ever giving up observing when at a dark site. At home I often image more than observe do to the local light pollution.

Tonight I am going mainly to observe but I will bring the DSLR and a few lenses along to do some wide field imaging on a SkyTracker.


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Mta472
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5724140 - 03/10/13 03:28 PM

HECK NO!!!!!!!!

If I want to see the BEST in AP's I get out eg my Hubble book.

I have a 12 inch SCT and saw 141 different galaxies from CT WITH ME OWN 65 Y.O. EYES!

To each his own??????

Keep LOOKIN up....... ole mike +


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tomcody
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5726044 - 03/11/13 03:00 PM

Quote:

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..



I got into AP for those very reasons and left it for visual after about 14 years because it took too much time away from enjoying the sky (for 8 years I did not even look through one of my scopes, just captured images). I felt I was missing out on the enjoyment and spending too much money to keep up with changes in technology (that first $4K camera became a $8K camera, the $3K mount became a $8K mount and there was no sign of an end to the spending).
Now I just do visual and enjoy my evenings under the stars. With all that said, If I went back to AP, I would use a rental site like ITelescope (the old GRAS site). WHY? I used GRAS for three years before investing in my last imaging setup and was able to take thousands of raw images using scopes all over the world at almost any time of the day or night. No equipment purchases, no maintenance, no local weather problems, no hassle! at all. I paid a $250 month fee and had hours of imaging time that rolled over from month to month, when I needed more time I just bought a block of time to supplement as needed for big projects. $3K per year may sound like a lot for imaging time but it would take 8-10 years of imaging to equal one average backyard setup and remember, you can use the site almost any time as its always dark some place on the planet. So I say, get a nice visual scope and mount, enjoy them on nice nights and rent to image when you want to. One last thing, I used to work the night shift and it was amazing to come home and image at 9AM eastern time using scopes in Australia, can't beat that!
Rex

Edited by tomcody (03/11/13 04:28 PM)


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John Lacey
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: careysub]
      #5727354 - 03/12/13 02:27 AM

Quote:

(BTW - I am a software engineer and I spend my professional life in front of a computer screen, and much of my private life as well. I am eager for the chance to get away from it.)




Same here. I have a no electricity rule, though I bend that for a GLP to use with my son, and I'm thinking of trying an RDF. But my patience for dealing with problems with electrons is zero. I like sitting out under the sky with some metal and glass, taking in the Universe.

I have no interest in AP. I don't want to take the pictures, and I sure don't want to work on a computer processing them. Heck, I don't even do anything with the ordinary snapshots I take. I tried organizing them in an online album once, and it wasn't how I want to spend my time. ;-)

On the other hand, this is absolutely not the only way to do it. I think APers are amazing, and their pictures are amazing. Find your passion and your patience, it's different for everyone.


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Escher
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Reged: 08/30/07

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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: John Lacey]
      #5727695 - 03/12/13 09:14 AM

Its funny, my wife makes the same comments about computers...

I'm a CAE engineer - I literally am on the computer all day, designing, processing, coding and analyzing Automotive Seals... Then, I go home and sit on the computer on Forums, Email, and other sites...

I can see how folks would want to "unplug".. and I do occasionally... but the computer is my main communication tool via forums, email and messages.. I think I tend to look for ways *TO* use the computer in my hobbies, not the other way around...


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tomcody
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: Escher]
      #5727801 - 03/12/13 10:21 AM Attachment (7 downloads)

I understand your desire to integrate hobby time into your computer time. I used to enjoy getting home and using the computer for my enjoyment after sitting in front of it for hours at work doing reports and payroll stuff. I think you would really enjoy the rental site I mentioned in my last post. You could be signed up, on-line with such a site in 10 minutes and imaging. The only additional costs other than imaging time rental, are the costs for image processing programs to process your raw images at home. The freedom to choose from dozens of different scopes and at least two ( I think three now) different world sites is very conductive to imaging to your schedule, not natures.
A couple of images as examples:
The horse head with an FSQ106 & SBIG STL11000:
(not finished image, some satellite tracks still in there)


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tomcody
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: tomcody]
      #5727803 - 03/12/13 10:23 AM Attachment (6 downloads)

And switch to a 16" RCOS and FLI camera for a close up.
All with the click of a mouse
(note raw red image, not processed in any way)


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Escher
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Re: Anyone else abandon visual for AP? new [Re: tomcody]
      #5727834 - 03/12/13 10:40 AM

very cool...

I just registered - I'll play with the demo account a bit.


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