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stevew
Now I've done it


Reged: 03/03/06

Loc: British Columbia Canada
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Ed Wiley]
      #5993799 - 07/27/13 10:39 PM

Quote:

Tech gets in the way when you no longer enjoy astronomy because you have to futz with too much stuff.

Ed



I agree. I had a 'Go To" mount for about 3 months, I spent more time looking at the hand controller than the sky.
I sold it.
Besides I can "Go To" much faster than the motors on the mount.
Give me a telescope with good optics, and a star to steer her by, and I'm happy.

Steve


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DarkDisplay
sage


Reged: 12/21/10

Loc: Texas
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: scottk]
      #5993824 - 07/27/13 10:50 PM

There was a time when people were happier and healthier without so much technology. Something to think about.

As for astronomy, a dark sky and two good eyes are hard to beat. Optically, I could get by with a decent binocular and scope. Remember, the folks we consider the greats of astronomy didn't have what we have to work with.

Best wishes,
Frank


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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
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Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5993880 - 07/27/13 11:18 PM

Quote:

Astronomy will be as technological as those who participate in are technological, no more and no less. For those who just prefer the basics there is just as much roon in astronomy as those who enjoy the latest electronic cameras and computerized telescopes.

Taras




Well said. Whether you do it old school or are a gearhead who uses the latest technology, there is room for everyone in this hobby. I'll never understand those who criticize everyone else for not doing it their way.


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herrointment
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Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5993956 - 07/28/13 12:26 AM

The tech aspect of the hobby was part of the draw when I came back to it. I refused to learn how to operate a computer until 2010!

So bring on the tech....it's interesting!


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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
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Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: herrointment]
      #5994198 - 07/28/13 06:30 AM

It can be as technological or not as you want it to be. I don't like too much technology when I'm observing, because it just gets in the way, at the moment the most technological item on my scope is a dew zapper on my Telrad. That said I'm planning to get Argo Navis DSCs in the near future, but that's as technological as I intend to get.
I see imagers at star parties with enough cabling to circle the Equator five times and more blinking lights than the Starship Enterprise. It's not for me but other people enjoy that kind of observing. Each to their own.


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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: scottk]
      #5994200 - 07/28/13 06:36 AM

Quote:

I've read many posts from people with ten thousand dollar cameras complaining about updates and firmware. Going into a field to do astronomy is good. But at what point does the technology get in the way?




I think you're confusing several different issues: money, technology, and complexity.

To get the groundworks straight, astronomy is, and has always been, an inherently technological activity. You can certainly enjoy the night sky just lying on your back and gazing at the stars, but that's not really astronomy in the normal sense. It's when you start measuring and classifying that astronomy changes into a science.

The most brilliant minds in the world worked at astronomy for millennia with tools no more complicated than yardsticks. And all that work was superseded, swept away, in two years when Galileo turned his spyglass to the sky.

Visual observing is inherently simpler than imaging. No matter what technology you're using, it's bound to be more obtrusive when your goals are more ambitious -- such as making precise measurements instead of aesthetic enjoyment or capturing images instead of visual impressions.

For any given goal, technology actually makes that goal easier, not harder. The main difference between a $5,000 rig and a $1,000 rig is often that the $5,000 rig is easier to use. Technology gets in the way more when it's inadequate than when it's all humming along smoothly and effortlessly. That typically requires more money and a higher level of sophistication.

I'm not sure I agree, but many people claim that the rudimentary technology required to star-hop is more obtrusive than the fancier technology of Go To. For better or worse, star-hopping certainly side-tracks you more from the primary goal of location your target -- and also messes more with your dark adaptation.

Technology is at its best when it's invisible.


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: FJA]
      #5994222 - 07/28/13 07:23 AM

Quote:

I see imagers at star parties with enough cabling to circle the Equator five times and more blinking lights than the Starship Enterprise. It's not for me but other people enjoy that kind of observing. Each to their own.




That's because they're imaging, not observing. I'm sure they look at your setup and think "What a waste of a good telescope. He could probably get some great astro photos if he had the proper gear."

obin


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sg6
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5994224 - 07/28/13 07:23 AM

As much as you need or want. There is no use ending up as no technology and only technology.

There is a change in requirements as you start and gain more experience also.

I find that I both need some and also know what is in effect the same without technology.

Take a small goto to a public evening and tell it to go to Albereio. Nice simple, just before the public start looking I want to have pretty good confidence that it is actually pointed at Albereio.

So the goto technology helps but the knowledge without the technology is also required. Helps me to not look so stupid. I was particularily thick one night but did get away with it however.

If you like and do imaging then really little choice, you need the technology at some level, and you may as well use it to make life easy.

When you say "technology" what is meant? Electronic and computer control of motors, or accurate grinding of precision parabolic mirrors and the technology to make exotic glasses like FPL-53?


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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: sg6]
      #5994259 - 07/28/13 08:16 AM

Way back when I first started in this hobby nye on around 1962 there were basically 3 kinds of amateurs; beginner beginners with small refractors (mine was an old 50mm from Sears), telescope makers, and those lucky enough or well off enough to own a good commercially built scope. The hobby has since grown and expanded to an unimaginable extent. Astronomy has become a very rich hobby with so much to offer amateurs with very diverse interests. If you enjoy keeping it simple that's great, enjoy, but it is wonderful that there is so much to explore depending on your interests. Also, just like in the good old days, it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive.

Have fun!


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GOLGO13
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/05/05

Loc: St. Louis area
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: scottk]
      #5994297 - 07/28/13 08:51 AM

Of course it depends on what you are doing. I found out very quickly I did not like doing my own astro-imaging. I found it was much easier to just look at others' photos who are more into doing that type of thing.

Now, I love the technology of astronomy...But that can mean much more than electronics. I love eyepieces, telescope designs, collimating tools, etc etc. A great magazine for telescope tech is Astronomy Technology Today. A lot of people enjoy the equipment side of astronomy almost as much as the observing itself.

But as others have said. If you are not enjoying the technology side of the hobby, then it would be best to avoid that aspect. I do that with avoiding taking pictures (saves me a lot of money also). If your "go to" setup is frustrating, try going manual. I usually am more frustrated with manual star hopping then using technology. Especially in my light-polluted skies.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: how technological should astronomy be? [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5994303 - 07/28/13 08:54 AM

Quote:

For better or worse, star-hopping certainly side-tracks you more from the primary goal of location your target -- and also messes more with your dark adaptation.





If location of a specific, predetermined target is your goal...

Jon


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Feidb
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5994407 - 07/28/13 09:49 AM

As many people have stated, it's all a matter of preference. I can only state from my 47 years of personal experience, observations and taste.

As a kid, I craved the technology because I didn't know any better. After years of frustration and realizing I had neither the budget or the ultimate desire to #1 take images, #2 have a need for a driven system because of the advent of wider field eyepieces, #3 I knew the sky well enough I didn't need either setting circles (via an equatorial mount) or GOTO, #4 I had ultimately no compulsion or obsession over equipment or to tweak all night, I was happy with a simple Dob.

To me, outside of a green laser pointer, any other technology gets in the way.

I've watched people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on systems with relatively tiny aperture so they could either have GOTO or ultimately take images (or maybe already do) but in the field can't see what I can with my 16-inch, visually. I've listened to them complain as they set up, fussing with their gear, either trying to make it work or waiting for alignment stars or giving up because they forgot something like a battery pack (or a cable is broken). I've glanced over as guys (not usually gals) would obsessively tweak their scope (mostly Dobs) all night and hardly look at a thing). I've listened as groups got into pointless arguments over technical specs of their gear and forget to observe at all.

I found my groove in simplicity. I spent all my money in aperture and a few good moderate-priced eyepieces. Even before that, I made that aperture, and used cheap and improvised eyepieces and did just fine.

Jack Newton and Jason Ware are the two guys that back in the 90's convinced me, though unintentionally that I wasn't cut out to do imaging. I already knew I couldn't afford it, but after seeing what they went through to take decent images, I knew for sure it wasn't for me. My simple Dob was da bomb!

You have to find your mojo and adjust your budget accordingly. Technology only gets in the way if it doesn't do what you want it to.


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Maverick199
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/27/11

Loc: India
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Feidb]
      #5994446 - 07/28/13 10:15 AM

Quote from Edition The Hindu, 28th, July,2013: Like all ground-based observatories, TMT ( thirty metre telescope ) is limited in spatial resolution by the atmospheric turbulence. While the 30 m primary builds on the technological and operational experience of the Keck Telescope, it will be the first ground-based telescope to incorporate the technology of Adaptive Optics ( AO ) as an integral component of the telescope. AO refers to systems designed to sense atmospheric turbulence in real time, make the appropriate corrections to the beam and enable true image on the ground limited only by optical diffraction. The AO capability will enable the TMT resolve objects by a factor of 3 better than the 10 m-class telecopes and 12 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope ( HST ).

When Adaptive optics gets utilized in consumer dobs or reflectors and helps resolve detail by adapting to the atmospheric turbulence, how many of us would want this technology? Its not available as yet but who knows? Wouldn't this be helpful to those living in light pollution or even those without? Would we still pretend as if we are simple observers and simple instruments are going to show us what we want to see? The moment you invest in even as trivial item as a green laser, you are accepting technology. Forget those who invest in Moonlites, TV's, Zambuto's etc., Why only pick on technology concerned with imaging?


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panhard
It's All Good
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Reged: 01/20/08

Loc: Markham Ontario Canada
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5994522 - 07/28/13 11:04 AM

Quote:

Each to their own.


That is the way I look at it Faith.

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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: scottk]
      #5994540 - 07/28/13 11:17 AM

Amateur astronomy should be as technological as a given individual wants it to be for themselves.

That said, there exists a mild "tyranny of the technological" in the avocation at this time; if this is doubted, attempt to purchase a new, mass-produced telescope without sophisticated electronics and computer control - not a beginner's instrument, mind you, but an equatorially-mounted scope of decent aperture... such is no easy task. Since the majority desire telescopes laden with go-to and electronica (whether of their own volition, or more likely having been trained to want them via advertising and peer pressure), that is what is almost exclusively available in the marketplace. This situation is also driven in considerable degree by the numbers of relatively well-heeled individuals entering the hobby whose primary interest is in astrophotography.

The last couple of decades have seen the splitting of amateur astronomy into two major camps: one consists primarily of those who are interested in exploring the night sky visually, while those in the other camp are not really amateur astronomers in the classic sense, but rather photographers who happen to have chosen the heavens as their subject matter. While there is some degree of overlap between these two general groupings, as well as many outliers, they seem to have but little in common, in my experience.

I can recall a day when performing long-exposure or multiple-image astrophotography at a star party was considered impolite and generally bad form, as it required excessive light discipline on the field - one impact of the increasing number of imagers is that such discipline is now considered de rigeur at all major events, and is for the most part a result of the large number of astrophotographers present, who must not be inconvenienced as they capture the 28,567th image of the Trifid Nebula for posterity.

Incidentally, I'm firmly in the first camp (although I've dabbled in the second), which should be fairly obvious.

Fred


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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5994560 - 07/28/13 11:31 AM


Define astronomy.


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FJA
Sketcher Extraordinaire
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Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: 50.65° N, 1.15° W
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5994634 - 07/28/13 12:17 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I see imagers at star parties with enough cabling to circle the Equator five times and more blinking lights than the Starship Enterprise. It's not for me but other people enjoy that kind of observing. Each to their own.




That's because they're imaging, not observing. I'm sure they look at your setup and think "What a waste of a good telescope. He could probably get some great astro photos if he had the proper gear."

obin




You think I'm slagging off imagers, don't you? I'm actually not. Just because I don't care for it doesn't mean I don't think it's a valid means of observing. As I said 'each to their own'.

But then the same imagers come over and ask for a look through my telescope. A look!

And, by the way, it's 'she' not 'he'.


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5994639 - 07/28/13 12:20 PM

Quote:

The last couple of decades have seen the splitting of amateur astronomy into two major camps: one consists primarily of those who are interested in exploring the night sky visually, while those in the other camp are not really amateur astronomers in the classic sense, but rather photographers who happen to have chosen the heavens as their subject matter. While there is some degree of overlap between these two general groupings, as well as many outliers, they seem to have but little in common, in my experience.
Fred




There is a third group as well: researchers whose subject matter happens to be far above their heads and requires use of a telescope and computers. Modern technology has given backyard observers with home-made gear the ability to discover supernova, comets, asteroids, and other objects in the heavens. This capability used to be only available to universities, corporations, and government entities. Now it is in the hands of the masses with budgets a mere fraction of what the "big boys" have.

obin


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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: Kraus]
      #5994782 - 07/28/13 01:54 PM

Quote:

Define astronomy.



The word astronomy literally means "law of the stars" (or "culture of the stars"), and is derived from the Greek word astronomia, which itself is made up from the Greek words astron, meaning "star," and nomos, meaning "laws" or "cultures."

(Ya just gotta love Google! )


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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: how technological should astronomy be? new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5994813 - 07/28/13 02:17 PM

One challenge is that you just can put people into little boxes that define them or their interests. I observe with my eyes, I observe with my cameras, I image with my cameras, I take qualitative and quantitative data with my cameras. Each one of these is a unique experience and each one is an integral part of how I explore this hobby. I am sure than many others also have their own unique way of enjoying amateur astronomy and each one is perfectly valid. None of us has the right to say what is right or wrong with how someone else expresses their own interest. This is a great time to be an amateur astronomer!

Enjoy.

P.S.

In my neck of the woods we get maybe 60 clear nights a year, so I get as much out of each one as I can. Over the past week we had a couple of fairly good nights, but that run is now over. With it getting dark so late I generally do more imaging this time of year and when it is clear I image like a demon recording as much as I can. As I sit here the clouds are rolling in an rain is in the forecast. I'll spend the next several days processing my new images and trying out different things. I consider this to be very much an extension of observing that let's me stretch out the observing experience over several days, exploring the images that I have captured. I also have a set of cameras that I specifically use for real-time observing, but each one of these is a unique component to the larger activity of observing the heavens. Also, having access to unprocessed source images has deeply enriched my visual observing experience as they make the absolute best finder charts and they show me exactly what these objects look like before they are processed beyond all recognition.

What a fun hobby!


Edited by jgraham (07/28/13 02:24 PM)


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