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Refractor vs SCT

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#26 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:01 PM

Exactly, Jon...but...the more decrepit I get, the more I begin to think, "Hell, the views are pretty dang good in the 80mm, I'll just use her tonight!" :lol:

And, actually, to tell the truth, there is a lot you can see with a good 80. :)

 

Rod: 

 

I with you on the 80 mm except some nights I go with AT-72.  :)

 

But tonight, like last night, I am out here in the high desert. It' should be clear and dark.  I'm going with my 4 inch refractor and the 25 inch.. Last Saturday I had an amazing view of the dark region in NGC-1999 in the big scope, last night the 16 inch gave a decent view but it just wasn't the same.  

 

The region around the Heart and Soul Nebula was looking good in the 4 inch so I'll spend sometime there too.

 

Time for a nap.. Retirement is hard work..

 

Jon



#27 maadscientist

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:03 PM

Key to Astro happiness, owning:

 

A 5 or 6 inch refractor

 

An 11 or 14 inch SCT

 

An 18 or 20 inch Dob

 

All at the same time!............then the quibbling stops an you see them for what they are...............I will have all three till I die........

 

Dan L

A tad dramatic



#28 rmollise

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 06:20 PM

Rod: 
 
I with you on the 80 mm except some nights I go with AT-72.   :)
 
But tonight, like last night, I am out here in the high desert. It' should be clear and dark.  I'm going with my 4 inch refractor and the 25 inch.. Last Saturday I had an amazing view of the dark region in NGC-1999 in the big scope, last night the 16 inch gave a decent view but it just wasn't the same.  
 
The region around the Heart and Soul Nebula was looking good in the 4 inch so I'll spend sometime there too.
 
Time for a nap.. Retirement is hard work..
 
Jon


Didn't I warn you about this retirement stuff? :lol:

Yep, I get out with my little WO 66 Patriot frequently these days. ;)

#29 drollere

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:11 PM

i think the main issue was touched on by daniel when he mentioned educating beginners about what to look at. it's my impression that many amateur astronomers have no idea, really, what they are looking at. this limits what they are going to find interesting about astronomy, because interest settles on the image in the eyepiece and there are only a handful of ways, rudimentary ways, in which the image can vary: it can be bright, it can be a wide field, it can be flat to the edge of the field, or aberration free, that's really all there is if you only look at images.

 

yes, the image of M13 in a larger aperture is going to be brighter ... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.

 

using observation to stimulate your astronomical education is a great way to love the equipment you already have. and it may be one reason why the experienced observers are quite happy with smaller apertures.



#30 rmollise

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:30 PM

i think the main issue was touched on by daniel when he mentioned educating beginners about what to look at. it's my impression that many amateur astronomers have no idea, really, what they are looking at. this limits what they are going to find interesting about astronomy, because interest settles on the image in the eyepiece and there are only a handful of ways, rudimentary ways, in which the image can vary: it can be bright, it can be a wide field, it can be flat to the edge of the field, or aberration free, that's really all there is if you only look at images.
 
yes, the image of M13 in a larger aperture is going to be brighter ... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.
 
using observation to stimulate your astronomical education is a great way to love the equipment you already have. and it may be one reason why the experienced observers are quite happy with smaller apertures.


And that is true. HOWEVER...in my experience you are quite wrong about what the average amateur knows about what she/he is looking at. Even those fairly new to the avocation have a hunger to know about the Great Out There. The mysteries and wonders of space are what brought them to us in the first place. They may not sign up for classes or buy an Astronomy 101 textbook, but most absorb knowledge about what a globular is in quick order. There may be a few whose only interest is "hunting," but I have yet to meet someone like that. ;)


Edited by rmollise, 23 September 2014 - 07:31 PM.


#31 WesC

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:01 PM

... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.

 

 

Every single time... I WANT to know these things and share them with others when they are viewing with me. That's one of the reasons why I love Sky Safari, the app controls my telescope but it also educates me!



#32 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:25 PM

 

... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.

 

 

Every single time... I WANT to know these things and share them with others when they are viewing with me. That's one of the reasons why I love Sky Safari, the app controls my telescope but it also educates me!

 

 

GOTO mounts often have object information available too.  

 

There are many reasons why a person is so foolish as to spend their spare hours battling the wind and cold, driving hours and suffering sleep deprivation and insect bites just to possibly glimpse some faint bit of light that is nearly visible.  There's a thirst, a hunger there that just is, it needs no explanation, it will find it's own way.. 

 

Jon



#33 Glen A W

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:32 PM

"And that is true. HOWEVER...in my experience you are quite wrong about what the average amateur knows about what she/he is looking at. Even those fairly new to the avocation have a hunger to know about the Great Out There. The mysteries and wonders of space are what brought them to us in the first place. They may not sign up for classes or buy an Astronomy 101 textbook, but most absorb knowledge about what a globular is in quick order. There may be a few whose only interest is "hunting," but I have yet to meet someone like that. ;)"

 

 

 

 

I feel like you must not be looking too hard, then!  I have known lots and lots like that in recent years  -  People who have no concept of the universe, almost like someone off the street, who are out there at a club or star party GOTO-ing and even imaging.  Club members doing outreach who have little concept of the difference between an open cluster and a globular, especially regarding the ages of them.  And then there is the complete inability of these people to recognize constellations, and their total lack of knowledge of mythology regarding constellations, which is exactly what the public so often wants.  And non-stop talk of highly commercialized telescope and accessories, to the point that consuming is clearly what astronomy is to these people.  Actually, I think astronomy is about sports to them, since sports is their favourite topic.

 

As for a 5 inch refractor, it's no big surprise that it is not so great.  A five incher is a small scope.  Make it in China as a reflector and no matter how good the mirror on a particular example might be, people will think that scope is a joke.  Put a $6,000 price tag and a ten year waiting list on it and they think it is the magic elixir.

 

A 6 inch AP refractor was at a recent star party.  People were oohing and ahhing over the view of M13.  For the size of scope, I guess it was a pretty good view, but it was mostly inferior to the 10 inch Dob parked nearby.  M13 has a lot of stars, and they don't show too well in a 6 inch, no matter the quality.

 

Glen


Edited by Glen A W, 23 September 2014 - 08:32 PM.


#34 Brian Carter

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:13 PM



... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.



Every single time... I WANT to know these things and share them with others when they are viewing with me. That's one of the reasons why I love Sky Safari, the app controls my telescope but it also educates me!

GOTO mounts often have object information available too.

There are many reasons why a person is so foolish as to spend their spare hours battling the wind and cold, driving hours and suffering sleep deprivation and insect bites just to possibly glimpse some faint bit of light that is nearly visible. There's a thirst, a hunger there that just is, it needs no explanation, it will find it's own way..

Jon

Well said. I still get such a thrill when I see a galaxy, even though in my skies I can't see much of a galaxy. But the thrill I get with a globular, I just can't get enough of them, in any scope.

#35 TCW

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 09:49 PM

Hi,

I am about to commit blasphemy (although not on this forum). I have had and EON 120 for about seven years and I have used it and used it and used it!!!!!! I love that scope and it sure treated me to amazing sights and many wows. However, since I got my C8 I have really not taken out my refractor more than a handful of times. I find that I prefer the views in the C8 to the refractor :banned:. I like the views of the planets and deep space more. Sure the stars are not as tight and the diffraction ring a tad brighter but the detail on everything is much easier to see. For example m13 is absolutely jaw dropping in the c8. It's nice in the refractor as well but not comparable to the C8. Same with the m57, the double cluster, m42 etc... In wide field views, of course, the refractor wins hands down.  And yes my sample of the EON is a great one. I had it tested by O.M.I. and it tested at a strehl of .96. I was told that the C8 would be about the equal of the refractor even though the C8 is much bigger but my experience (maybe it doesn't count for much because I am a low level amateur) has not been that way. I sure an 8 inch refractor would blow away the c8 but hey you can't easily get an 8 inch refractor unless you're plunking down serious $$.

Just my 2 cents

Clear Skies

Itz

Try a first class 12 inch newtonian and you will forget all about your other scopes!:)

Different scopes for different purposes.



#36 Stephen Kennedy

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:36 PM

i think the main issue was touched on by daniel when he mentioned educating beginners about what to look at. it's my impression that many amateur astronomers have no idea, really, what they are looking at. this limits what they are going to find interesting about astronomy, because interest settles on the image in the eyepiece and there are only a handful of ways, rudimentary ways, in which the image can vary: it can be bright, it can be a wide field, it can be flat to the edge of the field, or aberration free, that's really all there is if you only look at images.

 

yes, the image of M13 in a larger aperture is going to be brighter ... by the way, how old is M13? what is its diameter, how far away is it, how many stars are in it? precise answers aren't the point, the point is whether, any time you looked at M13 in the past, you asked yourself those questions and then took the trouble to find the answers.

 

using observation to stimulate your astronomical education is a great way to love the equipment you already have. and it may be one reason why the experienced observers are quite happy with smaller apertures.

I have a BS in Astronomy from the University of Maryland College Park and took graduate courses in Physics before I went to medical school in Philadelphia and became a physician.  I still remember much of the Astrophysics I learned and I take courses to keep up with new discoveries but when I am observing I reach a point where I really do not understand how what I am looking at works.  When it comes to say, M 13, I do not know the role that these ancient globular clusters play in galaxy formation or how they may interact with the Dark Matter that seems to surround our galaxy and makes up most of its mass.  However, I enjoy looking at them and try my best to understand them.  



#37 TK6411

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:13 AM

My Meade LX90 8" SCT LNT gets used the most these days. 

 

Jim



#38 rmollise

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:56 AM

I feel like you must not be looking too hard, then!  I have known lots and lots like that in recent years  -  People who have no concept of the universe, almost like someone off the street, who are out there at a club or star party GOTO-ing and even imaging.


I look pretty hard and go to many more star parties than most folks...but nowhere do I find these abysmally ignorant amateur astronomers that are troubling you. Oh, some folks are influenced by certain personal metaphysical beliefs, shall we say, but even they usually know the basic facts about globulars, galaxies, and nebulae. ;)
 

The man or woman behind the eyepiece, BTW, is still much more important than the aperture or pedigree of the  telescope. And the most wonderful thing about amateur astronomy? There are no rules as to how it must be practiced. If Boudreaux likes the images in his 5-inch APO, and isn't interested in an 18-inch Dob like you have, well, that's no skin off your nose, now is it?

 

Finally, no matter what you do, what your interest is, be it bird-watching or baseball, there's always the temptation to want to feel superior to others in your pursuit. Especially the newbies. Especially those using that fancy gear ("Hell, in my day a telescope was a shaving mirror and a magnifying glass out of a box of Crackerjacks. And we were lucky to have it!"). Fight that temptation and you will have a much better time in our pursuit. ;)


Edited by rmollise, 24 September 2014 - 08:57 AM.


#39 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 09:50 AM

I think a distinction should be made between having a good layman's understanding of astronomy and knowing the stats.  I don't think most amateur astronomers approach the hobby the way many sports fans obsess about sports statistics ... or the way engineers obsess about mathematics. ;)   I bet most amateur astronomers enjoy viewing the objects and they have a Science Channel grasp of the basic facts.  But they don't give a fig about the distance to M13 or how much older M13 is than M45.  However, they do understand that globular clusters are mostly in a halo around the galaxy and that they tend to be older than open clusters.  That's probably good enough for most folks.  If you prattle off the astronomical statistics, they will be bored.  I know it bores me most of the time.  :p

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 24 September 2014 - 09:59 AM.


#40 drollere

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:31 AM

 

using observation to stimulate your astronomical education is a great way to love the equipment you already have. and it may be one reason why the experienced observers are quite happy with smaller apertures.


And that is true. HOWEVER...in my experience you are quite wrong about what the average amateur knows about what she/he is looking at. Even those fairly new to the avocation have a hunger to know about the Great Out There. The mysteries and wonders of space are what brought them to us in the first place. They may not sign up for classes or buy an Astronomy 101 textbook, but most absorb knowledge about what a globular is in quick order. There may be a few whose only interest is "hunting," but I have yet to meet someone like that. ;)

 

you may have misplaced my point. curiosity, in itself, is the root of self learning. "looking at stuff" is a tour bus. my experience based on the descriptions others give of their activity is that purely "looking at stuff" runs to boredom without the ingredient of either challenge or imagination. some people work hard to get the perfect photograph, others do the herschel list; the challenge doesn't really matter, grappling with the challenge is a process of learning. some people like to look through a telescope with thoughts of mythology and history, others with thoughts of cosmology and evolution; the content doesn't really matter either, to relish those things you had to learn about them.



#41 SteveGR

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:34 AM

I'm a firm believer in giving every scope a chance. Each has a quality and character, each, as said before, fills different roles. That's why I enjoy my optical menagerie. If only I wasn't so exhausted, I could get out and view more :)

 

I'm not a "napper" by nature, and it's a struggle each time, but if I can grab an hour of sleep in the evening, I'm good for hours of observations at night.  the next morning sucks though. :)



#42 Glen A W

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:37 AM

"Finally, no matter what you do, what your interest is, be it bird-watching or baseball, there's always the temptation to want to feel superior to others in your pursuit. Especially the newbies. Especially those using that fancy gear ("Hell, in my day a telescope was a shaving mirror and a magnifying glass out of a box of Crackerjacks. And we were lucky to have it!"). Fight that temptation and you will have a much better time in our pursuit."

 

 

 

I am not looking for a kumbaya moment.  And, I have plenty of fancy equipment.  What I see in dealing with people who are into astronomy mirrors American society at large.  I actually think astronomy people are well above the average and I enjoy star parties and so on.  However, simply ignoring what is going on while everything goes down the tubes doesn't do anybody any good.  At every star party I go to, there will be someone from China, or Israel, or Eastern Europe, and that will invariably be the person who has a mind inside their head.  To many Americans are over-marketed and over-socialized and it is really quite awful to watch it going on.   There has indeed been a change in astronomy over the past twenty-five years and it is not pretty.

 

 

Glen



#43 drollere

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:04 AM

I look pretty hard and go to many more star parties than most folks...but nowhere do I find these abysmally ignorant amateur astronomers that are troubling you. Oh, some folks are influenced by certain personal metaphysical beliefs, shall we say, but even they usually know the basic facts about globulars, galaxies, and nebulae. ;)
 

The man or woman behind the eyepiece, BTW, is still much more important than the aperture or pedigree of the  telescope. And the most wonderful thing about amateur astronomy? There are no rules as to how it must be practiced. If Boudreaux likes the images in his 5-inch APO, and isn't interested in an 18-inch Dob like you have, well, that's no skin off your nose, now is it?

 

Finally, no matter what you do, what your interest is, be it bird-watching or baseball, there's always the temptation to want to feel superior to others in your pursuit. Especially the newbies. Especially those using that fancy gear ("Hell, in my day a telescope was a shaving mirror and a magnifying glass out of a box of Crackerjacks. And we were lucky to have it!"). Fight that temptation and you will have a much better time in our pursuit. ;)

 

 

this isn't about superiority or dictating to others, rod, but about exactly the point you make: the man or woman behind the eyepiece is much more important than the aperture or the pedigree of the telescope.

 

both you and jon avoid the point when you claim a smaller aperture is fine with you because it is, what, more convenient to set up, easier on your back? the problem with that explanation is that it's even more convenient and easier on your back to just leave the telescope in its case or in the garage. it also doesn't explain why you're content to compromise with an objectively inferior image -- fainter, less magnified, less resolved -- as your reward for (as jon says) "battling the wind and cold, driving hours and suffering sleep deprivation and insect bites." all that puts you, the observer, in the focus, rather than the equipment.

 

where does that observer motivation to persist with modest equipment come from? maybe it's something innate, inexplicable, and learning has nothing to do with it. an idiopathic mystery of human nature. i really doubt that. why bother doing the herschel marathon, for example? perhaps you can start by explaining that.

 

if the man or woman behind the eyepiece brings nothing but expectations of amusement to the eyepiece, it's my claim that boredom is the inevitable, terminal result. what are the cures for boredom? very often, in our culture, it's buying something. so the focus turns to the equipment -- is it good, should it be better, what kind should i own, what is the best? -- which is consumerism sporting the necktie of astronomy.

 

i can't speak to the high quality of public astronomy events you attend, rod, but i doubt that you have actually queried a large number of attendees on, for example, the attributes of a globular cluster or nature of a galaxy. but their ignorance wouldn't be my point: my point would be that very few of the people who came and looked through your telescope would bother to ask.


Edited by drollere, 24 September 2014 - 11:09 AM.


#44 Brian Carter

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:09 AM

There are two types of people at star parties, those who believe in two types of people and those that don't.

But then there are two other types, those that are being bitten by the bug, and those already bit. I think everyone who starts out in amateur astrojomy goes through that initial stage where they just get a kick out of seeing a bunch of stuff. These are the people who get on CN who brag about seeing 50 objects in a night and love their Goto mount. Time happens to these people and they run out of Messiers and get a little bored now their initial curiosity has been met, or they grow into maturity in the hobby. The equipment might not change, but the hobby does. What the hobby becomes to each of us is different (as mentioned).

Those over-marketed Americans you refer to have been marketed a lot of stuff, but their curiosity is real. Let them and help them have fun while the hobby takes hold and becomes more than just a quick curiosity. Show them M13 and tell them why it's interesting while they see it as interesting. The equipment they are marketed is quite good, so tell them how good a buy they have.

Much of the over marketing is straight from other amateurs and CN is a prime example. It gets hard to keep up with a fun hobby when people online peddle hyperbole about Apos and Ethos eyepieces. They are nice, but the humble C8 and plossl will show 95% of what can be seen. People burn out looking at the greener grass in the other yard.

#45 Brian Carter

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 11:51 AM

The future of amateur astronomy is not imaging. There will always be imagers, they are just people with a photography hobby with a particular subject in mind. I'm not saying they aren't amateur astronomers. But I do think their hobby is quite different than visual astronomers. Visual astronomy won't ever go away, there's a powerful feeling from actually seeing the photons from millions of light years away. Most people on earth have never actually SEEN the veil nebula, we have.

Edited by Brian Carter, 24 September 2014 - 11:52 AM.


#46 rmollise

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:22 PM

you may have misplaced my point. curiosity, in itself, is the root of self learning. "looking at stuff" is a tour bus. my experience based on the descriptions others give of their activity is that purely "looking at stuff" runs to boredom without the ingredient of either challenge or imagination. some people work hard to get the perfect photograph, others do the herschel list; the challenge doesn't really matter, grappling with the challenge is a process of learning. some people like to look through a telescope with thoughts of mythology and history, others with thoughts of cosmology and evolution; the content doesn't really matter either, to relish those things you had to learn about them.


I didn't misplace your point. I just disagree with your assertion that many amateurs are ignorant about the objects they observe. In my experience that is not the case--at all. Again, there are no rules as to how to practice astronomy. If you don't like goto scopes, don't use 'em. But don't get upset when novices embrace them. ;)

#47 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:22 PM

 

George Taylor: I'm a seeker too. But my dreams aren't like yours. I can't help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man. Has to be.

 

 

My nightmare is when that "something better" finds out where we live and comes for a visit ... or to stay.  :shocked:

 

:grin:

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 24 September 2014 - 12:26 PM.


#48 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:25 PM

Video astronomy is not about imaging, its about real-time observing.  Right now video astronomy is in its infancy, just beginning to become affordable, and still low resolution.  Soon, high resolution highly sensitive video cameras will be available.  Sometime in the not so distant future, you will have affordable highly sensitive HDMI resolution video cameras.  When the time comes that a video camera can obtain higher resolution images than your eye and 50X more sensitive than your eye, why would you want to own an eyepiece?

 

When these new video cameras become available, you will see images in your 8" CAT, that you can't see by eye in your 24" dob ... in color to boot.

With that in mind, there is a brighter future for 6" refractors over 16" dobs.

 

 

I'm fine with that as long as the video cameras don't introduce white light into MY dark site!  If so, keep it home.  Not everyone is going to have a gee-whiz camera gizmo.  :mad:

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 24 September 2014 - 12:25 PM.


#49 rmollise

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:26 PM

The future of amateur astronomy is not imaging. There will always be imagers, they are just people with a photography hobby with a particular subject in mind. I'm not saying they aren't amateur astronomers. But I do think their hobby is quite different than visual astronomers. Visual astronomy won't ever go away, there's a powerful feeling from actually seeing the photons from millions of light years away. Most people on earth have never actually SEEN the veil nebula, we have.


Your future in amateur astronomy may not be imaging. For others it may be. Just as visual observing may be. You are wrong about the "hobbies" being different. At heart they are the same: A love for and an appreciation of the wonders of the night sky. ;)



#50 rmollise

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:27 PM

I'm fine with that as long as the video cameras don't introduce white light into MY dark site!  If so, keep it home.  Not everyone is going to have a gee-whiz camera gizmo.  :mad:
 
Mike

 
Most video users were visual observers before they turned to video and have enough sense to realize that. :lol:


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