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What is it about EAA that is so controversial?

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#1 Dwight J

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:07 PM

I was reading a thread about Curtis's 3 camera review and it jumped the rails big time.  This got me to really wonder what is it about this specific pursuit that raises so many hackles.  I have been in a few dust-ups myself, mostly about what really is EAA.  The definition remains, IMHO, free-floating and is likely to remain so as this rapidly developing way of observing develops.  The lines between visual observing, EAA, and outright imaging are blurred and seem, at least to me, to be blurring at an increasing rate.  Loyalty to brands and styles seems to still be a source of animosity, so much so that both major vendors are no longer posting along with some of their  most passionate supporters.  I am sure that whomever has to moderate this forum drew the short straws.  The overarching issue is that all the bickering serves to hold us back rather than advance this aspect of amateur astronomy.  What may help alleviate this is developing an all-encompassing definition of what we do.  My $0.05 worth is:  EAA is a blend of visual observing and imaging where the goal is to obtain the best viewable image in as short a time as possible.   Does this include post-processing?  If you are viewing for your pleasure process away as much as you like but posting those images here only serves to muddy the waters as to what your gear is capable of achieving as now it depends on how much and what kind of post-processing you do.  Anyway, tell us what you think......


Edited by Dwight J, 18 February 2015 - 08:07 PM.

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#2 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:27 PM

It's difficult enough to post about EAA to non-EAA users let alone have to deal with bickering on this forum. I thought everyone had come to some consensus already that EAA is the attempt to get as close to near realtime viewing as possible while still getting the best images as possible. I thought that would include a very loose interpretation of maximum times for exposure up to a point (as yet undetermined) and all processing is done on the spot so you can view that processing right away or minimal post processing (online processing vs offline processing and keep it minimal to increase the speed of the experience or very minimal post processing and state that you used program xyz to post process for 30 seconds).

 

I like to see what others are coming up with using different cameras, software, technique, etc to achieve this and feel we should be inclusive as long as it falls into online processing or very fast offline processing and reasonable image aquisition times relating to the term "near realtime".

 

If someone comes along and has an image that took 15 minutes and still calls it near realtime, I think it's safe to say that we all here would agree the person thinking that is probably one of the following:

 

1. A Loon

2. Trapped in a dimensional rift that causes time to seem accelerated

3. A Troll

4. ADHD and forgets about his exposure because he lost concentration - every time

 

I enjoy seeing pictures of online processing or very fast offline processing and fast aquisition and hope that integration or exposure time will be posted as well as the software used to process on the fly while viewing. If someone is not able to share that information as a minimum, then they should not post images here.

 

A typical interaction of forum members should go like this:

 

person A - "hey, i just used a lodestar and lodestar live and this stacking program called *&^%$ to get this image. It was a total of 5 stacked images done with 45s integration"

 

person B - "awesome. that looks great. Can you tell me some settings you use on *&^%$ to get that result?"

 

person A - "Sure. I used xyz setting and saved as a template and now it does it automagically everytime".\

 

person B - "cool. I'm getting similar results with my Malincam hyper and miloslick. here's a pic of 5 stacked 45s images using $%^&* software and i used this zyx setting as a template".

 

person C, D, E, F - "looks great everyone. We will try that sort of thing with our various cameras and software also!"

 

Moderator (thinking) "ahhh, isn't this nice"

 

IIE user - "hey, I'm getting similar results with this filter and this scope. Cool"

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________

 

unfortunately it goes like this a lot:

 

person A - "hey, i just used a lodestar and lodestar live and this stacking program called *&^%$ to get this image. It was a total of 5 stacked images done with 45s integration"

 

person B - "what OTHER processing did you do???? those look like images that should be posted in the CCD imaging forum"

 

person A - "they belong here. Just because I'm not going to share my technique to have all of you question even more is no reason to notify a mod about my image"

 

Mod - "let's keep it civil guys"

 

person C - "I got similar results using my mirrorless camera and some minor post processing in PS"

 

person D - "there are other forums for that type of thing"

 

person C - "it only took me 30 seconds of offline processing in PS though"

 

person E - "there's no way that took 30 seconds and it belongs in dslr imaging" (hits mod button)

 

Moderator - "this thread is locked for review"

 

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

the bickering is pointless and non-productive


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 18 February 2015 - 09:28 PM.

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#3 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:31 PM

Electronically-assisted astronomy.

It seems to me that there's a tendency to set too-rigid constraints. It depends on one's tolerance on wait time for an image refresh; some want to wait no longer than 10-20 seconds, others are willing to wait a couple or several minutes.

If a raft of processing is performed before the final image appears, that's fine by me. After all, isn't the idea to obtain the best view, not to restrict to the lowest common denominator, in the way the pious might revel under a hair shirt? ;) In other words, it's all about the image, not the equipment or software.

Camera type is irrelevant, as long images are updated without undue delay. (And one can argue about what constitutes 'undue.') Video, DSLR, image intensifier; they're all just variations on a theme, really. If they deliver an image 'in the field', without significant user intervention and without interminable waiting, it's all good.

And I fear I might still be unfairly restrictive in *my* 'definition' outlined here.
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#4 JMW

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 10:15 PM

I think the dust up between visual and EAA advocates is when they are both present at the same dark site star party. Imagers may also bother some dark adaptated visual observers. Even red light that is bright enough can bother others on the field. I think the best use of EAA is for urban and suburban public outreach where dark adaptation isn't taking place anyway and the electronic image enhancement overcomes much of the light pollution. I like to play with Lodestar Live in my backyard where the skies can't be considered dark.

 

I go to the GSSP every year I am glad they encourage the segregation of the purely visual from the imagers and EAA people. When I image I use red screen overlays on the laptop and keep it in a flipped over black plastic tube with an opening on one side that keeps the light contained. I set up that side so it faces my trailer and not other observers. This way I can image and observe with other who may be more sensitive to local light pollution. 

 

As far as what is considered EAA verse rapid imaging. Who care's? Do whatever type of observing you prefer. 


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#5 Dwight J

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 10:24 PM

I think the dust up between visual and EAA advocates is when they are both present at the same dark site star party. Imagers may also bother some dark adaptated visual observers. Even red light that is bright enough can bother others on the field. I think the best use of EAA is for urban and suburban public outreach where dark adaptation isn't taking place anyway and the electronic image enhancement overcomes much of the light pollution. I like to play with Lodestar Live in my backyard where the skies can't be considered dark.

 

I go to the GSSP every year I am glad they encourage the segregation of the purely visual from the imagers and EAA people. When I image I use red screen overlays on the laptop and keep it in a flipped over black plastic tube with an opening on one side that keeps the light contained. I set up that side so it faces my trailer and not other observers. This way I can image and observe with other who may be more sensitive to local light pollution. 

 

As far as what is considered EAA verse rapid imaging. Who care's? Do whatever type of observing you prefer. 

 

I haven't had troubles at a star party yet.  I only attend one per year and set up on the outskirts.  I use a gazebo covered in black lined tarps and keep the monitor in a box so you can only see it by being directly in front of it.  So far I have only had those curious about astrovideo stop by.  All the clowns opening car doors and those leaving at midnight create much more white light.  


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#6 jgraham

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 11:06 PM

It may not be so much that EAA is controversial, but it seems nearly every topic in the forums turns into a spitting contest. Enjoy your hobby. When you can, share your joy with others and ignore the noise.


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#7 SkyGibbon

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:51 AM

I don't understand why it is even a debate. Are peoples feelings hurt?


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#8 MawkHawk

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 07:24 AM

It may not be so much that EAA is controversial, but it seems nearly every topic in the forums turns into a spitting contest. Enjoy your hobby. When you can, share your joy with others and ignore the noise.

That is so true. My very post on CN some years ago was about my posting my 1977 RV-6 up for sale and said that condition was "good". The very first reply that I ever got on CN was something like "Good? How can the condition of a 35 year old scope be called good? The condition of your scope is fair as best and probably poor." And the person was not even interested in my scope. He was just a self-declared moderator, I guessed. I almost left and never came back.


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#9 David B in NM

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 08:27 AM

Dwight,

 

This is a very good question. 

 

I see different people using a different EAA device and different methods.  There are also times when people use the same EAA device and have different goals.  Some are minimalists who want as little processing as is required (normally just a quick screen grab) who have little interest in beauty and their goal is to just see the target.  Yet others like to exploit the software for a refined image.  Some spend a little time viewing the targets.  Others may spend a longer time studying the object. 

 

The only ones who seem to be consistent in the methods here are the IIE folks.  I don’t recall seeing any of them using software to stack or tweak their images.

 

In a way, we can be paralleled to a track team.  We have people who do the 100 yard dash, 220 and 440.  At times there may be a miler.  Anyone who runs a marathon is normally not accepted.  Some use steroids (software like LS Live, MS or AL), some operate without “enhancements” and if they use software they use very few features (maybe only to grab the image).

 

There is also a learning curve in EAA.  You have to put in time to reap a reward.  The more you practice the better you get and the easier it gets.  The EAA observing session is better.  No one hits a home run their first time at bat (normally).  We all have to have batting practice.

 

I’m not for or against any method or brand.  In my mind an EAA device is:

Something capable of acquiring a target for live/semi live viewing.  It can be s single short or long (within a reasonable period…not like the old film days) exposure or several exposures.  Minimal human intervention is a part of the multiple short exposures (settings, integration times, etc).  IMHO if software is used, it should be on-the fly (stacking and once stacked tweaking).  I don’t see anything wrong with saving an image and using a program like Noel Carboni’s Astronomy Tools.  Click, click click.  Done.

 

http://www.prodigita...ll_Version.html

 

I don’t view EAA as using a device that must have human intervention to accomplish the steps above.  For example, capture image 1 of whatever.  Save image 1.  Capture image 2.  Save image 2 (and so on).  Stack image 1 and 2 (and so on).  Tweak images manually (for an extended period) to look like they belong in a magazine using a photo editing program.  I agree with Eric’s 15 minute summary above.

 

At times I think the controversy is because we all have our own mindsets.  Some of us can be vocal (me included).  The reason why I’m vocal is I feel the images our forum has, is something a person should see when they are viewing.  There are many people who lurk in this forum.  Some purchase cameras without us knowing based on images they see posted in this forum.  I don’t feel it’s right to allow others to believe they’ll get an image like what they see here when they won’t.  I have seen many posts here where the “capture” was in fact imaging.  Perhaps there are some who agree.

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 19 February 2015 - 08:30 AM.

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#10 Lorence

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 11:32 AM

 Anyway, tell us what you think......

That's hitting the nail on the head. Telling what they think because they read it on the internet not what they know by actually doing it for themselves.

 

Graduates from the World Wide Web Instatute of Technowlogy.


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#11 dvb

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:03 PM

The EAA forum has been a bit unsettled right from the beginning. 

 

I was one of the early followers, and recall debates about whether it should be separate from the more general Equipment Forum.  And then, there was a period of very strict moderation:  drawing the line between EAA and imaging has always been an issue. 

 

Early on, it was pretty much a forum for discussing Mallincam, so I thought maybe that was the issue.  

 

I would have thought the proliferation of EAA products, in addition to Mallincam, would have made justification of the EAA forum less controversial, but game-changing products like the Sony A7s and quick-integrating, processing software seems to have just made the drawing the lines more challenging.

 

And yet, I don't think the imagers are too interested in threads that get transferred there from here. 

 

So, there is a need for the EAA forum, but there needs to be a realistic definition of it to reflect the current technology, not only of EAA, but of more conventional imaging. 



#12 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:50 PM

 

 Anyway, tell us what you think......

That's hitting the nail on the head. Telling what they think because they read it on the internet not what they know by actually doing it for themselves.

 

Graduates from the World Wide Web Instatute of Technowlogy.

 

what does that mean? can you elaborate?


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#13 ccs_hello

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 08:33 PM

"Controversial" may have a negative tone in it, I'd say 

"Black Sheep" could be the term to describe it.

 

(Being viewed as) black sheep is a human condition which may lead to several responses:

 - history is being made here / I am a pioneer (optimistic view that some type of record is being re-make)...

 - feeling unwanted or loneliness thus want to find the like to gather together (can be neutral so long as not feeling being mistreated)

   --> I have accomplished something that used not to be possible why people don't understand me but teasing 

 

Being different is perfectly fine.  We just need to know that "style's" strengths and weaknesses so it can co-exist with others.

 

I felt a bit uncomfortable when one felt he/she is THE black sheep as oppose to A black sheep.

Such (mis)understanding added the undue superiority over others (including the commoners and other types of black sheep.)  That becomes a bit close-minded.

 

Hope we all look at the positive side and not withdraw into small (or smaller and smaller) circles.

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello



#14 Relativist

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 09:39 PM

Thanks for posting this Dwight. Take also as an example the threads about EAA use of the A7s and how they got moved and why. The problem that was attempted to be solved is posters on that thread are posting OT for the forum, but when you move thread to a forum that the people have no inkling of what's important to EAA they are not interested in the thread. For example if I posted an off topic post on another sub forum here in a thread with 'Astrophotography' as the title asking if the camera be used at high gain for real time viewing would that be cause to move that thread to EAA? I think not. Things have gotten out of hand, in more than one way. Last year I put a lot of time into trying to contribute to the forum to keep it alive and positive (from my POV). As far as I'm concerned EAA started last year, after VEAA ended, but old ideas still linger. Honestly I'm amazed that there is so little interest in EAA from beginners, when they could just use their smart phones and less expensive cameras to see most of the same objects that those of us deeper into the hobby can. Maybe it's time for EAA to get it's own section. We are NOT imaging, we are using electronics as part of the optical train to get light our eyes, so it's more akin to opto-electronic astronomy.


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#15 Kaikul

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 10:37 AM

Folks, I'm very new here. So new that my very first camera is still being sorted at the post office at this very moment. Hence my very simple take on this is as follow. Per space.com, astronomy is  "the study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, gas, galaxies, gas, dust and other non-Earthly bodies and phenomena." 

For my specific case this would include observing and recording what I see through my eyepiece. (I suppose this is true as well with many.)  But if I cannot see objects that are up there, how would I be able to observe it? EAA allows me the ability to see more of what's up there - yet are hidden by LP - using my own instruments, using my own way of doing so. Hence with seeing, more observing happens, and learning progress. Combine this learning with those of fellow enthusiasts, collective knowledge grows. And is not increase of knowledge a main point of studying?

Just my 2 cents, folks. I can hardly wait to learn from y'all and to contribute eventually.
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#16 XRinger

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 12:19 PM

I really like "opto-electronic astronomy", it's the reason I got into this hobby.

I wanted to see more than just re-runs of Cop shows on my 42" plasma TV.. :)

 

I'm a newbie too. Not really liking the idea of being drawn into the 'brand name' squabbles.

 

Maybe dividing up the posters into brand-name sub-forums would help.?.

Then, we can go post questions/or pictures on sub-forum pertaining to a 'Samsung' (or whatever) video camera,

and not have to read a lot of comments about how it's easier to get much better results, with a Shelyak Watec 910HX-RC-37b/61. ;)

 

 

That's my two small pieces of copper alloy..

Cheers,

Rich


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#17 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 03:34 AM

I think the title "electronically assisted astronomy" is massively misleading . Not being pedantic here, but unless you *don't* power your mount/scope etc, isn't everything "electronically assisted astronomy?"

 

As for the silliness - as I see it - where people argue to infinitum about different cameras that are or are not true to the term being discussed here; unless you're looking at deep sky objects in 100% real time as in something like Canon's Live View, everything else being argued is just a huge waste of time and energy.

 

.


Edited by CHAPSKINS, 22 February 2015 - 03:51 AM.


#18 Relativist

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 03:51 AM

That was one of the downsides to having 'Video' removed from the forum name. The bigger downside was that the forum would go away, from what I understood. Every now and then we get an OT thread because of this, which is not that big of a deal IMO. Generally people will suggest a different forum when appropriate.



#19 Richard Whalen

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 12:13 PM

I don't think EAA is by itself controversial, only some of those that do it. Back when it first started, it may have been at star parties. I can remember seeing light glow from those doing it as I was doing visual. But since then I think most have started using red screens on their monitors, computer tents etc. I think now what we have is those that think their definition of EAA is the only one that's valid, every thing else is imaging. Many that started off 18 years ago only used video monitor or an old TV in many cases and look at what is being done today as something that is totally different. And in a way they are right, it is different. But it is still EAA.

 

I think that EAA is advancing at a very fast rate with the new "hybrid"  camera's and associated software that allows NRT or imagers to do NRT. That they in many cases can take better images than the video cams designed for NRT should not surprise anyone, however it seems that there are those that resent it while at the same time I see them on NSN pushing their video cams to the max refresh rates trying to get the best image possible. They somehow view it as a competition to get the best image but then turn around and say they are not really imaging but doing NRT.

 

I don't know where the line should be drawn or if there should be one. Then you get the arguments about processing, another can of worms. I have no problem with those that post images that were processed on the fly using a single program that anyone can replicate. And I enjoy looking at images that have hours of post processing which I think if labeled as such is fine, though maybe should be posted elsewhere, or maybe not? I think if we define this aspect of our hobby to narrow, we will only hurt ourselves. Manufacturers will not be pushed to consider new technology, larger chips with higher resolution etc. Software will not be developed to take advantage of these new camera's. I think we may be coming into the golden age of video astronomy, with aging eye's for us baby boomers and the tech aspect for those younger. I think we all need to keep an open mind and applaud those pushing the limits of what is considered NRTV and just sit back and see where it takes us.

 

Richard


Edited by Richard Whalen, 22 February 2015 - 12:14 PM.

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#20 FirstSight

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 02:35 PM

What is "NSN"?

 

Also, do I presume correctly what the following acronyms mean:

NRT = "Near Real Time"

NRTV = "Near Real Time Video"

EAA = "Electronically Assisted Argumentation"  :grin:

 

BTW: I assure you the mods of this forum are reading this thread with great (constructive) interest, taking your input into account, with the caveats that: 1) no resolution of what legitimately belongs in this forum is possible that will satisfy everyone (or maybe even anyone entirely), and  2) we're bound to stay faithful to the forum charter given us by the site admins; and 3) we mods sometimes have to act as refs making judgment calls, does everyone always agree with the refs' calls?  Being also a long-time soccer referee, I think I know the answer to that one.


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#21 mclewis1

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 02:36 PM

Chris,

 

NSN = nightskiesnetwork.com



#22 FirstSight

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 02:48 PM

Chris,

 

NSN = nightskiesnetwork.com

 

Well, if I was a King, I would've known that... :grin:


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#23 Relativist

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 03:18 PM

I'd suggest that NRTV = near real time veiwing.
My understanding is that EAA = electronically assisted astronomy.

Myself I think that opto-electronic astronomy is the most cutting edge type of observing one can practice. Sometimes because of that there is change, and that's not always accepted by people. But acceptance by others is not what we are doing, we are individually enjoying this hobby, so by default there is conflict unless we allow for the change.

How can we do this? In my opinion there should be no rules about how one does observing only that the intent of the activity is to do real time observing using opto-electronics in whatever form it takes. There is a very different activity called imaging where the goal is to get as good of a picture as possible. We should acknowledge that there is an overlap possible with this activity, but to be to strict about it is akin to restrictions on the optical side. What if we had limits to how high an f/ratio was discussed? If ones f/ratio is to high then clearly that's not optimal for EAA type viewing, but does anyone get their thread moved to imaging if they are doing things above an arbitrary # like f/5? No, it doesn't happen because we know people have what they have and it's the intent of their activity that matters, they are trying to do astronmy with the help of an optical system and camera and other equipment to get as good a view as they can live.

Check out the story about Hawkings, do you think he's trying to do imaging? Sometimes a negative definition is best, and here I'd include 'not imaging' in the EAA forum(s). Imagers might have tools to monitor the exposure while they are taking subs, How do we differentiate the activities? Well someone doing EAA will have settings that get them the view as quick as possible within the quality they find acceptable, while an imager will first and formost care about the quality of the sub. So an EAA user might have a much higher gain for example. If there is a program available that will clean up what we are seeing live, then it's up to the hobbiest to decide if they find that acceptable for EAA. If someone wants to improve an aspect of EAA, like resolution, and they decide to get a camera like the A7s, IMO it's up to them to decide what works for using it for EAA. It might be Atrotoaster, Aperture, LightRoom or any other software. As long as they are attempting to view in real time they are practicing EAA. This means they likely are using a software to have the camera take multiple exposures over a set time, having those exposures auto-uploaded to the computer then having whatever software package open the exposure and apply whatever pre-processing that has been predetermined prior to final viewing.

Finally, in my mind, the technological end goal is to have a system that will get as close as is possible to what the imagers can do, but have it happen in real time while the scope is on the target. This is the 'ideal' system, and as time goes on we will have some big jumps in that direction, but there will always be a separation just because of the nature of the activities.

Edited by Relativist, 22 February 2015 - 04:20 PM.

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#24 A. Viegas

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Posted 22 February 2015 - 06:49 PM

It seems to me that in the last few months that the unpleasant diatribes and ad hominem has really fallen off. Maybe the volume of posting has decreased but that could be because the weather has been so bad in the northeast. Still I think we have been discussing many interesting topics recently while it's the new A7 or that nifty $23 boardcam DIY. I personally think all is going well in new EAA land. Kudos to all

Al
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#25 ensign

ensign

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1189
  • Joined: 16 Dec 2008
  • Loc: South Georgian Bay

Posted 23 February 2015 - 01:57 PM

I think the debates are somewhat like Gulliver’s Travels tensions in Lilliput and Blefuscu: whereas royal edict in Lilliput requires cracking open one's soft-boiled egg at the small end (the little-endians), where inhabitants of the rival kingdom of Blefuscu crack theirs at the big end (giving them the moniker Big-endians).

 

The rationalization was that although everyone agrees that the difference between cracking eggs with the little- or the big-end first is trivial, we insist that everyone must do it in the same way, to avoid anarchy. Since the difference is trivial we may choose either way, but a decision must be made.


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