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Why only 5 minutes maximum integration?

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#1 mAnKiNd

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 05:06 AM

Hello,

Im not disputing setting a time limit, so that EAA posts don't cross over into classical astrophotography integration times (i.e. 2,4,6+ hours), but even a 20 minute limit is nowhere near that!

What if I wish to integrate more than 5 minutes to capture the fainter arms of a galaxy, or the trails of a nebula, I regulalry show that to my students for example on Astronomy nights whereas 5 minutes would keep those fainter details buried in the background. Or say, if my backyard light pollution is so intense that I need to boost my SNR with a longer integration vs a person at a dark site, so that the object signal can rise above the skyglow a bit more.

How was this 5 minute time limit decided? Why not 10, 15 or 20? Do you have any emprical data to support 5 minutes and not more, or did you guys just sit around a virtual roundtable and decide :p? It just seems very restrictive to set a 5 minute Integration time limit, as EAA can benefit greatly with say an integration up to 20 minutes (imho not empirical) without crossing over into other boundaries of astrophotography.

This limit may even spark disputes that anything over 5 minutes is not EAA and if it isn't classical astrophotography, then what is it?

I'm just saying that cloudynights is a global website, very respected and with far reaching implications, so you are setting a new global precedent for what EAA should be.

I'm guess I'm asking for another sentence or two to support the choice behind this rule & regulation, so I'm not attacking nor criticizing, just asking for a little more time I guess, I think that's reasonable, no?

Many thanks
Respectfully
Minos
 

#2 nicknacknock

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 05:28 AM

Hi Minos,

 

Some comments below in bold...

 

Hello,

Im not disputing setting a time limit, so that EAA posts don't cross over into classical astrophotography integration times (i.e. 2,4,6+ hours), but even a 20 minute limit is nowhere near that!

What if I wish to integrate more than 5 minutes to capture the fainter arms of a galaxy, or the trails of a nebula, I regulalry show that to my students for example on Astronomy nights whereas 5 minutes would keep those fainter details buried in the background. Or say, if my backyard light pollution is so intense that I need to boost my SNR with a longer integration vs a person at a dark site, so that the object signal can rise above the skyglow a bit more.

 

Integrate away, no problem! You can upload your photo in your gallery if it exceeds 5 minutes and provide a link to your gallery in your post. EAA is about observing, so boost your gain and use in-software tools to bring out details, but the rules are here to cater to the majority of people who will mostly do EAA under the 5 minute rule in most scenarios and the cater to those who want to showcase an image or integrate much longer, by use of the gallery.

 

How was this 5 minute time limit decided? Why not 10, 15 or 20? Do you have any emprical data to support 5 minutes and not more, or did you guys just sit around a virtual roundtable and decide tongue2.gif? It just seems very restrictive to set a 5 minute Integration time limit, as EAA can benefit greatly with say an integration up to 20 minutes (imho not empirical) without crossing over into other boundaries of astrophotography.

 

Not many people will look (remember, EAA is about OBSERVING REAL OR NEAR REAL TIME) at the image forming on a monitor for 10, 20 or whatever longer time. If the aim is to produce a nice image and not to observe, it's AP. How does near or near real time connect to say 10 or 20 minutes (or longer) of integration time? This limit was determined after a long (trust me on this - I need some vacation!) discussion between the admin and mod teams, some of whom practice EAA as well. A "common sense" measure was implemented.

This limit may even spark disputes that anything over 5 minutes is not EAA and if it isn't classical astrophotography, then what is it?

 

It's imaging mostly. If some are willing to stare at the screen for more than 5 minutes FOR OBSERVING, have at it. For images purposes, the image presented in a post must comply with the rule. If not, just add it to your gallery / external image storage service and link to it!

I'm just saying that cloudynights is a global website, very respected and with far reaching implications, so you are setting a new global precedent for what EAA should be.

 

Everybody can practice EAA as they like. What we are saying, applies to images included in a post re being under 5 minutes total integration time - in your gallery, however long you like. We do not dictate to anybody how they should do EAA but in the spirit of EAA being real or near real time observing, some rules - boundaries if you like - should be set so that at least here, we have some standard of reference. 

 

As I said, you are free to link to a 10 hour integration image if you feel like - but in your gallery. Also note that plain images do nothing in the EAA forum, as the EAA forum is about observing, so the observing element must be included in the post. Otherwise, AP all over again. EAA is not about images, it is about observations made, The images are "permitted here solely for the purposes of either augmenting your textual description of your observing sessions, illustrating your EAA equipment's capabilities, or getting assistance with technical issues."

I'm guess I'm asking for another sentence or two to support the choice behind this rule & regulation, so I'm not attacking nor criticizing, just asking for a little more time I guess, I think that's reasonable, no?

 

Minos, "reasonable" is relevant. For some, 20 minutes is reasonable. For others, a minute or two (yes, the issue of a minute or two was raised). Near or near real time observing stands on it's own to support the 5 minute rule I believe- it is about observing and the image just being a log of an observation. Push it too much and instead of the observation being the critical function, the image becomes the critical function of the evening. I cannot stress enough, it is all about observing, not the image.

Many thanks
Respectfully
Minos

 

I was more or less expecting a topic like this to pop up sooner or later. I hope I have provided some clarity smile.gif


 

#3 mAnKiNd

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 05:34 AM

Thank you Nick for that comprehensive reply, that's all I really needed to gauge a better understanding at the thinking behind the Cloudy Nights EAA time-limit.

Thanks again and all the best
Minos
 

#4 Jeff Struve

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 07:35 AM

Most excellent questions and answers!


 

#5 OleCuss

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:21 AM

I'm not attempting to agree or to disagree with any of the above, the rules are arbitrary but in the final analysis I think that is unavoidable.

 

But I think the intent of this sub-forum is not about posting images at all.  It is about discussing and helping people interested in observing with a camera and associated gear.

 

The greatest test of how well an imaging system functions for NRTV (Near Real Time Viewing) is not what I can get with lots of integration time but rather what I can get with a very short integration time.

 

I can get a decent image of a nice bright globular cluster by using even equipment pretty unsuitable for NRTV by using lots of integration time and a whole bunch of post-processing.  But doing that and then posting the image on this sub-forum doesn't really help the others on this sub-forum because that is not what they want to do.

 

I want to see what people can get with just a few seconds or a few minutes of imaging.  This despite the fact that I often want to use much longer integration times during my own observing - I already know what can be done with long integrations, I am inspired by those who are getting delightful images to observe in a few seconds or a few minutes.

 

So if I were a moderator or administrator that is roughly why I would have it set up this way.  The intent is to get people to observe and to push the limits of the equipment used to observe - and limiting the integration time and the post-processing is a pretty reasonable way to do that.

 

If I'm way off-base I'll be very happy to be corrected.


 

#6 mega256

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 10:35 AM

I LIKE the new 5 minutes maximum integration rule!.....to post an image in this forum.(IMHO)


At least this makes some sense to me ...and helps to keep images away from other forums..5 min of data only.

And now sets a new goal to get the very best image (SCREEN) you can with that amount of max data..

So a single 5 min frame or a stack of 20 sec x 15 for a total of 300 seconds makes sense..to me.

This will help to improve technology (hardware and software)...that is advancing every day now.

BUT many many newer images in the Astro Video Image Gallery, exceed that 5 min data limit now,(take a look) that is ok and will
change.

I look forward to see what this group can produce, with a standard max data limit, including myself.


Bob
Tampa

Edited by mega256, 02 May 2018 - 10:49 AM.

 

#7 hbrunet181

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:06 AM

I think I'd like to hit the 10-15 min limit on some more faint ones. But I don't post here all that often XD.


 

#8 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:08 AM

I think it's a step backwards. In a red/white zone 20x30s is a dramatically better view than 10x30s. Honestly I don't see as much improvement at 30x30s or 40x30s. I have a lot of respect for the unpaid work that out moderators do.... THANK YOU.... but a 10 min limit is more realistic.
In my humble experience.
 

#9 GoFish

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:18 AM

I routinely observe/stack interesting objects for more than 5 minutes.

 

Has nothing to do with wanting a better image to post. It has to do with overcoming Bortle 6 skyglow and in seeing the nuances of the object. I don’t find 5 minutes staring at a single object to be unusual or excessive. 

 

I would greatly prefer a 10 minute limit. 


 

#10 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:28 AM

I think it's a step backwards. In a red/white zone 20x30s is a dramatically better view than 10x30s. Honestly I don't see as much improvement at 30x30s or 40x30s. I have a lot of respect for the unpaid work that out moderators do.... THANK YOU.... but a 10 min limit is more realistic.
In my humble experience.

I want to thank the moderators for their hard work! I think the maximum of 5 minutes is a very good idea and plenty enough time to observe or capture an image for display later without post processing. I think that many here are confused between AP and NRTV. We must keep this forum for it's intended purpose which I joined for observing and discussion of observing equipment and not AP. These days with the newer more sensitive CMOS sensors and advanced live software makes it much easier to obtain a decent image with plenty of S/N in the 5 minute allow time for displaying a none post process image here.

 

 

Steve


Edited by DSO_Viewer, 02 May 2018 - 11:41 AM.

 

#11 S1mas

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:29 AM

+1 for 10 minutes limit. If I target object for observing it never have less than 10 minutes total stacking time. Usually 15-20 minutes. With new rules I must to save image on 300s for posting and to keep observing further...


Edited by S1mas, 02 May 2018 - 11:31 AM.

 

#12 nicknacknock

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:37 AM

To those who ask for more than 5 minutes:

 

Your wish is granted since the Rules do not stop you. All that we ask, is that you do not include any such photo within a post, just hyperlink to it. Only post directly those who are under 5 minutes.

 

For the purposes of this OBSERVING forum, 5 minutes is more than enough in most circumstances to depict what shows up on the screen, said image being SECONDARY to the actual observing, which is what the EAA forum is all about!

 

But, if you do stay glued to the screen for more than 5 minutes (power to you!), nobody is taking away your right to post your observation. All that is being asked is if you choose to include an image, the image does not exceed 5 minutes total integration, otherwise, just point us to your gallery.


 

#13 nicknacknock

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:37 AM

Sigh.....

 

Everybody is discussing images instead of discussing observing....


 

#14 diceless

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:50 AM

I have to agree that the 5 minute limit is too limiting.  People that live under bad light pollution and/or doing narrow band viewing is going to be past the 5 minute mark.  10 minutes seems more reasonable.  Heck, some nights I can spend 40 minutes on one object I'm viewing and the only thing that I take away is the auto saved image from astrotoaster.


 

#15 neaptide

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:09 PM

I observe in in a red zone surrounded by white zone for many miles. I routinely let my observations stack longer then 5 minutes. If I push the gain too high in order to shorten my integration time I am overwhelmed with skyglow. The reason I started eaa in the first place was to get around all the light pollution. I can get a reasonable image in 5 minutes though I prefer to see how much detail I can pull out of an object no matter how long it takes to stack. When I see no appreciable improvement, then I am done stacking and I save my observations. I started eaa a little over a year ago so I don't remember the old security camera days. I think some of the rules being discussed are influenced by some of the older technology. If the moderators have chosen to take a purist stance on posting images of observations, so be it. I don't agree with a time limit of any kind, but I will follow the rules because I really like being a part of this community and enjoy the discussions on this forum. I do agree about no post processing of any kind however. I think the EAA forum is always going to have a perceived gray area. Let's see how this plays out.

Thank you to the Mods for the work you do and for listening to the complaining.


 

#16 OleCuss

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:19 PM

OK, I understand that I could be an outlier.  I do my observing and have no compulsion to post images at all.  Maybe I'll start doing that some day (I'm getting more tempted), but I'd not count on it.  This means that I'm not limited at all by the sub-forum rules.  Oh, and while I'd not choose the rules as they are, I think they are reasonable and explicable.

 

But for those who have an objection to the current rules?  If I were to start posting images into this sub-forum and I was doing lots of stacking/integrating these rules still wouldn't impose a significant limitation.  Nick has been pointing out why.

 

It's simple.  Use an album on the forum.  We can put a 5 hour integration in there if we want. . .  Post the link in this sub-forum and the moderators won't bother us about that at all.

 

If someone wants to utterly delight me with their post, show me a single sub, maybe show me a 3 minute integration, and then give me a link showing me what you got with 20-120 minutes of integration time and tons of post-processing.  I'd find that to be most informative and I'd be shocked if the mods would have any problem with that.

 

So sure I'd like to have different rules.  But that doesn't mean that the current rules are any particular bother.  You can do 20 minute exposures and 5 hour integrations and post on the sub-forum about how you liked/disliked observing that way - and provide links to the images.

 

Think about it. . .  If posting the image (rather than a link) directly into the sub-forum is all that big a deal, maybe we're getting into conventional AP attitudes rather than observing attitudes?


 

#17 tolgagumus

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:21 PM

 if my backyard light pollution is so intense that I need to boost my SNR with a longer integration vs a person at a dark site, so that the object signal can rise above the skyglow a bit more.

 

Actually this is the other way around. If you are shooting from a light polluted environment you would need shorter exposures as the LP would fill the well of the sensor faster. This becomes an issue in a dark sky where there is no light to raise the signal above the noise floor. Exposing longer in LP is not going to raise the object signal above the skyglow. What will raise it is many many short exposures.   


 

#18 Don W

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:22 PM

I've been involved in a similar discussion on the Night Skies Network on Facebook. Some people there are not happy with the time constraints. After hearing some of the comments I too have to agree that 5 minutes is somewhat arbitrary and people in heavy light pollution areas are regularly doing 10 minutes of observing and data collection.


 

#19 neaptide

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:23 PM

Sigh.....

 

Everybody is discussing images instead of discussing observing....

Hmmmmmm........maybe we should get rid of the Astro IMAGE thread and start an Astro observation thread 😂


Edited by neaptide, 02 May 2018 - 12:28 PM.

 

#20 nicknacknock

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:26 PM

Don,

I have pointed out repeatedly that images longer than 5 minutes can be linked to and that the images are unrelated to the actual observation.

EAA is about observing. The image is to showcase what your equipment can do in a live or near live environment.

A reasonable time limit has been set, images exceeding that or post processed, can be added to the gallery and linked to.

Let’s talk observing. Talking about images and imaging is for the imaging forums, not for the observing forums of which EAA is part of ;)
 

#21 Jeff Struve

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:43 PM

It's interesting to see (pun intended) how EAA is blurring the lines between visual astronomy and astrophotography. Heck, I bought a MallinCam Extreme a couple years back and in my use of it for outreach have not done very long exposures or integration... and a few screen prints...

 

Perusing the MiloSlick I see all kinds of neat features... stacking, calibration frames, histograms... sounds a lot like AP to me! 

 

I'm liking the use of EAA as a replacement for an eyepiece... so it makes sense for me to stay longer in front of a screen... or go have a burger while I wait for the object appear... as I an taking advantage of EAA over the the shortcomings of my eye against the eyepiece glass.

 

So maybe there are levels of EAA... and probably way too many... but EAA for Outreach (folks won't wait around 20 minutes to see a little round blob, nor are they happy in waiting while you go object to object. Maybe this is the 5 minute rule? Maybe we have Extended EAA where we are still doing visual but because of the object, we require longer exposures and a bunch of tweaking? How about an EAAP where we are concerned with images. A lot of the features in the EAA software seem to be automated pre and post processing anyway... 

 

I remember the olden days when the EAA 'argument' was if Night Vision and Live View thru a DSLR and a Web Cam qualified for EAA...  

 

:) 


 

#22 NaNuu

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:44 PM

First of all: Thanks to the admins and mods for that work! I know how difficult and time consuming such things are and I really appreciate your effort to make that forum such a great place. I love being here and I learned a lot. 

 

 

Some thoughts about that new limit rule:

 

I think, any limit is not necessary. As long as it's no post processing, I feel that it is showing live observations and does illustrate the capabilities and ways using EAA methods, tools and devices, provided there's information on how that certain image was taken (as the rules already ask us to do). When there is a limit integration time, the question arouses, why that special time is a good and obvious limit? Why should be a 5min limit best? What is generically different from 10mins or from 2mins? And if I accept 10mins, why bother for accepting 15mins? 1 hour? Its quite arbitrary. If any such limit would be arbitrary, what is it good for?

 

And I can't follow the argument that I am allowed to use as much integration time as I want, just I can't show those pics in the "image" threads here. That will be sad, not only, because I like to show my longer stacks, but also because I know quite some examples in the astro video image gallery or the monthly contests or some other threads, which were inspiring to me - I did learn a lot. Every argument for posting an image with shorter integration times would also apply for images with longer total exposure.

 

I even may need longer times (already mentioned: red/white LP indeed often asks for longer integration times, especially if I'm using a small scope and are looking for some fainter details, which for me is one of the main points for EAA.)

 

And I think its interesting to compare different styles (like: using huge apertures, observing from dark rural zones, from within NYC rooftops, taking 30-60s frames or simply plenty of 1s frames. Or integrating for 10mins or 30mins or even longer. If we agree to show images at all (which is questionable, too! But I guess it is consensus that images do help a lot), I can't see the problem of "too long integration times". It is definitively no AP, as there is no post processing allowed (and done), rules ask for giving the details, so nobody would be mislead in believing one might be able to get those details by simply 5mins integration. 

 

To cut it short: I can't see the advantage of a limit and don't find any disadvantage of longer times. Arbitrary limits imho are not very meaningful - and I'm a big fan of simple rule sets. (-;

 

Anyway, just my thoughts. 


 

#23 NaNuu

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:45 PM

Sigh.....

 

Everybody is discussing images instead of discussing observing....

Ah no! We're discussing rules, not images - I think it's an important difference. (-; 


 

#24 NaNuu

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 12:58 PM

Don,

I have pointed out repeatedly that images longer than 5 minutes can be linked to and that the images are unrelated to the actual observation.

EAA is about observing. The image is to showcase what your equipment can do in a live or near live environment.

A reasonable time limit has been set, images exceeding that or post processed, can be added to the gallery and linked to.

Let’s talk observing. Talking about images and imaging is for the imaging forums, not for the observing forums of which EAA is part of wink.gif

I think, your argument would be directed towards no images at all. (which I can understand, even if I don't follow). 

 

IF you accept that images may showcase something, which just words aren't able to, so: why is 5mins a good limit?

 

Of course! I want to talk about and to learn about (eaa) observations. To me, the no post processing rule is directly clear (as I don't post process during my live observations), but the limit integration time rule is not: I often tend to sit several hours observing one single object. It IS live observation so why can't I showcase that observations by the help of images? It feels somewhat artificial and arbitrary. 

 

I guess, that's why we are arguing about that rule instead of talking about observations. (-;


Edited by NaNuu, 02 May 2018 - 12:58 PM.

 

#25 Don W

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 01:01 PM

Nick, what difference does it make if it takes 30 seconds to see what you want to see or 10 minutes? That's the question being asked.


 


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