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Decline of EAA

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#26 elpajare

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:03 AM

NIck

 

I would like to master the English language to be able to debate at your level ...

It's not my case.

My work system is this: I take photographs every night that heaven allows, many nights in my area are clear so I have come to collect a couple of thousands of objects of magnitude <= 12 in recent years.
Every night I take between 10 and 20 photographs that I enjoy on screen and I SAVE in my HD.
The next day, calmly and with a simple program of photo retouching I adjust the basic parameters: Histogram, levels, contrast and color...etc. And then I keep my photograph in my album to enjoy later or to show to my friends.

I DO NOT use programs like Pixinsight or similar.

To achieve a good image during the night and making the capture program serve I waste a LONG time. I only do it with the photos I post in this forum: CN. The rest I do at home.

Is this EAA? I think so...


 

#27 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:13 AM

Your English is just fine ;)

 

I do understand what you are trying to explain. However such editing is not EAA. To be honest, I am kind of surprised that you would claim that this is EAA when you state yourself that the next day you edit the images! I do have to state here that I am seriously impressed by your images on your blog bow.gif

 

Me, I polar align in Sharpcap - takes 2 minutes. I then spend 5-7 minutes taking darks and 2 minutes taking flats in Sharpcap to have better live views. I fire up CDC and I am off. I let the software stack 3-4 images and then I play with the histograms to get the best live views I can. I am so thrilled by what I see that most times I forget to do a screen capture. I also save images and then manipulate them, but these belong in the imaging sections and not in EAA...


 

#28 ccs_hello

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:33 AM

Is or isn't debate IMHO is academic.  Don't post the post-processing resulted pictures as the golden rule would be my simple suggestion.

We cross the gray line (or jaywalk) occasionally anyway...


Edited by ccs_hello, 22 January 2019 - 09:34 AM.

 

#29 elpajare

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:42 AM

I do not want there to be any misunderstanding, 99% of the images I take are with the basic parameters ( by default all except white balance) of my capture program, the posterior basic iprovements I do at home easy and calmly.

The remaining 1% are the images I post in this forum. These are manipulated live and saved as they are. Honestly, the result is very similar but it takes much longer doing it with the capture program that at home with a basic image editor.

 

I respect your opinion anyway


 

#30 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:59 AM

Beautiful <image> Nick, fair play to you. However, 25 minutes of stacking to produce an <image> of that superb quality is, in my interpretation, taking it into the world of AP; albeit that if it reflects what you saw on screen at that moment I can see how you might interpret that as EAA. However, by that definition surely any <image> that has not been post processed could now be defined as EAA if all it has to do is reflect what is on a computer screen at a single moment of time?  I might not have put forward a suggestion that is any better than the current Forum Header definition, but there is sufficient activity in this thread to suggest that we are facing some challenges and there are some member frustrations. However, I am 100% with you that post-processing of any type should remain prohibited. But can we explore this question of what is permitted activity...?

 

In my location, if I get a continuous half hour break between the clouds it is a miracle, albeit that I might be able to spend four hours outside with patience and observe perhaps six objects. In three years, I have never once managed to accumulate a full 25 minutes of short stacks on any single object.  What typically happens is a decent image starts to form; I might reach a dozen stacks and then my FWHM suddenly falls from 3.0 to 10 and all subsequent frames then get rejected despite my best efforts to adjust focus and histogram etc (e.g. having set my reject level to 5.0). I check outside and discover that the reason for rejections is 100% cloud and my session is over, just as it would be if I was using an eyepiece.

 

To me that experience is true EAA, hence reflecting what I could see in a continuous live session (albeit that I am observing 'near live' due to the stacking process). Walking away, hence leaving the camera unattended to stack indefinitely and observing only every five minutes (just as you did) is, in my humble opinion, into the realm of AP and posting images of such quality that don't reflect a continuous live observing session and instead only a single moment in time raises the expectancy of noobs that simply want to beat light pollution, yet end up being lured into buying unnecessary expensive AP equipment because they think they should be able to replicate this. That is how I spent so much money and now have boxes of redundant kit.

 

My 'images' of the Orion Nebula are great, but  if I posted what is possible from typically fewer stacks from my almost perpetually cloudy location as regards any harder targets then the 'Imagers' would rip them apart with criticism. But EAA is allowing me to see DSO objects (like the Horsehead) that are utterly impossible using an eyepiece from my light polluted back yard. But to me, this is the very definition of EAA (e.g); it is the limit of what I tangibly saw in a continuous LIVE observing session. No post processing; no walking away to permit sufficient stacks and only checking periodically; and any breaks in observing for merely for reasonable comfort breaks. 

 

In summary, I think we should perhaps be seeking to find a definition that embraces the phrase "..continuous live observing (NV and stacking permitted)..."; whilst prohibiting any form of post-processing. Walking away and observing only every five minutes largely to check how an <image> is progressing is not EAA. But if I ever do get a continuous two hour break in the clouds I will definitely attempt it, but would report my results in the astrophotography forum.


 

#31 pwang99

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 10:03 AM

I got into this forum because of light pollution. So maybe this forum can be titled, "Countermeasures for Light-polluted Visual Astronomy" . :-)  Although I sold my Atik and took up NV as my preferred route, I think many here are LP refugees. Over time, there will be more, sadly just due to urbanization.

 

I personally have been less active because work and life have been getting in the way.  Also the weather has been terrible towards the end of last year, and even now when it's clear, it's very very cold outside.

 

Out of curiosity, are the CMOS/CCD EAA folks reluctant to post in the imaging forums b/c of hostility or denigration of their images?  It seems to me like part of the appeal of this forum is to be a discussion ground for techniques as well as a showcase of what is possible with real-time or near-real-time LP mitigation.  But once you get beyond that, why not post in the Imaging forums, perhaps with an EAA tag?


 

#32 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 10:10 AM

Noah,

 

Well said. But I only did that once. I generally stack a maximum of 25 to 30 images of 15 seconds. As the first 4-5 are "burned" in order for the initial histogram to settle, with another 4-5 in tweaking it, the remaining time is for observing what shows up as the remaining images keep stacking. Views of objects are on a more or less 10 minute time loop from object to object (slewing, plate solving, settling of mount and then the above process gets going).

 

By the way, M31 I posted above - I did invest the entire time looking at the screen and chatting about my observations with a buddy of mine who was set up like 10 feet away doing imaging. It's a dynamic process :)


 

#33 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 10:14 AM

I got into this forum because of light pollution. So maybe this forum can be titled, "Countermeasures for Light-polluted Visual Astronomy" . :-)  Although I sold my Atik and took up NV as my preferred route, I think many here are LP refugees. Over time, there will be more, sadly just due to urbanization.

 

I personally have been less active because work and life have been getting in the way.  Also the weather has been terrible towards the end of last year, and even now when it's clear, it's very very cold outside.

 

Out of curiosity, are the CMOS/CCD EAA folks reluctant to post in the imaging forums b/c of hostility or denigration of their images?  It seems to me like part of the appeal of this forum is to be a discussion ground for techniques as well as a showcase of what is possible with real-time or near-real-time LP mitigation.  But once you get beyond that, why not post in the Imaging forums, perhaps with an EAA tag?

Light pollution refugees... sigh, well said...

 

Re weather, it has been bad for us here since mid September. A first in all the years I've been in the hobby, as well as according to the logs of one of my observing buddies who has been at it for a couple of decades. 

 

As for posting in the imaging forum, well, personally I don't see the appeal. I am not doing imaging so that I will then have something to display. I am just glad that SharpCap now has an option to save when a live stack is done as I usually forget to save a screenshot! I am in it for the experience of the moment, the thrill of what I see. As soon as I go home, the appeal of processing images is gone. Maybe I will tweak a few a bit, like 2-3 minutes per image, just to share with a small circle of friends.


 

#34 Mark326

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 10:27 AM

Think it is premature to say EAA is dying or dead. 

 

As others have said, many factors such as weather (winter in northern hemisphere), cloudy weather, Holidays, and other commitments impact our hobby. My hobby time is affected by each of these and sometimes I’m just not into dragging out my equipment so I don’t.

 

Regarding the criteria of what’s EAA vs AP and posting. I consider myself to be practicing both, most nights I will play around with stacking and viewing in SharpCap by just manipulating histogram, and other settings and acheive very pleasing results in a short time on screen I share with my wife and friends who are around. This near real time imagery is fascinating and easy to capture given the incredible technology available to us.  I don’t usually post these images online because I know that using additional AP techniques such as post processing and hours of integration time I can achieve better results that I post occasionally. Chalk it up to Human nature of wanting to put best foot forward in public.

 

I enjoy following the EAA forum, seeing what others are doing, reading about techniques, cameras, and software.  It’s amazing the quality that some are able achieve with little integration time especially on some low surfac brightness objects.

 

In my opinion, EAA is gaining popularity as more amateur hobbiest  gain access to existing low cost equipment and with the inevitable advancement of imaging devices.  Postings in the forum is cyclical based on outside factors. If some new technology is released watch to daily posting in forum explode.


 

#35 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:15 AM

Noah,

 

Well said. But I only did that once. I generally stack a maximum of 25 to 30 images of 15 seconds. As the first 4-5 are "burned" in order for the initial histogram to settle, with another 4-5 in tweaking it, the remaining time is for observing what shows up as the remaining images keep stacking. Views of objects are on a more or less 10 minute time loop from object to object (slewing, plate solving, settling of mount and then the above process gets going).

 

By the way, M31 I posted above - I did invest the entire time looking at the screen and chatting about my observations with a buddy of mine who was set up like 10 feet away doing imaging. It's a dynamic process smile.gif

Yes Nick, I concur that what you normally do e.g. 20-25 sound images of 15 seconds (after burning five) is EAA albeit the NV guys would no doubt argue it is merely 'near live' not 'live'. This, I think, is part of the difficulty. But by posting an image formed by a 25 minute accumulation of stacks I feel that you (innocently) crossed the line and reinforced what I think many of us are trying to highlight - that EAA should be the product of continuous live observing (but stacking permitted) - no post processing - no walking away whilst merely checking how an IMAGE is developing - albeit a chat with a buddy isn't unreasonable. But it is a fine line between EAA and AP when chasing harder targets.

 

Even, if you had appended (say) "75 x 20 second stacks; 30 stacks rejected; total elapsed time 35 minutes" you would not have breached the current EAA Forum Rules and whilst somebody of my experience might understand this; you have perhaps (innocently) reinforced the thought in the mind of a newbie that he might need to buy a better mount capable of 30 minute of accurate tracking as he now interprets such long elapsed periods as normal and almost Hubble quality images being possible; when the truth is that your (and my) regular practice is around FIVE minutes and whilst we occasionally do get some great screen shots, much of the time they are limited by seeing conditions. But unlike the Imager, we then accept that and won't doctor the image into something that we DIDN'T see by using post processing.

 

Nobody is ever going to continuously live observe for half an hour whilst a single image forms. I too would walk away and turn on the TV whilst merely periodically checking image progression. But without the element of continuous live observing I don't reckon it is EAA. That is why I advocate we stop trying to limit content by integration time and put emphasis on continuous live observing. In fact, the only picture I have ever posted in the EAA Forum is a photograph of my computer screen!


 

#36 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:30 AM

Noah, please read the description on Andromeda. The image I posted is of much less integration.

In my 25 minute comment, I was referring to an experience I had, without actually posting that image, as I did not save it ...
 

#37 Ru4scuba

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 01:56 PM

Interesting debate/discussion on here. As the true Newb to this sport, I’m genuinely interested in solely improving my views of my light polluted night sky...nothing more. Hours of post processing to get a “wife approved wall piece” do not appeal to me. If I can do it in 5 mins...great...but beyond that as a father of twins time is always against any hobby I take up.

If I can pull down a pic of M31 like the other poster did, and it takes 25mins...I might do it once and move on. I want to see clearer planets/nebulae than I can currently.

I certainly hope EAA isn’t going away...I’m just getting into it!
 

#38 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 02:01 PM

Ok, I guess I need to go back to that post and clarify the 25 minute thing better. I was just talking about a one off experiment. The image posted is clearly labelled with exposure time and equipment and it wasn’t remotely close to 25 minutes ;)
 

#39 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 02:05 PM

So Chris, that’s a seven minute stack and considering it took a bit more than a minute for the histogram to settle, then I had to optimise the histo stretch, color balance and image histo stretch, another couple of minutes gone. Which left me with 3 to 3 and a half minutes of pure visual joy as every 15 seconds, more detail was added!


 

#40 Ru4scuba

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 02:24 PM

So Chris, that’s a seven minute stack and considering it took a bit more than a minute for the histogram to settle, then I had to optimise the histo stretch, color balance and image histo stretch, another couple of minutes gone. Which left me with 3 to 3 and a half minutes of pure visual joy as every 15 seconds, more detail was added!


Got it thanks for the clarification (and I see you edited your original post...appreciate it...probably a stupid observation on my part as I’m still learning).

I will say that it seems like every time I dig into EAA, I end up more befuddled than enlightened however. As I slowly build my rig with the intent of doing EAA in the near future (dang Orion for having their goto upgrades not available for a month. LOL), I get left feeling like there is always more to learn...which is cool b/c it’s a challenge but simultaneously frustrating.

The tail end of your last post might have well as been Greek...because it was to me. “....considering it took a bit more than a minute for the histogram to settle, then I had to optimise the histo stretch, color balance and image histo stretch, another couple of minutes gone. Which left me with 3 to 3 and a half minutes of pure visual joy.”

I was hoping to get a goto upgrade, an entry level CCD camera, hook it all up to my PC, learn DSS and Starry Sky and simply improve my views...

Can I do that or do I have to learn how to stretch/color balance etc?

Again...I am very grateful for all the knowledge on here as it helps Newbs like me learn...but dang it would be nice if there was a starter guide to all this...every time I read more it always feels like better views are still out of reach, which I don’t think is true, but I guess I won’t really know until I buy the camera and start stacking...
 

#41 Robrj

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 03:18 PM

I haven't posted in a while but it's because I agreed to start exercising with my wife before work (around 6 AM).  She also likes to start off with a walk and I didn't want her walking in the dark alone.  That means fewer late nights.


 

#42 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 04:50 PM

Noah, please read the description on Andromeda. The image I posted is of much less integration.

In my 25 minute comment, I was referring to an experience I had, without actually posting that image, as I did not save it ...

My apologies Nick, but even now I notice that your edited post mentions 25 minutes "....of that below" and hence I took that as read without study of the more detailed data. Sorry. But that serves merely as a distraction as I actually think we are generally agreeing about what defines EAA if 25 minutes of stacking is too long.

 

But like Pat (Utah), I too feel that this forum is losing its way. My perspective is that we are becoming overly  focused on the wants of aspiring Imagers that simply see anything connected to a computer as EAA. Recently, we seem to be saturated by posts that (IMHO) really ought to be in Beginners and Intermediate Imaging. Add NV and no wonder those that live stack and NEVER 'image' are feeling outnumbered. 


 

#43 descott12

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 04:59 PM

I really love all aspects of EAA and this forum has been hugely helpful to me as a newbie. I have owned 4 scopes in my life and each time I was so horribly disappointed by not being able to see anything.

EAA changes all that and I believe it is the future. No doubt. I have seen more in 3 months than in the previous 50 years.

 

I like when people post screen captures as it helps me compare my skill at operating the camera, getting good focus, using SC to it's fullest. etc. The feedback I have gotten has been very instrumental in my improvement.  And I would like to think that the few images I have posted have helped others.

 

I don't think anybody would argue that any editing should be not be allowed but if you are actively watching your screen and observing with "electronic assistance", who really cares how long it has been stacking? Clearly any posted image should include the integration time but why should that take away from the experience that one of us has had? I believe it is common for visual observers to stare at a dim fuzzy for 30 minutes before a certain detail becomes visible so I am not sure I see the difference.

 

I definitely agree that this is not about creating a great image. The images that are posted, to me, are about us sharing our experience with a really amazing hobby.

 

Just my two cents...


Edited by descott12, 22 January 2019 - 04:59 PM.

 

#44 ccs_hello

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 05:41 PM

Stacking in AP context can be quite different than EAA's method (should have been called "Live Stacking".

Less confusion and less chattering about "look, it's imaging".

 

Live stacking is continuous refinement.  I.e., you don't need to wait until all sub-exposures are gathered then perform a single, one-shot stacking operation.

With Live stacking, the first capture (image obtained pretty quickly) will look noisy and less refined.

With more and more images coming in in each fixed (single exposure) interval, the resulted image looks nicer and nicer.

 

My experience with this subforum, even before it's called EAA long time ago, people spent quite a bit of energy defining the terms and

trying to gather consensus on where the line should be drawn.

Turns out to be it's a moving target and heavily based on where the wind is blowing.

 

I'd suggest thinking deeper understanding why we are where we are.

Is it because of computer, the way we compare notes, too many garden varieties, or ...

people now have better skills to post processing pictures as opposed to post viewpoints on forums?


 

#45 Dwight J

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 06:53 PM

The Golden Age of EAA has seemed to have passed.  A number of noted contributers to EAA, not necessarily via this forum, have died while others have moved on, even a few formerly prolific posters were banned.  Now many seem to be using cooled CMOS cameras so imaging is not a big leap for EAA.  I haven’t been on NightskyNetwork lately but it appears to have morphed into a more imaging interest using narrowband filters etc.  Not an unatural progression given the equipment and what potential they have as imaging devices.  I have largely headed that way myself although I have not abandoned EAA style observing and did so on a couple of nights this month using Astro Toaster and my DSLR.  I still use a Mallincam Exterminator for outreach and IMHO still the best for that purpose.  As skies become ever more light polluted 

EAA maybe really the only way to see anything, especially from your backyard.  Since I don’t own nor use one of the new crop of CMOS cameras I don’t have a lot to contribute any longer.  As noted, many read but do not post - me too.   There has been a significant change/shift from a more pure observing method to a more observing/imaging pursuit, again likey due to the cameras used with exposure times getting longer, short individual images but stacks of many.  A lot of EAA’ers used their cameras to observe prior to realizing others did too and before this forum existed.  This will continue long after this forum goes doodoo.  


Edited by Dwight J, 22 January 2019 - 06:55 PM.

 

#46 Noah4x4

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:24 PM

Great post DwightJ.

 

Yes, there has been a distinct shift away from pure observing and into an observing/imaging paradigm. But as regards this forum I feel that the shift has now gone too far towards imaging.  Many of the recent questions being posted are better answered in the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forum. 


 

#47 neaptide

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:58 PM

I used to be very active in this forum but my interests have changed and I've kinda crossed over to the dark side......AP. If it's clear out I want to collect frames to post-process. I still do EAA and enjoy it but I do not post images as much as I used to primarily due to the equipment I am currently using. To me the coolest part of EAA was capturing Mag 15 and fainter galaxies with my SCT which I really haven't been using much lately. I have all sorts of light pollution and gradients from the LED lights that are surrounding me and I think my EAA captures kinda suck compared to what others are posting and don't really add much to the conversation, especially when capturing the big showcase objects.

 

I'm a firm believer in absolutely no post processing for the EAA forum. Unfortunately I also believe that not everyone is playing by the rules.(just my opinion,sorry) Which takes away from the fun.


Edited by neaptide, 22 January 2019 - 08:52 PM.

 

#48 CharlesC

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:51 PM

When EAA posting rules changed those whose only opportunities required rubylith (club sites, club outreach, astro events) were shut out of posting.  A pic taken with rubylith is not presentable without tweaking brightness, contrast, and stretching.  Only those living at a dark site or willing to go it alone in remote locations could post.

 

Folks moved from CCD to CMOS when Sony announced end of CCD production.  CMOS requires longer exposures. Small pixel size of CMOS required even longer exposures.  In the past there was an unwritten two minute rule for EAA but now CMOS folks are going twenty minutes or more.  The line between EAA and AP blurred.  Until CMOS can match or beat old CCD exposure times then EAA will continue to fade and may possibly be absorbed into AP.  If affordable, big pixel, high sensitivity CMOS sensors are not developed EAA will die.

 

There are still true EAA CCD cameras out there like Infinity, Ultrastar, X2c but folks are drawn to higher resolution big sensor CMOS cameras such as; IMX294, IMX1600, IMX224, and IMX071. 


Edited by CharlesC, 22 January 2019 - 10:24 PM.

 

#49 mclewis1

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 10:24 PM

In response to the many "absolutely no post processing" comments I'd like to toss a monkey wrench into the conversation.

 

I have been doing EAA observing for over 10 years and have both analog video gear as well as CMOS USB cameras. I often still use the analog video monitor to view all sorts of objects with and without an audience. There are times when I've kept the same image on the screen for observation for many 10s of minutes. Sometimes I will also capture an image on a PC using a video frame grabber. That capture on it's own will not equal the quality of image compared to what was seen "live" on the analog video monitor (a CRT based monitor with the brightness, contrast, and black levels adjusted). So I also manipulate that saved image (brightness, contrast, gamma, color balance, etc.) so it comes up to the quality of what I saw live on the monitor. That manipulation is by definition here post processing.

 

Anyone want to suggest that anything I'm doing is NOT EAA, and if posting one of those images that it isn't also in the spirit of the EAA forum?


Edited by mclewis1, 22 January 2019 - 10:28 PM.

 

#50 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:06 PM

In response to the many "absolutely no post processing" comments I'd like to toss a monkey wrench into the conversation.

 

I have been doing EAA observing for over 10 years and have both analog video gear as well as CMOS USB cameras. I often still use the analog video monitor to view all sorts of objects with and without an audience. There are times when I've kept the same image on the screen for observation for many 10s of minutes. Sometimes I will also capture an image on a PC using a video frame grabber. That capture on it's own will not equal the quality of image compared to what was seen "live" on the analog video monitor (a CRT based monitor with the brightness, contrast, and black levels adjusted). So I also manipulate that saved image (brightness, contrast, gamma, color balance, etc.) so it comes up to the quality of what I saw live on the monitor. That manipulation is by definition here post processing.

 

Anyone want to suggest that anything I'm doing is NOT EAA, and if posting one of those images that it isn't also in the spirit of the EAA forum?

I just think that many have moved on from the older days of analog low resolution and odd stars to much higher resolution live type imaging/observing using cooled CMOS cameras along with greater improved software like Sharpcap. For me it was time to move on and my observing time has not really increased that much in order to see objects in near real-time but way better.

 

Steve


 


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