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Balancing Visual and AP

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#1 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:44 AM

So I have finished Bracken's Imaging Primer ... sounds interesting and fun. The post-processing part and color balancing worries me a bit since I flunked Arts & Crafts in the 3rd grade ... but I'll figure it out eventually.

 

My real concern on taking the plunge is that it would seriously cut into my visual observing.

 

How do imagers balance the two? Or do they?

 

Even if I were to set-up a second telescope, I am wondering how much "babysitting" the imaging rig requires?



#2 OldManSky

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:48 AM

I used to have an 8" dob I'd use while the images were cranking away.  

I don't have it any more.  But I'm thinking about getting another one.

 

The thing is, if you just have one rig, and it's setup for imaging, breaking it all down, removing the flatteners and cameras and cables and power rigs and whatever for visual is a major pain.  For me, anyway.

 

As for babysitting...once you get things set up and working, not much.  My routine now (mount on a permanent pier outside) is to do the initial setup including focus, then go inside and run things via Chrome Remote Desktop from my iPad in the house.  I only go back outside if there's a problem, or I need to refocus (which the soon-to-arrive motor focuser will eliminate!).  Not much babysitting :)



#3 Midnight Dan

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:13 AM

Like OldManSky said, you definitely want to set up a second telescope if you want to do visual.

 

I'm the same with the babysitting part, not a lot.  I monitor it remotely using TeamViewer.  But I do tend to still try and keep an eye on things since things can go wrong.

 

I find though, that the two hobbies are so totally different, that I tend not to do them on the same night.  Imaging is more like a job.  You are trying to achieve a goal and there are many things that can go wrong or get in your way.  So you need to have check lists, and concentrate on what you're doing to make sure you've got everything covered and didn't do something wrong.  It's a lot of attention to detail and a lot of small steps.

 

Visual on the other hand, is very relaxing and takes me away to another place.  I let my mind drift and just enjoy the sky, the outdoors, and the fresh air.  I can spend as much or as little time as I want on a target, and go in whenever I feel like it.  There's no task to complete to have a successful night of visual observing.  If a cloud passes in front of the scope, I can just sit back and relax for a while and wait for it to pass if I want.  

 

So for me, the two just don't go together.  I can't really relax and enjoy the visual end of things if I'm thinking about when the median flip will be, are cables getting tangled, is guiding still going ok, is there a cloud sneaking across the sky that will screw things up ... etc. Doing both on the same night is like taking a "working vacation" ...  it's hard to get the work done right, and you don't relax and enjoy the vacation as much.  

 

But that's just me.  Your mileage may vary. :-)

 

-Dan


Edited by Midnight Dan, 18 April 2019 - 03:28 PM.

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#4 AhBok

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:15 AM

Great question! I have used my dob while imaging, but just recently purchased a classical Cassegrain for visual and planetary imaging. My plan is to image DSOs with my F4 newt on the moonless nights and visual/planetary imaging with the Cassegrain on moonlit nights.

I’ve been a visual observer for many decades, but only imaging the past few years. I miss my first love, though, which is visual. I think we can enjoy both!

#5 kathyastro

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:18 AM

Balance??? :D

 

I do 99% imaging.  Visual observing is something I do to kill time while the camera is busy.



#6 bobzeq25

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:24 AM

So I have finished Bracken's Imaging Primer ... sounds interesting and fun. The post-processing part and color balancing worries me a bit since I flunked Arts & Crafts in the 3rd grade ... but I'll figure it out eventually.

 

My real concern on taking the plunge is that it would seriously cut into my visual observing.

 

How do imagers balance the two? Or do they?

 

Even if I were to set-up a second telescope, I am wondering how much "babysitting" the imaging rig requires?

A relatively few do or bring binoculars.  The only way you'll know for yourself is to try imaging, see how it goes for you.  Do you have the space to do something else too?

 

I think my pattern is not uncommon.  I started out, needed all my attention for learning.  After a while I had things running with more automation from the house, chose to do indoor stuff.  I keep a couple of eyepieces handy just because, will sometimes extend a session.  That's about it.

 

On dark sky excursions I always bring binoculars.


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#7 wrnchhead

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:35 AM

Still pretty noob imager, but I bring the big dumb dob with me to entertain myself while the camera is working. 



#8 bmhjr

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:36 AM

I also take binoculars to my dark site.  If there are other folks out there, I look through their scopes.

 

Bill



#9 Wintermute

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:39 AM

I still do visual AP a couple times a year, nearly always planetary. I've enjoyed visual astronomy for almost two decades, but admit I'd grown a bit tired of faint and fuzzy smudges of light that could only be observed out of the corner of my eye. Astrophotography has given me a new way to observe these objects with a level of detail I never thought possible, and I get to share these with the world! 


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#10 ks__observer

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 11:09 AM

When I head to a dark site I bring my Dob and binos.

I don't always wind up setting up the Dob -- sometimes I am stuck in a rut with the AP gear.

I try to reserve one night a season to old-fashioned visual.  If the weather is predicting clouds around 12pm -- that is a good night for visual -- I can get a few hours of visual  in -- as opposed to having to set up for AP for only a short time.

One issue with the visual and AP is that every time I check my computer it kills the night vision.

Everything is a balancing act.



#11 AhBok

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:02 AM

I had a fairly large group of folks at my house the other night when someone mentioned my telescopes. I took them to my observing deck and showed them M51 EAA style. Most were only politely “impressed”. I then pulled out my C90 and showed them the first quarter moon through an eyepiece and got ‘whoops and shrieks’!

 

Visual is still fun, especially when showing visitors the moon, Jupiter and Saturn for their first time. I still enjoy hunting down faint fuzzies visually, though the hunt is generally more satisfying than the actual view.


Edited by AhBok, 19 April 2019 - 07:04 AM.


#12 jgraham

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:22 AM

I image from home with my computer gear safely tucked away inside my house. Once my imaging gear is up and running it requires no inputs from me until I'm ready to check the focus and change targets, so if it is comfortable to be outside I'll have a visual scope set out as well, or just a lawn chair. If it's not comfortable outside I'll be catching some sleep between image sets.

 

This is an old picture of my old imaging gear, but it's still one of my favorites...

 

Waiting for Sunset.jpg

 

That's a 35 year old homebuilt 10" f/5.6 on the left. :)

 


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#13 AhBok

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:45 AM

Did you build the 10f5.6? Very nice!

#14 jgraham

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:56 AM

Yep. I used to teach a telescope making class for the local astronomy club and this was the last scope that I built with the class.
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#15 WadeH237

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 08:41 AM

I am both a visual observer and an imager.

 

My primary activity is imaging, and I almost always have something set up and ready to go, so that I can just uncover it and image on the occasional clear night.  I also attend between 3 and 5 major star parties each year.  For most of them, I take at least one visual setup and one imaging setup (I have one that I normally do just visual).  I rarely do visual work from home because I'm completely spoiled by the dark sky sites that I visit.

 

My imaging rig is fully automated and doesn't typically require any "babysitting".  I've got it ready to go before dark, so it just does its thing and I get to be a visual guy (or get some sleep).

 

Note that it takes a while to develop a reliable, automated imaging setup.  I did lots of babysitting for the first 6 or 7 years of imaging and automated one aspect at a time until I was fully automated.  Trying to learn imaging at the same time as trying to fully automated it would be (in my opinion) frustratingly difficult.  I always recommend knowing something cold before automating it.


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#16 CharlesW

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 10:38 AM

I started out visual, very quickly went into full time imaging and have been doing that exclusively for four years. The visual bug just bit pretty hard so I picked up an 8” Evolution with Starsense. I’m going to keep it in the motorhome and use it as we travel around the country. A second scope is probably the easiest was to fit both aspects of the hobby in. And an imaging scope requires no attention if you are properly automated. 



#17 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 11:55 AM

Note that it takes a while to develop a reliable, automated imaging setup.  I did lots of babysitting for the first 6 or 7 years of imaging and automated one aspect at a time until I was fully automated.  Trying to learn imaging at the same time as trying to fully automated it would be (in my opinion) frustratingly difficult.  I always recommend knowing something cold before automating it.

 

Thanks for the input everyone. Aside from an experiment with a 35mm and a C8 back in the late 1980's I've been a visual observer for 35 years. So I've only been peripherally aware of the advances in automating the set-up.

 

OMG I have so much to learn!




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