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EAA: (at least) Six Distinct Challenge-spectrums (or spectra haha)

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#1 EmeraldHills


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Posted 23 January 2021 - 01:48 PM

I'm enjoying the journey of learning electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA). As interesting and popular as it is, I'm still sometimes a bit shocked when I'm confronted by an astro-photographer purist who can't comprehend why I don't push for longer exposures. "You'll definitely eventually want a filter-wheel." "But why WOULDN'T you want to do post?" "You need to allow time for longer exposures." In my short 6-week odyssey to learn EAA, I've already heard comments like that - and more.


As I'm reflecting on this part of the hobby of amateur astronomy, I'm starting to organize my thinking around at least 6 distinct challenge-spectrums (or spectra, depending on whether or not you had high school Latin) that we might encounter in our uphill climb to master these skills -- and the art that accompanies them. I wish I could just draw this on a piece of paper. This is one of those few times that 'tech' will likely make things harder, seeing as how we're communicating mostly in a text-based messaging world. But here goes my brainstorming. Pardon me as I type while I process out loud.


Over the past six weeks, I've taken note of several scales on which I could graph the level of stress in this hobby. Here is my thinking so far:


The real-time factor

Recorded --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---> Live

The more we can simply think about our hobby as making a recording, the less stress we feel. Because we can always remake the recording if something goes amuck.


The crowd factor

Solo -- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---> In front of a group

The more we're enjoying the hobby for our personal sake (as opposed to doing an "outreach" or sharing with an audience, the less stress we feel.


The money factor

Bigger budget - --- --- --- --- --- --- ---> Lower budget

Having a few more dollars lets us acquire the precise part or rig that cuts down on problems resulting from jury-rigging and "making do."


The portability factor

Permanent Observatory --- --- --- ---> Offsite/travel observing

Walking into a shed and turning on the heater. Sigh. versus 90 minutes of setting up a tripod, mount, polar-aligning, cables, and more.


The remote factor

Scope-side observing -- --- --- --- ---> Remote observing* (Note: Cold weather can/does generate stress.)

With the sole exception of having to sit in the cold, sitting scope-side would remove a bundle of challenges. Planning for remote observing introduces an entire extra dimension of gear and planning.


The formality factor

Informal style - --- --- --- --- --- --- ---> Presentation style

If we're sharing with friends in a conversation, it's SOOO much less threatening than standing in front of a group, so to speak, with a Powerpoint presentation.


As you graph where you are -- and where you want to be -- we are able to predict with some degree of certainty how much of a challenge you face in the hobby. The corollary: In each spectrum, the farther you move to the right, the more prepared (and stressed) you will likely be.


Low Stress - --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---> High stress


So where are YOU on the scales above? Do you agree or disagree? What spectrum or scale would you add in relation to YOUR journey in EAA? Are you having fun in spite of the challenges? : )



PS. Remember: I'm an absolute newcomer, reflecting as I go. Feel free to speak into my journey. I want to learn.

Edited by EmeraldHills, 23 January 2021 - 02:21 PM.

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#2 eyeoftexas



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Posted 23 January 2021 - 02:03 PM

Stress with the "The crowd factor"  Can go the other way too.  I found it less stressful because those who came to see the stars typically have no experience looking through telescopes or seeing them live on the screen.  Simple views of Jupiter, the Moon, Double Cluster, are astounding to the novice.  For a short time I'm no longer worried about eyepieces, seeing, etc.

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#3 SanjeevJoshi


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Posted 23 January 2021 - 05:44 PM

Any time I set up my visual set up on my drive way for planets (better viewing than my backyard), invariably 10 or so people / neighbors stop by un-invited, chat, and interact, peek thru the eyepiece.   Socially distanced ofcourse.   But its a great community thing.


EAA is something I do for myself and its mostly backyard.   Sitting in my family room with family, sharing views and even let the family tweak sharpcap to see how the view changes.   My wife and younger daughter enjoy this.   A couple pics saved if worthwhile, and I am wrapping up after a few objects.


No stress for me either way.   I have a 99.99% success rate on my tasks during actual sessions, only something very unforseen like a sudden power blip causes an issue.   When my mount is fired up, everything has been pretested as well as it can ahead of time, the sequences are down.


The only excitement (a bit of stress) I experienced was during the recent conjunction.    I had to prepare a completely manual, completely visual (eye) based system with no stars visible for enough time before the planets dipped below my local horizon, no laser dot effectively working etc.   Add clouds near the horizon some evenings and it was a bit a stressful with carrying things out and back with a very short window to do anything useful.   Luckily with a couple of practice runs to iron out the glitches in such a set up, the actual event on Dec 21st went fantastic.


To me, to really enjoy this hobby, you simply take the uncertainty out by testing and getting a routine down.  Then you can focus your energy on the actual viewing.   Just a personal style.


I fly remote control planes, some big ones.   It always amuses me when people show up at the field and discover their battery is not fully charged, they have not bound their radio, craft has a glitch etc.   About the only thing a modeler should not know when he / she shows up is how the weather is going to be for flying conditions that are local.   


I see a similar approach with EAA.   About the only things we cannot test during the day are the things that depend on plate solving or are plate solving related.  Nothing else should be a mystery.   Everything from go to to live stacking and e2e flow can be nailed down during day time - no reason to fumble in the dark.   Just a personal style.


There are times when I am consciously testing, trying out different things.  Those are test sessions.  And they can also be a lot of fun!


Stay safe, clear skies!


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