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Recent trends in EAA comments/discussion solicited

EAA Astrophotography
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#101 bigbangbaby

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:38 AM

I don't do filter wheels because nobody has convinced me the effort and expense is worth the difference in the final capture.  I'm more than willing to spend more money - if it brings me more enjoyment, but I don't see a big benefit for me on this one.  I have done a couple captures of galaxies with narrowband filters and it would be interesting to see those stacked without the filter, but I'll leave that for more capable EAA'ers to do ...

If you're getting good results with color cameras, there is no compelling reason to go mono. For some reason, I am unable to get consistently good results with a color camera. I use proper flats, darks, etc... I'd rather deal with the complexity of mono than the frustration with color balance. 



#102 Bob Campbell

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:46 AM

Future EAA images from me will be mono filtered RGB and/or narrowband and will they adhere to the rules. FWIW, the original intent was to bypass EAA and go straight into AP with mono and filters. It's the first camera setup I purchased. I quickly discovered how complex it was and decided to try EAA as a first step. Sharpcap was the natural choice, which prompted purchase of a color camera. It was a compromise I made to get started. I'm glad there's an alternative to SharpCap that supports filtered live stacking, albeit one that is less powerful and sophisticated. 

yes, I think EAA is a very logical step in getting into AP. I'm surprised that more people don't take that route. Perfect way to get one's feet wet.

 

I am in the situation of that route is not open to me.

 

First and foremost is that I have a home that has no enclosed area that has access to the sky. All my sessions are set up in my driveway and can't be left unattended.

 

Second, to do the job justice, I cannot afford the rig that could pull that off the way I would demand of myself.

 

To each his own, and I had to remind myself I am blessed to have the setup and environs that I have.

 

Bob



#103 Noah4x4

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 07:17 PM

Read this thread thinking “here we go again”.

 

I remember the acrimonious debate back in 2016-2018 whereby we first defined EAA. Frankly, I embraced short live stacked images simply because the light pollution in my location within the UK prevents visual (DSO) observation. Over the last seven years, I have saved under 100 images. I remain true to my observational/visual roots.

 

I soon ceased posting any images to CN for two reasons. Firstly, I wasn’t ever seeking critique. From the outset, too many folk  negatively criticized my efforts ignorant of my ghastly Bortle 6 -7 conditions and constant struggle against cloud etc. Secondly, from 2017 I embraced a fully 4K UHD f/2 (Hyperstar) system. I can never replicate what I see on screen on your screen which is limited by the CN image restrictions. 
 

My contribution to this forum has therefore focused upon equipment and solving technical challenges rather than imagery and artistic merit. I know my posts are respected for such content, as I enjoy many satisfactory comments and messages. I used to get very frustrated by those that did only want to discuss artistic merit and image enhancement (but excluding post processing), but eventually accepted it as a natural progression of our hobby. Today, I too employ “processing” techniques like live satellite trail removal and the  live addition of darks & flats, the emphasis being LIVE, but only to enhance my personal observations. If I show my worst “images” to friends and neighbours they are astonished what I can achieve. I do value looking at the images posted by others, as they inspire me to seek out new targets. But remain frustrated at threads where criticism of the artistic attributes seem to overshadow the observational attributes. But EAA is a broad church, and I feel the eventual defined scope of this forum is the best compromise. 


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#104 amitshesh

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:43 PM

As the topic is about recent trends in EAA, I will test the waters here about whether such a question will generate more (and positive) discussion...

As I marvel at the equipment that some owe here, and chuckle when people make fun about how this hobby burns a hole in the pocket, I wonder:

Do people here have strategies about how to budget or save for their equipment?

This is what mostly causes me some envy on this forum, which I have expressed in a post on this thread. It's not that I cannot afford to spend more, it's just that every trial and new purchase costs so much. Further complicating this is the fact that I have never spent so much money on something without first at least looking at it in the store, or seeing it in action. That's what makes budgeting and even knowing what I want so challenging.
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#105 Bob Campbell

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:48 PM

Read this thread thinking “here we go again”.

 

I remember the acrimonious debate back in 2016-2018 whereby we first defined EAA. Frankly, I embraced short live stacked images simply because the light pollution in my location within the UK prevents visual (DSO) observation. Over the last seven years, I have saved under 100 images. I remain true to my observational/visual roots.

 

I soon ceased posting any images to CN for two reasons. Firstly, I wasn’t ever seeking critique. From the outset, too many folk  negatively criticized my efforts ignorant of my ghastly Bortle 6 -7 conditions and constant struggle against cloud etc. Secondly, from 2017 I embraced a fully 4K UHD f/2 (Hyperstar) system. I can never replicate what I see on screen on your screen which is limited by the CN image restrictions. 
 

My contribution to this forum has therefore focused upon equipment and solving technical challenges rather than imagery and artistic merit. I know my posts are respected for such content, as I enjoy many satisfactory comments and messages. I used to get very frustrated by those that did only want to discuss artistic merit and image enhancement (but excluding post processing), but eventually accepted it as a natural progression of our hobby. Today, I too employ “processing” techniques like live satellite trail removal and the  live addition of darks & flats, the emphasis being LIVE, but only to enhance my personal observations. If I show my worst “images” to friends and neighbours they are astonished what I can achieve. I do value looking at the images posted by others, as they inspire me to seek out new targets. But remain frustrated at threads where criticism of the artistic attributes seem to overshadow the observational attributes. But EAA is a broad church, and I feel the eventual defined scope of this forum is the best compromise. 

good post and philosophy.

 

"From the outset, too many folk  negatively criticized my efforts ignorant of my ghastly Bortle 6 -7 conditions and constant struggle against cloud etc"

 

I can't imagine any one here criticizing one's work, especially since most here do capture in B6-9 locations. Medium and narrow bandpass filters can help a lot in beating the high Bortle.

 

I share you experience about neighbors amazed at what can be seen, and in fact are a little skeptical that it is real.

 

Bob


Edited by Bob Campbell, 24 September 2023 - 08:51 PM.


#106 Bob Campbell

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:50 PM

As the topic is about recent trends in EAA, I will test the waters here about whether such a question will generate more (and positive) discussion...

As I marvel at the equipment that some owe here, and chuckle when people make fun about how this hobby burns a hole in the pocket, I wonder:

Do people here have strategies about how to budget or save for their equipment?

This is what mostly causes me some envy on this forum, which I have expressed in a post on this thread. It's not that I cannot afford to spend more, it's just that every trial and new purchase costs so much. Further complicating this is the fact that I have never spent so much money on something without first at least looking at it in the store, or seeing it in action. That's what makes budgeting and even knowing what I want so challenging.

why not seek out an astronomy club and perhaps someone might have the equipment you want to buy.

 

Bob



#107 amitshesh

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:58 PM

I tried that once, and will try again. But the last time I tried, EAA is still in the minority at the local astronomy club. I quickly lost interest because most people seemed to be into visuals.

The question remains though: do people here follow any specific budgeting strategies to nurture their hobby? This hobby, more than many, seems to require some financial planning and discipline.
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#108 jml79

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 09:32 PM

I fund this endeavour by flipping used music gear. I’m an electronics technologist who is just old enough to know how tubes work and keyboard player. I got interested in vintage racks, keyboards and other electronic oddities. I know just enough to find the good deals, clean ‘em, fix ‘‘em and then hunt for my next purchase.

 

If you look at my rigs, they are an exercise in getting the most bang for my $$. No IMX571’s because I bought both of my cameras and filter sets used for the price of a single ASI2600mc Pro. Tiny pixels to get the most out of small scopes. I’m nursing a barely adequate EQM-35 because I’m saving for a mount upgrade and also waiting for one to come up used within driving distance. I try to put my money where it counts. My guiding systems are some of the cheapest you can find. My imaging computers are recycled laptops (until 2 weeks ago when I bought my first mini pc on clearance). Even my "observatory" is built out of recycled wood and just small enough that it doesn’t have a roll off roof, just panels I slide off. Up until a few months ago, I used cameras that I bought as is for parts, repaired and modified myself.

 

I have a prioritized list of purchases. It gets massaged regularly as I learn. I budget $100 per month from regular earnings and everything else comes from side hustle money or selling stuff I already had. The struggle is real but sometimes part of the fun. Would it be as much fun if I could buy a $20,000 imaging rig right away and then a bigger one in 6 months?


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#109 amitshesh

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 09:45 PM

I fund this endeavour by flipping used music gear. I’m an electronics technologist who is just old enough to know how tubes work and keyboard player. I got interested in vintage racks, keyboards and other electronic oddities. I know just enough to find the good deals, clean ‘em, fix ‘‘em and then hunt for my next purchase.

If you look at my rigs, they are an exercise in getting the most bang for my $$. No IMX571’s because I bought both of my cameras and filter sets used for the price of a single ASI2600mc Pro. Tiny pixels to get the most out of small scopes. I’m nursing a barely adequate EQM-35 because I’m saving for a mount upgrade and also waiting for one to come up used within driving distance. I try to put my money where it counts. My guiding systems are some of the cheapest you can find. My imaging computers are recycled laptops (until 2 weeks ago when I bought my first mini pc on clearance). Even my "observatory" is built out of recycled wood and just small enough that it doesn’t have a roll off roof, just panels I slide off. Up until a few months ago, I used cameras that I bought as is for parts, repaired and modified myself.

I have a prioritized list of purchases. It gets massaged regularly as I learn. I budget $100 per month from regular earnings and everything else comes from side hustle money or selling stuff I already had. The struggle is real but sometimes part of the fun. Would it be as much fun if I could buy a $20,000 imaging rig right away and then a bigger one in 6 months?

Thank you for sharing that! Several things in your post resonated with me.

I am not nearly as handy at anything as you seem to be. Actually I have started doing exactly what you do: $100 each month. Keeping savings on autopilot is a strategy that has worked well for me.

Where I struggle more is focus on what I want to get next. I feel I get tempted and veer off course. Fortunately I am not an impulse buyer 95% of the time, so I have managed to not spend something substantial and regretted it. My goal for the past few months has been to make my rig portable. I find myself divided about how to achieve that. Getting a harmonic mount will do that, but very expensive. Buying a mount that is just more packable than mine (incidentally my current mount is also the eqm 35, bought used without any original packing), just from the perspective of good storage that I can carry is another....the iOptron mounts attract me there. Sometimes I look at all the amazing things people have been able to do with the az GTI and wonder if that should be what I do.

Edited by amitshesh, 24 September 2023 - 09:47 PM.


#110 Bob Campbell

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:38 PM

I fund this endeavour by flipping used music gear. I’m an electronics technologist who is just old enough to know how tubes work and keyboard player. I got interested in vintage racks, keyboards and other electronic oddities. I know just enough to find the good deals, clean ‘em, fix ‘‘em and then hunt for my next purchase.

 

If you look at my rigs, they are an exercise in getting the most bang for my $$. No IMX571’s because I bought both of my cameras and filter sets used for the price of a single ASI2600mc Pro. Tiny pixels to get the most out of small scopes. I’m nursing a barely adequate EQM-35 because I’m saving for a mount upgrade and also waiting for one to come up used within driving distance. I try to put my money where it counts. My guiding systems are some of the cheapest you can find. My imaging computers are recycled laptops (until 2 weeks ago when I bought my first mini pc on clearance). Even my "observatory" is built out of recycled wood and just small enough that it doesn’t have a roll off roof, just panels I slide off. Up until a few months ago, I used cameras that I bought as is for parts, repaired and modified myself.

 

I have a prioritized list of purchases. It gets massaged regularly as I learn. I budget $100 per month from regular earnings and everything else comes from side hustle money or selling stuff I already had. The struggle is real but sometimes part of the fun. Would it be as much fun if I could buy a $20,000 imaging rig right away and then a bigger one in 6 months?

You seriously rock!

 

Bob



#111 tbhausen

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 10:41 PM

As the topic is about recent trends in EAA, I will test the waters here about whether such a question will generate more (and positive) discussion...

As I marvel at the equipment that some owe here, and chuckle when people make fun about how this hobby burns a hole in the pocket, I wonder:

Do people here have strategies about how to budget or save for their equipment?

This is what mostly causes me some envy on this forum, which I have expressed in a post on this thread. It's not that I cannot afford to spend more, it's just that every trial and new purchase costs so much. Further complicating this is the fact that I have never spent so much money on something without first at least looking at it in the store, or seeing it in action. That's what makes budgeting and even knowing what I want so challenging.

PayPal Pay in 4, Pay in 12, Affirm (within current budgetary limits)... I've always had quite manageable payments in my equipment as I've upgraded (sold) and replaced it. Being single with reasonable expenses, I can afford to indulge this hobby within reasonable limits. That being said, until I find a way to extend my reach a bit with either a flattener or a flattener/extender, I hope I'm done spending for awhile.


Edited by tbhausen, 24 September 2023 - 10:46 PM.

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#112 SchoolMaster

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 06:58 AM

I and my wife each have a 'no questions asked' $100 per week cash fund for personal expenses.  I save my leftovers at the end of each week.

 

Now I know better what I'm doing, I'm focusing on specific purchases for specific wants/needs.  Bigger mount to handle my multi-headed monsters (CEM70), and a C11 to reach further.  Maybe condense the AT70 and AT80 into a single OTA.  I have a decent amount of kit ready to be let go or given away.


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#113 mgCatskills

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 08:53 AM

As the topic is about recent trends in EAA, I will test the waters here about whether such a question will generate more (and positive) discussion...

As I marvel at the equipment that some owe here, and chuckle when people make fun about how this hobby burns a hole in the pocket, I wonder:

Do people here have strategies about how to budget or save for their equipment?

This is what mostly causes me some envy on this forum, which I have expressed in a post on this thread. It's not that I cannot afford to spend more, it's just that every trial and new purchase costs so much. Further complicating this is the fact that I have never spent so much money on something without first at least looking at it in the store, or seeing it in action. That's what makes budgeting and even knowing what I want so challenging.

As today is my 40th wedding anniversary, I'm going to give my wife a lot of credit.  She is a stage actor, which means she's used to working for ridiculously low pay and is way less comfortable than I am spending money.  She's a fabulous cook, and would rather eat a meal at home than go out for food.  So, except when we're traveling, we eat out perhaps one dinner a month.  And she's still working... not enough to live on, but a nice supplement to our income, along with a little income I have from consulting.

 

Right now EAA is the only thing I'm spending serious money on.  I am very fortunate to be able to focus resources there, and in 40 years, my wife has always encouraged me to pursue my interests. 


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#114 Jeff Lee

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 08:53 AM

Haven't bought anything new in 3 years. Don't have anything premium, but my two setups allow me to "see" what I want to see. Astro is my third hobby and when I bought (had the C8 and the C90), I had a defined set of things I wanted my EAA system to do. It is a Ford/Chevy setup but it fulfills my needs. Have no desire to make pretty images (NASA stuff for me does that, BTW I have $$$$ in photo/video gear). It all depends on what your real needs are to be "done" with system building. I've been retired for 20 years (retired at 55), and have found that chasing perfect in any hobby is like working. Doing what makes you happy is a lot more important than perfection IMHO.


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#115 Russell Swan

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 10:01 AM

When I do EEA it is to view objects that I either can not see at all at the scope visually, or to reveal detail and go deeper than I can visually in my light polluted environment. It’s as simple as that. 
 

Whatever software I can find to accomplish those goals is what I use. I am a Linux user nearly exclusively, so Sharpcap is not an option. I have used Jocular, ALS, ASTAP, ZWO’s software and others. I find Jocular produces the cleanest images. My camera is OSC but no filter wheels for me. So mono.  Occasionally use dark frames but never flats. Too much bother.  I get what i get and usually that’s pretty darn good. This is not AP. I concentrate on the object. The backdrop does not have to be perfect. If I want color I use one of the other softwares. I save the subs for later processing if I wish to improve on what I see in near real time.

This on a 1984 C8, remounted on an AVX using a vintage Celestron Rich Field Adaptor, with a native visual .5 reduction factor. This gives me an effective focal length of 754mm or F/3.7 on the C8. I use an old Lumicon Deep Sky Filter screwed into the camera. 
 

My smallish ZWO ASI385 camera produces round stars to the edges. I’m thinking of getting the ASI585 which should also work as well, while giving a larger field of view. 
 

My only expenses have been the focusing mask, camera and a ZWO uv/ir filter.


Edited by Russell Swan, 12 December 2023 - 10:04 AM.

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#116 Udi

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Posted 17 December 2023 - 05:12 AM

If you have an Andorid tablet, I highjly suggest uisng Open Live Stacker (https://github.com/a...tacker/releases). That's exactly what I am doing for te same use case.


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