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Diminishing quality of APOD over the years

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#1 lajoswinkler

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 09:25 AM

I saw this today and it grinded my gears.

I've been checking APOD for decades and it feels like it's getting more and more lazy each year, like it's adjusting itself to an increasingly dumber population instead of trying to keep up the standard.

Constant recycling of same images, textbook myths, absolute domination of images of nebulas. So much is happening in astronomy, we are at the pinnacle of exploration yet you can't see that there. Just same stuff over and over again.

 

What's going on with that website? Did the authors just give up and arranged for the uploads to be governed by a webcrawling bot?



#2 afd33

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 09:44 AM

What standard is that? As far as I know it's just supposed to be interesting, usually good pictures or videos that have to do with space. Then when events happen, they tailor it to that. So in two weeks, I would pretty much be willing to bet my house it's a picture of a total solar eclipse. I went back a couple weeks and don't see anything that doesn't fit. Admittedly I didn't read the descriptions though.

 

My opinion is that many people take APOD and Astrobin's IOTD way too seriously. Would it be cool to be featured? Yes. Does it really mean anything? Outside of a temporary bump in views, not really.



#3 auroraTDunn

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 10:04 AM

Actually I found the sonification very fun. I, personally, enjoy excursions from the normal as it opens the mind to different ways of thinking, opens paths to new creativity, and new innovations.

APOD is indeed a place for both us, astro-professionals/researchers but more importantly to the general public audience. Imagery is not just about great pictures but about exposing an individual to a story, to an emotional connection, to awe and fascination, to a desire to dig in deeper and gain a sronger appreciation towards. Without such innovations to expand beyond just a pretty picture we loose the very essence of what drew us to the wonder we so deeply love. All visualization should be centered around a story and the best story is the one that is understood without extremely verbose explanation. And each story should provide multiple avenues of sensory connection (rarely achieved) for without it we loose the emotional connection that lasts us longer then the 5seconds we spent looking at something!

Oh and without drawing the general public in, political support falls (already has here in the US) and thus funding and thus no new anything.

 

In truth this APOD worked, it drew an emotional connection to it. You were displeased with it, which is fine, we all have our own perceptions of pleasing and not pleasing and no one has the ability to tell you your emotions towards t are wrong. It's what you experienced at the moment you viewed it. But face it you will remember this piece far longer then just another picture of a new coronal hole or the aurora it generates (or not, again it all depends on way to many factors all colliding at the moment of viewing!)

 

For those of us with deeper appreciation, love, understanding and ability to understand we have other sources for the deeper knowledge that we are gathering, processing and delivering on a daily basis.


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#4 CowTipton

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 10:12 AM

I kinda like the sonification videos.

The M74 one in particular. 



#5 Starman1

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 10:21 AM

I agree with the OP--the image has gone downhill over the years.

--too many Earth photos

--too many planet photos

--too many rocket launches

--mediocre explanations under the photos.

--too many reruns of the same object with only minor differences

--seriously mediocre photos a lot of the time when there are a lot better images that could be obtained.

 

The home page on my browser is this daily image, so I see it every day.  I admit I immediately pass it by most days.

The most recent one that was excellent was March 17.

 

To show you what I mean about mediocre photos, here is March 21:

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap240321.html

and here is a better shot of the same objects:

https://www.astrobin.com/mwnue7/

and another

http://deepskyview.d...65-m66-ngc3628/

and, one worthy of the Astronomy Picture of the day:

https://www.astrobin.com/244478/


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#6 afd33

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 10:49 AM


The home page on my browser is this daily image, so I see it every day.  I admit I immediately pass it by most days.

The most recent one that was excellent was March 17.

 

To show you what I mean about mediocre photos, here is March 21:

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap240321.html

and here is a better shot of the same objects:

https://www.astrobin.com/mwnue7/

and another

http://deepskyview.d...65-m66-ngc3628/

and, one worthy of the Astronomy Picture of the day:

https://www.astrobin.com/244478/

I'd say you chose poorly using March 21 for an example, I prefer the APOD to all of your selections. The first one, the APOD looks more natural. By that I mean it's not over saturated in the oranges/reds and the dust lanes in the galaxies look like they belong. I much prefer the stars in the APOD image too. No huge diffraction spikes, and they're all circular without the bright ones turning diamond shaped. 

 

The second one is nice, but maybe not the framing they were looking for, and I would say not quite as sharp. Clicking on the image in each of their respective websites to enlarge, it's quite clear to me that the image they chose for APOD is better.

 

The last, while nice, isn't color, so to me it's comparing apples and oranges. I don't want to speak for the public, but I can see why they'd select a color image over grayscale that if you don't know what IFN is, you'd think it was just kind of washed out.

 

Of course, this is all my opinion, just like the pictures you selected are better in your opinion.


Edited by afd33, 25 March 2024 - 10:58 AM.

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#7 flightlogic

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 11:17 AM

Actually I found the sonification very fun. I, personally, enjoy excursions from the normal as it opens the mind to different ways of thinking, opens paths to new creativity, and new innovations.

APOD is indeed a place for both us, astro-professionals/researchers but more importantly to the general public audience. Imagery is not just about great pictures but about exposing an individual to a story, to an emotional connection, to awe and fascination, to a desire to dig in deeper and gain a sronger appreciation towards. Without such innovations to expand beyond just a pretty picture we loose the very essence of what drew us to the wonder we so deeply love. All visualization should be centered around a story and the best story is the one that is understood without extremely verbose explanation. And each story should provide multiple avenues of sensory connection (rarely achieved) for without it we loose the emotional connection that lasts us longer then the 5seconds we spent looking at something!

Oh and without drawing the general public in, political support falls (already has here in the US) and thus funding and thus no new anything.

 

In truth this APOD worked, it drew an emotional connection to it. You were displeased with it, which is fine, we all have our own perceptions of pleasing and not pleasing and no one has the ability to tell you your emotions towards t are wrong. It's what you experienced at the moment you viewed it. But face it you will remember this piece far longer then just another picture of a new coronal hole or the aurora it generates (or not, again it all depends on way to many factors all colliding at the moment of viewing!)

 

For those of us with deeper appreciation, love, understanding and ability to understand we have other sources for the deeper knowledge that we are gathering, processing and delivering on a daily basis.

You summarized my thoughts...    Now I can have more coffee and not type so much.

We face impossible competition from JWebb.   But, to do it YOURSELF.... is deeply satisfying.  The postings are a result of the facebook generational thinking.  But, that's ok.  I just toured the Astronomy Discovery Center (under construction) at Lowell Observatory this week.  They lamented the old facility was small enough that they saw people turn away and go down Mars hill, because there wasn't another parking spot.  The whole focus is on engaging the public, and the new 53 million dollar building is going to do that.  And more.

Art museums only draw a certain crowd.  Fights in Vegas draw another type.  Just go where it pleases your brain. If you feel a certain venue has changed and not to your liking.... and simple click and poof.... your are gone.



#8 drice

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 11:35 AM

I go to APOD every day but I get frustrated as well with some of the images. They seem to be leaning more towards composited images without really clarifying that they are artist interpretations.  I think a major cause is that most of these images used are chosen from the APOD forum. I think this is why there are some amazing images on Astrobin but other astrophotographers are chosen quite often. 

 

I also wish they would note whether the images are amateur or observatory and the equipment used. It could be quite inspiration to those starting out to know they can take images of that quality. 



#9 KuiperBeltKing

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 12:06 PM

To show you what I mean about mediocre photos, here is March 21:

https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap240321.html

and here is a better shot of the same objects:

https://www.astrobin.com/mwnue7/

and another

http://deepskyview.d...65-m66-ngc3628/

and, one worthy of the Astronomy Picture of the day:

https://www.astrobin.com/244478/

 

I go to APOD every day but I get frustrated as well with some of the images. They seem to be leaning more towards composited images without really clarifying that they are artist interpretations.  I think a major cause is that most of these images used are chosen from the APOD forum. I think this is why there are some amazing images on Astrobin but other astrophotographers are chosen quite often.

 

The APOD project exists for outreach and educational reasons. It is not a contest to determine the world's best amateur photographer.

Photos must be submitted in order to be considered. The APOD editors are two working astronomers who in no way have the ability to scour the Internet for (and secure the rights to publish) the "best" available astrophotos.

 

For more info:  https://apod.nasa.go...od.html#srapply


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#10 swalker

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 09:11 AM

I'll just say that APOD only choses images or media that are directly submitted to them for consideration. In other words, they don't scour the internet looking for the next APOD.


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#11 gmiller123456

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 10:37 AM

I, too, gave a big eye roll on this one. I don't exactly check APOD religeously, but seems to me they still put out great stuff usually. Though they have been putting some pictures up just because they're pretty.

#12 Starman1

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 11:27 AM

In the 29 days of February 2024, APOD had:

Astronomy:

8 galaxy images

6 Nebula images

1 Globular cluster image

1 Planetary nebula image

1 Comet image

1 Planet image

1 Moon image

 

Non-astronomy:

1 atmosphere image

1 Aurora image

1 Meteor image

1 space probe image of itself

1 space launch from Earth image

3 moon mission images of the spacecraft

1 History of coins image

1 composite Earth/deep sky pasted-together image

 

10 of 29 images really aren't "astronomy picture of the day" images.

I went back to 2016, eight years ago and discovered the same: 10 of 29 images weren't really about astronomy.

I'm not sure the % has changed that much, if any, at least in the last decade.

So I can only conclude the impression of a decline in the images on APOD indicates a change in me, not the site.

I can only conclude the site is not aimed at my interests as they have evolved over time, and that is OK.

I still find an occasional image interesting.


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#13 seryddwr

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 03:31 PM

The only thing that I really don't like is the vertical aspect ratio. shrug.gif Sonifications are weird, but sometimes fun. Admittedly, this one hurts my ears a little bit.

 

EDIT - I'm not sure that sonification is in the dictionary. APOD used the word sonify, which is also made-up, I think.


Edited by seryddwr, 26 March 2024 - 03:34 PM.


#14 lajoswinkler

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 07:59 AM

Here's a fresh example of false information.
https://apod.nasa.go...d/ap240329.html

 

"Galileo's Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see."

 

Just copied falsehood from JPL's photojournal. Europa does not have red-brown stripes. They are very gentle beige in color and the whole satellite has a very high albedo. It is one more example of an astronomical body which appearance has been subjected to mythicization by copypasting dumbed down information without context, others being Sun, Venus, Jupiter (last five years or more, courtesy of Juno probe), Uranus and Neptune.



#15 SNH

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Posted 31 March 2024 - 10:30 PM

The APOD project exists for outreach and educational reasons. It is not a contest to determine the world's best amateur photographer.

Photos must be submitted in order to be considered. The APOD editors are two working astronomers who in no way have the ability to scour the Internet for (and secure the rights to publish) the "best" available astrophotos.

 

For more info:  https://apod.nasa.go...od.html#srapply

Yeah, just two guys, and I can't imagine how they've managed to do it for so long! They've had a "want ad" out for occasional help and I submitted my lean resume. They thanked me but said they wanted someone with more of a professional background. The problem is that those kinds of people don't have time for such work. Heck, I'd hardly have time to do more than one every two weeks!

 

Scott H.



#16 N-1

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 03:17 AM

I'm glad there aren't even more pretty DSO pics on there. 

Can't please everyone all of the time.



#17 jcj380

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 07:09 AM

I like some of their pix, but not all.  Don't care one way or the other about sonification.  If you want to search for something you really like:

 

https://www.astrobin.../search/?d=i&q=


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