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pixueto

Something different: a look at astrophotography - present day amateurs V professionals in the 70's

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Dear all,

I wasn't sure about where to post this so, please forgive me if this is the wrong place; I just wanted to share a thought.

I recently came back from a trip to northern Spain (where I originally come from and grew up) to visit my mum. While I was there, I had a look at the book collection that first got me interested in astronomy when I was a child. The books were published in 1970 and all the pictures where taken by telescopes from professional observatories on Earth (this is well before the Hubble telescope). I found it really interesting to compare those to the type of pictures that I'm taking with my budget 200P SW on a EQ5 in my back garden. It is amazing how much technology has advanced and what it can be done -in particular with the help of personal computers. We tend to think of the Internet, Sat Nav, mobile phones as a way of showing how much the world has changed but, for me, the comparison of those pictures is the best indication of how computing technology is changing the world.

I find it astonishing that a novice with a budget equipment in a bad, light polluted location can outperform those images -not to mention what some magicians in this forum can do! See how a cheap webcam can beat a professional telescope on the top of a mountain in the 60's - 70's!

I wonder what new possibilities computing will bring to us all in the future.

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Edited by pixueto
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Good post.

I think some amateur astronomers are producing better pictures than from professional observatories of the 1980's & 90's.

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Thanks for posting, very interesting. I think soon as the digital age became available to amateurs it presented a massive leap in what was possible with only cheap equipment. The ability to use a standard DSLR and stack and then process on a computer was a revolution in the hobby I guess. I have massive respect for people who used film back in the day and still do now.

Keith

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Yes Keith,

We are only in the middle of a revolution.

I expect amateurs to get hold of full adaptive optics using deformable mirrors within the next 10 years.

That will take seeing from 1 arc second down to 0.2 arc seconds.

You ain't see nothing yet!

Edited by alpal

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Very interesting post. Not only has the technology itself been revolutionised but the means to share knowledge of how to use it. I think the social networking made possible by the Internet has been the biggest paradigm shift we are likely to see for some time. Can't imagine what I'd have done or where I'd be on my astro photography learning curve without SGL.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Very interesting post. Not only has the technology itself been revolutionised but the means to share knowledge of how to use it. I think the social networking made possible by the Internet has been the biggest paradigm shift we are likely to see for some time. Can't imagine what I'd have done or where I'd be on my astro photography learning curve without SGL.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Absolutely! I agree entirely :)

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Agreed, the wealth of information available just on here is incredible. Plus for me at least ,most of my kit is second hand found on the net , meaning I can afford better kit for the cash, if I was limited to looking in the local rag every week I doubt I would find much.

Keith

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One thing the digital revolution has done is to make astrophotography available to the masses. In the 70's and 80's there were perhaps several hundred astrophotographers in the world. Now we have perhaps 100,000 amateur astrophotographers. The availability of digital techniques is perhaps the biggest technological leap. I still use film, but I process them digitally. This allows me the advantages of both methodologies. Its all good!

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Good post. That green bias in M51 is funny, as are the gradients in the M42 pic. As Alpal said I think Amatuers are up to the 1990s when it comes to Professional pics. We have definetly come a long way. Not just the imaging equipment like CCDs, but Laptops / PCs, Software packages, Forums/Shared knowledge. I don't presume the optics or mounts have improved in quite the same manor.

Tom.

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I remember that, when I was little, I actually thought that M51 was a green, misterious galaxy -as that's the way it came up in the book! :tongue: I've been obsessed with it for ages but when I took the first picture it didn't seem that misterious in normal colour :grin: .

Did you guys notice the pictures of Mars and Jupiter? It is amazing how a £20 Philips webcam can bit that in such a way, isn't it?

I absolutely agree about the importance of social networking. Also, if you think about it, our computers are probably some of the less expensive equipment that we use but they make all the difference. What would we do without DSS or PS, for instance?

Edited by pixueto

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I agree about the software :) I'm amazed at what can be achieved with PS for instance :) And with the faster computers (I upgraded mine second hand and the difference was amazing) you can stack a couple of hundred subs in total in a few minutes. This is certainly a highly fascinating hobby :) And so lovely to be able to share our efforts and get feedback and advice :)

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One of my early astrophoto heroes (in common with a lot of people, I'm sure) was David Malin. In fact, part of the affection of have for my new E-180 is the diffraction spikes that remind me of the excitement I had looking at his work. I was recently looking through a book of his photographs from about 1980, and honestly they aren't a patch on the daily offerings on SGL. But as other posters have said, anybody who created images like that on photographic plates (Malin pioneered many of the processes, some of which are still used now, such as combining filtered mono images to create an RGB photograph) accomplished something remarkable, and retains their hero status.

Edited by fatwoul

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