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observe or film?


MartinB
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One of the great things about this hobby is the variety it offers. Some people spend most of their time on planets, others DSOs. Some hunt endlessly for new supernovae, others split doubles. Some spend years drawing the different features of the moon. So what about imaging vs visual astronomy? Why are some forum members mainly into visual observing and why are others almost exclusively imagers?

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Martin i spent years on visual , the thing with that is , i wanted more out of it , galaxies for instance , depending where you are of course , i have read countless books on the subject , and in all mostly they had me believing , that all these galaxies could be seen , many with the naked eye , spending many nights in the freezing cold , i could never see these objects , not even through the scope , so thats when i decided to try imaging , the intro of web cam imaging really took me that way ,so now i could see the galaxies and the nebula that evaded me for years, there are still many sights to see with the aid of Bino,s and scopes i know , depends what ya fancy , me i,m a complete imager , and will never be satisfied :laugh: :laugh:,

Cheers

Rog

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Hi,Martin

Pretty much the same as Rog, i had been Observing for 20yrs the Planets Moon etc etc as time went by the Light Pollution got worse with changes of living locations, when moving to blackpool 5yrs ago all those faint fuzzie's changed into an Ocational Blur due to the LP around here. So thats when i got the idea to try imaging 4yrs ago or there abouts, the Modified webcam began to show me the Fuzzies again all be it on a screen but it was live all the same but nothing like at the eyepiece which i had been used to for so long.

I still observe the Planets,Moon and brighter DSO's esp Glob's but need this imaging lark to fullfill my passion for everything out there. My guess is if i lived in a dark sky again the imaging would be on the back burner although i would be thinking right i gotta be able to take some nice pics now hehehe so in essence iam now an imager\observer.

James :laugh:

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Primarily a visual observer and I would like it to remain so.

Imaging is great if you a) have the skills and :laugh: have the cash!!! I'd love one of the 16HR's but at over £1K, it's a long way off!!

I am trying to extend my visual skills by doing some variable star estimations, and looking at other catalogs apart from the Messier one (I've half way through laminating the Caldwell list at the moment).

My view is split. There is nothing quite like looking through the EP at an object, but the feint fuzzies do need a LX image to really bring them to life. James, Rog and the others consistently show this.

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From the other end of the experience scale:-

I'm still getting a lot out of finding objects visually, and I don't think the thrill of direct view through an eyepiece can ever be reproduced by any other means - that doesn't mean I won't get a different type of high out of capturing and processing my own images, I know I will, but that is a separate arm of the hobby.

At this early stage of learning I am really enjoying widefield views of the more obvious galaxies, nebulae and star clusters etc., but I'm equally excited about the prospect of getting a half reasonable CCD camera to go down the route that Rog has - and BTW, Rog's website is inspirational to those of us still waiting to embark on imaging!

I see no conflict at all between visual observing and imaging - the tools and processes are different, but the end is the same:- to see, understand and appreciate the wonders of the universe!

As a learner, it's good that this forum contains members with both interests, and of course it's also lucky that they're willing to share knowledge and give help to us know-nothings!

Cheers guys and gals - have a good weekend, and clear skies! (fat chance here....) :laugh:

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its pretty much been said in replies before I particularly agree with some of trekkers comments being a relative beginner myself its a joy to be able to see just about anything and to get an image of it is very exciting too but its all exciting and thats how I want to remain and am sure it will do too.

being such a diverse hobby like all good hobbies are is all in the positive clouds and wind are hindrances but acceptable ones and with the advent of the worldwide internet making it instantly possible to communicate our thoughts and experiences are again just adding to the positive again So as long as things excite us we must delve into them its human nature I guess

Another great positive is (leave this bit for someone else to carry on ) :laugh:

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I think the main reason that lots of people like imaging is that they are able to share there experiences with others and get praise for work well done. Seems trite, but it's nice to be told "thats an excellent shot, well done!". Whereas visual observing you only have yourself to pat on the back. For some thats enough. For others it's nice to share.

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Pretty much the same as Rog and James.

20 years of visual, although i had a desire for astrophotography from the outset. But back then costs were prohibitive. So the imaging lay dorment for 20 years. I was addicted to deepsky visual, mainly the faintest galaxies i could find.

Since 2001 been addicted to imaging - first with a digicam, then the webcam, MX5C, Atik and now the DSLR. As Rog says, there's something about seeing all these objects I observed for 20 years appear in all their glory. Plus a bit of what Gordon said with able to share the result or at least have a record of what i've done.

Still love the visual side mind! Especially from the New Forest or Kelling.

Russ

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I've been observing for 20+ odd years, I just don't have the patience or eye for detail that imaging requires. I've recently started webcamming the planets, hopefully this will turn out to be a good compromise for me, it's not too fiddly and you can get reasonable results without driving yourself mad in the process.

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I have only been observing for about 3 years, and only imaging for the last 6 months or so.

There is no feeling to better that successful search for an elusive object - nad finally see what you have been hunting for. To actually SEE a real object, where the light has taken thousands of years to reach you - can't be beat.

However, the feeling when you get just that "right" image that you have spent a long time trying to get into focus, get the contrast, detail etc right. Trying to better it next time - that too is fun.

So both have their place.

Tom

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Philosophically, photography puts something between the photographer and the object of his photography. If I want to see the Horsehead Nebula, I can look it up on the internet, or look at any of the excellent photos of it here. If, therefore, I cannot see it with my own naked eye, it doesn't matter if I can photograph it, I still haven't seen it. I spent years taking artfull photographs of the things I saw on vacation or on trips, and was always looking at my camera. Now I am more likely to look at the things themselves, and remember them. I haven't spent a lot of time looking at any of those photographs I took years ago.

I'll be in Philadelphia next week, and while I might take a quick snapshot of the Liberty Bell, I will look at it more than I would have years ago. If I need a picture, I can buy a postcard. Same with the telescope. Why pay for imaging equipment to take inferior pictures of things I can look at in books?

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Oh dear , i feel a little upset by what WH has just said and would disagree on a point , i,m not sure wether it was pointed at imagers in general ,or what he felt as to himself imaging , i feel we all have an opinon on what we do , as its been said this does cover a huge area of the hobby, the bit i felt upset with , i like many of you have loads of books on different subjects , many by Sir Patrick, also i have many software programme's on the stars , nebula planets etc etc , and i can honestly say in all of them , none of the images even come near what the amateur can do today , so spending thousands of pound s on what we love as a hobby and can produce very very good images, and not inferior ones !!! does hurt a little, my reason for being on this forum , is to instill enthusiasm for the beginner ,who wants to take up imaging , that is my soul Aim, and yes also its nice to have feed back on the images i put up , nothing wrong with that , this is what drives us on to producing even better quality images , anyway i have said my piece , it is just a disagreement thats all ,

Cheers

Rog

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Don't want to sound like Ganging up on you WH but iam the same as Rog but i add this No Image i see online or in books excites me as my own may sound arrogant but it's like this i took that image that's the result of my efforts\Spending\experience etc etc... Iam happy at the end of the day with just looking at my pics but i do get inspired by chaps like Rog,Russ,Ant the whole imaging team results.

James :lol:(peace)

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I agree with Rog on this one.

His images are anything but inferior.

Plus the satisfaction you get when you take a recognisable one

is unsurpassed.

I get more pleasure looking at my own images than i do looking at

say the Hubbles images.

Even though the hubble images are amazing.

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Top stargazing high points so far: -

finding M31 and Saturn for the first time with my Prinz 60mm.

Getting Saturn live on the laptop screen,

M13 through the EP.

Watching as M13 gradually came into focus on the laptop screen on a 15sec exposure through the Atik.

M81 and 82 together through the ED80

Seeing a murky stack of Saturn images emerge from registax.

Getting Horsey

So a mix of the two really. I think my thread is a bit daft really cos each discipline enhances the other.

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Martin you said I think my thread is a bit daft really cos each discipline enhances the other.

Nowt daft about it mate its a good thread I have enjoyed reading the replies and replying also

its just like a forum should be so well done for starting this thread off is what I say matey

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It wasn't really my intention to put down imaging, but to elucidate my own point of view and why imaging isn't for me. Imanging is certainly a legitimate part of the hobby, and there is some very good imaging going on here. I have taken a few afocal pictures, and may do some widefield, but I am not likely to do any long time-exposures of faint DSOs. But that's entirely my preference. :lol:

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I agree with Rog on this one.

His images are anything but inferior.

Plus the satisfaction you get when you take a recognisable one

is unsurpassed.

I get more pleasure looking at my own images than i do looking at

say the Hubbles images.

Even though the hubble images are amazing.

I'm not trying to cause offence or plays devils advocate, but i think you and Warthog are talking at cross purposes. I dont think you can honestly say that anything we can produce with amateur equipment (albeit costing many thousands of pounds) can come close to images the likes of the Hubble and the keck 10metre telescope can produce. The difference is the pleasure of being able to produce the images yourself and whilst im the first to admit that peoples images on here are fantastic and completly breathtaking, as warthog says, if i wanted to see an image of M42 you simply can't get better than a space based telescope. However the pleasure of looking through your own equipement and having the million year old photons fall on your own retina is a different kettle of fish. The image isn't as good, but the amount of pleasure it gives is a different order of magnitude.

And to Rog and the rest, your images are amazing, and they DO inspire others to strive to better and more interesting images themselves. THATS the goal. If we simply wanted to produce images we would all sell our scopes and buy a book from nasa and a scanner.

Anyway, im starting to waffle and im not the most elequient arguer but i hope you get my point :lol:

And i appologise in advance if i offend anyone.

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OK my two penn'orth here.

I agree with WH that the image is not the same as seeing it with your own eyes. Can't argue with that at all. I also agree with Rog et al Re. the imaging bit.

At the end of the day it's what floats your boat, that's all it is.

I'll start with WH's take on it and add my own personal view on his description, not a criticism remember, this is my view on it. I got into photography after seeing "freeze frame" photo of falling water drops, popping balloons and that kind of thing. I'd seen these things, but not "seen" them - all happens too fast. I now try to do the same with the astro stuff. The galaxy is there but I can't see it. So I use a machine to capture many more photons, pile 'em up, and after a minute or so there is the galaxy, visible now. That saves me buyng a telescope tha I can't afford and have nowhere to keep. I got what I wanted. I, me, myself, have "got" it. Big thrill in getting it, because I knew it was there from books, software, the Net etc. But I couldn't see it and that was a frustration. Frustration now diminished greatly.

On the "pick on the imagers" side of it, again with no disrespect at all meant, I can look at Saturn through the 'scope and see the Cassini division, the moons, the colours and that IS a thrill. Stick on the DSLR and snap away and I can't get all of those in the image, without serious messing with the results. The raw experience is better than what can be conveyed in an image in this case. The Messier things, for me, fall into this category mainly because my sky is not dark enough to be able to see them visually (not that I've seen many yet) unless I'm lucky. I can walk around where I set up the 'scope without fear of falling over stuff because it light enough to see.

My preference is to produce images, basically to pretend that this will justify the expense to my gorgeous chick, but also so that I can look at what I did when it's raining cats and dogs and I can get the feeling of looking down the 'scope again.

Basically we need to recognize, as I'm sure we all do, that this hobby is fascinating because of the diversity of what we can do, and to dismiss one part of it would be ridiculous. This difference of opinion between mainly imagers and mainly visual is actually good for all of us and should be recognised as such. I don't think for a moment that anybody has meant any offence in this thread, but I can see it coming if there are any who are less thick skinned out there.

This reminds me of my Dad who used to grow vegetables in his garden, he thought that growing flowers was ridiculous, but the flower guy won the best allotment prize year in, year out. Neither of them knew that neither of them was "wrong".

Do what makes you happy and let the rest of us do the same, that's all we're doing here isn't it?

Captain Chaos

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Who really cares how we choose to follow our hobbies, each to their own.

I am mainly observing at the moment, but am looking into imaging as an addition.

Imaging can bring out details beyond our eyes capabilities, also seeing an event is wonderful, but the image we capture is a reminder.

nabban

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When I first got into astronomy just being under a velvet black sky with all those diamonds sparkling was magnificent. Then I spoilt it by getting a scope and looking at all the faint fuzzies and the open and globular clusters all the while watching the imagers guiding there piggy-backed wet film cameras for up to an hour. The results they achieved were fantastic and well worth the time and effort they put into them. Then the modified webcams come on the scene and I watched in wonder as a £80 webcam attached to a £2500 Laptop in the freezing cold produced stunning pictures of Saturn and Jupiter all the while I'm plodding along with my eyeball and an eyepiece. Next up comes the CCD camera in many different formats but most needing a laptop which are now much cheaper to buy and a whole host of wires, adapters and power packs to keep the laptop happy all the while I'm still happy just looking and learning the sky. The more I watched the efforts of the imagers with the different set ups I envied them their lasting reminders of what they had been after but then I had spent 90% of my time looking at the wonders in the sky they had spent 95% of their time swearing at some or other part of their set up that didn't work and the other 5% looking at the laptop screen for tracking.

Then with the advent of the DSLR things started to change, still had wires just not connected to a laptop. The laptop was still there to take a look at the nights work after you had packed up. There was a lot less swearing at bits going wrong and more ohhs and ahhs as the images were displayed on the view panel on the back of the camera.

I still do visual whenever our group goes to our dark sight but I must admit envy of all those beautiful pictures, finally it did catch me out and I went over to [glow=red,2,300]THE DARK SIDE [/glow] :lol: and now do imaging as well as visual and still enjoy both.

Kev

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