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John

Is observational astronomy on the wane ?

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5 minutes ago, Rob Sellent said:

After a few trips around the Sun and looking at them a few dozen times, what then?

So a question for longer term visual astronomers, what maintains your interest and mojo?

Well according to my SW Synscan database I've got 42,900 objects to discover, I think that'll see me out! :) 

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I'm a visual observer except for an odd eclipse photo or Moon shot. However, some 31 years ago, after I got married and "left home" my mother showed me a film canister she found in the freezer and asked if it was mine ( I guess she looked inside).

It was. A roll of hypered tec pan 2415!!

Talk about having neither the gear nor the idea! :)

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Re visiting this thread. Its a tricky one, like anything these days technology is push how we do things. That said there are a lot of people that will sill prefer a book to a kindle!.

Astronomy is a Hobby but also a Science. Astrophotography is also a Hobby that falls into a few categorys - Astro Hobby & Photography Hobby. There's nothing wrong with this. I feel the one actually assists the other in a lot of cases.

Take Astronomy in it professional Scientific capacity.. Visual assisted by numerous types of imaging tech.

I don't feel the Visual Astronomer is on the wane. I find there many more at every age getting interested in this hobby, and to see your first Planet or star cluster is always a wow moment!. Personally I've always tried to explain and investigate (where possible) the back ground to what your looking at. I like the Science side.

People tend to see the Hubble style images and expect the same at the EP. I always point out the realism of expectation here. I also find I get super excited about some of those small fuzzies because I found something that was challenging. I also like to study my star charts and truly like to go off grid and push the envelope on the scope capability's.

Sure I have imaged in lightweight format, and yes it was fun. But my heart is with visual.

Rob   

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I find when I am doing a visual session, I wish I was doing imaging, and when i am doing imaging, I really regret it and wish I was doing visual 😃

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8 hours ago, Rob Sellent said:

I've raised a suggestion along this line in the newcomers thread. If there's interest, perhaps we could run a few visual challenges :)

Speaking of challenges, I've heard imagers say on a number of occassions that one of the problems with visual observing is that under average sky conditions there are only so many targets that can really be seen. After a few trips around the Sun and looking at them a few dozen times, what then?

So a question for longer term visual astronomers, what maintains your interest and mojo?

Thousands of double stars, hundreds if not thousands of clusters, hundreds of galaxies, planetary nebs and perhaps a few dozen nebulae. Same as anyone really 😀

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As Shane says I have been viewing double stars for 3 years now and still only scratched the surface I could spend two weeks solidly on Cassiopeia and still not hit them all. 

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3 hours ago, Moonshane said:

Thousands of double stars, hundreds if not thousands of clusters, hundreds of galaxies, planetary nebs and perhaps a few dozen nebulae. Same as anyone really 😀

..........yes, not to mention hundreds of lunar locations.  And then there's the satisfaction of tracking objects down, also revisiting them.  Addressing the original question, I would say I like the images of astro objects and appreciate the skill in producing them, but doubt I'll travel that path myself.  I suppose I prefer a "fuzzy" I have actually seen to a fine image which I didn't see.  

We all have different approaches and aims, and that's just as it should be!

Doug.

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This evening I looked back to the first entries in my observers diary. I now know I knew little to nothing of the night sky and this is confirmed by the entry... I now know I have little or no knowledge of the night sky.

My second entry is ‘what does a star look like through a telescope?’ ‘Looks like a star, disappointed’. My point is that all of the above thread just shows how breathtaking the night sky is. Whether it is imaged, ep’d, sketched or wow’d at in the dark it is all valid. Sure photography is going to explode as an arm of astronomy if it hasn’t already, as kit becomes more available at decreasing prices.

I saw a documentary on Edwin Hubble a month or two back. I hope my memory is correct but he did his pioneering work at the Mount Wilson observatory in California using the Hooker telescope. I was fascinated to find out that they used glass, large format negatives for imaging Andromeda galaxy. Not one image per glass plate, but the plate was exposed multiple times. In effect stacking images in the 1920’s. So this is no new thing and I feel adds to the overall. Where would be be without Hubble’s work and his name sake space telescope.

I cannot tell you if I will stay visual only, but I do know that as long as I have eyes in my head I will be looking up and through an eyepiece when ever possible.

Marvin

 

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On 29/09/2019 at 22:30, Rob Sellent said:

....So a question for longer term visual astronomers, what maintains your interest and mojo?

1. Seeing stuff that I have not seen before.

2. Seeing stuff that I have seen before, better.

3. Showing stuff to others who have not seen it before.

:smiley:

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On ‎29‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 19:29, cloudsweeper said:

Good points Marvin.  We're all different in our wishes and expectations of course.  As for me, the memories are sufficient, and although non-astro folk care not a jot for faint grey fuzzy patches, they really "do it" for us visual-only astro fans.  I captured galaxy NGC 772 a few days ago, and was awestruck by what I was observing - a galaxy twice the size of our Milky Way.  In my eyepiece.  Fantastic!

Doug.

Having never done any AP (yet), sticking to visual only, it is interesting to consider what makes an impact on me when observing through the eyepiece. A number of occasions come to mind, seeing Jupiter in high magnification revealing cloud bands and the galilean moons, the veil from a dark site, crisp lunar vistas with long shadows.

Oddly enough, and perhaps fortunately considering the limitations of visual astronomy, the less striking objects are often those that have stuck with me the most. I recall vividly the profound feeling of space and time suddenly becoming clear in my mind when seeing a few photons from a distant quasar. The realization that light emitted billions of years ago from the accretion disk of a black hole was destined to be absorbed by my retina in a different part of the universe. The feeling of getting a glimpse of the vast reality beyond the limited point of view that we usually have in our daily lives. Of our place in the universe. Truly a spritual experience. That feeling doesn't come all that often, but when it does it stays with me and is certainly part of the fascination I have with observing the skies.

Edited by davhei
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Re visiting this thread and thank you davhei for your most eloquent contribution. Something has been bothering me. This question is not intended to divide astronomers into different camps as I have respect for ep and photo.

I have been reading the entries and there seems to be a slight under current of defending why we do what we do. My question is this.

Is it more relevant to see an object with your own eye versus taking a picture?

Photography captures so much more, but are there astronomers out there that would think it strange to photograph an object that is possible to see with an EP but have never attempted to look at.

It did occur to me that logic would dictate that astronomers do visual until the eyeball becomes a limiting factor, ie seeing everything possible then moving to astrophotography to expand horizons. However I see many questions from total beginners about buying imaging setups before understanding even the basics.

The question in the third paragraph could be summed up by a recent conversation about the pyramids. I showed a friend some pictures I had taken to show how amazing they were. Friend replied, “I would love to see that some day”.

Marvin

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^^^^^

Can't say I'd detected any lack of harmony concerning different approaches.  Here on SGL we tend to rely on facetiousness and humour when airing our various preferences.

There's no answer to para 3 - it's just subjective.  But I'd rather see a pyramid than a photo of one.  😉

Doug.

Edited by cloudsweeper
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Fair play. The undercurrent thing is that I noticed a slight tendency to justify what people are doing, although justification is not needed as I have already said it is all valid and adds to a collective knowledge.

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What do you mean there is no answer to paragraph three? It’s the number in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy..................?

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1 hour ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

Something has been bothering me....I have been reading the entries and there seems to be a slight under current of defending why we do what we do

I think it's just the nature of language rather than any undertones of defence. At the top of this page 6, for example, I asked a question about what is it that keeps visual observers interested. It was a purely rhetorical question, for I've been a visual observer for more than a decade and understand very well what keeps the mojo alive. Perhaps some of the answers could look like justifying something that has no cause to be justified but I don't think that is the case. It's simply the way the written langauge is expressed when asked such a question. Therein, I feel the use emojis are useful when we can't deal with each other face to face :cussing: 😁  

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On 30/09/2019 at 06:36, Ags said:

I find when I am doing a visual session, I wish I was doing imaging, and when i am doing imaging, I really regret it and wish I was doing visual 😃

Easy answer: while imaging just park your visual scope next to it and do both!

That's why we have two scopes....or more....

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Continual motivation for visual astronomy is simply based on continued learning. Planning is a considerable part of the enjoyment and process, discovering something new and reappraising that which has become familiar. Evolving your approach each season, engages, for myself in a new venture. The simple calming effect, looking through a piece of glass at an object so distant in space time and grasping an understanding for what you are looking at is captivating. The forum is a collective of approaches, as a visual observer it is easy to enjoy and learn from some of the outstanding images that are posted and the patience, dedication from observers drawings. Also to gain awareness, though not necessarily directly influenced, towards new forms combining observing with imaging such as Night Vision, smart phone pictures. A mention to for wide field photography, binocular observing, it is all quite integral. Ultimately you do what you do, that which engages your thoughts and time, it does not matter what someone else's approach might be really, the diversity of topic sections on the forum accommodate all.     

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On 21/09/2019 at 10:44, johninderby said:

I wonder how  future developments will change the observation vs imaging discussion. In a few years you’ll be able to buy a completly automated remote observing setup that you just bring home, open up and plonk down in the middle of the lawn and it sets itself up leaving you to go inside turn on your TV and select whatever you want to look at and just press a button to capture images with no technical knowledge or effort needed. 

Hmmmmmmm 🤔

Looks like somebody has had a go at making an instant AP rig...

https://www.space.com/stellina-smart-telescope-review.html

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2 minutes ago, tomato said:

Looks like somebody has had a go at making an instant AP rig...

https://www.space.com/stellina-smart-telescope-review.html

There's been some discussion of that elsewhere in these parts.

I don't think I've seen that particular review before though.  Is it my eyesight, or do the example images look a bit out of focus?

James

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The images don’t look super sharp to me either. 

With its glossy, minimalist styling it is clearly aimed at the high end gadget market, you could clearly get a much better bang for your buck putting a ‘proper’ AP rig together, if taking images was your primary goal.

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Style over substance? Ideal for taking out onto the balcony of your penthouse. 🙄🙄🙄

Edited by johninderby
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25 minutes ago, tomato said:

The images don’t look super sharp to me either. 

With its glossy, minimalist styling it is clearly aimed at the high end gadget market, you could clearly get a much better bang for your buck putting a ‘proper’ AP rig together, if taking images was your primary goal.

Agreed image quality. Nice concept idea, just not a polished end product to be fair.

Edited by Rob

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1 minute ago, johninderby said:

Style over substance? Ideal for taking out onto to the balcony of your penthouse. 🙄🙄🙄

Agreed John

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One only has to look back in time to those long ago Astronomers who's determination to search the universe, and record their findings for others to study, and glean some understanding about the workings of the heavens inhabitants.  We owe much to those early pioneers, who's determination to complete the tasks they set themselves is greatly admired today.  The likes of Herschel, Messier, Tycho Brahe, and many others never sighed and moaned I'm bored with this. 

"Standing on the shoulders of giants", is an apt  description for those people.      My own take on Amateur Astronomy, is it's more a way of life than a hobby, but of course not a description that is suitable for everyone.

There are times when life's vagaries can interrupt, but the devout astronomer will always be true to himself, and his love of the universe around him.

The best Movies ever produced, will never outdo the shows the night sky puts on for us.

Ron.

Edited by barkis
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On 30/09/2019 at 15:08, cloudsweeper said:

..........yes, not to mention hundreds of lunar locations. 

I have been attempting to estimate the number of objects I've seen of different types and surprisingly the longest list by far is different lunar objects. I had expected it to be double stars.

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