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UK is an ideal location for imaging?


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I guess I'm not the first person to come up with this notion, but having spent around 6 hours yesterday in front of APP/ST/PI/AP it occurred to me that perhaps the UK climate suits my current imaging skill set rather well. If I lived in New Mexico I figured I would have lots of drives full of raw data but would never have the time to process them given my current time allocation is about 3:1 in favour of processing over image capture.

OK, the argument won't stand up to close scrutiny, and the corollary is why am I not  expert processor if I have all this time to devote to the activity,  but it does make feel a little bit better about night after night of grey skies. 

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I saw the title and could only laugh! If it takes 15 days to process each nights data I would agree. Given I get about 2 imaging days per month (none in May, June and July because it's too light), it's about 18 sessions per year. I think I can manage.😂

I would much have the 'too much data' problem.....

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Being in the same situation, like you, I went down the multiscope rig route so at least data is acquired at 2 or 3x the rate and therefore grab what clear opportunities arose. The main advantage is that data *is* acquired at 2 or 3x faster so in theory you should halve or third your target time and projects do get completed ready for processing. Reality for me is that I then revert back to something Olly told me once which was 'data is king' so I tend to acquire much more on a particular target than I normally would, so where is the advantage when there is an obvious £ disadvantage?

For me at least astroimaging is also about the build and the challenge of making it work. The Problems Squared Rule definitely applies though. However, when it works 😀😀😀, then you do get to see where you stand in processing terms, and I have a lot to learn!

In addition, rather than ship some kit to Spain, which would seem a foolhardy exercise just at the moment, I have dipped my toe into the world of Roboscopes, a kind of pay-as-you-go imaging enterprise. We'll see where that goes but given just the £ cost per image from UK it seems good value, but that doesn't give you (well me!) the satisfaction of achieving something totally myself. So for mechanical processing of your own data it seems fine, as it is your own data (you chose and paid for it) but I'm not sure I'll get the satisfaction.
 

So I persevere with UK astroimaging despite the problems and perhaps just because of them as well 🤪.  

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I am perhaps not considered in an ideal position to agree with this statement as I live in Spain and have more clear nights in general than in the UK, but bear with me. 

I imaged with one scope for a number of years and to get sufficient data for an image it was taking me many nights. Then I went to another wider scope, so I could get different data each night and widen my data capture. Hell I thought, I can get a dual set up now on the wide field and get images even quicker. Hey presto! So on an average 8 hour night with three scopes running I was getting in excess of 20 hours data a night. Great!

Then I got data overload and frankly it has to date killed any interest in imaging for upwards of a year. I got so much data and it ended up consuming my life to such an extent that I have less than zero interest. Observatory hasn't been opened in over a year, no processing for equally as much time. Will I ever find the mojo again? I really don't know. I tried to tell myself to just go back to one scope and plod on with the data and perhaps get my love of the hobby back again, but it just didn't interest me. 

I guess what I am saying is that had I not been so greedy and wanting, perhaps I'd still be going with my one scope and enjoying the capture and processing. Had my imaging and data been more limited then I believe I would  still have had an interest. 

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I totally agree with the OP, too much data would be a problem. I currently have six full data sets [Ed. when has a data set ever been agreed to be ‘full’?!!?] sitting on my hard drive waiting to be processed. I just struggle to find the time to sit down for the hours required to do a data set justice. Especially at the moment with so much screen time for everyday life, the last thing I want to do is spend more time at the screen. So, on the one hand, thank goodness it hasn’t been night after night of clear skies in the UK, on the other hand, it is totally depressing that there have been only a handful (at most) of usable imaging nights here since about September / October last year. I open the sitting room curtains each morning, see my observatory and reassure it that it’s time will come soon!

We should all learn from the Sara Parable... it saddens me that such a great astrophotographer no longer feels the desire to open their observatory. Long live cloudy nights and single scope set ups riddled with intriguing problems that need to be solved and when finally working let us enjoy the excitement of the first sub on a new target downloading, eagerly awaited whilst sitting on the sofa in the warm, with an iPad remote desk-topped in to the obsy PC!!!

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The data I manged to get was manageable,  not as much as some but was enough for me.

I also have a vast array of data I had from DSW, most have not been processed.
Trouble is I got tired of processing, not that I was much good at it but it took to much time.

Now I have gone off on another hobby but I'm still interested but only when I feel like it.

Neowise was rather refreshing and did'nt take hours, which was nice.

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Very interesting @tomato  I have found myself mulling over a similar point of view.  With a young family and other activities going on in life, the cloudy nights almost work into the schedule well (although this recent run seems excessive!).  Would I like more clear nights - absolutely.  Would that be ideal or work out well for me... I'm not so sure.

The flip side of course is that knowing you're not limited with clear skies, you can go out at your leisure and for less time (if you want) and still get plenty of data... rather than living with one eye on CO all the time!

Very interesting perspective from @swag72 and a real shame it came to that.  Hopefully a longer break brings the mojo back.

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7 hours ago, swag72 said:

I am perhaps not considered in an ideal position to agree with this statement as I live in Spain and have more clear nights in general than in the UK, but bear with me. 

I imaged with one scope for a number of years and to get sufficient data for an image it was taking me many nights. Then I went to another wider scope, so I could get different data each night and widen my data capture. Hell I thought, I can get a dual set up now on the wide field and get images even quicker. Hey presto! So on an average 8 hour night with three scopes running I was getting in excess of 20 hours data a night. Great!

Then I got data overload and frankly it has to date killed any interest in imaging for upwards of a year. I got so much data and it ended up consuming my life to such an extent that I have less than zero interest. Observatory hasn't been opened in over a year, no processing for equally as much time. Will I ever find the mojo again? I really don't know. I tried to tell myself to just go back to one scope and plod on with the data and perhaps get my love of the hobby back again, but it just didn't interest me. 

I guess what I am saying is that had I not been so greedy and wanting, perhaps I'd still be going with my one scope and enjoying the capture and processing. Had my imaging and data been more limited then I believe I would  still have had an interest. 

Sara, I'm really sorry to hear about your current outlook on AP, I can only say your superb images and website both inspired and informed me on my first steps into AP, I do hope your enthusiasm returns. I would like more clear nights, but maybe you can have too much of a good thing?

After spending an intense couple of weeks on the processing side I have come to two conclusions:

1. I definitely do not enjoy the activity as much as image capture.

2. Because of item 1 I know I will never be as good at processing as I really need to be, given that my datasets are always likely to be down on quality and quantity.

But hey, the night sky is always there, (sometimes not even obscured by clouds) and I still do enjoy the challenge.

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The subject title made me laugh... sorry, but thank you too as I needed a laugh. I'm just finding total lack of clear skies here in UK are leading to less enthusiasm. Makes you feel like you've pointlessly spent thousands on equipment that you can only use properly once every couple of months if you're lucky. Currently experimenting with a dual setup but it adds a lot of complexity which can also lead to less enthusiasm. I can see how you can end up with too much data but mine is completely opposite issue ... no data at all. Makes you think of going down remote scope route but that feels like it might remove part of the achievement of being from your own back garden. 

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18 minutes ago, AbsolutelyN said:

The subject title made me laugh... sorry, but thank you too as I needed a laugh. I'm just finding total lack of clear skies here in UK are leading to less enthusiasm. Makes you feel like you've pointlessly spent thousands on equipment that you can only use properly once every couple of months if you're lucky. Currently experimenting with a dual setup but it adds a lot of complexity which can also lead to less enthusiasm. I can see how you can end up with too much data but mine is completely opposite issue ... no data at all. Makes you think of going down remote scope route but that feels like it might remove part of the achievement of being from your own back garden. 

The images on your website are really fantastic though, congratulations. I would say it's worth it :)

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Or we could try to match supply and demand. The vast amount of imaging data collected from the clear sky areas elsewhere could be outsourced over to be processed by people like me living under the endless cloudy nights in the uk. just thinking about the market forces....

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