Jump to content

1564402927_Comet2021Banner.jpg.a8d9e102cd65f969b635e8061096d211.jpg

Is purely observing a minority pastime now ?


John
 Share

Recommended Posts

Like Francis above, I'm essentially an imager, but once the subs start coming in I like to grab a pair of bins or a small 'frac and just look around. Living in a fairly dark location helps.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jiggy 67 said:

... I don’t think observing is becoming less popular, it’s just the more sedate side of the hobby 😀

 

It certainly can be - I dropped off to sleep in a deckchair on the patio last night waiting for Jupiter and Saturn to rise above the rooftops :rolleyes2:

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mainly visual myself. I think it's natural to assume that those entering the hobby will take advantage of today's tech and also that recording everything these days is the new normal. You only have to look at any audience at a concert to witness a sea of camera phones held aloft. It's relatively easy now to take astrophotos but still difficult, expensive and very time consuming to do it at the highest level.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, skyhog said:

Mainly visual myself. I think it's natural to assume that those entering the hobby will take advantage of today's tech and also that recording everything these days is the new normal. You only have to look at any audience at a concert to witness a sea of camera phones held aloft. It's relatively easy now to take astrophotos but still difficult, expensive and very time consuming to do it at the highest level.

Can’t remember the last time I saw the Royal Philharmonic playing 🤔

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm predominantly visual and I like the immediacy of actually looking at the eyepiece rather than a computer screen. But then it's nice to have some picture to share of a special or famous object and sometimes I want to image things just to make sure they are really there :) Last autumn I wanted to confirm for myself that the Andromeda galaxy is more than just a blob and so one night I imaged it to see if can get the spiral arms. It was very exciting when these showed up after stretching the image in the photo editing software. So I completely get the excitement of imaging, there are lots of technical challenges there which is what I think makes it appealing to many. For me I've decided to stick mostly visual, and keep my DSLR with a T-ring pre-attached just in case :)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to know the age profile of the people who took up astronomy in the last year, versus the longer term picture. Lockdown seems to have generated more interest overall, but it's possible that the demographic proportions have been skewed by both available cash and access to a garden.

For the younger recruits in particular, there would seem to be two competing forces (admittedly generalities, and not true for all) :
(a) a higher degree of interest in, and comfort with using, technology hardware and software, and capacity for assimilating innovation with these
(b) an increased preference for immediacy and immersive experiences

It would seem that (a) might lead more along the imaging route, while (b) might favour visual observing more.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Nik271 said:

.... But then it's nice to have some picture to share of a special or famous object and sometimes I want to image things just to make sure they are really there :) Last autumn I wanted to confirm for myself that the Andromeda galaxy is more than just a blob and so one night I imaged it to see if can get the spiral arms....

I can see the temptation there.

This is a bit of a confession but recently I have occasionally been tempted by these ultra-simple clockwork driven camera mounts to try and stick my DSLR on and try to get something. I think they are branded Omegon ?

So far I've resisted or missed getting a cheap one but maybe I'll try one at some point.

Or are these the devices of the devil that will inevitably lead me down a dark and expensive path ? :evil4:

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pure visual. Many years ago I got involved with making my own scope and motorising it with home brew electronics and stepper motors and the like. Although I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I realised I'd spent than much time on techie stuff that I'd not done any actual observing for a long time. I'd probably enjoy learning AP, but know it would take my eye off the ball again.

I use goto and tracking mostly now, but there's nothing like nudging a dob to counteract the spin of our planet, to make you really feel connected to the universe.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have took a couple of pictures with a smartphone I have been given a bresser MakrOcular full HD camera which I intend to try out but I won't be going the whole hog. 

I really enjoy my time at the eyepiece teasing out the finer details and splitting close doubles and triples and sketching that is how I get the most pleasure but each to their own. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, almcl said:

I wonder if the increasing levels of light pollution in towns and suburbs has an effect on this?

I started imaging because all but the brightest DSOs are invisible from my back garden.  Even mighty Andromeda is just a small, faint grey blob.   With an image I can now see galaxies (my maIn interest) that are completely invisible, even if I pack all the gear into the car and drive the 40 minutes to a dark sky site.  

For those who live away from LED street lights, neighbour's insecurity lights and white painted houses reflecting large amounts of the same, visual must be very satisfying but in my hideously light polluted town, it's more than frustrating.

Yes I think this for me at least was part of recently buying a camera- there's only so many grey smudges you can see before you really want to "see" more. I guess if I lived in Death Valley and owned a huge dob then things would be quite different. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ll always be an imager first and foremost, but I recently acquired a Dobsonian to do a bit of visual now that the imaging rig behaves itself.😉

But third session out, what do I find myself doing? Taking shots of the moon at the eyepiece with my smartphone.

Ah well, I tried…

  • Like 3
  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I’m not seeing many XW, DeLites or Morphei? eyepieces in the recent FLO returns, it all seems imaging related. Maybe there are fewer of us visual observers, or perhaps we are just better at buying the right equipment. 😶

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that in my case when I see something that makes me go wow, i can't help but wish i could get an image of it.

And though i know i could never learn to do the images i see here, it is so tempting. I've said it before and will again, i do this for my pleasure!

The simple images i do now are part of that experience!

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, John said:

I can see the temptation there.

This is a bit of a confession but recently I have occasionally been tempted by these ultra-simple clockwork driven camera mounts to try and stick my DSLR on and try to get something. I think they are branded Omegon ?

So far I've resisted or missed getting a cheap one but maybe I'll try one at some point.

Or are these the devices of the devil that will inevitably lead me down a dark and expensive path ? :evil4:

Don’t do it John!! Stick to what you know and passing it on to everyone on here. The thread you started will become a self fulfilling prophecy if you move to the dark side

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, John said:

I can see the temptation there.

This is a bit of a confession but recently I have occasionally been tempted by these ultra-simple clockwork driven camera mounts to try and stick my DSLR on and try to get something. I think they are branded Omegon ?

So far I've resisted or missed getting a cheap one but maybe I'll try one at some point.

Or are these the devices of the devil that will inevitably lead me down a dark and expensive path ? :evil4:

These devices are not the work of the Devil but more of a plug and play option to capture the experience of your observing session and there is certainly no need to go further if you already have most of the kit anyway.

Alan

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Zermelo said:

It would be interesting to know the age profile of the people who took up astronomy in the last year, versus the longer term picture. Lockdown seems to have generated more interest overall, but it's possible that the demographic proportions have been skewed by both available cash and access to a garden.

For the younger recruits in particular, there would seem to be two competing forces (admittedly generalities, and not true for all) :
(a) a higher degree of interest in, and comfort with using, technology hardware and software, and capacity for assimilating innovation with these
(b) an increased preference for immediacy and immersive experiences

It would seem that (a) might lead more along the imaging route, while (b) might favour visual observing more.

I would of started astronomy maybe 20 years ago after I left university. I read first year astronomy as part of my physics degree, which is mostly data analysis.

I moved to London, and unless you have a car for trips to darker skies or the budget of a small science department and can purchase NV then I think the connection to the night sky is lost. Well for me it was until I moved out of London.

As far as observing the visual experience of watching the night sky is amazing, the only stopper for me is having to set up and pull down every night. If I was to choose between imaging and visual, visual every time. However the only way I can see the same objects as imagers is going down the NV route.

With a) I’d suggest time as well, imaging needs a fair amount of setup.

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great thread! I enjoy both practices; they're almost like different hobbies in many ways but they need not be mutually exclusive.

Definitely agree that SGL is not a great place to judge popularity. I still observe whenever I can, but only rarely get the chance to write it up. My posts on here probably suggest I'm mostly an imager, but it's really the opposite. It's just that images are easily shareable. I'm lucky to have a permanent setup so I can quickly set an imaging run going then get on with the business of enjoying the night sky. I've then got a data set that I can play with when the weather is being less friendly. 

They also stimulate me in different ways.

Imaging is challenging and often hugely frustrating. To achieve good results I need to get on top of a sequence of different processes, often with lots of technical problem solving (which I don't particularly enjoy), and then using software in creative ways to reveal something of the universe (which I do really enjoy) which you can share with others (which I also enjoy). But I need to be in the right mood to do it.

Observing, on the other hand, is only frustrating for me when the weather isn't playing. If it's a clear night, it can be the solution to a filthy mood or the silver lining to a bad day. The process of finding and then observing objects in the night sky I find deeply calming and a wonderful antidote to the daily drudge. And more than once, a bit of Dobsonian therapy has saved my imaging rig from an eBay listing when it's misbehaving!

Reflecting on this, I think that imaging is far more aligned with the spirit of the age, and it would not surprise me if it became the more popular branch of our hobby, but I'll always be happy to keep at least one foot in the visual camp- minority or otherwise.

Oops- I've gone on a bit!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Whistlin Bob said:

..... I think that imaging is far more aligned with the spirit of the age....

That is an interesting comment. Do you mean more aligned with todays social media culture, immediacy of sharing, identity and that sort of thing ?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Zermelo said:

It would be interesting to know the age profile of the people who took up astronomy in the last year, versus the longer term picture. Lockdown seems to have generated more interest overall, but it's possible that the demographic proportions have been skewed by both available cash and access to a garden.

For the younger recruits in particular, there would seem to be two competing forces (admittedly generalities, and not true for all) :
(a) a higher degree of interest in, and comfort with using, technology hardware and software, and capacity for assimilating innovation with these
(b) an increased preference for immediacy and immersive experiences

It would seem that (a) might lead more along the imaging route, while (b) might favour visual observing more.

I agree with this. It is a great hobby for technophiles. When I returned from my decade(s) long hiatus I was shocked by the tech now involved. I arrived here as an amateur astronomer of many years standing. But, boy, had things moved on! I once had a roll of hypered Tech Pan 2415. Long before GOTO. I found it in my parents freezer after my mother died in the  90's. I was woefully unprepared, under skilled and ill equipped to expose it. Hand guiding with cross hairs? Really!!! 

Look at the images from the days of wet film. Ok, Ok, I struggling to compete even with modern tech but in general, imaging is so much more accessible to the hobbyist than it ever was. The results speak for themselves. 

Edited by Paul M
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Paul M said:

I agree with this. It is a great hobby for technophiles......

That is true today, I agree.

Trouble is that, despite a career in IT delivery and support, I'm now more of a technophobe :rolleyes2:

Fortunately, the hobby and the forum still caters for "my type" :icon_biggrin:

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have noticed that as well. Also the classified area seems overcrowded by adverts regarding imaging equipment, far more than what I remember.

Personally, although I worked as a scientist for most of the last decade, regarding astronomy I look for the observing experience and the surprise of seeing what something much much bigger than us looks like. I largely reduced my posts due to lack of time.. very very busy at work and lots of telescope making in my free time. The latter is complete now, so more time for galaxies and planetary nebulae. 🙂

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started out as an observer but was quite dissapointed by the detail of what I could see. Imaging bring out so much more detail and colour. However, I try to keep the imaging as simple as I can and am never going to win any awards with the results. It's nice to share your images with others.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, John said:

That is an interesting comment. Do you mean more aligned with todays social media culture, immediacy of sharing, identity and that sort of thing ?

 

Hi @John- yes, that, and also the trend to needing to have achieved something and 'improved', rather than just be. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.