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astrophotography?


Rockstar
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My first question to you is: Why do you do astrophotography?

I thought about it and that was the main reason I upgraded my WO Megrez 72 to a LZOS/APM/TMB 105/650 apo with 2.5” FT focuser.

Maybe in the future I want to do some astrophotography. I need to ascertain a plethora of knowledge before I end up with an image of acceptable quality.

I read some internet articles about astrophotography but to be honest, I think by myself…. NOT AGAIN!... I spent many years to gather knowledge on celestial events, scopes, eyepieces, mounts etc. and finally I have what I want… not necessarily what I need J

Now I have to read and do research all over again just because I want to take some pics! There are times that I think, don’t do astrophotography, don’t waste time setting-up computers, mounts, camera’s. Stop fiddling and start gazing! I will be missing events…

When I go to hubblesite.org I can download the most amazing images in ultra high resolution. So can I do better? Nope.

Will it be fun to print my own images? Yes… would be satisfying.

Many of you guys are knowledgeable about this subject, so please tell me… what do you do with you images? Just for your own pleasure? Education? Use it mainly for your avatar or is there a real purpose to this hobby? Are you satisfied with your results? Was it worth spending hours and hours of work to finally print your home made 5’ poster of NGC 6543?

I ask you this just to justify (or not) my own interest in astrophotography :)

My LZOS 105 is amazing to look through and I will be satisfied by just looking through it without taking one picture. But knowing that this optical device is able to project some faint electromagnetic radiation onto an optical sensor and display some very nice pictures, itches J Its like owning a racing car and driving it always at 60mph. Knowing it can do a lot more but don’t have the driver skill to do an 8min lap on the Nurnbergring.

I have seen many images made by amateur astrophotographers but seen better ones from hubble and its free of charge. So why the effort? I know. It’s a hobby… doing things yourselves is satisfying but could discouraging as well when you see better results from the real pro’s. A friend of mine does nothing.. because he sais I can not do this better that the pro’s, so I won’t bother to try and just enjoy their creation. Well, that’s his opinion… So I want to give it a try but need to know, if I will do my best, that I am capable of creating images with satisfactory result.

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Why do I do it? It's a challenge, get it right or partly right and it's very satisfying. Will I ever make Picture of the Week, I doubt it, there are people here who are far more accomplished than me, do I care, no. I appreciate their posting, their little hints and tips, I appreciate their comments about my posts.

So as to your final question “So I want to give it a try but need to know, if I will do my best, that I am capable of creating images with satisfactory result.” Yes, most definitely, trial, error, patience.

Cheers

Neil

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Why do I do it? It's a challenge, get it right or partly right and it's very satisfying. Will I ever make Picture of the Week, I doubt it, there are people here who are far more accomplished than me, do I care, no. I appreciate their posting, their little hints and tips, I appreciate their comments about my posts.

So as to your final question “So I want to give it a try but need to know, if I will do my best, that I am capable of creating images with satisfactory result.” Yes, most definitely, trial, error, patience.

Cheers

Neil

Well said. Sums it up nicely me thinks.:)

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As an astro-photographer, I often ask myself the very same question as it is one of the most frustrating and time consuming pursuits that I have ever taken up - it is also the most rewarding and absorbing and worth every bit of time I spend on it!

I took it up because I was initially somewhat disappointed with the views of deep sky objects as seen through the eyepiece although I have persevered with this and now appreciate observing a little more. However, without a doubt imaging allows you to 'see' so much more and the quest for the perfect image (I haven't achieved that yet!) drives me onwards.

I do it for my own satisfaction but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I enjoy sharing my images with others - I 'store' them all on my website and generally, that is how I view them, I rarely print them out.

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This really is a good question. Okay, I could say that I do it because it is part of what I offer in my business but that would really not be true.

Imaging gives me a relationship with what is out there. As Steve says, you see much less than you image. The process of making an image is what it is all about. This is so true of so many things. Why travel when you can read a travel book? To make your own journey. Ditto creating an astro image.

Besides, it is not true that you can always find a better image. Some kinds of image are not done by the professionals and Damian Peach has probably taken the best Jupiter ever taken from Earth.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I do it because I can. By that, I mean that technological advances have made it possible in my lifetime for a berk like me to take reasonable pics of things that are zillions of miles away. I also have a passion for pictures and art, so the two go hand in hand.

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I have seen many images made by amateur astrophotographers but seen better ones from hubble and its free of charge. So why the effort? I know. It’s a hobby… doing things yourselves is satisfying but could discouraging as well when you see better results from the real pro’s. A friend of mine does nothing.. because he sais I can not do this better that the pro’s, so I won’t bother to try and just enjoy their creation. Well, that’s his opinion… So I want to give it a try but need to know, if I will do my best, that I am capable of creating images with satisfactory result.
The first thing I'd say is that I feel a personal connection to images that I have taken, myself, with my own kit and using my own skills. That connection wouldn't exist if I used a Hubble image.

Secondly, as you've alluded, there is an act of creativity here. It's said that the way to make a sculpture of an elephant is to start with a block of stone and remove everything that doesn't look like an elephant. The same principle applies to digital development of astro photos. You start off with (more or less) a mess and use the software to remove all the elephants that aren't in the object you imaged.

So far as not being able to do as well as the "pros". Well they were newbies too, at one time. While we may not all have the money to spend on professional quality equipment, we can aspire to their level of skill: just as an amateur artist can aspire to be a Michelangelo. Often the pleasure comes from the self-improvement: a feeling of satisfaction that the work you've just finished is better that one you've done previously - that you've learned something from it.

Or it could just be to produce some pretty pictures to show off to your mum, Each to their own.

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My first question to you is: Why do you do astrophotography?

In a nutshell, a DSLR camera of a webcam or a CCD show up a HELL of a lot more detail then the human eye can or will ever see by looking through a telescope.

I think that really just about answers this question.

P.S.~~~i really dont do much imaging (but that will change over the yrs).

Its the whole process of imaging,processing and really getting an image that YOU have created yourself and can keep as a record.

Us observing types see objects for only a few fleeting minutes on any night but the memories last a life time.

Astro imagers must have a shorter memory span then we do to need to keep photographic memories.

LMAO.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I don't know if this is a really daft comparison, but when my brother asks why I bother with all the expense and time trying to take astrophotos when we can see the most amazing Hubble pics online, I ask him why he is learning to play guitar on his beautiful Les Paul, why not just listen to Hendrix. For me you get a deeper feeling doing it for yourself, yes listening to guitar is great but playing it is a different feeling.

For me, the universe and possible mass of life out there blows my mind. I feel really lucky to be able to have the chance to study it a little bit with imaging or viewing.

Edited by Luke
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What a really interesting question. Thank you for bringing it up, I have really enjoyed reading the answers.

I am in the process of branching into this hobby as an addition to my current one of photography. A photography friend asked me this week why I wanted to do it and this was my answer:

When I take a photo of a landscape or building, I know someone else has already taken the same shot. But this will be my effort, my interpretation of what I see. I don't compare my shot but judge it on my ability and how good it is for me. I then get pleasure from it. I see astrophotography as giving me that same pleasure.

Best regards

Chris

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So i can see what i cant see.My deep sky images are pretty naff but i love capturing faint distant galaxies that i just woudnt be able to see visually.

I found that after a while hunting faint fuzzies was pretty dull,you had the satisfaction of finding the object but a faint fuzzy is just that,a fairly uninspiring fuzzy blob but take a photo of it and you see much more.

Edited by saturn5
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So i can see what i cant see.My deep sky images are pretty naff but i love capturing faint distant galaxies that i just woudnt be able to see visually.

That pretty much covers it for me too. I live in a town where the ever increasing light pollution is making observing DSO's trickier and imaging them is my way of 'observing' them with my own eyes.

Tony..

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i see myself as a bit of sponge , i love learning new things it doesn't make any difference how hard they are , knowledge is a great thing and creation is even better , i have only just started in astronomy but eventually i plan to get into the imaging side of things , i have only dabbled at the mo and taken a few pics i know there is peeps here that will take this a lot further than others and will be a lot better than others ..

Dan

ps All the images that have been taken has captured a moment in time and they are gone forever no two pictures will ever be exactly the same , in the end it is each individuals interpretation of how they perceive the finished picture

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Thank you guys for your clear answers.

in my naive opinion i thought "he" had a better scope but what it really was that the imaging sensor captured a wider spectrum of light so thing look much clearer than what i can see through the scope.:)

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My guess is that they wouldnt believe that its possible....

There's nothing quite like "creating" your own image... it probably wont be the best but its yours...

Billy...

Probably for this reason alone, my very first image was of Jupiter only just recognisable but that didnt matter, it was taken by me in my back garden of an object millions of miles away. That one moment of satisfaction could never be taken away even if I never did it again.

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Then of course there is the (largely unspoken) alternative of video (Minitron, Watec etc.) astronomy. For the first time, I can actually "see" objects, in real-time, that would be inaccessible with the sort of telescopes I can handle / afford... :)

When you get a bit decrepit, the idea of observing in comfort (without limbo-like contortions) begins to appeal. LOL. I might even work on a remote observing setup? The images are transient... or can be stored / processed / viewed later etc. :)

Edited by Macavity
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