Thread: Scope's-R-us
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:56 AM
jase (Jason)
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jase is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 3,916
Yes Peter, we have been over the rules territory before…BUT with little resolve, hence the reason I brought it up again. Thought it may make logical sense for others to express what they deemed as a possible solution to this so called “crisis”. Maybe influence some decisions and ensure the right people (CWAS committee) are well informed. I don’t have an issue either way. Until the rules are rewritten, it’s an open show to deliver the best images by an amateur. In essence that’s what a comp is all about, with a greater effect on public outreach. This, if anything, is the most rewarding/gratifying part. To share your view of the cosmos with all.

The “all my own work” principle appears to hold ground, be it somewhat construed as it can never be all your own work. What happened to those CCD Cookbook plans I had...darn, its now obsolete. Guess, I'll need buy one and hope it doesn't gives me that "distinct" advantage. While "all my own work" is still plausible, it is restrictive to the growth and ongoing support of such a comp considering the trends.

So let’s just recap on the current CWAS rules shall we (key items)…

Rule#2. There will be four sections of entry - amateur, semi-professional, junior (16 and under) and an open themed section. For the purposes of this competition, semi-professional astrophotographers are deemed to be people who are astronomers, professional photographers, or individuals who gain a taxable income in some way from astronomical or photographic work. Hobbyists who occasionally sell their photographs for a nominal sum, but do not gain a taxable income from their hobby, will be deemed amateurs.
OK. This is clear. Unless the entrant of the comp is making money from an activity associated with astronomy, they're deemed as an amateur – simple. The entrant who is the recipient of using a remote scope doesn’t make money from it – he’s spending it! Its no different to buying equipment.

Rule#3. There will be three categories of entry for the amateur section; Wide-field (camera shots), Deep Sky (telescope shots) and Solar System. The semi-professional and junior sections will have one open category each (can be any type instrument or subject). There is a limit of five (5) entries per category per photographer.
"Houston, we have contact"- this is quite a relevant rule – “The semi professional and junior sections will have one open category each (can be ***any*** type instrument or subject)”. Excellent. We now have our remote imaging category defined. Looking good. So, amateur users of remote scopes who are seen as having a “distinct advantage” by some can start expressing their talents with other semi-pro entrants even though they are still amateurs. Ballsy to go up against the semi pro’s but when you as an amateur are using similar gear…bring it on!

Rule#6. In the case of images with multiple authors, the instigator of the image will be considered to be the principal author and the one who "owns" the image. The principal author MUST have performed the majority of the work to produce the image. All authors MUST be identified and named in the entry form along with their contributions to the production of the image.
Sure, using a remote telescope, the person who is acquiring the data is the principal author – he/she chooses the target, framing, filters selection, exposure times – absolutely everything that can be done locally on their own equipment to acquire an data to produce an image and ultimately they also own the data they collect. No need to mention further contributions, hmm, I think its courteous. I specifically mentioned it in the description of my CWAS entry that got an honourable mention. DM even mentioned it out aloud so everyone was aware of the fact. Obviously wasn't looked down upon to pick up an award.

Rule#7. Entries which combine images from professional observatories, taken by professional astronomers for purposes other than creating the entry in question (e.g. the Digital Sky Survey) will be disqualified.
Ah, here we go…images from “professional” observatories or taken by professional astronomers. OK. So that most excellent, but flawed rework of Hubble data doesn’t cut it. Shame…it was in with a chance for a while until you read the small print. The question remains however, are remote rental scopes considered professional? Hmmm. Peter taunted the concept of “Professional” telescopes in an earlier post. What is a professional telescope? Is it something of a certain aperture or strehl ratio of 95%+ or how about only if the telescope has a cooled CCD? A professional telescope is one that is used by professionals right? So an amateur who buys time from another amateur who happened to purchase a high-end telescope magically become a professional? Professional can’t be specifically defined based on instrument. While many of the references in this thread refer to high-end 100k+ imaging rigs, I’ve also seen the other end of the scale such as two 300mm lens in side-by-side configuration used by professionals to validate astrometry calculations. All off the shelf components that the “regular Joe” has access too.

So, to put it bluntly, I don’t see an issue in entering remotely acquired images into an imaging comp. As the rules stand today - I’ll put these images into the semi pro category and give Peter and others a run for their money…At the same time, I’m still deemed an amateur – I don’t earn any revenue from astronomy… so I also have the ability to enter the amateur wide field and deepsky categories when using my own gear (despite the fact my personal rig could be questioned as not having the “amateur spirit” considering its “upload imaging plan and walk away” schematics). So, we’ve hit common ground…
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