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Old 18-08-2008, 04:43 PM
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dugnsuz (Doug)
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It seems obvious now that the inclusion of a new category within the major existing Astrophotography competitions, specifically catering for this growing method of imaging would appear necessary to level the playing field for all.
Doug
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  #42  
Old 18-08-2008, 04:47 PM
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I agree with Peter here. My experience is when the basics of this subject are done excellently and the data is great then the processing is very simple and minimal.

Whilst not a general statement but there is some truth to the statement that more processing is needed with less than adequate or good data and far less needed when the data is really high quality.

To me the ideal image really required the least amount of processing as everything in it was so good to start with.

But I do understand you love the processing side of this. It can be very absorbing and several outcomes are possible from the same set of data.



Greg.


[
Jase, I think this is where our respective outlooks differ. I am not saying you are right and I am wrong, but simply that I personally put stock into getting great data far more than I do post processing....as IMHO you can't create detail that isn't there in the first place. i.e. I believe data is king.
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  #43  
Old 18-08-2008, 05:07 PM
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Jase, the following reply you gave to Marcus on your Helix thread seems to support very well why such images really don't fit in well with the amatuer imaging contest ethos.

You said to Markus:

"Setup time, darks flats...Huh? Price is inclusive. You gain access to a calibration library which is refreshed automatically to ensure quality data. Talking quality, you're right, you don't throw any subs away...there's no need too on this gear. Should a problem arise, you'll find many rental scope parties will refund your points. You're paying for quality data on premium instruments - not egg shaped stars or uneven field illumination. This leaves you spend time where its important - the processing."

Not only are you using vastly superior and larger aperture telescopes and operational observatories but all of the imaging aquisition work is in fact done for you, including the provision of all the bells and whistles that make the difference between perfect data and just good data.

With the utmost respect Jase and purely in the context of imaging contest ethos only, I think the only contest that images like your 24" RC version of the Helix should qualify for is a specific "processing contest" and one that is for big proffessional (ie comercial) scopes only, I'm not sure why this sounds so wrong to you?

Mike
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  #44  
Old 18-08-2008, 05:25 PM
jase (Jason)
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Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
Jase, nah, I don't see the distinction.
Ah, the journey up hill is getting hard.

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Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
It all comes down to budget.
Hallelujah, have we seen the photons people? Precisely, it comes down to ones budget and how keen they are to acquire quality data. As I mentioned in my previous post, to obtain quality data you need to outlay some moolah to buy equipment outright or alternatively buy time on some premium instruments. Which comes back to your original post…buy time online or use your own gear. The choice is solely the decision of the individual – no one else. By all means put your head in the sand, just make sure you pluck it out so you don’t get left behind. Trends are emerging; you only need to look around at some of the contenders;
http://www.ironwoodobservatory.com/
http://www.lightbuckets.com/
http://www.global-rent-a-scope.com/
http://www.cosmotography.com/images/rc.html
http://www.gco.org.au/


Not to mention, many, many private operators with top end gear at hosting facilities I previously mentioned (Riverland Dingo, Pingelly and NMSkies) that would be eager to take your money for a few hours. Just as a painter chooses his/her scene they wish to paint, now the imager to determine the target and ideal optical system to acquire it. No one said such services were cheap, but neither is buying your gear outright.
This whole topic I still find very humorous. The quality data you acquire (not “freely available” download) doesn’t magically transform into a masterpiece in front of your eyes. You still need to work for it. Hence, imaging processing is THE critical component regardless if your acquiring the data on a humble rig that’s automated or a remote telescope over the other side of the world.

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Peter Wards HST Helix composition perfectly illustrates where astroimaging contests could go if we are not careful. I know we don't see eye to eye on everything Peter ...but you have illusrtrated the point perfectly.

Jase you just don't get it... what you did with the 24" is only marginally different to what Peter has done mate, sorry (of course Peter Hubbles version was MUCH better ). In fact, the fact that you had some "control" of "your" Hubble makes it even more unfair if anything!

Acording to your argument Jase, in essence Peter should be happily allowed to enter that image in the next SPSP astroimaging contest or the 2009 David Malin awards or any other imaging contest that doesn't specifically preclude such an effort.

As far as I am concerned, the minor differences you highlight are just that, and are of little consequence as far as what the essence of an amateur imaging contest should be.
Well illustrated? You guys are gagging me. Clearly, flawed if you ask me. Read the competition rules Mike – No professional observatory images…uh, that would include the hubble wouldn’t it dah! 24”RC owned by an amateur considered professional? Huh? How about I mortgage a few properties and host one in Pingelly or my own dark sky site, can I still enter the amateur comp or am I too "professional" for you guys?

Mike, you’ve used the term professional quite a lot in previous posts – What’s your definition?



So, Peter/Mike, How about defining those competition rules to end this debate for all time. You’ve both got the strings into the CWAS board to make things happen (via John).


Regardless, nothing is going to stop me doing remote imaging...be it with purchased time or when I complete my own remote set up. As to whether I'll enter them into a comp needs to be determined. Its time to draw the line and think about the categories and definitions...before its too late.
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  #45  
Old 18-08-2008, 05:33 PM
jase (Jason)
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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post

Not only are you using vastly superior and larger aperture telescopes and operational observatories but all of the imaging acquisition work is in fact done for you, including the provision of all the bells and whistles that make the difference between perfect data and just good data.
Its great eh? What more could a keen imager want? Give it a try Mike. I find it interesting that many people who have contributed to this thread have probably never given remote imaging a go. I note Fred is lurking in the shadows. I think its wise to stay low. Let the advocates and imaging enthusiasts fight it out.

Bring it on. errmm I mean bring on the rules.
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  #46  
Old 18-08-2008, 06:20 PM
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I mean bring on the rules.
Thought we'd been over this territory before....but 'ain't it fun getting a spirited debate going?

O.K. so moving right along. Apart from CWAS specifically excluding "professional" telescopes...hence banning my Hubble re-mix ...drat! ...thought it was in with a chance for 09...

...how do you draw the line in the sand?

Simple. I still like the all my own work paradigm (short of building the Universe from scratch)

You want to set up system A: i.e. 'scope, mount, camera, guiders, focusers, filters, dome, PC, software and CAT 5 internet cable at the back of Bourke, then downlaod the results to your cosy suburban office....I am in awe of you!...you should win a prize just for the gutsy effort in making the system work reliably!

You want to just buy time on system A? Then I don't see the difference between a clever research proposal, or a Mastercard authority. ...be it a LX200 or 32" RCOS or Hubble....someone else has done the hard yards.

...and rather like getting someone to run the first 39k's of the marathon for you, then claim, by running the last 1000 metres, you should be able to get the gold if you crossed the line first. This strikes me as being absurd.

If you want to rent a scope 'cos you like processing data from bigger scopes than your capital equipment budget allows. Great!

Claiming the end product as 99% your own? Might as well have someone put a pan/tilt Webcam on top of Everest...then say "hey look at the photo I took from the peak!" Nup. I just don't get it. I want to be the guy who climbed the mountain.
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  #47  
Old 18-08-2008, 06:51 PM
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Oooh dear Peter, what's happening?...I agree with you again!

Jase, noone, not me not Peter not anyone, has said you shouldn't use remote proffessional imaging data acquisition services, many of us just believe that such comercially motivated and heavily assisted imaging is not in the spirit of where we would like amateur astroimaging competitions to move.

Your alternate view may indeed prevail but untill then we are just voicing our opinions, that's all..we still admire and respect your talents as an astro imager.

As to what is proffesional, well, an outfit that includes telescopes that are used to make their owners money by selling time on them and that provides all the raw materials with which to compile an image from, not to mention allowing paid research to be carried out on them too, is quite simply a proffessional or commercial observatory by simple deffinition really, what's so hard to understand here?

Please don't get too stressed, I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from doing remote comercially aquired data collection, it appears to be a great way to get perfect data for some great astroimages, I am not ruling its use out for myself in the future even

Mike
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  #48  
Old 18-08-2008, 08:19 PM
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Dare anyone enter the fray !

The OP raised the point about the matter of preference to methods of data collection and this has veered off to a degree about the ethics of data collection.

Jase entered a competition made a full declaration and the judges judged.
So there cannot be a debate about whether this is right, wrong or indifferent - the judges ruled on their competition accordingly.

But it would be fair to debate if there should be a wider breadth of competition category and just like the legislature catching up with technology paradigm shifts, the competitions possibly need to keep up with technological progress in our field to cater to all facets.
I still think its great that the competition can exist and gain such interest and produce such results.

Not 5 years ago the concept of pay as you go remote imaging was probably not even an amateur astronomers wet dream.
Now they are becoming common and chances are their use will become common place.

When we buy a telescope (god forbid we didnt make it ourselves) - the playing field is immediately unequal - different types of scope, different apertures and different qualities of scopes from different manufacturers perform vastly differently and with vastly differing prices.
Same goes for the mount, the camera, the focusser, the filters, filter wheel, rotator, the guiding, the site . . . and without stating the obvious - everything else to do with it such as PCs, software etc

So to be honest - I do find it difficult to see a really serious distinction - between buying time on a top class setup that a large number of amateurs could in fact buy and replicate at home if they really wanted to (albeit with some sacrifice or higher mortgage).
After all you dont actually need the entire rig that is on offer, just similar scope, similar camera and similar quality mount.

Clearly there are differences - BUT and this is the issue - how different is this really to the more significant difference of buying a scope (whether its great or small) verses making your own - and did you make the mirror yourself or just the OTA etc ?
That is but one example of the huge differentials that exist that could be claimed as distinctions to entry in a competition.

If someone travelled to the high plateaus in South America for a week of imaging verses staying in their local burbs - there is going to be a difference in Image quality.

As time progresses the opportunity to remove what some regard as the mundane part of astronomy and what others (importantly for them) regard as the very essence of amateur astronomy
- making the scope (OTA, Optics etc)
- making the mount
- taking mundane flats and darks yourself or having this done by someone else
- focussing a scope manually or electronically and automatically with temp compensation

So what I am trying to say is that there are degrees of what is acceptable, and of course there are almost as many opinions as there are atronomers) and that the goal posts are shifting (rapidly) from what they were 10 years ago today to now and what will be in the future.
Just as almost everyone wouldn't consider trying to make their own camera, and nor would they consider hand winding their GEM in lieu of a high quality mount with PEC guiding, and how would Goto and guiding have been regarded 10 years ago by the then purists ?

I am not sure any of us could be classed as purists (I am sure there are still some) these days - we are all using lots of tools for the job and most of us were not involved in their manufacture, design or even their settings - we just use all these tools at our disposal to best use to fulfill our respective intentions (whatever they are).
When I say tools I mean the software tools and the hardware tools, the books and atlas's, the image processing software and all the addins designed by third parties, the guiding software etc etc etc

So - Is not the use of a remote imaging site just another tool to use ?
Sure not everyone wants to use one, not everyone wants or can afford to pay for that - just as not everyone can afford a 24" RCOS.
But its just another tool to use for collecting data if that is the aim of the individual.

I am sure the judges will add other categories to their competitions or make an open category, but as time progresses these would need to be refined also - technology and affordability marches ahead and no man will stop it.

Astronomy is not a simple and singular hobby - it is really many hobbies with many vastly different facets bundled into one generic category.
For some its about making the gear and using it, for some its just about exploring the visual sky, for others its the imaging and that includes the science/black art of processing and of course there is much, much more.

I dont think we should be so judgemental with our opinions of what's right and wrong and how others should think and act, but open our eyes to the enormous diversity that this hobby encompasses and be compassionate to the fact that there are many whose interests and passions just so happen to lie in just a few of the niches.

We are all different and we are seeking different things for different reasons and gratifications from our pursuit.

My 2c worth

Cheers
Rally

Last edited by rally; 18-08-2008 at 08:21 PM. Reason: typo
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  #49  
Old 18-08-2008, 08:51 PM
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If you want to rent a scope 'cos you like processing data from bigger scopes than your capital equipment budget allows. Great!
The only way I'll ever aquire high quality data is through GRAS or similar.
I look forward to using the hours I won at Astrofest.
But I still feel that I'm missing out by not actually getting my hands on the scope and doing it all from scratch.
What images I produce will be credited accordingly.
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  #50  
Old 18-08-2008, 09:03 PM
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I cant wait to see what you can do with that time either JJJ.... Are you ready to rock yet or what? and more to the point... have you picked a target??
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  #51  
Old 18-08-2008, 09:56 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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My 2c worth

Cheers
Rally
2c...????? That was a soliloquy man!

Many valid and agreed on points of course

All fun in a discussion, just hope it hasn't upset anyone?

Long live imaging

Mike
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  #52  
Old 18-08-2008, 09:59 PM
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Yeah, at the end of the day, it matters not 'how' you enjoy astrophotography, just that you enjoy it.
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  #53  
Old 18-08-2008, 10:21 PM
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The only way I'll ever aquire high quality data is through GRAS or similar.
I look forward to using the hours I won at Astrofest.
But I still feel that I'm missing out by not actually getting my hands on the scope and doing it all from scratch.
What images I produce will be credited accordingly.
Not quite true.
You can acquire high quality data with limited equipment. It just depends what you want to do with that data. For differential photometry or astronomy you don't need a 24" scope just a consistent detector and good technique. For pretty pictures to perhaps enter in a competition maybe you do need the high end stuff as the debate seems to be based on the pretty pictures.
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  #54  
Old 18-08-2008, 10:29 PM
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For pretty pictures....maybe you do need the high end stuff as the debate seems to be based on the pretty pictures.
Pretty pictures huh? What like this one?

No high end gear here, just the right framing and subject

http://www.pbase.com/strongmanmike20...49061/original

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  #55  
Old 18-08-2008, 11:10 PM
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LOL! That is definitely one image I'd have much prefered to be at my equipment rather than remote imaging!
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  #56  
Old 18-08-2008, 11:40 PM
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LOL! That is definitely one image I'd have much prefered to be at my equipment rather than remote imaging!
Saucy
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  #57  
Old 18-08-2008, 11:41 PM
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Pretty pictures huh? What like this one?

No high end gear here, just the right framing and subject
I didn't see you there Mike!
That's me, front row, last one on the right.
I've put a little weight on since then though.
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  #58  
Old 19-08-2008, 12:29 AM
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RC Scope Pretty Picture Pretty Price

I say "No Way" to wasting my money on Scopes R Us.
Here you go.
For all of you who thought you can't afford a RC telescope.
Andews Communication have launched a new 8 inch RC.
Price $2450. Thats awesome, hopefully the quality will be good.
The price of a couple of sessions at Scopes R Us.
See link below for more details.
http://andrewscom.com.au/site-section-10.htm

Regards
Gerry
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  #59  
Old 19-08-2008, 07:52 AM
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Great thread guys! I've enjoyed watching it grow and change direction... great arguments and examples! It seemed to start simply enough, but perhaps I missed a thread that became the hidden undercurrent relating to competitions. You seem to have a great natural talent for starting these things Peter!

There would seem to be 2 issues woven into this thread. The first is the value of using a remote scope that you buy time on to capture data. In terms of value - that is a personal thing. Peter started all this by simply stating the value wasn't there for him. It's not there for me either at the moment - I would still prefer to spend the money on gear that I can learn to use, and then maybe on sell whehn I've outgrown it.

There's been some good arguments made that buying time has similarities to buying a scope (compared to building your own scope), but like most things. Of course, this all fits into the great grey spectrum from hand building your own scope up to downloading Hubble fits files or SDSS data. This issue is purely one of credit. If you declare what camera and scope (or other data source) you used to capture and what you used to process it, people know where it sits on that spectrum from grass roots to Hubble. There's obviously more QDOS in producing a great image that has more personal involvement.

As for competitions - well that purely depends on the rules for the competition in question. If the rules allow a Hubble data, so be it. If it allows data from a commercial remote scope, so be it.

Ideally, competition rules should reflect reasonable categories to encourage participation and competition in those categories. That's where the skill for the competition organisers comes in... in deciding the categories and rules, to encourage participation.

Al.
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  #60  
Old 19-08-2008, 10:10 AM
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Hey if I could afford to spend a $1k on 2 hours worth of data I could afford to spend $20k on a RC it's all relative

If you've got it spend it, whatever makes you happy

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