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Old 18-01-2019, 08:36 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Does anyone still just "look" these days

With forums full of people imaging I wondered if I am one rare person who just likes to look.

I have all the gear to image but I get more pleasure looking
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Old 18-01-2019, 11:46 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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You're not alone, dare I say that there would be many on here that mainly do visual.
Although I spend a lot of time imaging when out with other club members, at home I do a lot of visual because the light pollution is makes imaging dsos' near impossible, doesn't help visual either but can have fun hunting down double stars even in moonlit nights.
Have 12.5" and 10" newts / dobs for visual observing and sometimes also use 5" and 6" refractors for the moon, planets and doubles. Should also include the PST modded 100mm refractor for solar.
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Old 19-01-2019, 06:45 AM
glend (Glen)
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Haha, you have noticed, eh? Many imagers are obsessive, and it also has a big learning curve, hence there are a lot of forum questions and answers about imaging. Imagers, at least initially, post images for comment/feedback/praise, etc. Frankly if there were no imagers there would be very little traffic on this forum at this time of year. The visual observation people are there, but it also helps to know who they are, as they keep a lower profile and are not as needy for approval as the imagers. Look through the visual sub-forums, you will find them there lurking in the shadows.
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Old 19-01-2019, 09:13 AM
gaseous (Patrick)
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My need for approval is just outweighed by my disinclination to learn anything about imaging, so it's purely visual for me.
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:00 AM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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+1 for visual

but I ws beginning to wonder the same thing
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:33 AM
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tonybarry (Tony)
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The Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group has a number of members who image on a regular basis, but a lot more members who are happy with visual observing.

On a typical night at Linden Observatory (Blue Mountains), we will have three or four people with cameras doing their thing, and maybe ten to fifteen people hanging around the visual scopes (including the Evans 30" dob).

I myself use a camera for occultation observing, but prefer the Evans 30 for the views. Eyes (even old ones like mine) are better for appreciating that which can be seen ... the cameras do well for things which cannot be seen (due to their dimness).

The high cost and technical complexity of imaging is a significant obstacle which many people mention. By comparison, the enjoyment of the night sky via the eyepiece is relatively stress free.

Regards,
Tony Barry, WSAAG
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:44 AM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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I’ll put my hand up as one of the visual observers “lurking in the shadows” to quote Glend. Very active visual observer actually, with a wide range of observing interests. I particularly enjoy chasing observable transient events.
Putting all of my observations down as posts competes time wise with all sorts of other time consuming things. Every now and then I get the motivation to post my observations, but I also follow and enjoy the equipment discussion forums, the imaging forums and the classifieds forms and so on!
It is a shame there is not more posting by visual observers.
It is my experience that imaging has taken over as the dominant activity within amateur astronomy. You see this happening within Astronomical societies, star parties and all astronomy forums. Perhaps the one area still mostly devoted to visual observing is public outreach. I do quite a lot of outreach work and thoroughly enjoy it.

Last edited by Tinderboxsky; 19-01-2019 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:41 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
Haha, you have noticed, eh? Many imagers are obsessive, and it also has a big learning curve, hence there are a lot of forum questions and answers about imaging. Imagers, at least initially, post images for comment/feedback/praise, etc. Frankly if there were no imagers there would be very little traffic on this forum at this time of year. The visual observation people are there, but it also helps to know who they are, as they keep a lower profile and are not as needy for approval as the imagers. Look through the visual sub-forums, you will find them there lurking in the shadows.
:thum bsup:
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:41 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinderboxsky View Post
I’ll put my hand up as one of the visual observers “lurking in the shadows” to quote Glend. Very active visual observer actually, with a wide range of observing interests. I particularly enjoy chasing observable transient events.
Putting all of my observations down as posts competes time wise with all sorts of other time consuming things. Every now and then I get the motivation to post my observations, but I also follow and enjoy the equipment discussion forums, the imaging forums and the classifieds forms and so on!
It is a shame there is not more posting by visual observers.
It is my experience that imaging has taken over as the dominant activity within amateur astronomy. You see this happening within Astronomical societies, star parties and all astronomy forums. Perhaps the one area still mostly devoted to visual observing is public outreach. I do quite a lot of outreach work and thoroughly enjoy it.
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Old 19-01-2019, 08:43 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Sorry for my "wording" being "autistic" sometimes I chose the wrong words and upset people"......... so

What I feel on forums is that they are full of "imagers", showing just how good they are, I will never be one so often feel inadequate
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Old 19-01-2019, 09:05 PM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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I still get a massive kick out of visual observation; can stare at Saturn for hours on end...

love hunting for stuff from my backyard to see how low I can go...

I only recently started imaging; moreso to share what I could see (well sort of coz the images are more detailed than I can see) with good friends who are located interstate a long way from where I am...

I follow a few folk on here for visual stuff to learn how to get the absolute best from the gear I have; there are a number of good threads on checking optics, star testing & challenges for visual observing... I love those, I learn so much about my equipment & what I am looking for/at... I post the odd question in relation to visual observation but, find many of the answers I'm looking for are here already... and those answers don't have to be specific to me individually for me to learn something..

However, I post images because I know buggerall about what I am doing & by asking people to critique what they see, I learn specifically what it is I am doing wrong.. sure, it's nice when people praise your work but, I think that says more about the spirit of this place; a lot of encouragement on this site which is great...

Anyways.. that's my two cents worth, I love both... usually have to decide which one I'm doing for the night because... trying to do both with one scope hasn't really worked for me in the past.. too much time trying to figure out the imaging side, next thing you know it's 2am in the morning...

Cheers
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Old 19-01-2019, 10:15 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
I still get a massive kick out of visual observation; can stare at Saturn for hours on end...

love hunting for stuff from my backyard to see how low I can go...

I only recently started imaging; moreso to share what I could see (well sort of coz the images are more detailed than I can see) with good friends who are located interstate a long way from where I am...

I follow a few folk on here for visual stuff to learn how to get the absolute best from the gear I have; there are a number of good threads on checking optics, star testing & challenges for visual observing... I love those, I learn so much about my equipment & what I am looking for/at... I post the odd question in relation to visual observation but, find many of the answers I'm looking for are here already... and those answers don't have to be specific to me individually for me to learn something..

However, I post images because I know buggerall about what I am doing & by asking people to critique what they see, I learn specifically what it is I am doing wrong.. sure, it's nice when people praise your work but, I think that says more about the spirit of this place; a lot of encouragement on this site which is great...

Anyways.. that's my two cents worth, I love both... usually have to decide which one I'm doing for the night because... trying to do both with one scope hasn't really worked for me in the past.. too much time trying to figure out the imaging side, next thing you know it's 2am in the morning...

Cheers

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Old 19-01-2019, 11:06 PM
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ngcles
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Hi Jeremy & All,

Yes, I like to watch ...

Best,

L.
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Old 20-01-2019, 12:37 AM
Hemi
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Hi all,

I’m over 90% visual. But I’m also an enthusiastic daytime photographer (mainly landscapes), and love technical concepts. I love reading observation reports. Ed from the USA posts some really enjoyable ones, although much less frequently here or on cloudy now.

I also love the equipment and imaging posts as it sates my technical side. I check this and cloudy at least twice a day.

I do a little imaging, mostly all of it is wide field Milky Way Star scapes. (Ties in with landscapes). A small fraction is poor attempts at dso’s. Enjoy it immensely though as it again sates my technical side. I think there are many aspects of large dso imaging that are similar technically and compositionally with landscape photography.

Clear skies.

Hemi
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Old 20-01-2019, 10:32 AM
Scoper (Malcolm)
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So glad you posted this Jeremy; I have started visual observing again after dabbling in imaging for a while. My story goes like this: I bought a Celestron Evolution 6 two years ago as I wanted a Goto telescope to save me getting neck-ache peering through the finder scope while star hopping with a ten inch Dob.
Next came a ZWO asi185 camera after reading about imaging with the Evo range of scopes and it escalated from there. Lots of cursing and frustration later I have managed to get quite a few images that are acceptable to me. Now, in order to progress with imaging I soon realised that I would have to spend a lot more money for some decent gear and I just wasn't prepared to do that as I don't have that sort of money and I'm not that interested.
About a fortnight ago I got out my ten inch Dob and 20X80 binocs for a visual only session and thoroughly enjoyed it despite the neck-ache. No need for Wifi or any other electronics and the frustration that comes with all that stuff.
For me there is nothing to compare with being outside visually observing, making notes and getting that immense feeling of "being a part of it" (I know that's a cliche but it is also true for me).
There is nothing wrong with imaging and many people get enjoyment out of it and I will continue with it now and then but I have to be honest with myself that visual observing gives me the most enjoyment.
By the way, I've started using the Evo 6 for its intended purpose; a visual goto scope; what a great little scope it is too.
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Old 20-01-2019, 09:28 PM
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Ukastronomer (Jeremy)
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This is the problem, these days you are made to fell almost inadequate if you don't image, and if you dare to comment on an image that is in reality crap, or not very good you are jumped on, also if you don't have a full time setup, live in a part of the world with dark skies and no clout (forget Wales UK), then you have problems, not including deeeeeeeep pockets.

I took my scope out on a rare night last year when it was clear (be warned, global warming.............. CLOUDS, and ended up with binoculars sittinn in a chair with a tea
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Old 21-01-2019, 08:34 AM
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Although feeling firmly ensconced in astrophotography right now, the visual remains absolutely vital to me. I still get a massive kick out of it and it’s much easier to transfer a love of the night sky showing others what is up there through an eyepiece. Sure you can say “Look at this Ha sub I just took” but actually pointing a scope at something (I love star hopping to a target and identifying little asterisms along the way) focusing, and finding something new (or revisiting an old friend) is a little more tangible somehow. On a recent trip an 11 year old boy got right into using averted vision and was enjoying a view of the Horsehead nebula! I still marvel at what comes from a camera however and I’m not one who has seen every photographic version of an object so there is still a sense of discovery there. The other part I’ve found interesting is that having imaged objects like Eta Carina (and similar objects visible through a telescope) is that I can start to visually pick out details that I’ve learnt through processing the image. Then there’s sketching, prose descriptions of nights out... For me, the visual is more in the moment and the satisfaction is in the seeing whereas the photographic has an endpoint (sort of, after a million reprocesses) that is the photograph itself.
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Old 21-01-2019, 11:02 AM
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AstralTraveller (David)
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Another 'visual only' observer here. I don't have the energy or inclination to do photography. I operate scientific instruments at work and I really don't want to spend my leisure time stressing about another set of equipment. I just want to wander off into space under a clear sky with a nice wide-field eyepiece.


I've also always lacked a place to do photography; until recently I was in rental houses. I now have my own place and there will be an observatory 'soon' (geologically speaking ) but even then my interest will be in asteroid occultations and variable star photometry - that should provide enough 'instrument stress' to see me through retirement .


I think visual observers are inherently less obvious on a forum than imagers. Unless you are like ngcles and write up comprehensive observing reports, visual observers don't produce any output. Of course we can carry on about eyepieces and observing conditions but that is just a fraction of the discussion generated by cameras, filters, software, tracking, processing artifacts, etc etc etc discussed by imagers. So the DSOs may be seen but the observers are not heard.
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Old 21-01-2019, 01:27 PM
casstony
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[QUOTE=Ukastronomer;1413466], and if you dare to comment on an image that is in reality crap, or not very good you are jumped on, /QUOTE]

The trick is too criticise gently or not at all when you don't like an image, not necessarily easy to achieve for those of us on the spectrum . You can just play it safe and only comment when you like an image.

I was visual only for decades and only recently delved into imaging in the last couple of years. The best aspect of imaging is that it's easy to share the images with family and friends; my images are always more impressive than anything the hubble could take according to certain family members.

I recently reacquired a C11 and the DSO views are very impressive after not having looked through one for a while; M42 and the Tarantula looked great despite the moon.
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Old 21-01-2019, 06:59 PM
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Stonius (Markus)
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I come to Astronomy through visual (doesn't everyone?).

I've taken a detour through the astrophotography thing for a bit.

As mentioned, it's a massive learning curve (but fun, if you enjoy that sort of thing).

I've never been one for sketching, personally, and I love the fact that you can record the moment if it's a transient phenomena, or really pull out detail that the eye cant see, for faint fuzzies.

One day, when I have the astrophotography down a bit, I plan to run through an observing list with my dob while having my photography setup 'follow along', recording what I'm seeing, but also to compare what details I can and can't see through the eyepiece. Sort of like a cross between Astrophotography and Electronically Assisted Video Astronomy.

Eyepatch mandatory, of course.

Best

Markus
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