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Old 18-08-2008, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
If I had the processing skills and talent of Jase, I would love to work on images taken on remote ‘scopes.

I just love the detailed descriptions and explanations that Jase provides. His passion for doing what he does, doing it so extraordinarily well and his helpful comments in encouraging others also make up the man.

How each one of use chooses to practice our hobby is a personal choice and I respect everyone’s choice.

Cheers

Dennis
Here, here, well said Dennis !
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  #22  
Old 18-08-2008, 10:06 AM
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Lighten up folks. We choose to spend our discretionary money on what we choose. I am sure there are millions of people with point and shoot cameras who think we are all mad or worse, being very extravagant at even having a bottom end DSLR.

I think that renting a high end imaging setup is the way of the future. The more services available the better. I have spent a lot of time and effort imaging from my light polluted site and have now almost reached the theoretical limit by practice and learning from my mistakes..

Narrow band imaging for faint nebular detail and in combination with full colour data will keep me occupied for a while.

When my abilities are better than my equipment I will move in this direction. I don't advise anyone to start at remote imaging without doing the apprenticeship first.

Bert
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  #23  
Old 18-08-2008, 11:15 AM
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As my recent post was the catalyst for this thread created by Peter, it would be wrong for me to not make comment. Besides, I enjoy a constructive and healthy debate.

I do find it interesting the remarks made by Peter – “The only thing I am jealous of is not being able to be at home often enough to use the gear I do have.” Quoted from this thread.

While Peter has the issue of not being at home to use his 14.5”RC on a PME, he also faces problems with disappointing skies, both weather and light pollution related. This raises quite a significant question on the return on investment. It’s lovely to purchase all this “professional research grade gear” (as StrongmanMike puts it), but when you can’t use it or its full potential is limited, one must question the value. I would like to refer to another post made by Brad Moore, co-owner of GRAS. He’s graces us with his presence now and then on this very forum. Brad has undoubtedly crunched some numbers to work on the return on investment. I would highly suggest people read this post - it puts a lot of things into perspective when you enter the serious realm of imaging with high end gear. Personally, I can handle my FSQ not seeing light over a couple of months, but if I was to sink serious money into a higher end rig such as 16” RC, I’d want to ensure it was working for me and maximising its output. I certainly wouldn’t be hosting it in my suburban backyard, but arrange a deal with a pier hosting provider such as Pingelly Heights Observatories or Riverland Dingo Observatories. Its like people who live in mansions, they can obviously afford to have a cleaner come in to do duties. If you’ve got the money to purchase a 16” RC, then you’ve got the money to have it hosted and access it remotely - simple.

Everyone is in this hobby for a reason, be it visual work, love of equipment, comradery at star parties, research, imaging etc. I’ve experienced many of these facets and more, but I’ve found that my passion resides with imaging. While I thoroughly enjoy all facets of imaging, my specific focus is on processing. As I progressively gained experience, I’ve realised that to produce quality images, generally speaking, you’ll spend more time processing the data than you did acquiring it. Make no mistakes, processing is king. Regardless of the optical design and quality, you still need to process the data. Of course, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but in almost all cases you can improve the data you’ve acquired through processing.

With this in mind, I seek ways of acquiring data to process in the most efficient and effective manner. Many take great pleasure to head to a dark sky site, polar align their mount, cool their camera, select a guide star and start imaging. I’m fine with their approach and in most cases it’s the only option for them. I’ve been there and done that, lugging a C11 and Titan to dark sky site for imaging sessions. However, this clearly does not delivery the efficiencies of maximising data acquisition. This in turn led me to purchasing a block of land at a dark sky site to establish a permanent set up I have today. The quest to improve the efficiencies did not stop there; I continue to look to automate the operations and am getting very close. I still need to open up the observatory, but that’s it - I simply upload an imaging plan and walk away. I don’t worry about where the telescope is pointing, if the target is in the frame or whether the camera is focused. Software controls hardware to make it all happen. Now, I can hear many say…where’s the fun in all that…well the truth is there isn’t any. For me, it’s not about the equipment; it’s the processing of data where I experience the most pleasure. My automated set up is actually no different from acquiring data on someone else’s equipment – it’s simply a natural extension to the efficiency process with the added bonus of gaining access to other quality instruments.

I appreciate the qudos for my processing skills that people here recognise. The journey continues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
Plus...and I'm not sure if I have said this before? ...it's cheating IMO if you then enter this proffessionally acquired image in an imaging contest anyway

Mike
I simply can’t resist not latching on to this statement. Hmmmm. Ok. Now that I’ve told you how I go about acquiring data on my own equipment – upload an imaging plan and walk away, is this deemed as cheating? Is my set up now classified as “professional” as it is so automated and not in the “true spirit” of an amateur? Give me a break! Oh wait, its only if you pay for the data….hmmm ok. Let’s put it in another context, the Lightbuckets 24” RC is in Steve’s (CEO of Lightbuckets) “backyard” in Rodeo, New Mexico. He lives onsite at the ranch. He purchased the equipment for his own personal use, but also decided to allow other amateurs to use the equipment for their specific purposes be it imaging or research. So, if Steve was to process the images he took with this own “professional research grade” gear, would he still considered an amateur? Surely…but wait, what if Steve was to provide me with some “free” scope time…this would still make it “amateur” by your definition as I’m not paying. Food for thought.
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  #24  
Old 18-08-2008, 11:57 AM
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No Jase unless you personally collect and decrypt each pixel manually and then massage said pixel it does not belong to you.

I find the hypocrisy here to be paramount (pun intended). For people with top end cameras and mounts etc.. to start to even bring up Jases imaging as verging on "professional" as a pathetic joke. Gee he is better than us! We all hate being beaten at our own game aren't we folks?

At least Jase has always been good enough to give a detailed flow chart of the processing involved with his images. He has always been more than ready with CONSTRUCTIVE criticism of mine and many others efforts no matter how amateurish.

Bert

Last edited by avandonk; 18-08-2008 at 12:11 PM.
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  #25  
Old 18-08-2008, 01:01 PM
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$1000 or what ever it cost for a remote image through a 24 RC that nearly rivals the Hubble at a cost of millions, bargain. I say if you have the skills go for it.

Another way you could look at it is,
1: Drive 3 hours to dark sky, set up,get 4 hours data, clouds in go home.
Fuel, food etc $200.
2: Go next new moon get the results that weekend.
Fuel,food etc $200.
All of a sudden you are up $400 or more in my case as I have to lug the family out for the one image.
So there are unseen costs for us all in doing this hobby. So for people like Jase to spend the big bucks on one image and get the results he did and the ultra-high end gear that was used it does not seem all that expensive in real terms.
Keep up with it, I love looking at those images. But I think when it comes to the amateur comps, there needs to be certain catergories to consider for the type of gear used etc. Just my 2 cents.

Regards Matt.

Last edited by coldspace; 18-08-2008 at 01:15 PM.
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  #26  
Old 18-08-2008, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jase View Post
...........Make no mistakes, processing is king. Regardless of the optical design and quality, you still need to process the data. .................Of course, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but in almost all cases you can improve the data you’ve acquired through processing.
In effect you are saying on one hand processing is everything, yet are having an each way bet by also saying: you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

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.

To illustrate my perspective, I downloaded some freely available .fits data and did my own version of the Helix. In the space of twenty or so minutes got the following result

http://www.atscope.com.au/BRO/images/pn/hubhexpjw.jpg

Is this any less valid than my putting my name to 24" RC data someone else acquired for me? While the end result is not too shabby....I certainly don't believe this particular result is something I can take much credit for.
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  #27  
Old 18-08-2008, 02:13 PM
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You wouldn't be to far off a GRAS capable setup yourself would you Peter?
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  #28  
Old 18-08-2008, 02:15 PM
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My friend Chris borrows my camera to use on his scope.
The pictures are taken.
I go home and process the images.
Are they mine, or his, or are they a joint effort?
I couldn't post them here without giving credit to Chris as well.
After all it was his scope, his mount, he did the alignment, focussing and guiding.
Credit where credit is due.
In my opinion photos submitted into competitions should be the work of the individual, not joint efforts.
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  #29  
Old 18-08-2008, 02:38 PM
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l understand where you are coming from Jeanette but have to disagree. Barb and Dave ( Tamtarn ) are a joint effort, to my knowledge Dave does the majority of capturing and Barb does the processing, surely no conflict of any kind here. we seem to be concentrating on hardware here but if it comes to our input what about software? should we have to write our own?
all we really do is buy what we can afford and put it to it's best use, be that hardware or software and as we all see those that spend the most generally get the best results.
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  #30  
Old 18-08-2008, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
In effect you are saying on one hand processing is everything, yet are having an each way bet by also saying: you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

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.

To illustrate my perspective, I downloaded some freely available .fits data and did my own version of the Helix. In the space of twenty or so minutes got the following result

http://www.atscope.com.au/BRO/images/pn/hubhexpjw.jpg

Is this any less valid than my putting my name to 24" RC data someone else acquired for me? While the end result is not too shabby....I certainly don't believe this particular result is something I can take much credit for.
What’s the point of having good data if you don’t have the expertise to maximise it. Personally, it’s a given that you need quality data if you want a “killer” image, however you can significantly improve mediocre data through processing. More and more mediocre data doesn’t equate to a great image without processing. Of course, there is a limit beyond repair. I’ve seen some disappointing images from RC’s due to processing. Even, some taken myself as I lacked experience. The point being is that quality data doesn’t equate to a quality finished product. The same can be said for processing. When entering the high-end equipment stakes, you are paying for the quality data be it in purchasing equipment outright or buying online time. It is then up to the imager to do the work. This is where it matters, hence my stance is unchanged.

I find your extreme example amusing. No differences in your opinion eh?

So in your presented image,
Did you have any say in how the data was acquired?
Did you have a choice to bin the data?
Could you alter the instrument rotator to change how you wanted the target to be framed?
How about filter selections?
Do you actually know what the composition of the image is, LLRGB, HaR+LRGB?

Did I hear "NO" to all of the above questions?...shame.

“Freely Available” – did you check the copyright information on the data you’ve downloaded…”Free” can come with conditions. You’d better quickly check before authorities come hunt you down. When you ACQUIRE (not simply download) data on rental scopes – YOU OWN that data in it’s entirety and can use it as you please. I should add that there is no requirement to credit where it came from, but I choose to do so.

No differences eh? You sure about that?
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  #31  
Old 18-08-2008, 02:52 PM
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You wouldn't be to far off a GRAS capable setup yourself would you Peter?
Apart from a few IT issues, it's all there.

But let me be clear, I did not start this thread because I have a problem with remote data collection. I can be used to gather some superb imagery...as I illustrated, anyone can download Hubble fits data and process it to their hearts content, and it won't cost you a zac.

You can also pay for data from some pretty slick commercial...in essence..pay per view operators....and also get some great images.

But this is not for me. As for the underlying issue of contest entries and their validity, I wasn't really wanting to raise that old chestnut again.

There are clearly many ways to get great data. Pay per view, pro-data archives, access of you own remote setup, collaborations, or your own backyard scope. I guess it's simply a case of whatever suits the individual.
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Old 18-08-2008, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jase View Post
I simply can’t resist not latching on to this statement. Hmmmm. Ok. Now that I’ve told you how I go about acquiring data on my own equipment – upload an imaging plan and walk away, is this deemed as cheating? Is my set up now classified as “professional” as it is so automated and not in the “true spirit” of an amateur? Give me a break! Oh wait, its only if you pay for the data….hmmm ok. Let’s put it in another context, the Lightbuckets 24” RC is in Steve’s (CEO of Lightbuckets) “backyard” in Rodeo, New Mexico. He lives onsite at the ranch. He purchased the equipment for his own personal use, but also decided to allow other amateurs to use the equipment for their specific purposes be it imaging or research. So, if Steve was to process the images he took with this own “professional research grade” gear, would he still considered an amateur? Surely…but wait, what if Steve was to provide me with some “free” scope time…this would still make it “amateur” by your definition as I’m not paying. Food for thought.
Consider another analogy where in a photography competition you decide to get a professional photographer to take some photo's for you, as they have the best equipment. Not only this, but they have the expertise to use that equipment effectively. They take some photo's and give them to you for free (since he is your mate). You open them up in photoshop, do some processing, and enter them in a competition. Can you honestly say that this entrant is amateur? IMO, it is a collaboration between a professional (someone who earns an income from it) and an amateur, and as a collaboration it should be classed with the professional entrants.
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Old 18-08-2008, 03:29 PM
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What’s the point of having good data if you don’t have the expertise to maximise it.
I really don't find processing good data difficult. The point of my "extreme demo" was exactly that, given Hubble data (archived and squarely in the public domain I understand) it's pretty much a brain dead operation to create an image (in this case SII, OIII and synthetic green from these two) that blows any amateur scope image of the same field.

It's the seeing/tracking/focus/reflections/gradients etc that gives me grief.

Quote:

So in your presented image,
Did you have any say in how the data was acquired?
Of course not, but it's shade's a grey Jase. With pay per view you probably can't ask for CS/AstroDons/Schuller or Baader filters. Or tweak the collimination just that bit more.

With my own system I have *total* control, warts and all....hence when I do occasionally get all the elements to come together, there is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing the resulting image was all my own work.

It can also be argued, as processing software gets more sophisticated, it will simply be a one click operation in MaxIm Ver 12.0 to combine data collected from a metre class RCOS into a perfectly aligned, noise free, dynamically optimized, rip snort of an image. Or to paraphrase from the early space program: the monkey flicks the switch.

Nah...its simply not for me
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Old 18-08-2008, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Kal View Post
Consider another analogy where in a photography competition you decide to get a professional photographer to take some photo's for you, as they have the best equipment. Not only this, but they have the expertise to use that equipment effectively. They take some photo's and give them to you for free (since he is your mate). You open them up in photoshop, do some processing, and enter them in a competition. Can you honestly say that this entrant is amateur? IMO, it is a collaboration between a professional (someone who earns an income from it) and an amateur, and as a collaboration it should be classed with the professional entrants.
Sorry, this is a poor analogy. A professional did not acquire the data...an amateur did using "professional" equipment that was available. Even better still, that amateur processed the data to bring out its beauty. Don't confuse the term "professional" as a person. Steve is an amateur, just like everyone here. Just because he purchased some high end gear for his personal use then decided to rent some time on the scopes does not alter his position.
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Old 18-08-2008, 03:47 PM
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Doh! Jase has a point regarding archived professional data

so for this rip snorter of an image, processed entirely by yours truly

http://www.atscope.com.au/BRO/images/pn/hubhexpjw.jpg

I must also state

"Some/all of the data presented in this paper were obtained from the Multimission Archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute (MAST). STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Support for MAST for non-HST data is provided by the NASA Office of Space Science via grant NAG5-7584 and by other grants and contracts."

There. All better now
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Old 18-08-2008, 03:55 PM
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No differences eh?

I'm afraid your "extreme demo" (hubble rework) is fundamentally flawed Peter. There is a difference between DOWNLOAD and ACQUIRED. With the latter, the imager has choice amongst other attributes.
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Old 18-08-2008, 04:02 PM
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No differences eh?

I'm afraid your "extreme demo" (hubble rework) is fundamentally flawed Peter. There is a difference between DOWNLOAD and ACQUIRED. With the latter, the imager has choice amongst other attributes.
Jase, nah, I don't see the distinction. It all comes down to budget. I'm sure if my surname was Gates, I could buy/acquire a few hours on the Hubble to point its cameras at a point in space that I wanted a closer look at.

I'd then download the data on my Mac
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  #38  
Old 18-08-2008, 04:29 PM
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in all seriousness. How much do you think 3 or 4 hours of hubble time would cost? 10k an hour? That would probably be worth it...
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Old 18-08-2008, 04:36 PM
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in all seriousness. How much do you think 3 or 4 hours of hubble time would cost? 10k an hour? That would probably be worth it...
Nothing.
Best proposal based on quality science wins time.
Thank something jase and Peter aren't on the proposal board.
Nothing would be done.
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  #40  
Old 18-08-2008, 05:34 PM
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Well illustrated Peter

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.

The only issue here is whether your image should be accepted in an amateur imaging contest, the process you employed in actually taking it and constructing an image is not out of order here at all and you or anyone else can use your money as you please, it is not illegal and the results are obviously superb .

Mike
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