Here come the results from the survey!

jhayes_tucson
07 Mar, 2018 01:12
Salvatore,
First I want to thank your for all the work that you put into the site.  I can appreciate how much time it takes and how hard it is to keep everyone happy.  Furthermore, if it were my site, it would be my rules so I'm fine with that approach.  If I don't like the rules, I'll just leave.  Fortunately, I'm a happy camper.

Second, I'm amused by the fervor over the perceived "unfairness" of remote imaging.  One of the underlying facts that the survey shows is how few folks actually know anything at all about remote imaging.  As one who switched from local to remote last September, I've learned that it's not as easy as most folks seem to think.  Yes, there is an advantage in terms of the number of clear nights and the skies can be very dark but it ends there.  I don't rent time on some preconfigured instrument.  I spent years assembling and configuring my scope, I installed it, I own it, and I run it–every night.  Where I operate, wind is a significant problem and the frequency of nights with good seeing is nowhere what I experienced when I had my scope nearby.  Furthermore, I have to deal with equipment problems remotely.  When frost happens, I can't walk out to the scope with a hair drier to fix the problem.  In that case, the rest of the night is lost.  When something isn't right or breaks, I have to come up with a solution, get on an airplane, rent a car, and spend a few days installing it and testing it.  When a mouse gets into the telescope and chews through the internal wiring, I gotta travel across three states to figure out what happened.  When a computer/electrical problem causes my system to hang periodically, I can't walk out to the scope to see what happened the way I could when the scope was running just outside my door.  Yes, there are some things that are very nice about remote imaging (like being able to get more sleep,) but it's not trivial.

John
Andys_Astropix
07 Mar, 2018 05:56
Hey Salvatore,
Thanks for all your hard work with this, very interesting results smile
As we're going to have two judges assessing IOTD  independently now, is there any reason that Judges images cannot be included anymore for IOTD & Top Picks?

Cheers

Andy
siovene
07 Mar, 2018 06:03
Good observation Andy. I think not! 😁
jtrezzo
07 Mar, 2018 07:48
I agree with what Roberto is saying. I'd like to add though that one factor here probably comes down to the wording in the survey. Usage of the word unfair puts a negative verbiage on it to begin with. If it was worded neutrally as "Astrophotographers with remotely hosted setups should compete in a different IOTD/TP category, etc.", I think the responses would be even more slanted that way. Already 63.2% said they strongly or somewhat agree that it is unfair. Perhaps it is more a misunderstanding or lack of understanding as to how the IOTD works or a lack of options as to other ways it could work to offer alternatives, which would explain why people still say they are satisfied by the current IOTD, despite that opinion of unfairness.

I am interested to know percentage-wise what the results were of the script ran on IOTDs? How much was backyard vs. remote? Given that 82% are backyarders and only 6% have remote hosted, how is that reflected in IOTD? Honestly, to me, seeing good backyard images is much more inspirational than seeing something at a remote site in the desert. I expect amazing things from those and am not surprised when a DSW image is excellent, because it should be. I still would like to see some categories for the IOTD myself.

All that said, thank you Salvatore for everything you do and putting together the survey. Very interesting results and I look forward to the changes, and especially so to see how the new categories pan out in Top Picks.
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 07:58
jtrezzo
07 Mar, 2018 08:18
John Hayes
Salvatore,
First I want to thank your for all the work that you put into the site.  I can appreciate how much time it takes and how hard it is to keep everyone happy.  Furthermore, if it were my site, it would be my rules so I'm fine with that approach.  If I don't like the rules, I'll just leave.  Fortunately, I'm a happy camper.

Second, I'm amused by the fervor over the perceived "unfairness" of remote imaging.  One of the underlying facts that the survey shows is how few folks actually know anything at all about remote imaging.  As one who switched from local to remote last September, I've learned that it's not as easy as most folks seem to think.  Yes, there is an advantage in terms of the number of clear nights and the skies can be very dark but it ends there.  I don't rent time on some preconfigured instrument.  I spent years assembling and configuring my scope, I installed it, I own it, and I run it–every night.  Where I operate, wind is a significant problem and the frequency of nights with good seeing is nowhere what I experienced when I had my scope nearby.  Furthermore, I have to deal with equipment problems remotely.  When frost happens, I can't walk out to the scope with a hair drier to fix the problem.  In that case, the rest of the night is lost.  When something isn't right or breaks, I have to come up with a solution, get on an airplane, rent a car, and spend a few days installing it and testing it.  When a mouse gets into the telescope and chews through the internal wiring, I gotta travel across three states to figure out what happened.  When a computer/electrical problem causes my system to hang periodically, I can't walk out to the scope to see what happened the way I could when the scope was running just outside my door.  Yes, there are some things that are very nice about remote imaging (like being able to get more sleep,) but it's not trivial.

John
John, I don't think anyone is saying it is easy (though it certainly sounds even harder than I imagined after reading your post smile) However all else being equal, when you have access to almost all clear nights, very dark skies, and high altitude, the data is simply going to be better to start with. I believe this is where the "unfairness" sentiment comes from. A lot of it is probably an anti-elitist sentiment as well, given that most people probably can't afford the cost to have a remote setup and do all that traveling.

In that sense, out here in my 18.5 SQM backyard, it's hopeless. I guess my qualm with the process and how I perceive it as "unfair" is that it would just be more fun to have a way to compete with others in the same situation as me, which would be well served by some categories.  I feel like there are plenty of other outlets for "the absolute best of the best" images (NASA APOD, AAPOD2 etc). To me it's more about an element of fun than having some desire to be "the best" - perhaps that is going in a completely different direction than that current IOTD - but I think Astrobin as a community is the perfect place for such a thing.
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 13:36
Jarrett Trezzo
John, I don't think anyone is saying it is easy (though it certainly sounds even harder than I imagined after reading your post ) However all else being equal, when you have access to almost all clear nights, very dark skies, and high altitude, the data is simply going to be better to start with …
As John has explained, it is significantly more difficult setting up a remote rig and keeping it running than it is running a backyard rig.  Indeed, until I tried doing it, a number of these difficulties had never occurred to me.  John has summarised some, but not all of them.

Of course, anyone who sets up a remote imaging facility will choose somewhere where the skies are reasonably clear and the weather is good.  There is, therefore, a geographical advantage.  But, then again, many backyard imagers will have a geographical advantage over their fellow backyard imagers.   And some backyard imagers may have better skies than remote imagers.  Indeed, our Spanish skies seem worse than our UK ones at the moment….

Jarrett Trezzo
A lot of it is probably an anti-elitist sentiment as well, given that most people probably can't afford the cost to have a remote setup and do all that traveling.

I think you may well have hit upon a significant factor - one that has seemed obvious to me from many of the posts on the 'other' thread.  But then, this is about resources and (short of truly dreadful measures) there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that can be done about that.  Again some backyard imagers will have extremely expensive rigs (more expensive than some remote imagers), and others will have more modest equipment - none of this stuff is cheap!!!  It does seem to me that much of the perceived 'unfairness' stems from matters of geography and finance.

As I said before, setting up any sort of astrophotography rig is expensive.  Indeed, for the cost of a relatively modest AP set up, you could get 5 or more years worth of data from a dark sky remote imaging site such as DSW.  If I was starting again, I would probably not buy anything until I had 'downloaded' for a time.  You get processing practice; you get the opportunity to determine what sort of imaging appeals to you; and you get some familiarity with the different bits and pieces of equipment before deciding what you might want to buy for yourself; and so on.

Attempts to divide imagers into different categories seems to me to be doomed to failure and can only (as has been seen in the other thread) lead to division.  There has been something highly distasteful about being lectured by others as to what is and is not the 'one true way'.  This is a 'hobby' not a matter of theology.  Please don't misunderstand me Jarrett: your posts have been entirely reasonable.  I am talking largely about the 'debate' (actually accusations of "cheating" ) on that other thread I keep mentioning.
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 13:44
rob77
07 Mar, 2018 13:49
Steve Milne
Attempts to divide imagers into different categories seems to me to be doomed to failure and can only (as has been seen in the other thread) lead to division.

Not very sure of having understood correctly. Why should categories lead to division? They are implemented even in the well known APofTY.
In quite any sport you have categories, if you weight 85kg you won't fight with someone that weigths 65kg.
This is more or less what is happening here.
And believe me, if I were a remote setup owner I would consider a far more interesting challenge to compete with someone that does the same as me rather than backyarders from SQM-16 skies.
Let's see what happens with the categorization Salvatore is going to implement for TPs.

Cheers
DavideCoverta
07 Mar, 2018 13:53
Steve Milne
If I was starting again, I would probably not buy anything until I had 'downloaded' for a time….  you get some familiarity with the different bits and pieces of equipment before deciding what you might want to buy for yourself;

How can you get familiarity with a telescope if you're a downloader and if you never seen a telescope?
smile
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 13:53
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 14:01
Davide Coverta
Steve Milne
If I was starting again, I would probably not buy anything until I had 'downloaded' for a time….  you get some familiarity with the different bits and pieces of equipment before deciding what you might want to buy for yourself;
How can you get familiarity with a telescope if you're a downloader and if you never seen a telescope?
smile
Ha ha.  Very good.  I doubt anyone who has never seen a telescope would commence astrophotography.  But I certainly would have liked to have seen the images you get from an FSQ 85 before I bought mine (for the record, I sent mine back, but lost time and some money in so doing).  It has been interesting working with a rotator - now that I have, I wouldn't buy one for myself.  You could save a lot of money by trying things from a whole load of DSW rigs before deciding what you wanted to spend your hard-earned on.

EDIT:  Oops.  Forgot the  smile
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 14:02
rob77
07 Mar, 2018 14:08
Steve Milne
But I certainly would have liked to have seen the images you get from an FSQ 85

True but you don't need to subscribe for 1 year at some data provider which roughly costs like 5 rotators to understand if the rotator is good or not.
Just enough searching on astrobin someone with your target equipment and ask for some sample frames smile
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 14:09
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 14:14
Roberto Colombari
Not very sure of having understood correctly. Why should categories lead to division? They are implemented even in the well known APofTY.In quite any sport you have categories, if you weight 85kg you won't fight with someone that weigths 65kg.
This is more or less what is happening here.
And believe me, if I were a remote setup owner I would consider a far more interesting challenge to compete with someone that does the same as me rather than backyarders from SQM-16 skies.
Let's see what happens with the categorization Salvatore is going to implement for TPs.
Categories by definition lead to division.  In your example, boxers fight in different 'divisions' don't they?  The question is whether the divisions are legitimate.  In my view 'remote' vs 'backyard' is not a legitimate division.  Geographical divisions might be appropriate, financial divisions might be aprropriate.  Indeed, it might be appropriate to have divisions based upon one's level of experience or expertise as an imager.  But, even if we wanted to, how on earth do we police such things? Astrophotography is not the only hobby I am involved in where I have heard people complain that other practitioners are 'buying success'.  I don't believe that is true for AP and I don't believe it is true for those other hobbies either.  (And I 'suck' at both the ones I am thinking of!)

Incidentally, I confess to 'committing' downloading.  Furthermore, purely because of the weather factors to which Jarrett refers, I probably have posted more 'downloaded'/'remote' images than I have 'backyard' images (I really cannot be bothered counting them).  I have pulled the wool over the IOTD judges eyes on only two occasions - both times from my 'backyard' rig.  So my own experience is that 'backyard' enjoys a significant advantage over 'downloaded'.  That's only my anecdotal evidence of course, but - hey - what's good for the goose ….

Anyway - the serious point is - divisions must be logical.  We seperate our boxers by how much they weigh (for obvious reasons): we don't seperate them by where (or with whom) they train.
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 14:27
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 14:15
Roberto Colombari
Steve Milne
But I certainly would have liked to have seen the images you get from an FSQ 85
True but you don't need to subscribe for 1 year at some data provider which roughly costs like 5 rotators to understand if the rotator is good or not.
Just enough searching on astrobin someone with your target equipment and ask for some sample frames smile
The rotator was fine.  It was processing all those damn flats that wore me down!!!!     smile
rob77
07 Mar, 2018 14:27
Steve Milne
Categories by definition lead to division.  In your example, boxers fight in different 'divisions' don't they?  The question is whether the divisions are legitimate.  In my view 'remote' vs 'backyard' is not a legitimate division.  Geographical divisions might be appropriate, financial divisions might be aprropriate.  Indeed, it might be appropriate to have divisions based upon one's level of experience or expertise as an imager.  But, even if we wanted to, how on earth do we police such things? Astrophotography is not the only hobby I am involved in where I have heard people complain that other practitioners are 'buying success'.  I don't believe that is true for AP and I don't believ it is true for those other hobbies either.  (And I 'suck' at both the ones I am thinking of!)Incidentally, I confess to 'committing' downloading.  Furthermore, purely because of the weather factors to which Jarrett refers, I probably have posted more 'downloaded'/'remote' images than I have 'backyard' images (I really cannot be bothered counting them).  I have pulled the wool over the IOTD judges eyes on only two occasions - bit times from my 'backyard' rig.  So my own experience is that 'backyard' enjoys a significant advantage over 'downloaded'.  That's only my anecdotal evidence of course, but - hey - what's good for the goose ….

Anyway - the serious point is - divisions must be logical.  We seperate ur boxers by how much they weigh (for obvious reasons): we don't seperate them by where (or with whom) they train.
I don't disagree with you. Categories need some hard work to be created.

There are many cuts that can be done:
- geographical
- finance
- …
- astroimaging type (active on field (backyarders+itinerants), own remote, purchased data, pro data, etc…smile

As I stated in the previous thread, I think that the very last point above (AP type) is the one that fits best for our needs. Just my opinion.
What I don't agree is thinking that they will be harmful without having tested them for a while.
Two years ago we went for big changes and I haven't seen so much fear of drinking a poison like we have now.

Let's see how things go with TPs.

Cheers
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 14:27
Starminer68
07 Mar, 2018 14:52
Great thanks, Salvatore, for your openess and very good discussion, we all enjoy it🤗 Having different tags for backyard astrophoto and remote observatory as well as public data is a good idea and greatly accepted by everybody, I believe. As to me, I like to set up my own rig at night by myself, I have my notebook near the rig, damned, let Toshiba proove that it can withstand -24 C 😲 I like bring back a frozen scope and mount, I like to be outside almost all time despite cold and wind - that is my choice and my hobby. Being an artillery officer by university military training, I love optics, viewfinders, scopes etc -again it is my choice. But not all people are the similar idiots, thanks God! Many people cannot withstand the cold, lifting heavy equipment etc. They are entitled to use the alternative ways such as RO or downloading (do not mix with downshfting smile ) . Making speech short: guys, stop pocking each other with terms “cheater”, “downloader” etc. I am against any segregation in our small tribe of amature astrophotographers, let be united ! Per aspera ad astras  smile
DavideCoverta
07 Mar, 2018 15:05
Adel Kildeev
guys, stop pocking each other with terms “cheater”, “downloader” etc

"Downloader" for you is offensive same as say "cheaters"?

A little bit of difference… but anyway you can find another way to say "people who just process dowloaded data" , if you prefer…  smile

smile
cosmophoton
07 Mar, 2018 15:55
Salvatore, thanks for the quick response and the hard work with the survey!

I would like to say that I have no problems at all categorizing my activities. I think it is fair to enter in a competition with those tags in mind. I do not see that as leading to division, quite the contrary, it facilitates the interaction between different cultures. I respect and appreciate every modality, and understand that each one has its share of problems and advantages. Let's make our hobby fun for everyone!

Cheers!
Starminer68
07 Mar, 2018 16:14
Davide Coverta
Adel Kildeev
guys, stop pocking each other with terms “cheater”, “downloader” etc

"Downloader" for you is offensive same as say "cheaters"?

A little bit of difference… but anyway you can find another way to say "people who just process dowloaded data" , if you prefer…  smile

smile
Davide, you reminded me one fellow who used to say: electrical train and NEVER just train  smile Last weekend I had a fight with a friend of mine, he is an amateur photographer and software engineer, he is a fanatic of Photo Shop, we got high in the dispute and I called him a cheater. He replied: if you use flattener - you are a cheater, if you use digital camera - you are a cheater etc. And his argument has a weight, indeed. So, God made people equal and Borg only - different  smile
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 16:15
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 16:33
Davide Coverta
Adel Kildeev
guys, stop pocking each other with terms “cheater”, “downloader” etc
"Downloader" for you is offensive same as say "cheaters"?

A little bit of difference… but anyway you can find another way to say "people who just process dowloaded data" , if you prefer…  smile

smile
There are clearly grades of offence, but 'downloader' I think is meant pejoratively by some.  Many of those who propose it as a category often find it difficult to use the term without qualifying it with other words such as 'only' or, 'just'.  As such, I believe the intention is to diminish the final achievement.   smile

In the last month, I have finally got my home observatory to a point where I could image from it remotely.  My remote rig in Spain will need to be visited from time to time for maintenance.  So, if I am in Spain sitting next to my 'remote rig', whilst at the same time I am 'remote imaging' from my UK observatory, am I temporarily a 'Backyard' imager for the Spain data and a 'Downloader' for the UK stuff?      smile
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 16:35
jtrezzo
07 Mar, 2018 16:36
Steve you do bring up a good point about the categories. What exactly would make the most sense? Perhaps remote vs backyard isn't it. There are a good amount of backyard or traveling imagers who do image in dark skies, at least somewhat close to the quality of those with remote sites.

I think you then must ask, what is the most important factor in producing the best possible images? I would probably have to say light pollution for LRGB/RGB imaging, though for narrowband the playing field levels a bit. Logically then,  a light pollution zone categories division makes the most sense, perhaps a Bortle 1-4 and Bortle 5-9. A separate narrowband category regardless of LP zone would make sense too. Howeverthat of course relies on the user to report it accurately, and how can it be verified? Given that we have had actual cheaters for the IOTD (I recall a stolen RBA image recently) I'm sure someone will get the idea to cheat.

I don't think financial breakdown of categories makes sense. Reason being, it doesn't matter what your equipment is, you are not going to be able to do anything about your sky quality. Also I've seen plenty of images that are not good with top quality equipment and decent skies.

There's definitely a lot of problems to be considered with the category idea…as much as I like it. Good input from everyone here.
rob77
07 Mar, 2018 16:38
Steve Milne
So, if I am in Spain sitting next to my 'remote rig', whilst at the same time I am 'remote imaging' from my UK observatory, am I temporarily a 'Backyard' imager for the Spain data and a 'Downloader' for the UK stuff?

Categorization is not based on who is producing the image while on what someone is publishing.
If I am a backyard imager but I am processing some purchased data, these latter works will be included in "purchased data" category.

Cheers
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 16:39
DavideCoverta
07 Mar, 2018 16:55
Adel Kildeev
Davide Coverta
Adel Kildeev
guys, stop pocking each other with terms “cheater”, “downloader” etc
"Downloader" for you is offensive same as say "cheaters"?

A little bit of difference… but anyway you can find another way to say "people who just process dowloaded data" , if you prefer…  smile

smile
Davide, you reminded me one fellow who used to say: electrical train and NEVER just train  smile Last weekend I had a fight with a friend of mine, he is an amateur photographer and software engineer, he is a fanatic of Photo Shop, we got high in the dispute and I called him a cheater. He replied: if you use flattener - you are a cheater, if you use digital camera - you are a cheater etc. And his argument has a weight, indeed. So, God made people equal and Borg only - different  smile
smile
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 17:04
Hi Jarrett.  Thank you for your comment.  In my view, the thing that makes the biggest difference to the final outcome is the skill of the processor.  You make a very good point about LP.  I cannot speak with any real authority on LP because I am not too badly affected where I am (although I am by no means dark - ‘dim’ maybe ….)  having said that, I have seen some cracking images from light polluted sites.

The results of the survey and Roberto’s earlier study (reported in the other thread) suggested to me that the IOTD judges were doing a reasonable job of applying a suitable ‘weighting’ to images, such that one produced from (say) Hubble data had to be exceptionally good before it was awarded IOTD.

There are not that many people agitating for change.  I think that that is because most folks agree that the system is not broken.   I support what Salvatore is doing.
rob77
07 Mar, 2018 17:07
Steve Milne
There are not that many people agitating for change.

People don't like too much to write here in the forum. Two years ago, when big changes happened, I remember that we were just the same as here chatting.
What must be taken into account is that once a survey has been proposed, approx. 66% of the site users thinks that the current system isn't fair.
We need to work with this number.
Cheers
Edited 07 Mar, 2018 17:08
DavideCoverta
07 Mar, 2018 17:08
Steve Milne
There are clearly grades of offence, but 'downloader' I think is meant pejoratively by some.  Many of those who propose it as a category often find it difficult to use the term without qualifying it with other words such as 'only' or, 'just'.  As such, I believe the intention is to diminish the final achievement.

yes, think you're right, Steve.

Steve Milne
So, if I am in Spain sitting next to my 'remote rig', whilst at the same time I am 'remote imaging' from my UK observatory, am I temporarily a 'Backyard' imager for the Spain data and a 'Downloader' for the UK stuff?

It sounds not so good as an example on what I tried to say…  smile
Anyway, It doesn't matter!
gnomus
07 Mar, 2018 18:12
Davide Coverta
… Anyway, It doesn't matter!

In the end, Davide, very little does  smile
 
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