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Live/Real-time Viewing: Is it a form of astrophotography, video astronomy, electronically-assisted astronomy, or something else?

umasscrew39
25 Feb, 2018 12:45
Over a year ago, I got back into astronomy after being away for about 25 years (raising the family) and decided that I wanted to take some images more so than with my old 35mm camera and film of the moon way back when.  I was getting ready to dive into AP and reading about OAG, the various cameras, mounts , etc.  As I kept learning, I stumbled upon an approach that I had not heard of before where unguided, short exposures, no post-processing captures are done for live viewing.  It has been called by various names but I know traditional astrophotographers may be offended when someone doing live/realtime viewing call it AP.  I'm not really sure why and I have read much debating on various other websites on the topic.    I have been posting the past few months but of course my images do not compare to those taking hours to image and post-process.   So, is it a form of AP? Should such captures be called images and should there be a separate section on Astrobin for this technique where those doing the same can share and learn?  Or, does it not matter to anyone?  I'm curious what folks think  about this on Astrobin.
Edited 25 Feb, 2018 13:40
Die_Launische_Diva
25 Feb, 2018 16:21
Hello!

Since you are recording photons from astronomical sources, you are an astrophotographer. You are like a photographer with a Polaroid camera at his hands. Most people here are like photographers with a manual camera, loaded with film which has to be developed in a darkroom. Your method to enjoy astronomy has the advantage of instant gratification. Also it is a great way to introduce astronomy to others: For people unfamiliar with astronomy, most astronomical objects appear as uninteresting fuzzy gray smudges. Live stacking helps showing the colors and structure of many other objects besides the usual suspects (the Moon and Saturn)!

By the way, I think I've seen here images of drawings from people who enjoy spending time at the eyepiece with pencils and paper, or tablets and drawing apps!

Cheers and clear skies!
umasscrew39
26 Feb, 2018 10:24
Great comments and discussion….thank you!!!
Magellen
26 Feb, 2018 14:30
Hi Bruce,

as far as I am concerned, I am interessted in all types of astronomical images. There is more than one way to enjoy our hobby. CS Fritz
umasscrew39
02 Mar, 2018 02:51
Hey CS Fritz- agree!!!!!

And I think over time, I want to explore more techniques.
micvon
02 Mar, 2018 11:40
Die Launische Diva
Your method to enjoy astronomy has the advantage of instant gratification. Also it is a great way to introduce astronomy to others: For people unfamiliar with astronomy, most astronomical objects appear as uninteresting fuzzy gray smudges.

A couple of weeks ago I was at my astronomy club, the sky was clear and all the telescopes were out. It was an open session with many newcomers….many of them had the chance of observing visually the Orion Nebula through a telescope for the first time in their life. Meanwhile I was taking pictures of the same Orion Nebula (30s subs at 800 ISO) and as soon as people realised that I was taking pictures of the same faint object they just saw through an eyepiece, there was a small crowd waiting every 30s for the short preview shown of the camera's display…they were absolutely amazed, especially children!…For the joy of the audience I eventually reduced the exposure time to 5s at 6400ISO so that they could have more views!

So yes,  live viewing it's good, especially for involving beginners
flyingcougar
02 Mar, 2018 16:52
Hi Bruce,

It's great that you're having fun in the hobby and since you are using a camera you can call it whatever you like IMHO. Be careful because you'll soon get hooked, want to see more detail, and move into the realm of post-processing AP! smile

I was fortunate and moved to a very dark site a couple of years ago and recently finished up an observatory. I just got back into AP a few months ago and usually observe visually while capturing data. I have had friends over to observe and fired up the AP rig to shoot short 5 - 10 second frames of the object we were just looking at so they can see what it would be like if we had sensitive bionic eyes. smile  They are always amazed at the difference.

Enjoy and clear skies,
Keith
umasscrew39
03 Mar, 2018 10:48
Hi Keith

I'm actually talking with a company now for a roof observatory dome.   I might get hooked one day on longer exposure times and post-processing to pull out more detail.  Time will tell but this real-time viewing is a blast to do even in my red zone LP area. smile

Thanks for the input and warning about the realm of post-processing AP smile !!!
dvj
03 Mar, 2018 22:49
Hello Bruce,

What you describe is what I call digital observing.    Many times, I have taken short exposures in hydrogen alpha of many dozens of objects in a single night.  I can see more in a 30 second 3x3 binned image of NGC 7000 than a lifetime of observing the same object with an eyepiece.  And as we get older it becomes harder to view.   This is also a great approach to outreach and more importantly it is fun.  I do not discount or discourage visual observing at all. But something about a short exposure  loaded with interesting detail provides a different perspective on our universe.    You know that the folks at Unistellar  have hit upon the idea of  incorporating a small digital camera and viewer in a fully self contained telescope.  I think it is a game changer for amateur astronomy.    The captured data become great digital notes/postcards from the nights observing.
umasscrew39
04 Mar, 2018 10:19
Hi John

Agree that I can see more with a 30s image than with an eyepiece for most DSOs but I also enjoy  both approaches each does provide a unique perspective, as you state.   I did not know  that Unistellar was working on a digital camera contained within a telescope- what a clever idea.  Thanks for the info.
dvj
04 Mar, 2018 16:32
Bruce Donzanti
Hi JohnAgree that I can see more with a 30s image than with an eyepiece for most DSOs but I also enjoy  both approaches each does provide a unique perspective, as you state.   I did not know  that Unistellar was working on a digital camera contained within a telescope- what a clever idea.  Thanks for the info.
The Unistellar telescope has been quite controversial in the amateur astronomy community.  But they raised over $2M during their kickstarter campaign and has huge beginner interest for its simplicity of operation and the all in one approach.   To the knowledgeable imager, it is nothing other than a small color ccd array in a 4-inch alt/az reflector telescope.  It projects the collected data into a small OLED "eyepiece" .   It  builds up the image over a few minutes, automatically stack and processes the output.   For family and friends, it's a quick introduction to the wonders of the universe without all the fuss of more traditional approaches.   Digital observing hits the masses.  http://unistellaroptics.com/product/
glennb44
06 Mar, 2018 04:37
EAA     its called      Electronically enhanced astronomy.    Simply do a reasonable polar alignment and hook up a camera to the laptop.    Astrotoaster, which you download and install after downloading Deep Sky Stacker,  allows you to view the object through the telescope, as per liveview, then you can select to stack and watch as DSS does its job in the background stacking images as they are being taken.  The program also allows you to enhance the image  and  save for later.

There are quite a few youtube videos now.   Needs a fast laptop and small jpeg setting on the camera but results and public enjoyment is fantastic.  Its good for focussing using high ISO, short exposure and some enhancement.

Maybe the days of the eyepiece are passing.
umasscrew39
06 Mar, 2018 04:58
It is only called EAA, actually Electronically Assisted Astronomy,  on Cloudy Nights.   Nobody else uses that terminology that I could find and really makes no sense to me.   Realtime or Live Viewing seems to be more descriptive of what is actually being done.  I have not tried Astrotoaster as Starlight Live software is so easy to use with the SX CCD cameras that I have.  It does everything you need for this approach but only works on SX cameras which is unfortunate.

I also questioned about ever using an EP again but I think they compliment each not - I enjoy both.
 
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