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I agree

Should Remote Telescopes Users have a separate IOTD contest?

jtrezzo
12 Feb, 2019 21:26
I do think there should be some other categories possibly, but this was a big topic last year and nothing really came of it except that now there is a required field in the technical card to specify what kind of data it is. I do think there should be more reward to the person who set up their equipment in their backyard or traveled (or run it remotely all on their own), captured all of the data, and processed it themselves. Ultimately it is up to the submitters/reviewers/judges whether they deem downloaded data (paid or not) captured by someone else worthy of an IOTD. Should processing alone be worthy of the reward that is an IOTD? I don't know. Personally, more often than not, I am going to pick a slightly less perfect image that was done by a backyard/traveler/own remote over downloaded or pro data as I think it deserves more recognition for the extra challenge and work involved.
adamland
13 Feb, 2019 00:18
Ah, the good-old semi-annual IOTD thread. My 2 cents - Don't take IOTD too seriously, and don't overcomplicate it by having multiple categories. Top picks is a good runners-up award that provides broader coverage of images. Don't discount how important processing is, I've seen countless images from amazing, drool-worthy, wallet emptying equipment that don't come close to their potential due to poor processing.
mirkodog
13 Feb, 2019 02:00
You’ve made the hobby more about pixel inspecting..and I even catch myself doing it too.  It’s sad and just makes ppl OCD.  Of course I’ve never gotten a top pick or IOTD, but  I image with someone who has.  It is interesting because I think every image he puts up is superbly awesome.  But then to hear him nitpick his image to death over something I really can’t see seems kinda sad, until it gets top pick of course.  Then I’m happy for him.  Lol. I thought this site was created to act as a crowd source of information, an not a photo contest site.  I joined because it hosted my images at full resolution and wanted to make record of images gathered.
Die_Launische_Diva
13 Feb, 2019 08:36
Adam Landefeld
Ah, the good-old semi-annual IOTD thread. My 2 cents - Don't take IOTD too seriously, and don't overcomplicate it by having multiple categories.
LOL exactly! I would like the site developer to work on more important things, instead of trying to implement the n+1 contest in order to satisfy n contestants/astrophotographers!

Mirko M
Lol. I thought this site was created to act as a crowd source of information, an not a photo contest site. I joined because it hosted my images at full resolution and wanted to make record of images gathered.
Me too, and to support a medium which is more appropriate for our hobby than the mainstream social media (which I dislike for their very low signal-to-noise ratio).

Much ink has been spilled on this thread. Let's be more constructive by discussing astrophotography at the comments section of our images. Let's share our knowledge and love for the hobby there.
Edited 13 Feb, 2019 09:32
dkamen
13 Feb, 2019 13:47
Hi,

(first of all let me state that I do not wish to offend anybody, if my tone is too direct please understand that this is basic Greekness smile )

I do most of my imaging with a DX and a Star Adventurer but have also done remote and have mixed data from the two types of equipment.

A few months ago I used itelescope to image NGC 3324&3293. Honestly I was just curious how the thing looks. It's in the southern hemisphere and I have neither the time nor the money for traveling to Australia. So, the field I had calculated was a bit off and I was missing a corner, basically most of NGC 3293. "No problem" I
thought and reserved some time on the next day. This time the field was right, but the CCD had an issue (ice I believe) and there were smudges all over the place. So I scheduled the next day, with the right field, on another itelescope. However, there were clouds on the next day, and the day after that, and the day after than. Ten days later there were no clouds but a wildfire in the area(!). And then the moon was up. I remember thinking "surely data for this stupid patch exists in one of the large public telescopes" and "it's just a patch, how difficult can it be". I ended up downloading raw FITS data for my missing patch in U,B,V,Ha from the 2m telescope and the 8-chip monster CCD that is operated by ESO in the La Silla observatory. Now let me tell you, processing this kind of data is no walk in the park. It took me one week to figure out how to convert the raw data from 8 chips into continuous photos and then another week of reading about  UBV and spectra and whatnot for properly integrating them and mapping them to RGB, and then a third week for mixing the Ha which I had never processed before and a fourth week to bring everything together and combine them with the original LRGB data from itelescope in a way that made sense.

I liked the image in the end but the whole endeavor  was so exhausting and complicated I decided wide field grainy DSLR photos are good enough for me, thank you very much.  I have nothing but respect for people specializing in this type of processing, I think they are literally making the complexity of the cosmos accessible to the general public and completely disagree with the claim that using remote data is just a matter of "pay and download". And by the way not all of us can afford a fifteen thousand dollar Takahashi and our own private observatory at 1500m elevation in a Bortle zero sky. What is it such a bad thing to rent one? And why is it bad to use public data, including raw data from the grand public observatories (ESO, Hubble and so on) that *actively* encourage people to do so as most of the raw material remains unprocessed? If someone applies a novel kind of processing and reveals a beautiful structure in some long forgotten data set from Hubble, suddenly this is less of a "feat" because the data was not captured with his/her own equipment?

Also the view that remote users belong to a separate category makes two rather arbitrary assumptions, namely that IOTD is
a) a contest and
b) related to the quantitative aspects of an image (SNR, FWHM, magnification, faintest object) that remote data tends to excel at because of superior equipment. Hence the argument goes, remote users have an unfair advantage.
For one thing, if (a) and (b) were correct, the logical conclusion is that remote vs own equipment is not the only distinction, by far. We all know consumer cameras are not the same as cooled CCDs, autoguided goto mounts are not the same as portable manually operated ones, camera lenses are not the same as telescopes, the suburbs are not the same as the top of a mountain and so on.

From what I have seen though, the image chosen daily as IOTD tends not to be about those things. It tends to be more about making an important/interesting/original artistic  or scientific or even philosophical point. Many IOTD are not the kind of pic you aim for when using remote equipment, at all (star trails, planetary, solar, atmospheric phaenomena, even interesting landmarks). The IOTD curators in this site do  an awesome job. I greatly enjoy all  IOTD and the quantitative aspects of the data is the least I care about. smile

As I final note I like to perceive this hobby in general and this website in particular as a joint effort, not as a competition. I don't think the IOTD is "the winner" and the rest of the pics are "the losers".

Cheers,
D.
Deep_Sky
14 Feb, 2019 01:23
Hello guys and girls, how are you? I think all I could say is : I love the night sky. I love the stars, the Moon, planets, galaxies, nebulas, the sounds and even the smell of the night sky…if I could have some high-end Takahashi model scope with AO and FLI proline gear sure Ill take pictures of the night sky. But if I only have  ED 80 and GSO 8" gear and  some +39ºC Canon 450D Ill  (try)  to make some stuff with this gear as well.  Under a pristine dark sky ( I never seen one) or surrounded by dozen led/sodium lamps, Ill try to make a sub. I also would give a try looking at postprocessing; Liverpool, Hubble, Jim Misti, DSS…whatever, the images are public anyway, and anyone could play a little bit. :-) Some time ago (nearly one year) … I have to be aside this hobby…for me it was a very sad and difficult year…its looked like to be forced to be aside something you really like, and you really love… so, its awesome to be part of Astrobin !!! My warm regards, Daniel… smile
Edited 14 Feb, 2019 11:17
Stargaze
14 Feb, 2019 06:47
agree
Chris-PA
14 Feb, 2019 20:25
Joel - I'm one of your biggest fans. I absolutely love your work.

I live under Bortle 7-8 skies (depending on who you ask). After getting a telescope for the first time, it took me about 2 weeks of star hopping before I found M31 (which I'm told many can see with the naked eye). More often than not, my raw data look very crappy. I've got tons of gradients and my flats fail more often than not. I also generally can't get more than 3-4 hours on any target a given night due to trees and other obstructions. It'd take me about 4.5 hours to drive somewhere darker than Bortle 6. I've never even been under anything darker than Bortle 6 in the US and darker than Bortle 4 in Europe with any telescope gear. You said your options were to give up or try something else. I don't agree with that. I probably won't ever win any awards with my galaxy shots, but I still try. Today's IOTD was bought data from Deep Sky West - IC 342 taken with a top of the line camera and a 14.5" RC, likely under nearly perfect conditions. It's wonderfully processed and no doubt deserves special recognition.

But I'd like to show you what you can do with an 8" Newt about 15 km west of Center City Philadelphia: https://www.astrobin.com/375415/

I worked damn hard for a result like that. I reprocessed it countless times, as you can see - and no, of course it's not on the same level (how can it be??). And yet, to an extent, I'm "competing" against DSW data. How is that 'fair'?

So first off: You're wrong that your options were to give up or try something else. Okay - yes, perhaps you wouldn't be as happy with the results or the work that goes into cleaning up some crappy raw data and yes, it's cloudier in NL than where I live. But my light pollution is worse than center city Berlin, so it's probably far worse than Groeningen. You may hit the noise floor from your location on some really faint stuff, but IT IS STILL POSSIBLE to do broadband under light pollution. That needs to be stressed, because I almost gave up listening to people who told me it wasn't possible.

Now, as far as IOTDs and Top Picks go: It's a serious honor and I really do appreciate them as validation for hard work. But ultimately I'm doing AP for no one but myself and the joy of sharing my love of the universe with anyone who wants to view my images. Still, buying DSW data instead of working for it and dealing with the sky conditions you have defeats the whole purpose of doing AP in my mind. The main reason I do AP is to make space more real to me. I can point my telescope (right next to me) and see images of a distant galaxy appear on my screen. Those are photons that hit my mirrors and my camera sensor. They're originating from 'right there' - exactly where my telescope is pointing. Hubble data and data from other scopes just don't have the same effect for me - I mean, when I first saw the Pillars of Creation, I was blown away, but it looked completely unreal - like an abstract painting. That's why it was so important to me to go after that target this past summer - to do *just the Pillars* and compare it to what Hubble did.

Anyway, my whole point is: Space is for everyone, regardless of your sky conditions. If your life situation places you in the middle of New Mexico, that's great. If it places you in New York City, that's life. But no matter what: There are always options for doing AP from home. Are there targets that are out of reach for me? Totally - but so are all southern hemisphere targets. I'd still never want to start buying remote data - I want to photograph the sky above me. And if you want to, you can as well. Clear skies - wherever your scope is located.
Edited 14 Feb, 2019 20:53
mirkodog
14 Feb, 2019 21:10
Chris Sullivan
Joel - I'm one of your biggest fans. I absolutely love your work.I live under Bortle 7-8 skies (depending on who you ask). After getting a telescope for the first time, it took me about 2 weeks of star hopping before I found M31 (which I'm told many can see with the naked eye). More often than not, my raw data look very crappy. I've got tons of gradients and my flats fail more often than not. I also generally can't get more than 3-4 hours on any target a given night due to trees and other obstructions. It'd take me about 4.5 hours to drive somewhere darker than Bortle 6. I've never even been under anything darker than Bortle 6 in the US and darker than Bortle 4 in Europe with any telescope gear. You said your options were to give up or try something else. I don't agree with that. I probably won't ever win any awards with my galaxy shots, but I still try. Today's IOTD was bought data from Deep Sky West - IC 342 taken with a top of the line camera and a 14.5" RC, likely under nearly perfect conditions. It's wonderfully processed and no doubt deserves special recognition.

But I'd like to show you what you can do with an 8" Newt about 15 km west of Center City Philadelphia: https://www.astrobin.com/375415/

I worked damn hard for a result like that. I reprocessed it countless times, as you can see - and no, of course it's not on the same level (how can it be??). And yet, to an extent, I'm "competing" against DSW data. How is that 'fair'?

So first off: You're wrong that your options were to give up or try something else. Okay - yes, perhaps you wouldn't be as happy with the results or the work that goes into cleaning up some crappy raw data and yes, it's cloudier in NL than where I live. But my light pollution is worse than center city Berlin, so it's probably far worse than Groeningen. You may hit the noise floor from your location on some really faint stuff, but IT IS STILL POSSIBLE to do broadband under light pollution. That needs to be stressed, because I almost gave up listening to people who told me it wasn't possible.
i share your sentiments.  And congrats on such a spectacular photograph! Man, that’s IOTD all the way.  Way better than some of the stuff I’ve seen out there.

Mirko
 
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