(IAAC) Re: Who's Afraid of Einstein's Cross?

I got the original message via list-relay but this posting didn't appear
back so I am a bit lost and am posting to a different location.
At 04:43 PM 10/31/98 -0600, you wrote:
>A psychologist friend of mine tells me the human brain has its own very
>image enhancement program. He claims that there are many studies that establish
>that, for example,  a more experienced observer would be expected to see more
>because his brain knows what it is looking for and will "fill in the gaps".
>a real test would be to put a novice at the eyepiece and let him describe
what he
>sees. Reminds me of the audiofiles who claim they can hear the difference
>different speaker cables but can't perform in double blind tests. I am sure
>believes she saw the Cross--whether she actually did is very difficult to
sort out.
>Clear skies,  Andy
>Richard Jakiel wrote:
>> Mel Bartels wrote:
>> >
>> > ...just to point out that Einstein's Cross has been observed by Barbara
>> > with a 20", and I've heard of it being glimpsed in even smaller
scopes... can
>> > anyone else add to this?
>> Doing my scientific best to pose a challenge,
>> Rich Jakiel (resident heretic)
Having tried for Einstein's cross and barely glimpsed the lensing galaxy  I
cannot add much to comments on this object but can on the general theme.
My particular interest is in observing faint comets and have found that the
amount of detail observable in a faint comet increases with the observing
time up to about half an hour. Initially a comet will be a featurelss fuzz
but gradually the intensity variations around the coma (due to uneven
emmisssion from the nucleus (jets rays etc.)) become apparent using
techniques such as averted vision, wobbling the tube. Often, as commonly
reported, smaller details are not visible all the time and need care to
confirm. This of course lends itself to the production of visaual artifacts
especially of the join the dots variety with faint stars which makes
observation of linear features especially tail features difficult and
demanding much greater care.
(some of my drawings are on the Ayrshire Astronomical Society website at 
                   http://www.personal.u-net.com/~kersland/aas   )
It is also very frustrating that there are very few other observers  and the
CCD images have so much poorer brightness ranges than the human eye that
coma features are very difficult to observe in them and there seems little
interest in specialised processing images of faint comets.
However observing the spiral structure in M33 a few nights ago was
encouraging. After using a UHC filter to observe the HII regions I  removed
the filter. Initially the nebula looked like its usual fuzz but quite
abruptly the spiral structure became apparent again (see my posting to
netastrocatalog two weeks ago). Since I could later confirm the apparent
structure by reference to pictures of the galaxy and am not familiar enough
with it for my brain to manufacture the image, this was a bit reassuring. 

Nick Martin
Nick Martin, Bonnyton House, By Ayr, Ayrshire KA6 7EW ,Scotland, UK.
 Latitude 55 24'56" Longtitude 4 26' 00".
"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
 Enwrought with golden and silver light,
 The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
 Of night and light and the half-light, ....." 
    He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by W.B. Yeats