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Do astronomers actually look through a telescope with the naked eye or do they mostly look the the data generated by telescopes on computers?

Are they mostly working behind the computer and pencil and paper or is it still stargazing?

Do they actually point a red laser to observe constellations or do they do it all on the computer, and lasers that can point us at constellations are more of a gimmick for amateurs?

I’m sure astronomers would need to look under the lens to confirm the computers aren’t processing data that’s wrong. Do astronomers actually trust the algorithms that automatically do data entry from telescope observed data to their notebooks enough that they usually don’t bother to under the telescope until they’ve confirmed something?

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Scientifically there's little to gain when you look through a telescope with your own eyes. Attach a camera to the telescope and you immediately document what you observe and take out the subjective factor from it at the same time and allow careful analysis and more detailed. Additionally you gain improved sensitivity enhanced observation duration and broaden (or narrow) the range of possible wavelengths which allows to gain additional insights.

That said, many professional astronomers still enjoy looking at the sky with their own eyes, be that with or without telescope.

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Many amateurs have put their traditional eyepiece away in favor of the electronic eyepiece.

The camera looks through the telescope the viewer sees the result on a screen. The screen can be anywhere. Beside the telescope or on another continent.

Those caught waving LASERS around the constellations may spend a bit of their time viewing the sky through bars. :)

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    $\begingroup$ I think that astronomers, amateur or professional, who use lasers to point out constellations or other astronomical objects are NOT put in prison. Persons who point green lasers at aircraft can be in trouble with the law, but they are not necessarily astronomers. $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ So, don't go star watching with laser equipment near an airport. Good advice. :-) It does seem that there's a chance for an arrest, though I think most of the laser pointer users who get in trouble point them at planes deliberately. The risk (I think) is pretty low for astronomy use, since dark skies are the most important thing and airports are well lit. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Having looked into this, lasers can be distracting to pilots as far as 3 km distance. Most planes fly higher than that, so if you're away from airports, you should be fine. I think it's a good point, if not strictly an answer, it's a good addendum. skyandtelescope.org/observing/… $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 0:55

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