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Any Suggestions Viewing Nebulas?


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#1 swholden

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 08:52 PM

I am new at this, so I apologize for asking what may seem like an stupid question to some.

I have a ETX125-AT, loving it.

I have been fortunate to locate and view The Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula and tonight Orion Nebula.
As fantastic as they are, they just appear as a "bluish" haze, which it fine but it there a better way to look at these?

I know the pictures are made using filters. I do have some, but they don't seem to make much of a difference. Either all blue, orange/red, etc. The filters I have came with the Meade Amateur eyepiece kit.

Any suggestions anyone can offer will be greatly appreciated. I'm finding myself staring for hours at the sky (with and w/o a scope now). Even skipped some of the game (Go Sox!) this evening so my daughter and I could see Mars and anything else we could find.

Can't believe I waited this long to explore the heavens! :)
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#2 MistrBadgr

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 07:16 AM

I am giving this advice from my limited knowledge.  If I have left something out or am wrong, I ask that someone more experienced chime in, fill in the gaps, or straighten me out.

There are some filters that can cut out background interference and other light frequencies that may be interfering.  However, you generally have to have plenty of light gathering power to start with in order to have enough light to start subtracting things from.  You will always loose some of the image as you add filters or anything else to the stack of materials in between you and the object.

With my 4.5 inch scopes, I have, in truth, found only a neutral density filter useful when I need to cut down the amount of light when observing the moon.  Any other filter that might help would need to be very light in filtering density, which limits its effectiveness at reducing the unwanted portions of the light you are seeing.  Any improvements with those filters would be more subjective than obvious.

For smaller telescopes, which is what I currently use, the biggest problem is getting enough light to start with.  From what I have experienced, the best way to improve any image except sun and moon are as follows:

1.  Bigger diameter telescopes have more light gathering power due to their increased observing size.  See if you can view a particular object that is giving you trouble through someone else's larger scope.

2.  Going to a site that is darker in terms of light pollution improves things greatly.  The actual object will not have more light. But there will be less interference from human lighting.  The general light level around you will be lower.  Your eyes will adapt to that.  The apparent brightness of the object will be greater because you are not being affected by lighting that you do not want or need.

3.  Elevation makes a difference.  The more atmosphere there is between you and the object, the more material there is to interfere.  This include elevation of the location where you are set up as well as the elevation of the object in the sky.  Looking at a particular object at a time when it is higher in the sky helps just like going to a site at a higher elevation does.

4.  The moon can dominate the sky, just like light pollution.  Try again at a time when the moon is not up.

5.  The weather can have a bigger influence than you might think.  There can be haze that your really do not notice when looking around with your eyes, high thin clouds, etc.  The atmosphere can be unsettled and churning at higher elevations, causing problems.  Monitoring a clear sky clock for your area can tell you when the best times for observation are.  Many astronomy clubs have clear sky clocks set up on their websites.  The information comes from an organization in Canada, I think.  As I write this, I cannot remember the website.  I believe there is a link on the home page of the 4M site.  It is the one with the Canadian flag.  I believe you can look at a list of observatories and find one near you that the "system" calculates the sky conditions for.

OK, I am stopping here.  Someone else add in the things I have left out.

Hope this helps.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#3 swholden

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 08:17 AM

What you said does help. Thanks, and I would love to hear more suggestions.
I am fortunate, in that, I am pretty much in the suburbs and light pollution is not that bad, and I am on top of hill, so that sorts helps in the elevation part I suppose.

I occurred to me that I did not use a filter last night, mainly because I left them in side and didn't feel like going to get them. I have this phobia that someone will run my scope down since I set it up on the cul de sac to get the best views.

Tonight I'll try again with the neutral filter I have, but may consider investing in the Oxygen II filter if people think that will help more.

There was, of course, the added light from the moon, last night as you suggested and I knew that was inhibiting my viewing of this particular Nebula. Tried finding others, but I think I need to train my motor more as it seems to be be pretty far off.

Thanks again for your suggestions. I look forward to more, and I'll try and find that website you mentioned too.
<b>Visit Me at:

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Click to view my sky conditions (Worcester, MA):
<a href=http://cleardarksky.com/c/AnnMrCllgMAkey.html> <img src="http://cleardarksky....cs0.gif?1"></a>

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#4 John S.

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 10:07 AM

Hi,
One thing to keep in mind is that the pictures you see of nebulae and other deep sky objects are ALL done with time exposures. The colour is there, even when you observe them with your telescope, but they will always appear greyish because of the fact that the light is so very faint and our eyes are unable to see any colours. It is not really about filters, but it's all about exposure time. Hope I explained it for you.

John
There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

#5 kanders2

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 06:04 PM

Most used Orion Ultrablock narrowband - emmission nebulas, planetary nebulas.
Orion Skyglow broadband - reflection nebulas, emmission nebulas with star clusters, some galaxies
Oxygen III narrowband - planetary nebulas, Veil, North American, emmission nebulas
Least Used Hydrogen Beta narrowband - North American, emmsiion nebulas.

#6 swholden

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 04:29 PM

Thank you for the suggestions and I will look into all of these.
With the weather getting colder, I don't know how much longer I can stand out in the cold. ??? 45 right now with a slight breeze, so probably looking a < 40. :( Where did the summer go?
So may wait to spring. Gives me time to shop around I suppose.
However, this evening Comet Holmes looked spectacular.
I'm truly enjoying this scope everytime I take it out to view the sky. :) Just the meer fact that the scope tracks that I don't have to touch it, like my other, really makes gazing more enjoyable.
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#7 Bo

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 06:28 AM

just a note..

some/most of the pictures you see are digitized and expanded, colorized and enhanced. Made from multilayered exposures which are combined and electronically magnified.

They are very beautiful, but we cannot see them with a small scope.

Meade sells one of the best packages for making these pictures, but they recommend at least an 8" scope with GPS.

#8 swholden

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 09:55 AM

I found a good deal on a Celestron OIII 1.25" filter.
Can anyone tell me if the threads will fit on my Meade Eye Pieces?
Thanks
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#9 Garand

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 10:43 PM

I own the Celestron OIII 1.25 and the threads are compatible with my Meade and other eyepieces - they seem to be pretty standardized.

Don't give up on winter viewing.  The sky is well populated with objects that won't be visible in summer.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and any cloudless night sees me out and viewing.  Cold is a problem, so I wear the thermal underwear, insulated socks and boots, a wool beanie cap, fingerless gloves and a hooded jacket.  Yep, I look like a total geek, but I stay warm enough to enjoy a few hours of viewing.

Nifty Christmas story:  After we had unwrapped the presents, my son pulled out one last box from behind the tree and said "Uh, Dad, this one is from someone kind of strange".  The box was labled to me from Telemascope (yes, that is my ETX 90's name - another story there).  I unwrapped it and inside there was a new, insulated snow suit.  I guess Telemascope believes that if I am warmer I will spend more time with her.

#10 swholden

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:57 PM

Thanks Garand, and nice story. I should think of a name for mine too. :) I had a suit like that once for hunting. Too bad my body out grew it.  :D

I actually found a Meade OIII (not priced as good, but I assume just as good - about $13 more).
I did find a good deal on a DSI Imager - Color.

Both can be found on amazon. Can't wait until they come.
Of course the weather has been mild these last few days (48 as I type now - and I think warmer tomorrow).
Too bad I won't have them, but I will be hauling the scope out tomorrow night though anyway. Sky permitting.

Cold doesn't bother me too much (being a hunter, standing still for long periods doesn't effect me).

Thanks again for the input. As all inputs, they come greatly appreciated.

Clear Skies to you, and Happy New Year!
<b>Visit Me at:

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Click to view my sky conditions (Worcester, MA):
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#11 Mike7Mak

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:23 PM

I guess I'm a little late to this discussion but...

The ETX line of scopes are Maksutov optical systems and as such have rather long focal lengths. Nothing wrong with that but it is a disadvantage when viewing faint extended objects like nebulae.

You might find that a focal reducer will give you more improvement than filters will. Reducers increase field of view and as a result concentrate the available light into a smaller space making it stand out more noticeably.

This effect will probably make your filters work better as well.

...........Mike

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#12 swholden

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:52 PM

Thanks Mike,
I recently have been toying with the idea of a focal reducer as I just rec'd my DSI the other, and understand it will make any imaging I do better.
The only thing is I need to take a break from my scope accessory shopping or my wife will have me sleeping with my scope instead. ;D
In the interim, I'll experiment with what I have and look forward to expanding my inventory later.
Who knows, if I hit the lottery, I'll be ordering one of those 12" scopes and building by own observatory.
You'll knows it's me when my discoveries are numbered Sxxxx :) (x being the number).
Which reminds me of the seen from Armageddon, but I won't be naming anything after my wife. Maybe my ex-wife since "she's a vicious, life-sucking *&^** from which there is no escape". :)
Sorry had to through that in there since It's the funiest part of the movie, and is space related.
<b>Visit Me at:

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Click to view my sky conditions (Worcester, MA):
<a href=http://cleardarksky.com/c/AnnMrCllgMAkey.html> <img src="http://cleardarksky....cs0.gif?1"></a>

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#13 kanders2

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 08:39 PM

I mostly use Orion Ultrablock (wideband) on emission nebulas and planetary nebulas.  This is my first and favorite! ;D

Next used is OIII narrowband on planetary nebulas, emission nebulas, and the viel.

I sometimes use Orion skyglow on reflection nebulas, nebulas with star clusters, and sometimes galaxies too.

I rarely use hydrogen beta.  But can see california nebula in my 17.5", and very very faint horsehead.  Cocoon forget it - still too dim.

#14 BABFB

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 07:01 PM

Well, guess I'm going to have to get an RCX400 20." Confirming what I already knew after reading the replys to swholden's thread. Anyone have a spare vital organ, or limb to donate for my scope? (joke)
I'm really enjoying my Meade DS 2114, but I just want to see more. And it really does not help after my mom brought me a framed picture of the McDonald Obseratory in West Texas after her visit out there this past week. Now I have to go; something I have always wanted to do.

Burt ;D

#15 kanders2

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 07:05 PM

The 3 nebulas you mentioned are planetary or emission nebulas; hence you should be using a narrowband filter like Orion Ultrablock.  This is my most used filter, followed by OIII, and then skyglow (wideband).
Orion filters always go on sale after XMAS.

I rarely use Hydrogen beta, or the colored filters.




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