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WaveSoarer

H-beta filter - worth getting?

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I bought an O-III filter for my 200p a couple of years ago and it was certainly worth acquiring for stunning views of the Veil Nebula. It was a real "magic wand". I'm now thinking of a H-beta filter and I was wondering if it's going to be worth it. I see that some H-betas are recommended for CCD imaging use rather than visual. I see that the Astronomik H-beta filter is good for visual observation, with an 8" scope at the bottom of its suggested aperture range, but it is quite pricey. I would value any opinions positive or otherwise.

Dave

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I may be mistaken but the H-beta filters are recommended especially for viewing the Horsehead nebula , unfortunately you'll need a very dark site and a lot more aperture to see it ...  :embarassed:

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I currently have 2 really good quality H-Beta filters, one on loan (1000 Oaks) and one I have bought (Lumicon). Thus far, my 12" dob has yet to show me one of the objects that these filters are capable of enhancing. I've yet to use them under really dark skies though, to be fair.

If I did not have a very strong desire to detect the Horse Head Nebula visually, I don't think I'd have bought one to be honest. I realise that there is a fair chance that I won't realise this ambition as H-Beta targets seem to be very challenging !

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Ive had a lumicon hb filter for about 5 years now and consider it a valuable addition to my eyepiece box. No it isnt just a horsehead nebula filter. Use it on emmisssion nebula to show detail that just wouldnt be visible otherwise. At starprties or group meets in winter I do like lending it to folks viewing m42 and hearing their surprise at just what it shows.

Also my biggest scope is 6" so you dont need a ton of apeture to use it. Yes if you want to spot the hh then you will need apeture, I first saw it with the hbeta in a c11

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I borrowed a Lumicon Hb filter taking it holiday to darkest Skye. With a 10" Lightbridge I found it a it an overpowering blocking filter compared to my usual simple preferable UHC Skywatcher.

Nick.

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Thanks for your comments. I expect that I would need a larger aperture and some very dark skies to benefit. There is a list of objects that an H-beta would potentially be useful for on this link http://jaysastronomyobservingblog.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/david-kniselys-useful-targets-for-h.html . The horsehead might be quite an over-reach for an 8" in Oxfordshire but I wonder if the any brighter objects (such as the Cocoon nebula) would benefit.

Dave

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Thanks again Phil and Nick. I typed my last message when you commented. I don't have a UHC as I've found that the O-III works for me but perhaps that's something I can also consider - Christmas coming and Mrs Wavesoarer has been fishing for (reasonable) ideas.

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Thanks David. That's a fantastic list and really underscores the differences. It looks like my little eye-piece box is really lacking a UHC filter and it looks like a better investment. I had thought that there was too much of an overlap with the magical OIII but I see from the list that there are certainly gains with the UHC.

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I have a relatively cheap skywatcher hbeta filter - £40 for a new 2" filter. it seems to work well enough but my skies are not really dark enough to benefit. if you have a uhc and oiii already then I'd say get one but if you don't have either of those two, they will benefit you more

furthermore, I have not managed to use the filter for any length in anger due to weather etc.

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The only filter I have is a Lumicon UHC. Great for emission nebulae (Veil etc) and I've seen the Horsehead with it (12" at a dark site). The Lumicon UHC transmits both OIII and H-beta so covers all bases as far as I'm concerned. Most important thing is to have a dark sky, full dark adaptation, and be prepared to spend a lot of time on very faint objects.

The Horsehead itself, by the way, is a very underwhelming object, famous because of photographs and because it's pretty hard to see, but otherwise undistinguished. Nebulae such as M42 or M57 are far more beautiful and can be seen from a suburban back garden through a small scope without a filter.

Edited by acey
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The Horsehead itself, by the way, is a very underwhelming object, famous because of photographs and because it's pretty hard to see, but otherwise undistinguished.

Interesting, would a H- beta wave band filter or similar, perhaps therefore, with the exception of M43, which by accounts it would appear to enhance, create similar slightly underwhelming and challenging to detect views of other noted targets, such as The Cocoon, Flaming Star and California Nebula? That is assuming reasonable aperture is used from a dark sky.

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I'd say don't. I've tried an assortment of filters in our 20 inch Dob from our very dark, fairly high altitude site, and I didn't find the H Beta radically different on the Horse. While it was the best, it was only subtly different from the rest and I doubt it would make the difference in smaller apertures and average sites.

It isn't a magic wand.

Olly

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I'd say don't. I've tried an assortment of filters in our 20 inch Dob from our very dark, fairly high altitude site, and I didn't find the H Beta radically different on the Horse. While it was the best, it was only subtly different from the rest and I doubt it would make the difference in smaller apertures and average sites.

It isn't a magic wand.

Olly

Hi Olly

Interesting, I've yet to try looking at the HH with the filter.

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Hi Olly

Interesting, I've yet to try looking at the HH with the filter.

On the other hand, of course, it might prove its worth under tougher observing conditions. Keep us posted.

Olly

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Using An Orion 2" H Beta and 14" scope we managed to see the HH the other night. It also made the Rosette nebula give up some detail. I did try it on the Cocoon earlier in the year, but only briefly.

If you are not particularly interested in the HH and at your aperture, I would also say that a UHC would be a far better bet.

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On the other hand, of course, it might prove its worth under tougher observing conditions. Keep us posted.

Olly

Hi Olly

Ignore my last post, it should have read "I haven't tried the Horsehead without the H-beta filter" I will give it a go just using an eyepiece. :-)

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Interesting, would a H- beta wave band filter or similar, perhaps therefore, with the exception of M43, which by accounts it would appear to enhance, create similar slightly underwhelming and challenging to detect views of other noted targets, such as The Cocoon, Flaming Star and California Nebula? That is assuming reasonable aperture is used from a dark sky.

M43 doesn't need a filter - it's very bright (which is why it made it onto the Messier list). I've seen the Cocoon, Flaming Star and California Nebulae with the Lumicon UHC and 8-inch scope at a dark site. All extremely difficult. Don't know if H-beta would be any better but I doubt there would be much difference - apart from M43 you're talking various shades of extreme difficulty. Flaming Star and Cocoon nebulae are combined emission/reflection so any filter will reduce the reflection nebulosity - you need to compare views with and without the filter to get a full picture. Cocoon has a long dark nebula attached which you can only see as an absence of background stars - any filter will only make that harder to see. California is the only object apart from the Horsehead that is regularly named as the reason for getting an H-beta.

When buying a filter, bear in mind that not all OIII, UHC or H-beta filters are the same. I've only used the Lumicon UHC. As I recall, the website that compares various filters on lots of nebulae says that if you only buy one filter, buy that one. Certainly that was the advice when I got mine, and it has been good advice. However I don't know if the Lumicon UHC is still available - a quick search of UK suppliers only brought up the Lumicon Deep Sky filter, and I don't know how that compares.

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/lumicon-deep-sky-filters.html

Edited by acey
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I have the 1000 Oaks H.Beta filter which John is currently comparing with his H.Beta Lumicon. To be honest I have failed to see the HH or the California Neb from my home site using my 10" Dob and the 1000 Oaks filter. However, I have seen the HH from the SGL star party site at Lucksall viewing through a 16" Dob and an Astronomik H.Beta filter.

My feeling is you really need a very dark site, the right sky conditions and at least a 12" scope. I know some have seen the HH in smaller scopes but on average you need that extra aperture

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My Lumicon UHC had simply shed all its coatings one day when I took it out of its box. Most upsetting!

Olly

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    • By Stargzalex
      (I'm posting in the eyepiece section, can't find the right one)
      Hello everyone,
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