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DougM43

Crab Nebula, should I be able to see it?

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Hi all, need some help.

Was out observing last night with my new scope (well new to me anyway) (LX90) It's only the second time out with it, the first time was mostly spent lookin at the moon, last night I spent some time with Jupiter and the Orion Nebula I have had telescopes for many years but the variation in objects I have viewed is quite limited so last night I decided that whenever I'm out with the scope I would try to see something new each time, first thing I tried was the horshead nebula, in all honesty I didn't expect to see it and I was right, but I did expect to see something, but nothing just black sky, I checked the pointing accuracy by sending the scope back to Jupiter and it put it dead centre of the 10mm eyepiece, I then sent it to the star Rigel and it put that dead centre also. Went back to the horsehead and still absolutely nothing. I then sent the scope to the Crab Nebula, again nothing, I'm pretty sure I should be able to see this so what am I doing wrong? I'm not sure about the quality of the eyepiece I was using it's an all silver 10mm plossi but has no manufacturers name on it. It seemed very good on Jupiter with a short tube meade Barlow . Should I possibly be getting a much wider field eyepiece for nebulas ?

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I've seen it from a dark site through an 8 inch reflector, but no chance from my light polluted home. I'm more into photography than visual, so perhaps some visual filters will help. I think I'm right in saying that you are better off with a wider view for faint nebulae, you can always try upping the magnification once you find it.

Edited by ArmyAirForce

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Depending on your sky conditions you should be able to see it,just last night i observed it from my light polluted skies with out any filter using a 8" SCT,but it wasnt that easy though i observed it directly.

Edited by paul mc c

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There is much chat on SGL about viewing the Horse Head.  Its sounds very very difficult, but worth researching.  It can still remain elusive for many of us even with the best of knowledge.  The exit pupil of the chosen eyepiece to view it with is a discussed topic.  The other usual variables are key players too. 

With regards to the Crab I have seen it, but that was from outside the city away from the light polluted glow, it does have low surface brightness and even then appeared grey in appearance to the blacker background.

Sometimes moving the scope slightly to very gently wobble and shift the field of view can allow you to distinguish it from the background.  I tried the other night with no success from the city.

Good luck !

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perhaps instead look around Gemini and Auriga for open clusters such as M35, M37 and M36 and try for NGC2392 Eskimo nebula off from Wasat (Gemini), for which a filter may enhance contrast.

I have seen M1 from my light polluted backyard in an 8" SCT, very dim, much better to observe form a dark location and again a filter would help with contrast.

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Horse head is not visible from an f10 8 inch lx 90 unless you're at a proper dark site and have several hours adaption.

M1 is the same though not quite as bad.

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Daughter and I saw the crab nebula for the first time in a darkish location on Saturday night through a Skywatcher 705 mercury refractor, using the supplied 25mm lense. It is VERY small!!! As with most DSO's, dark adaptation and skies definitely help, we didn't spot it the night before from the garden. I expected it to be much bigger, probably as a result of looking at lots of images of it!

Here is a rough screengrab from stellarium that reflects what we saw, it almost appears as a faint star until you spend a little time looking and then make out the differance in shape.

post-27622-0-49401800-1421702999.jpg

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I'm a newbie but I saw it on Friday with quite a lot of nearby lighting, village location, 8" reflector without filters.  It was easier to spot in the 25mm eyepiece than the 10mm in a way: it was a bit bigger than I expected.  When I got home later, (with darker surroundings, funnily enough), it was clearer. 

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Found it on Saturday night with an 8" Dob w/ 25mm ep, moderate light pollution, but I could only barely see it with averted vision. Really looking forward to a chance to drive somewhere dark!

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Hello Doug. If you come up to see us at the Astronomy Centre on a Saturday evening I'm sure we can show you the Crab nebula. Once you've seen it  you will observe it easier in the future. Not a particularly inspiring sight visually considering its fame.  :smiley:

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I can see it with a 10" dob from the egde of a small town, an eyepiece in the 18-25mm region would help. To be honest your not missing a lot, its one of those I just mark off the list and wont return to until I go to a dark sky site.

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Thanks for the replies guys, my expectation was it to be much brighter than it is, and bigger. I'll have another go at it next time out, now I have an idea of what to look for.

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Hello Doug. If you come up to see us at the Astronomy Centre on a Saturday evening I'm sure we can show you the Crab nebula. Once you've seen it  you will observe it easier in the future. Not a particularly inspiring sight visually considering its fame.  :smiley:[/quote

Thanks,

Been wanting to come up but so far the weather has been naff, hopefully Saturday coming will be better,, many thanks.

Doug.

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M1 (Crab) is one of the faint ones. But it does seem to be quite "atmosphere dependent". Some nights, just a ghost. Other nights, a defined haze.

It is never going to set your world on fire visually.

Pau,

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The Crab is one of those famous objects that is a lot fainter and harder to see than it's fame suggests it should be. I've seen it in scopes down to 4" aperture but it gets a little more interesting with my 12" dobsonian and a UHC or O-III filter. The filter helps to bring out suggestions of some structure within what initially looks like a fairly amorphous, vaguely oval, hazy cloud of faint light.

The Horsehead Nebula is a lot harder to see and requires aperture, very dark and transparent skies and an H-Beta filter. I have 2 of the 3 (12" aperture and the filter) but my skies, so far at least, have just not been dark enough. It was seen at the SGL star party with a 16" scope and a H-Beta filter a couple of years back and a few members have glimpsed it more recently as well. A real "toughie" :smiley:

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If you were using the 10mm eye piece to see M1, try dropping back to the 25mm as people have suggested.

I've been looking at it regularly over the last couple of months with an 8" dob and trying out an UHC filter.

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Saw it last night through 10" and 24mm ep through light polluted skies, though was quite faint and not much to look at unfortunately. Tried with oiii filter but not much luck - skies not greatest and seeing was not great

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I would get rid of the 10mm eyepiece and use a 25mm or 30mm, you are looking at something that starts out as dim then magnifing it to make it dimmer.

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Regarding the Horse Head Nebula, this is an extremely elusive object. And it's one of the few that often cannot be seen at all without a Hydrogen-beta (Hb) filter. Even then, the HH prefers to be imaged rather than being a visual DSO.

Clear & Dark Skies,

Dave

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I used to be able to spot the Crab Nebula fairly easily from my garden in semi-rural Dorset - even with just a 60mm spotting scope. I mean, not with any detail, but well enough to be certain it was there, and not just my 'eye of faith'. But here, in suburban Worcestershire, having acquired an 8" Newtonian, it took me five attempts over several weeks before I finally managed to see it - just last week, in fact.

It's probably no coincidence that by that time it was much higher up, and in the darkest part of my sky - maybe 60 degrees or so above the horizon, as compared to only 30-40 or so when I made my earlier attempts. Sadly that session was cut short by rain falling out of an apparently cloudless sky :confused:, but before I packed up I did manage to convince myself that there was structure there to be seen if I had just had more time to 'get my eye in' on it. Next session, maybe.

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M1 (Crab) is one of the faint ones. But it does seem to be quite "atmosphere dependent". Some nights, just a ghost. Other nights, a defined haze.It is never going to set your world on fire visually.Pau,

Hmm! I used to agree, then I saw it from a truly dark sky site, wonderful object. You can see the filamentary structure that is revealed in images visually and it is simply stunning.

This may require some aperture to do this due to its quite small size though.

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Hmm! I used to agree, then I saw it from a truly dark sky site, wonderful object. You can see the filamentary structure that is revealed in images visually and it is simply stunning.

This may require some aperture to do this due to its quite small size though.

Yet another reason that I need a bigger scope!

Yes, any detail does seem tantalisingly just out of reach. The best that I have ever managed with my kit is a delicate suggestion of texture.

Paul

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Thats about as much as I get with my 12" Paul, even with a good filter in.

Really dark, transparent skies make a big difference on objects like this. I took a 6" scope to one of the SGL star parties a few years back and under dark Herefordshire skies it performed as well or even better than the 10" I had at that time would have from my garden. Really makes a big difference - far more than filters can.

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I *have* seen it from London, but that was 20-30 years ago when my eyes were that much younger and I was using my old 8" f/8 newt. TheLP was less then as I could see all of Orion's bow stars, and most of Ursa Minor.

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