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Observing Planets and Nebulae


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Hi there. For the last few months I have been observing the moon and the planets, mainly Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. I tried different eyepieces and finally narrowed the field down to Televue DeLite (7mm), Meade 60HD series 9mm and Explore Scientific 82 series 8.8mm. I found ES to be the winner. Don't get me wrong TV is great, but ES is equally good and at a cheaper price. 

Recently I have been trying my luck with observing nebulae with zero success. I mainly focused on IC4606 as its close to Saturn these days and I thought that might help with locating it. But so far no luck. I should probably mention that my scope is an 8' Dob. I read that lower powered EPs are required or nebulae. May be that's the problem. Before I spend money I thought I would ask you experienced observers for some advice on what type of EP to use with my Dob. Also would it be possible to post some pics you took with your scope so that I know what to expect. Thanks a lot for all your help and advise.  

Sanj

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pictures don't really help when trying to determine what it will look like - try having a look though the Sketching section, that will give you a better idea, I think.

Don't know how accurate this is, but been I once read that IC objects were catalogued photographically, whereas the NGC objects were catalogue visually ( not that you can't see them visually, I just think it gives a bit of an idea that they are not as easy - I don't know the specific object).

Try M57 in Lyra as a first nebula, it's pretty bright and very high at the moment.

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Hi Sanj, congrats for the observing you have been getting in. Yes, low power is needed for most nebula, the exceptions being M27 and M57 and the like- you can easily see them no filter as well. M57 takes a bunch of mag...

Do you have a UHC or OIII filter? One of these and a 2" 30mm-35mm would work great ( I assume the scope is f6) on nebs with either of those filters.

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What are your typical skies for darkness? The reason I ask is that an OIII seems to work better from less than dark skies, but is also more sensitive to exit pupil IMHO. But you need a widefield low power 5mm-5.5mm exit pupil EP anyway... A good OIII has quite a narrow bandpass.

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I have much respect for the 30mm ES 82 and use mine regularly, great contrast and a terrific field of view. The field stop is 42.5mm and will give you a 2 deg TFOV and 5mm exit pupil . I team this eyepiece up with the Lumicon OIII for great results Sanj. Dark skies provide the needed contrast to get the most out of the combination.

Great choice of eyepiece BTW...

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Thanks.  I live in Southern California. Skies are not very dark. On top of that my community has outside lights on throughout the night. OIII might be the one for me based on your post. However there appears to be a verity of OIII filters by different brands. Prices vary from $39 for a Zhumell to $299 for Televue. Is there a particular brand you recommend?

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I was viewing m57 last night at 40x...it was again beauiful. Be sure to get dark adapted plug in a low power wide field eyepiece to start and allow a good half hour before expecting much.  I dug out my dads old questar and his 10" home built dob in celebration of his would be 90th birthday yesterday and spent all my time with nebula on the questar at 40x...a long night with much to be seen...in at 6am...

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That's an awesome way to celebrate your dads would be 90th.

With my scopes focal length of 1200, a 30mm will give me the 40 mag. I'm going to try the ES 30mm as recommended by  Jetstream. One of the concerns I have is that I'm not sure what to expect. Different websites say different things about the quality of nebulae image one could expect through a telescope. I guess I will have experience it myself. 

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pretty cool. Filter makes a significant difference. This is very helpful to new members such as myself as this kind of show and tell helps us get a sense of what we are aiming for. Many thanks. 

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I easily forget with my catalogue of viewed objects and intimate knowlege of the sky's how frusterating it was to begin and with no internet or goto anything at the time even more so. So this link I searched out especially for you it has a pdf to download so you can take it with you...I use a phone app star chart with an all phone night mode app available on Google play when searching out new objects. It's also a great idea to study and view the objects location and be familiar with what it looks like as this will both help you better see detail and locate the object easier next time... http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/celestial-objects-to-watch/111-deep-sky-wonders-for-light-polluted-skies/...

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Thanks Aaron. I'm wondering if the bright colors depicted in the link can really be observed with an amateur telescope? My guess is that the real image will be less bright and more like in b&w? Is that correct?

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Observed nebulae tend to be grey. The Orion nebula can show a bit of a green tint in my experience and if you use a filter then it can only be the colour that the filter allows through (or grey if if it is too dim for you to detect the colour). 

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Hello. I find this an interesting topic. As when you begin this hobby you hear about the different targets and then wonder why you cannot  spot them in your telescope (I still get this?)

I think a lot of the problem is beginner's/ amateurs take an interest in the hobby and as such look at web sites and books and see these lovely pictures in the glossy picture section and think these beautiful nebula/galaxy ect will look the same through an amateurs telescope. What they do not always realise that these images can be taken by space telescopes like Hubble or the cassini orbiter and we will not see the same images through our scopes. Even earth based pictures taken by the likes of the talented Mr Peach are taken by very high tech telescope equipment(including filters) and processing to get the outstanding images achieved and  these can be taken from places with great seeing conditions the likes of Barbados, Hawaii etc to get some cracking images. In the real world for the average home yard enthusiast we will not achieve these types of views through the average equipment and seeing conditions. So it can be confusing why you are not seeing these fantastic sights in the sky's in your telescope as in the books when you are a beginner.  

Some real world, natural images would be helpful to show beginner's what they should be able to see as I am sure this would be of great assistance and interest to many a beginner and more advanced also.   

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Couldn't agree with you more. As a beginner myself I learnt the importance of reading and seeking advise from experienced observers on this lounge before taking on stargazing so my expectations were somewhat realistic going in. (Even though not relevant to this discussion I want to acknowledge how much my interest in stargazing was shaped by Dr. Carl Sagan's YouTube videos). So far I have not been disappointed. The details on the moon and some planets are simply amazing. So far my favorite object has been Jupiter. I know most people like Saturn better but for me Jupiter is simply amazing. It is almost like a meditation. No one to bother you in the middle of the night... just you and the vast emptiness of space.....and hopefully a beer or a glass of wine in your hand. Unreal.

I hope to fine observing nebulae to be a similarly rewording experience. I think, to me at least, learning about what I see makes a world of a difference. For example looking at Jupiter is one thing but looking at it with the understanding that I am looking at something that is 548 million miles from earth gives it a completely different meaning. That is what I hope to experience with nebulae. Postings like the ones above from Jetstream and Aaron are so very useful to beginners. You guys rock.    

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