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Hello everyone, happy Tuesday.
First time stargazer here, I'm hoping I can get some awesome feedback from you guys.
my fiancé and I are planning on taking a trip to Great Basin National Park from October 25th-30th, we're trying to catch the new moon, we want to do some deep sky viewing but we're having such a hard time on knowing which kind of telescope to purchase. we do have a few must- haves on our purchase, but I wanted to see what you guys recommend and what your experiences have been.
we need a telescope that is portable
good for deep sky viewing
reflector vs. refractor
and almost, but not necessarily, easy to use (we have time to learn the ins and outs of it)
I apologize if its a lot, but trying to understand the jargon, as of now, is giving me a hard time
Cant wait for any responses!!
p.s. anyone ever been to Great Basin? what should we expect on our trip? its our first time going and first time doing any serious camping!!!
THANKS A BUNCH!!!
Here I'm posting some impressions about southern sky observations from Kiripotib guest farm, Namibia ( http://kiripotib.com, www.astro-namibia.com ). 5 amateur astronomers from Astropolis club, Kyiv, Ukraine were involved. Our main aim was visual observing, however, main direction for amateur astronomers there includes astrophotography. Anyway, we booked theirs 24" f/4 and 14.5" f/4.7 dobsonians with Paracorr and Ethos eyepieces set. Booking (we've received a 10%discount as members of astronomy club) was made at http://www.astro-namibia.com/htm_e/e_index.html
There are a lot of things to tell, I'll try my best to be brief and informative.
The preparation begun at spring 2018. When our dates of visit were confirmed (31Jul-5Aug 2019, new Moon) and rooms were booked, I have started to work on observing lists. Skysafari Pro is a great tool for such purpose, I hope you know. As a result of this stage three observing lists have appeared: 76 showpieces, 240 additional list, and 400 objects in total main list. Some special lists, including nebulas with good response to filters, objects for rich field and Arp galaxies list, were made.
After the long flight (~5 hours to Doha from Kyiv and then ~8.5 hour to Windhoek) we reach Hosea Kutako airport, where we rented a car beforehand. The farm suggested transfer from airport, but we were planning to explore the country a bit. About 145km to the South, Kiripotib guest farm is located. Actually there we drove by rather good quality ground road, Tivoli AstroFarm is located about 30km further South, then desert starts. It is located in an area with almost zero artificial light pollution.
Kiripotib is a very nice and picturesque place, all of us love it. Hans Georg von Hase, the owner of this farm, is a very pleasant and energetic person. He and his wife Claudia keep great authentic atmosphere at the farm. About other activities there you can read at http://kiripotib.com. There's a lot of interesting things one should try. All of the staff were friendly and conditions were very good. There were about 10 people from Germany and one from Korea, who came there for astrophotography. There are 12 well equipped places for astronomy amateurs, all their needs seem to be already taken care of, including European type electric plug, comfortable chairs and even night meals.
First night shown us amazing sky, and Milky Way was bright and broad, casting shadows. Complex of dark nebulae called Dark horse was obviously seen. Zodiacal light was massive each evening and morning.
Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower had its peak in those days, so we observed a bright meteor each 5-10 mins in the morning.
Both instruments we've booked (14.5" and 24" dobsonians) have wonderful mechanic and very good optics. They both were equipped with Telrad finder, and 24" dob additionally with optical finder. 21mm, 13mm, 8mm and 4.7mm Ethos eyepieces set gave us a great view, the most useful were 21mm and 8mm. A lot of help on tuning scopes we've received from Frank Sackenheim, a German astrophotographer from Cologne.
We've met the Southern sky for the first time in our lives, but preparations were made, and actually there was not a big deal to find most of the targets of our visual observations.
During 5 nights we've seen 200+ objects, here I'd like to present the best 20 with Dec -40° or less. The descriptions were made by our team at telescope, where I wrote abbreviated notes to Skysafari, then some specifications and detailed impressions added at daytime.
Ethos 21mm at 24” f/4 dobsonian with fov 0,88 deg, mag. 114х was mostly used, or 8mm Ethos with 300x magnification, if mentioned.
1. bn (bright nebula) N2070 Dor (Tarantula neb) (Caldwell 103). A real diamond of Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). It was obviously seen by unaided eye at midnight. Size 40*25arcmin brightness 5mv, my subjective rating 10/10. !!!!!
It is worth to travel 12 thousand kilometers to see that! The nebula is impressive and so bright, with many details, and furthermore, it belongs to other galaxy. Its name seems to be really precise, but Sir John Herschel called it Looped nebula. Also one can imagine warrior's helmet or alien's head… I failed to find something similar in the northern hemisphere. Only M8, Lagoon nebula, with filters under dark sky may show such variety of details and deliver such kind of impressions. I read before the trip about its feature to change view with OIII and Hbeta filters, but I was not ready for the scale of change! It was totally different comparing view through those filters, some net resources I've found can present the general impression:
2. bn N3372 Car (C82) Eta Carinae nebula. 120 arcmin, 1mv. 10/10 !!!!
A lot of details, very good response to filters, we admire the view very long. The dark Keyhole nebula near open cluster Cr228 within NGC3372 is a real pleasure. Open clusters Tr 14, 15, 16, Bo 10 according to distance provided in Skysafari, are located between the nebula and us. Open cluster nearby with its own nebulosity NGC3324 also had good response to filters.
3. gc (globular cluster) NGC 104 = 47 Tuc (Caldwell 106) 50 arcmin, 3.95mv, 10/10 !!!!!
In my opinion, this is the No.1 globular cluster of the southern heavens. Its placement, morphology, effect are outstanding. It has only 5% less brightness than Omega Centauri. Very bright, seen by unaided eye with ease. Totally resolved in 8mm eyepiece. Vivid yellow color, caused partially by foreground stars, as seen here:
One can find photo of the cluster, where that color is totally burned to white by overexposed image. It is interesting, that Sir John Herschel looking on this gem through his 18-inch scope found pink tint at center, and I can agree with that. Very high condensation to the center, small elongation, star chains to East and West, some of chains are parallel (!). Dark checkmark above the center slightly to the right (as on photo I cited from hansonastronomy.com above) was remarkable, failed to find something about that details on forums or books. And, finally, very interesting neighbourhood. Gx (galaxy) PGC 260239 2.3*1.4arcmin, 13mv 3/10 and gc (globular cluster) from SMC (!) NGC 121 1.5arcmin, 11.2mv. 9/10 ! in the same field of view of 21mm Ethos with 47 Tucanae; it is incredible to see two globular clusters from different galaxies in one eyepiece fov!
4. pn (planetary nebula) NGC 3132 (Caldwell 74) in Vela 1 arcmin, 9.69mv, 9/10 !!
Great Southern ring nebula. In 8mm eyepiece very bright and large rings of nebulosity and very bright ~10m central star seen.
5. dn Caldwell 99 (Coalsack) in Crux, 10/10,
Huge (7°*5°) dark nebula (dn), one can easily find it by the unaided eye; looking through 21mm Ethos in 24" dobsonian some stars through patches of dark nebulae were seen. Admiral William Henry Smyth called it the Dark Magellanic cloud. On the edge of the Coalsack there's a bright oc (open cluster) NGC4609 (Caldwell 98) 13 arcmin, 6.9mv, 6/10, a picturesque view!
6. Open cluster and nebula NGC 3603 + NGC3576 in Carina 12*10 arcmin, 9.1mv. 9/10 !!
Very good response to UHC filter, 3603 has resemblance to letter Y with a kind of plume, and 3576 looks like a fish with bright head.
7. gc NGC 362 (Caldwell 104) in Tucan 14 arcmin, 6.4mv, 7/10 !
Well resolved, though well condensed to the center, somehow similar to 47 Tucanae, located to the west of SMC, less yellow tint, less details: perfect round shape, star chains to the west. Galaxy nearby NGC406 2.5*1arcmin, 12.46mv 5/10 big, rather faint, elongated.
8. planetary nebula NGC 5189 =Gum 47 in Musca, 3*2arcmin, 9.5mv, 10/10. !!!
It is called Spiral planetary, with 8mm Ethos big nebula of complex structure. Resemblance to a lion's head or dog head, due to spirals shows shape of sea horse. Good response to UHC filter.
9.gc NGC 4833 (Caldwell 105) in Musca.14arcmin, 6.9mv, 7/10 !
O'Meara called it Southern Butterfly because of star chains shapes and direction. It has bright dense center and conspicuous star chains, 9m star nearby.
10. bn NGC3199 in Carina 22arcmin, 11.1mv, 8/10. !!
Great view with ОIII filter. Its bright part resembles an open parachute or delphine in jump. Reminds me NGC 6888.
11. gx NGC 7424 in Grus 5*2.7arcmin, 10.56mv, 8/10 !!
Beautiful galaxy, reminds me М101, bright, elongated very bright core, well defined medium bright arms, obvious by averted vision.
12. gx group N7552 +N7582 +N7590 +N7599 in Grus (Grus quartet)
NGC7582 the brightest one, 6.9*3.2arcmin, 10.6mv, 9/10 !! Some details like arms seen, very nice view of close group. In 21mm eyepiece fov PGC71043 0.9*0.8arcmin, 14.86mv, medium bright and elongated a bit.
13. Open cluster NGC 6193 (Caldwell 82) 14 arcmin, 5.2mv. 8/10, and nebula NGC6188 20*12arcmin, 5.19mv. 8/10 in Ara.
Bright open cluster with low concentration of stars. Nebula with irregular shape was seen, also some shine of unresolved stars (?) was observed.
14. pn NGC 3918 in Centaurus. 0.3arcmin 8.2mv 9/10. !
Its name Blue planetary is really precise. It has distinct blue color, bright, no sign of the central star. Irregular round shape, _two_ shells, we used 21mm (114x) and 8mm (300x) eyepieces.
15. oc NGC 3766 (Caldwell 97) in Centaurus, 9 arcmin, 5.3mv, 10/10. !!
Pearl cluster. Roundish shape with defined borders, resemblance to flower, interesting asterism like smile from the center to the east of cluster, two bright orange stars are located from opposite sides, some blue and white stars create unforgettable view.
16. gx NGC1672 in Dorado 6.2*5 arcmin, 9.73mv, 9/10. !!
Very large galaxy with bar, obvious arms, core seems to be a bit eccentric, irregular form, like almond. Surfing internet, one can buy a blanket with its photo:
17. bn IC2948 + oc IC2944 in Centaurus (Caldwell 100) 65 arcmin, 4.5mv. 10/10.
Very bright open cluster, filter shows big nebula of irregular shape. It is called Running Chicken.
18. oc Wishing Well Cluster NGC3532 (Caldwell 91) in Carina 50 arcmin, 3mv. 9/10.
It really has resemblance to a well with bright silver coins lying at its bottom. Other name - Pincushion cluster - is also popular. Very bright open cluster with well defined borders. Asterism arbalest is defined within the cluster. V382 Carinae is placed at the edge of the cluster.
19. oc Gem cluster NGC3293 in Carina, 6arcmin, 4,7mv. 10/10 !!
Great view! Well defined borders and good condensation. One of the three brightest stars of the cluster placed in a row has intense orange color.
20. oc Southern Pleiades IC 2602 (C102) in Carina, 100 arcmin, 1,6mv. 10/10 !!!
Really, there's some resemblance to Pleiades, big, very bright cluster, no nebulosity, easily detected by unaided eye.
Many other gems of Southern sky are well known (e.g., gc Omega Centauri, gx Centaurus A, gx NGC1365 in Fornax, gx NGC247 in Cetus, gx NGC 55 in Sculptor and so on) actually do not require a visit to the Southern hemisphere, but we also observed them with great interest.
After admiring the gems of the Southern sky, such clusters as M14, M22, M5 now may look not so impressive as before our trip, the same relates to Orion nebula or M17.
Full detailed observing report of 200+ objects is available at the site of our astronomy club in Ukrainian
I think such experience is necessary for every astronomy amateur from the Northern hemisphere. Looks like most of the sky's gems were hidden to the Southern hemisphere intentionally. J Anyway, local farmers made a great work to supply such opportunities for travellers like us.
Ladies and gentleman,
Thank you for helping me in advance.
As a kid I've always been fascinated with the sky and what was in it. The nights sky is filled with beautiful stars and nebulae and I want to see them for myself and be amazed how insignificant we really are compared to this vast open space. So let me adress some of the key points that I want for a first scope.
1. Around €1000
2. Big aperture, I want to see as much as possible and as far as possible while not losing a clear image
3. I would like to have a push to or go to system
4. Beginner friendly
5. Size is not a problem
8. I prefer reflectors since it seems they give more aperture for the money but if you know a better scope that sees more with less aperture let me know
9. I have a Canon 550D and maybe I could use this for a bit of astrophotography. This is last on the list tho and can be scrapped if the first 3 points aren't met
Of course build quality is very important when making my choice so keep that in mind as well.
I'm looking forward to you guys advice.
Happy stargazing and clear skies!
Yesterday I was reading about dark frames vs in camera long exposure noise reduction, and something caught my attention. As far as my (so far little but growing) knowledge goes, the best you can do is to take the calibration frames right after the imaging session. This can be a pain in the A, and as I read yesterday, many takes these frames separately, when there is nothing better to do, like on a cloudy afternoon. This is allright, it's a good idea, you can create different master darks and other master calibration frames on different temperatures (room temp, cold, hot etc), and use these when stacking images from your light sessions according to the temperatures the lights frames were capured at.
But. As far as I know, my darks should have the exact same settings and focus that my lights have. If I know I use for an example a prime wide angle lens at F2.8 all the time, with ISO 1600 to capture the milky way, that's okay. But what if something changes? What if I use ISO 3200 for some reason? What about the focus (okay, inifinity, but not exactly the same all the time when manual focusing)? What if I use a zoom lens on different focal lenghts? What about the other calibration frames?
It's definitely not impossible to be prepared for every scenario, but when you use lenses instead of telescopes, there are more variations.
Extra info, if that matters: I'm using a Nikon D5500, which is "ISO invariant".
I'm really curious about your replies, as this could greatly improve my image's quality, if It's possible to take calibration frames this way.
Thanks in advance!