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Question about images and what you actually see through the telescope

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Hi

Are the images of Andromeda and other deep space objects visible through the telescope at a similar level of detail and colour or is this only achievable by layering many long-delay images over each other?

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No. The eye cannot integrate photons over long periods of time.

Check out this: 

 

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In general, no: observers don't refer to "gray fuzzies" without reason. 🙂   A middle ground might be "electronically assisted astronomy": using a sensitive camera to progressively stack many shorter color exposures in real-time on a screen. Doesn't take long to get a more detailed image than your eyes can natively perceive, and it's a nice way of sharing some of the excitement with family, neighbors, etc.

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3 hours ago, Ruud said:

No. The eye cannot integrate photons over long periods of time.

Check out this: 

 

Great post, thanks for compensating for my apparent laziness! ;)

2 hours ago, Joel Shepherd said:

In general, no: observers don't refer to "gray fuzzies" without reason. 🙂   A middle ground might be "electronically assisted astronomy": using a sensitive camera to progressively stack many shorter color exposures in real-time on a screen. Doesn't take long to get a more detailed image than your eyes can natively perceive, and it's a nice way of sharing some of the excitement with family, neighbors, etc.

That's very interesting and something that would be great for my family too!

I've always been interested in the planets,  galaxies, the universe etc. and I always look at the stars in my garden at all times of year (South of France in a quiet village with not much light pollution). I sometimes use my binoculars but I need an attachment for my camera tripod, so that will be my first purchase.

I'm just not sure if I'll stick with it once I've seen the major planets, and if my expectations are too high (they were slightly curtailed by the first reply!).

I'm currently on holiday and walking the dog in the mountains at night and early morning and I've been looking at Mars, Venus and Jupiter and wishing I could get a better look at them (forgot the bino's...). I'm just not sure what the interest is after you've found the major objects; looking at 'fuzzies' doesn't seem that appealing after the initial 'ahh, I've found it!" moment if you can't see much detail. I would love to have observed the recent blood moon and I quite fancy getting into astrophotography with my Nikon dslr, but being able to observe a decent amount of detail  in nebulae and spiral galaxies, etc. really appeals to me  but it doesn't seem to be achievable with a medium priced telescope (looking at the Sky Watcher 8" or 10" Dob). 

Anyway, thanks for the advice, sorry about the slightly disjointed post (had a few beers on the beach). I'll do more research on this site and hopefully come back with more questions if I make the purchase.

Thanks!

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Well ... everyone is different. I don't spend a lot of time looking at the planets but I do enjoy seeing Jupiter and its dancing moons, and Saturn's rings are still thrilling. I saw Neptune once, and saw Venus as a crescent: pretty cool stuff. I totally get that gray fuzzies are not interesting to many people, but when you stop to consider what you're looking at they get a lot more rewarding. I mean, how many people ever thought that they could stand in their back yard and see a nebula -- A NEBULA -- with their own eyes? Or a ball of stars almost as old as the universe itself (globular clusters)? Or another galaxy? For real. Or the remains of a supernova (the Veil) or the birthplace of new stars (Orion Nebula)? For me, making that personal connection between what colorful photos show and what I can see with my own eyes is very rewarding. And I observe a mile outside the center of a major US city. Under dark skies, you still won't see much color but you'll see more structure. If it were me and it wasn't a hardship, I'd get an 8" Dob and give it a try. The worst that will happen is that you'll need to find someone to buy it from you. The best ... ?

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Exactly my view, Joel.  I imagine some people will be hugely underwhelmed by what they see through a telescope when their expectations have been set by the incredible astro images we see these days.  But there's more to observational astronomy than what you see - if that's not a contradiction. It's also about the pleasure derived from researching the subject and equipment. Learning how to set up equipment and learning how to get the best from it. Then there's the pleasure of learning the sky and the fun (and frustration) of the hunt for objects - at least for those without GOTO. And as you say the sense of awe at what you're looking at, albeit a faint fuzzy. Anyway there are times when you scan around a beautiful dense star field, or view a fine object like the Orion Nebula on a crisp clear night, and it can look much better than a photograph.  Plus you're seeing them with your own eyes. 

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Posted (edited)

My 4 inch reflector could make out some globular clusters as faint, fuzzy circular patches. This is the Sagittarius cluster when viewed through the scope. It's the fuzzy patch near the middle.37991800_1754994117869899_36087563682085

Edited by Nerf_Caching
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It's certainly not exciting for everyone. I know my wife and daughter get bored quite quickly looking at fuzzie splotches. For some of us it's about the hunt and being able to see things with our own eyes, even if we don't see as much detail as those amazing pictures people create. That's just a small part of what I get out of it though. I also enjoy learning more about the night sky and my equipment. A year ago I could have pointed out the "Big Dipper," "Little Dipper," Cassiopeia, and Orion and that was about it. I knew the proper names for the "dippers" before, but now I can point out the entire Ursa constellations and name most of the stars that make them up, plus a few dozen other constellations and named stars. I can point out the approximate location of several DSO's just by looking at the sky. I can even tell you how far away some of them are, a little information about the type of object, and about the different classes of stars in the sky. I get asked all the time how long I've been doing this and they're amazed when I tell them it's only been about a year. I've said it before, but the best part for me is getting to share with people at our public outreach events. It puts a huge smile on my face when someone looks though the eyepiece of my 12" dob and says "WOW!" or "Oh my God!" and then proceeds to run after their partner to tell them to come look at it. Their excitement and fascination is my joy.

On top of all that, I dabble in astrophotography when I have the opportunity. Which, unfortunately, is rare. I also enjoy creating some of those amazing images for my own self and publishing them on our club's Facebook page. I would like to do more, but time is limited with a day job, family and life in general.

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At the risk of being controversial, those of us who dabble in astrophotography know that most astronomical images have been highly processed to conform to certain accepted conventions or to satisfy the personal taste of the photographer. Even if our eyes were sensitive enough, there's no reason to suppose that what we'd see would look like the astrophotographs we're used to. 

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I recently got into EAA and have found it a thrill. i live 12 miles from central London and as you can imagine, the light pollution is awful. Before EAA the best i could make out were slightly fuzzy patches here and there along with, of course, the planets and the moon. EAA has opened up a whole new sky for me, with free stacking software like sharpcap i can now see globular clusters and nebula's in full colour. Here are a couple of unprocessed images i saved as viewed on the screen from the other night, it is worth looking into imho. ( bare in mind this was from literally my first session so still allot to learn :) )

Stack_36frames_180s.thumb.png.e5f0a918e5c041191a1c581d761c1f15.png

Stack_26frames_43s.thumb.png.75d7214d9ca84090a0be10187d3a6ce4.png

 

this is with an evo 925 scope with the F6.3 reducer and a 385c camera,  no filters  and far from perfect settings in sharpcap :)

 

 

 

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Not all targets are dissapointing to observe. This is what Messier 13 actually looks like through my 12" dobsonian from my back yard at around 200x on a decently dark night :grin:

M13.jpg

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Thank you very much for this topic!

My question: Where can one find realistic pictures of what one would realistically expect to see through a 102mm refractor with 25mm eyepiece?

As a complete NewBee, my wife is the interested party, and I'm going to be her technical support team.  Which means, I'll be managing equipment and  setups for her.  I was a little intimidated by the reflector scopes needing an alignment procedure pretty much every time you use them.  We will have to transport a scope to a location where we get a sky view.  So for me a larger scope would represent an investment in time and setup.

Its the realistic expectations I'm worried about.  I showed my wife  the picture posted by Neutron Star of M13 and she went WOW!  That turns her on because she's looking into deep space.  For me however, they are simply a bunch of random dots on a black background.  I'm like the guy who walks into the Louvre Museum in France, looks at the Mona Lisa, and says "that's nothing more than a picture of a woman".

So its obvious to me that skywatching is more than just seeing white dots on a black background.  There is a depth to it, which includes an understanding of what one is looking at.  Without that depth of that understanding, a person just seeks white dots.

So I'm currently on a quest to find a source of realistic pictures of what one would realistically see when looking through our scope.  My wife has started out with a Celestron 102 AZ, with a 25mm eyepiece.   And I sent away for an additional 9mm eyepiece.  This scope requires no alignment and is an easy get-up-and-go.

It would be wonderful to find some visuals of what she can realistically expect to see.  My worry is that we are going to end up seeing white spots. 

Any suggestions for where to find realistic pictures would be greatly appreciated.  Also, I'm wondering if there is a book on skywatching with binoculars.  That may give us a more realistic perspective of what to look for with the scope we have.

Sincere thanks!

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Often sketches provide a more realistic idea of what the views through a scope actually look like - they are representing observations after all. We have a sketching section on this forum which might be worth a browse:

https://stargazerslounge.com/forum/21-sketching/

What you actually see at the eyepiece also depends a lot on the seeing conditions and light pollution when the observing is taking place and also the experience of the observer. So it's actually quite difficult to predict exactly what will be seen. The sketches give an idea of the potential though, when all things come together.

 

 

 

 

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Turn Left At Orion is a fantastic book ths shows exactly what you'll see when looking through an eyepiece. It's also a great book for learning what's in the sky, when it's in the sky, and where it's at. Highly recommended by almost everyone on these boards.

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18 hours ago, John said:

Not all targets are dissapointing to observe. This is what Messier 13 actually looks like through my 12" dobsonian from my back yard at around 200x on a decently dark night :grin:

You're making me think once again that a Dob might be the most useful bit of kit I could add to my admittedly fairly small collection. 

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20 hours ago, John said:

Not all targets are dissapointing to observe. This is what Messier 13 actually looks like through my 12" dobsonian from my back yard at around 200x on a decently dark night :grin:

M13.jpg

I was going to say M13 resolved to stars in my 10" dob, but... hopefully the mirror recoat will get near that 🙂

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Posted (edited)

It must be said though that a very large portion of observer's never reach a true dark site and or practice dark adaptation and averted vision techniques to the level of expertise required to get the most out of the night sky, sitting in total darkness for an hour as preperation and operating a telescope by feel is not what most observer's are willing to do. With phone, hand controller, laptop, tablet, red flashlight and other low level light sources observer's tend to believe is not effecting night vision it becomes  very easy to not reach ones full dark adaptation capabilities causing the experience to be much less than it should be. Not saying you will then see Hubble imagery but you will see what it is possible to see and the quality and quanity of objects you do see will increase as well.

Edited by SIDO
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Thanks very much for the responses!  Per your suggestion, I purchased "Left At Orion", as well as "50 things you can see with a small Telescope"

And I'll look through the sketch links.

Many thanks! :-]

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On 10/08/2018 at 00:03, John said:

Not all targets are dissapointing to observe. This is what Messier 13 actually looks like through my 12" dobsonian from my back yard at around 200x on a decently dark night :grin:

M13.jpg

Aperture is king 😄

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