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Ring nebula - difficult to see


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Hi all,

I was out last night and decided to take a look at the ring nebula. I could pick it out but it was extremely faint, I could just about make out the ring. It seemed to disappear from view quite often.
 

I’m using the skywatcher explorer 130ps with a hyperflex magnification eyepiece. 
 

My skies are bottle 5, but I also have a number of houses around me with out door lighting. More decorative lights rather than security lights. 
 

Is my issue seeing the ring nebula likely to be just the light pollution? Or is a difficult nebula to observe? 
 

kind regards,

Darrell

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Actually it is one of the brightest I find the magnification does not help with this when I had a 150p (6") scope a 15mm hit the sweet spot. x50 mag. I am in light polluted skies bortle 5 so I think it's just a case of the seeing conditions. 

When you get a good night no moon good seeing conditions and try different eyepieces of various magnifications you will see it mutch better, when I have viewed it on good nights it looked like a smoke ring or polo mint one of my favourite objects. 

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The Ring Nebula can seem washed out when there is a bright moon in the sky although last night the moon was on the other side of the sky to Lyra. Sometimes there is high, thin cloud that you are otherwise unaware of which dims nebulous targets.

I find using a bit more magnification helps this target to pop out a bit more. 70x - 120x is good. A UHC filter also enhances the contrast of Messier 57 / The Ring.

 

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Dark adaption... Don't forget that. It should be an easy object in your scope under your skies. Before I built an obsy I used to observe behind a wind break kind of affair I put together. Blackout material on a wooden frame that I could fold away after observing. There were a couple of awkward streetlights that played havoc with dark adapted eyes. I'd sit behind it for at least half an hour before I started observing objects I was planning to study. I think dark adaption gets overlooked sometimes, very difficult to avoid light sources sometimes particularly these days when so many folk use computer screens in the hobby. Just something to consider. 

 

Ed

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I can only see it with 'averted vision' through my 127 mak with a 25mm EP. I have similar houses, lights and skies to yours at Bortle 6.

Edited by rob_r
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Many thanks for your replies. 

I think perhaps it was an amalgamation of the seeing conditions last night and dark adaption. The fact it disappeared from view occasionally may have been high cloud cover. 

unfortunately, in each direction I look there is a bright light of some kind. I think the only way to cure this is to build some kind of observatory, too expensive at the moment.

I’m quite fortunate in that I live near the Rhigos mountain, the Bwlch mountain and the Brecon Beacons. I may take the scope up there when we have a better night. 

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Some people use a hood of some description or a blanket over their heads and eyepiece when observing to keep out stray light. Eyepatches are also worth a shot, only flipping it up when at the eyepiece. The neighbours may think you're a pirate, but who cares 😀

I tend to need more than one 'pit stop' per observing session, so I make sure I keep my observing eye tightly closed if I need to go inside the house. Cyclops comments from my wife just bounce off now.

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M57 should be a relatively easy object from a Bortle 5 garden. As mentioned above, seeing conditions, the moon and local light pollution may have come together to spoil the view. Don't give up. Try averted vision and shield your eyes from street lamps with a coat hood or similar.

On a good night with the 130ps, M57 should really pop at around 100x.

Also, if you haven't done so already, check your secondary mirror collimation.  The primary should be OK. It's collimated and fixed at the factory, but when I owned a 130ps, I did need to collimate the secondary a couple of times.

 

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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