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Teeny weeny smudge and his colourful cousins


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Hi All,

I've been looking at some of the pics posted by the lads here (M57 M13 etc) and am well impressed with what I see. The thing is... I see huge colourful images in your shots and in my eye piece a diddy little smudge.

Now don't get me wrong. Me and the smudges from space are getting on like a house on fire and every chance I get I'm pointing me scope at em'

I'm just curious as to how you do it? Is this the reflector V refractor thing (I'm using my 5 inch refractor on low mag x48 due to no motor or barlow yet) or is their another explanation?  :)


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It's the "large photon collecting area" thing as opposed to the "teenie-weenie little eyeball" thing. :) Think about it-how much area is your retina? And how much area is the telescope? Plus, once your brain processes the photons that reach it, they're gone. With film or CCD, they just build up until you stop exposing.

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Astromans right - what you see through a telescope and what you "record" with film/CCD's difer hugely.

The film/CCD collects light for an extended period of time but the eye doesn't. For example what you see through through the EP with your eye takes a fraction of a second to capture - but that NGC 7331 shot that Russ posted took 8 minutes and the M57 shot took 15 minutes.

You need a huge telescope to see colour - i observed through a 16" Dob and didn't notice any colour except on M42. I also had the luck to observe through a huge scope at the Mcdonald observatory in Texas - colour was visible then in a lot of objects...


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Extended objects are difficult to discern in color, but stars' colors are easier because they're bright and concentrated. Subtle colors can be seen on some brighter objects as mentioned, but most will appear grey, being too faint to trigger the cones in your eye.

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