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Color filters?

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I was just wondering what everyone's opinion on them was? I've got a few, just haven't had much opportunity to use them. I've found it quite nice looking through a normal blue color filter, with a 13% moon filter at the moon, but other than that, I've never gotten a good shot at using them on planets, like i asked, what do you all think?

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I've eventually collected a full assortment of color filters, but have found that effective use of them was, for me, rare. Of the filters I have, I'm more likely to use the 2" format as I can attach them to a 2" to 1.25" adapter and not have to handle them with each switch of the 1.25" eyepiece. But it's a rare night of planetary viewing that I use even those.

Of the potential targets, I've found most effective use on Mars where the 80A, 21 and 25 have, on occasion, proved effective. For the others, it's rare that I use a typical color filter. Although it appears designed to mitigate the background noise of light pollution, I use the Baader Neodymium Moon & Skyglow filter fairly frequently on Jupiter and the moon -- it gives the impression of sharpening contrast just a bit without adding a blatantly-unnatural overall hue.

In sum, I encourage you to experiment with filters, but to also not expect significant return from the investment. That said, I know others who swear by them, so you might find that to be the case as well.

Hope this helps.


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I find a pale yellow (Wratten No 8), a yellow ( Wratten No 12) or a yellow/green (Wratten No 11) work well on Jupiter and Saturn with my refractor and help to bring out a bit more detail as well as reducing the glare.

I also use a dark green (Wratten No 58) for the moon sometimes in conjunction with a neutral density filter.

Like lots of astronomers I have a vast pile of filters but almost never use any of them though.

The pale yellow can also be used to cut out firnging on the refractor.

The darker filters I find almost unusable which to be fair I was told they would be because of the relatively small size of the scope. I think the idea that a dark violet filter enhances Neptune may be true if your using the Palomar 200" telescope but with an 8" scope it just makes everything go dark :) Neptune isnt much bigger than a star on the few times I have seen it. Its just a tiny blue disk. Same with Mars - its just a tiny red disk on most occasions. I thought I saw a polar cap once but I suspect it was wishful thinking ;)

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I've seen jupiter quite large in my scope which is only a 4.5 inch dob when it first came into view this year, I'd think that viewing mars or venus would be lots bigger because they were both closer. Can't wait to see saturn for the first time.

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