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Newb light pollution questions

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Hello new here but been lurking.

I have borrowed a friends scope so that i could experiment with the light conditions where i live. About 2 miles from Birmingham city centre (UK).

The scope in question is a skywatcher 130 on an alt az mount with the standard eyepieces.

Previous to this i had decided on a 120 refractor, as no need for colimation and easy to transport to wales, have a holiday place there on the coast in the middle of nowhere with little light poliution. Also was looking forward to some astro photography.

But from using my friends scope, i can see alot more stars than with the mk1 eyeball, but not as many as i thought i would. The sky was orange, same as if i use my dslr to take pictures of the stars.

Am i right in thinking this is caused by the millions of streetlamps in birmingham polluting the sky ?

Would a light pollution filter fix this ?

Or would i be better off with a bigger apperture like a skywatcher flex tube 10 inch dobsonian which i can fold up to transport, or are they huge even when folded and off the mount ?

ANyway thanks in advance for any advice offered.



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yep, that nasty glow is from the street lights.

an LP filter does take the edge off so worth it in my view.

reflectors do give you the most for your cash and the 250 flex is said to be very transportable.

hope that helps a little :)

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Hi Nick

I am just down the road in Coventry. I have a light pollution filter the Skywatcher one for £20 on FLO. Have to say I dont see any difference using it. If you got one I really think it would not make a dramatic difference to you viewing.

Just one note though the last week or so viewing in the skies around here have been not good. Clear day skies but at night though it looked clear it was quite hazy which in turn reflects the light pollution making the sky look orange.

I thought I was going crazy the other week as they had changed the street lights here and I thought that it was them causing my bad skies. I started a thread on here and everyone else seemed to be experiencing the same issue.

See my thread http://stargazerslounge.com/beginners-help-advice/136384-poor-visibility-my-night-sky-has-changed.html

I say this as you have just borrowed the scope so I am presuming you have only just started observing. I was surprised just how much I could see from the centre of Cov in my back garden back in February with clear cold skies.

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Ah the light pollution filter dilemma, do they work? do they not?

Cant tell you from personal experience because I havent used one yet.

But I have looked into getting one because I too live in town, Peterborough, and suffer from orange skies.

After trawling around for info and opinions I'm now thinking;

1/ alot of people seem to believe filters are magic and will give them a view of the sky like from Mauna Kea and turn their scope into the Hubble! Hmm, this isnt likely.

2/ Filters work by taking away the colours in the spectrum that street lights emit, unfortunately also from the objects in the sky you want to see! So almost everything comes out dimmer, we need as much light as possible to start with, bigger scope is better.

3/ Not all the light pollution filters out there work well.

We have seen on this thread a vote against the Skywatcher LP and one for the Baader neodymium LP.

Ive seen good reports for the Baader, they have a terrific reputation for filters. I'm tending towards buying one myself.



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I suspect that the wavelength of the light pollution affects how effective a filter will be. I have a Baader LP filter and it makes very little (ie. I can't see the difference). Simple test is to just hold the filter up to your eye and look through it towards the source of LP . By that time of course you have probably bought it ... :).


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