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Stargazing Nebula filters

  1. Jul 14, 2016 #1

    sophiecentaur

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    Here's another question for more experienced sky watchers. I have seen such impressive results from high quality astrophotography and I accept that the visual views from by garden will be vastly inferior. But there are many filters for sale and I would love to avoid buying something at great expense that will probably make not difference to what I see.
    What's the point of my using filters? Is there a selection of affordable filters that are likely to actually improve what I see. I am located a fair way to the West of London and there are no street lights for several miles around our house.
    As an aside, I was pleased to locate the Andromeda Galaxy with my 'good' X10 binoculars, the other night. Later in the week, I got a view of it through my 8" Dobsonian. It looked much the same, actually; the central blob was, to my eyes, much the same angular size in the eyepiece. The fuzz round the outside was more of less lost against what I thought was a pretty clear sky. You are going to tell me that's par for the course and that I will have to spend much longer on a very cold clear night etc. etc.??
    I was still humbled by the thought that the light I was seeing (and identifying) was launched 2.5 million years ago!
     
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  3. Jul 14, 2016 #2

    davenn

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    hey mate

    top of the list for optical viewing is the O-III (O3 Oxygen - II filter) this really enhances the planetary nebulae in particular
    http://www.telescope.com/catalog/en...&subCategoryId=48&ensembleId=27&type=ensemble

    there are other filters for astro imaging eg the Ha filter which really enhances nebulae
    but these need to be used for either a dedicated astro imaging CCD camera or a DSLR camera that has been
    modified to take out the standard filters.
    The standard filters in a DSLR camera will negate any additional filters placed in front .... hence the need to modify


    Dave
     
  4. Jul 15, 2016 #3

    sophiecentaur

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    Hi there.
    Thanks for that opinion. A bit pricey for me at the mo, though. I have been spending money on this hobby like water and (unfortunately) I am actually seeing improvements since a new set of eyepieces, finder etc. etc.. That's the slippery slope ain't it? Money really does make a difference (unlike with silly priced Audio HiFi).
    I was really hoping you'd be recommending something for 10GBP. Some hopes!!
    SWMBO is very understanding in these matters - bless 'er - but I don't want to be taking the mick. Haha.
    My main problem is that she likes to take a bath late and the bathroom blind is not that opaque. It's literally the only local source of light pollution. So I have to wait till late for ideal conditions. I could paint the window black, I suppose.
     
  5. Jul 15, 2016 #4

    davenn

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    yes and yes :smile:

    sorry to dash your hopes. Astronomy really is one of the few areas where increasing price really does = increasing quality
    To a great extent, it's much like that in photography as well.
    All these various filters are quite good, designed with very narrow passbands and notches in the right places of the spectrum for observing specific objects
    That is some are more suited for planetary nebulae than for emission or reflection nebulae.
    There isn't really one that does everything


    haha, that reminds me of a long time ago ... back in the '80's when I used to travel to my mate's family home ( he and brother were still living with mum and dad)
    My mate, Dave, had an Edmund Scientific 8" Newtonian scope which was on a tracking mount. We used to do hours and hours of astrophotography with his or my 35mm SLR film camera connected to the scope ( years before CCD astro cams or any digital cam). He and I would share the work of doing the guiding to make sure tracking errors were accounted for.
    His scope was set up in a shed with a removable roof in the back yard and next door there was a gal who periodically liked to get ready for bed without pulling the curtains..... leave the rest to your imagination :biggrin:



    cheers
    Dave
     
  6. Jul 15, 2016 #5

    Chronos

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    I don't have much love for filters. The bang for the buck just isnt there unless you are a seasoned AP'er with imaging goals. For visual use, they are mostly just photon eaters and rarely beneficial for anything aside from solar or lunar views.
     
  7. Jul 16, 2016 #6
    I disagree, a H-beta, OIII or UHC filter can work wonders on some nebula.
     
  8. Jul 16, 2016 #7

    sophiecentaur

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    I'm glad to read that there are differences of opinion here. I tend to err on the stingy side when it come to buying bolt ons but, in the case of a fave hobby, I can sometimes go completely the opposite way.
    Electronic imagers are very 'literal' with what they see and you can't fool them. The brain / eye combination can dredge stuff up out of nowhere - but not always correctly, as with the canals of Mars.
    More opinions please. They will be gratefully received.
     
  9. Jul 16, 2016 #8
    My experience with filters for visual is that you need to have really good dark adaptation (an hour or more with as near as possible zero light) for your eyes to be sensitive enough for them to make a big difference. I own a UHC, an Hβ, and a couple others. Also note that they are by far most effective for nebulae; they don't do much for galaxies (but that said, they can make the nebulae in the Triangulum galaxy stand out nicely, which is quite kewl). Some people report interesting results with some filters when viewing planets; I've tried it and wasn't impressed, but your mileage may vary.
     
  10. Jul 17, 2016 #9

    davenn

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    dark adaption helps with everything and the longer the better

    yes as I noted earlier ... that's what they are designed for


    Dave
     
  11. Jul 17, 2016 #10

    Drakkith

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  12. Jul 18, 2016 #11

    sophiecentaur

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  13. Jul 18, 2016 #12

    Chronos

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    The pictures in the link exaggerate the plusses of filters for visual use, which I believe are negligible. They caveat their praise under the context of 'experienced' observers. I would argue filters are among the worst bang for the buck of any visual deep sky accessory. An eyepiece upgrade would be my preference. But, then again I am old.
     
  14. Jul 19, 2016 #13

    davenn

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    that's pretty harsh

    definitely not of negligible value .... my Lumicon UHC filter gets a lot of use and works reasonably well. gives much better contrast between sky and nebula


    Dave
     
  15. Jul 19, 2016 #14

    sophiecentaur

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    We're really into Bang per Buck considerations and financial priorities, here. My choice of new eyepieces was a really good one and they do enhance the experience a lot. Also the right angle finder scope has preserved my neck joints (I am old too!!) A DIY solar filter, with plastic sheet mounted in a round baking tin, with a hole cut in it, has also made a difference to views of the Sun. Unfortunately, I missed 'that transit' and also the massive sunspot that was there a few weeks ago but I live in hopes. Of course, I will probably never see those interesting views of the bubbling solar porridge, which is a disappointment but a high end narrow band filter would be a bit over the top.
    The new 13% Moon filter will come in handy tonight (I hope). Looking at the full Moon without it was giving me unpleasant feelings of blindness in my right eye when I look away from the EP.
     
  16. Jul 19, 2016 #15

    Chronos

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    My experience with filters is admittedly thin. My enthusiam was sharply diminished following some early disappointments with Hb and OIII. Of course my 'big' scope then was an 8" f10 SC, so that could be a factor. It appears most DSO filter praise originates from veteran observers with light buckets. On a side note, I agree a RA finder scope is a veritable godsend on a Newt, or almost any other sizable scope. It used to puzzle me why these are not offered as a standard option on most scopes.
     
  17. Jul 19, 2016 #16

    davenn

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    if your solar filter is ready to use .... there's a big spot group visible at the moment. Will still be for a couple of days till it rotates off the disk face


    D
     
  18. Jul 21, 2016 #17

    sophiecentaur

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    I took a look at the Sun today (filter plus eyeball, only) and I couldn't see anything significant. I may be lucky with the cloud cover tomorrow and dig out the Scope.
     
  19. Jul 21, 2016 #18

    davenn

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    really ? a huge spot group......

    latest_hmi_igram.gif
    cheers
    Dave
     
  20. Jul 21, 2016 #19

    davenn

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    that was for yesterday, they have rotated a bit more towards the west limb now
     
  21. Jul 21, 2016 #20

    sophiecentaur

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    I must remember to clean my glasses tomorrow! o:)
     
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