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Ring Nebula

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#1 VectorRoll

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:22 AM

Finally had a chance to look for the Ring Nebula tonight. It has been hiding behind the trees since I got my scope and is now finally getting out high enough for me to view before I go inside. It has been on my list of things to look at since before I bought the scope. :)

I must say, that thing looks like a smudge. Like many things it is pretty faint in my area. I live right on the edge of town between a Rural and Suburban area so I guess that it like a Yellow or Orange. I really need to get some filters to help me view these things better. :)

Also, last night I was finally able to find M51 and I saw it again tonight. It is very faint for me as well. Having these things at the right angle helped in the sky helped. I made a Light Shield just to keep my neighbors ungodly bright Light Post in his front yard from getting in my tube. When I get some time, I plan to flock my tube.

I am really enjoying finding these things in the night sky. I am glade that I got back into this. :)

#2 starbux

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:31 AM

With your 10" scope, even in light polluted skies, the doughnut-like shape should be evident. Try varying the magnification (change eyepieces) and use averted vision (don't look directly square-on). There should be more than a smudge discernible though with practice you'll see more.

#3 core

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:40 AM

Congrats! imo if you can find and view M51, M57 will be blazing in comparison! Wait for it to get a little higher, and try bumping up the magnification even before thinking of getting some filters.

#4 Maverick199

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:02 AM

Hi Vector, if you were able to faintly see M 51, the Ring nebula should appear pretty bright based on that night and with 10" aperture. I know even from light polluted city viewing, the Ring nebula is easy to see with even a 4" Refractor or C6 SCT.

#5 MawkHawk

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:06 AM

+1 for averted vision. The ring nebula changes kind of dramatically when you look around the edges of the FOV.

#6 lamplight

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:11 AM

Congratulations.. Lyra is the first constellation that has come round In circle around the world since I started astronomy in the fall.. I recall seeing the smudge with my 8" pretty near meridian I think, then watched it get lower until I couldn't see it anymore.. Now I noticed late at night Its "rising" in the east/north east as its swing round the celestial pole.. Pretty cool.. I can't wait to see if my months of observing show me more detail in similar scopes! (I viewed it a few times last year but can't recall if I saw the ring shape).

#7 tezster

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:25 AM

From the perspective of a city-dweller, you live in fairly dark skies (I have to drive 45 minutes to get to an orange zone). The most important element to control in your case is stray light. If there's an open field or park area just outside of town you can use, observing from there could make a BIG difference.

Even under light-polluted skies, the Ring Nebula's donut shape should be quite obvious. I have had many first-time observers see it through my 10" dob during outreach events :)

#8 kfiscus

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

You'll appreciate it much more when it is near the zenith, as mentioned by Peter. Congrats on your efforts. They will be rewarded as you train your averted vision and as the spring and summer skies bring their treasures.

#9 VectorRoll

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

Thanks everyone. I'll definitely try the Adverted Vision the next time I get a Clear Sky. Hopefully tonight.

I probably was just not focused enough. :p I will say that the Ring Nebula was in a direction that was through the light dome of my town for me. I live on the south west side of Lincoln, IL just inside I-55 and the Ring Nebula was in the direction of right between Peoria and Bloomington. I can see the glow both there domes off in the distance. I guess you could say that I am in the Orange based on Dark Sky Finder.

Anyways I did see the Doughnut shape to it. I tried to find a picture that should it similar to how it looked for me in order to give you all an idea of how it looked for me. The closet I could find is THIS. It was just a bit smaller. I am not even sure if that is a picture or a sketch but it is similar to how it looked for me.

I located it with my 30mm and 2x Barlow then used my 9mm Plössl with my 2x Barlow. I did not try looking at it without the Barlow. I will next time though. Maybe even shortening the Barlow by putting the lens on my short extension tube or directly on the 2" 30mm eyepiece.

It was definitely a site to see. I'll probably be looking at it every night that it comes out from now on when I am out. :grin:

#10 RussL

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:28 AM

I'm in a red zone and can see the doughnut shape clearly on a good night, with the Ring higher up. And that's in an 80mm f5 refractor. Try going from low power to higher powers slowly through your eyepiece set and see if the darker background sky at higher powers helps make it pop out some.

Averted vision helps. It's ironic that we go out to try to see something that we can only see if we don't really look at it. LOL.

#11 Billytk

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:44 AM

That pictuer is almost dead on with what I see in my 12" and I live in a red zone. I assume you are not expecting Hubble images?

#12 pftarch

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:08 PM

+1 to what Billytk said above, only I am also using a a GSO (Zhummel) 10" (not 12").

If my math is right, barlowing your 9mm gives you about 267X. My New England skies get real finicky over 200X and I'm wondering if part of what you are going through is an inability to get a crisp focus at too high of a magnification for current conditions.

The problem with the Ring, and most DSO's, is that they are "fuzzy" in nature and it is tough to tell if you really are focused. I will usually move the scope slightly to center on a relatively bright star near the object and focus the star to a fine point, then move back onto the object without refocusing. If your "focus" star can't be focused and is a blobby boiling mess, chances are you are probably going to want to reduce your magnification until sky conditions get better (which in New Hampshire where I live might take 8 to 10 months......).

If you are seeing what you have linked to, you are doing pretty well, and in time you will be able to recognize more detail. If you want to feel better about what you are seeing, point a 60mm refractor (or other scope significantly smaller than your 10" dob) at the Ring and compare that with the view through your 10".

Enjoy!

Peter T.

#13 Billytk

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

+1 with what Pftarch said. Focus on a star first and remember they arn't called faint fuzzys for nothing.

#14 VectorRoll

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:28 PM

That pictuer is almost dead on with what I see in my 12" and I live in a red zone. I assume you are not expecting Hubble images?

I am definitely not expecting Hubble Images. :)
I am actually quite pleased with how it looked for not having any filters. It is better than some things I have been searching for. I'm just hoping for better skies to see it even better.

+1 to what Billytk said above, only I am also using a a GSO (Zhummel) 10" (not 12").

If my math is right, barlowing your 9mm gives you about 267X. My New England skies get real finicky over 200X and I'm wondering if part of what you are going through is an inability to get a crisp focus at too high of a magnification for current conditions.

The problem with the Ring, and most DSO's, is that they are "fuzzy" in nature and it is tough to tell if you really are focused. I will usually move the scope slightly to center on a relatively bright star near the object and focus the star to a fine point, then move back onto the object without refocusing. If your "focus" star can't be focused and is a blobby boiling mess, chances are you are probably going to want to reduce your magnification until sky conditions get better (which in New Hampshire where I live might take 8 to 10 months......).

If you are seeing what you have linked to, you are doing pretty well, and in time you will be able to recognize more detail. If you want to feel better about what you are seeing, point a 60mm refractor (or other scope significantly smaller than your 10" dob) at the Ring and compare that with the view through your 10".

Enjoy!

Peter T.

It could have been the condition of the sky. It was a bit humid out that night as well.

The picture I linked is pretty much what I saw. Just a bit smaller in size. I am pleased with it so far. I still would like to get a filter to help see it better. Like a UHC or an OIII.
I also need to plan a trip out to better skies. I just need to find a place near here where I can go. Maybe near our families old farm.

I was going to try an look at it again tonight. But sadly I have go to cut my night short. Part of the reason is that I have dentist appointment tomorrow morning and I need some rest before it. :( But the other reason was that tonight the wind was blowing a bit and I noticed that there was a bit of pollen in the air. I would wipe off my Planishpere and within two minutes there would be more pollen on it. I did not want to get to much of that in my scope. So I packed it up earlier than I planned. :(

#15 galexand

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:29 AM

I'm a little jealous, I haven't stayed up late enough to see the ring nebula yet this year. Last year, ring nebula was my very first Messier object, and Lyra was the first constellation I learned to hop. I really think Lyra is a good choice for hopping because there is something at least mildly interesting at all 4 corners of its parallelogram, plus the double double (epsilon lyra) nearby. And of course, Vega (and the summer triangle) making it super easy to spot in the finder scope.

#16 Mentor

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:44 AM

I have a sketch in my signature of how the Ring Nebula looks to me in my 4" scope from a firm red zone. Please don't judge me by my sup-par sketching abilities. ;) I think this was my first ever attempt at sketching.

#17 Kevdog

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:24 AM

Very similar to my view in my C11. I used my ES9mm for ~300x. The air was pretty steady that night for once so I had a pretty good view.

I live on the border between a yellow and green zone.

#18 pftarch

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:33 PM

... Please don't judge me by my sup-par sketching abilities.....


Anyone looking at that gallery care to vote on whether it is "subpar" sketching or not?

I vote for WAY above par.

Peter T.

#19 old honda

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

!! Yupp , Darn good sketching of the night skies - !!

#20 newtoskies

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:59 PM

Tried for M57 tonight but due to it being still too low in the LP I had no luck. M51/NGC5195 were smudges.

#21 VectorRoll

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:42 AM

I tried again for it tonight, but the humidity kicked in and ruined everything. Just to foggy. :(

I did get my tube flocked today though. It worked great for what little time I had to view tonight.


I have a sketch in my signature of how the Ring Nebula looks to me in my 4" scope from a firm red zone. Please don't judge me by my sup-par sketching abilities. ;) I think this was my first ever attempt at sketching.

Nice Sketch by the way. :waytogo:

#22 lamplight

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:11 AM

I like he sketches very much. I went and visited m57 again two nights ago with my 5" and that's essentially what I saw. It was a SUPERB night here april 30th into may 1.. Got to do some leasurely observing for the first time in months. Eventually got cold hands and tired but it was awesome., what I saw that night was the ring defined, but still not as opaque darkness on the inside as sometimes shown in photos.. Yesterday was reading in "the Messier objects" that the ring can affect reflections so that the inside is not so dark, and that's what I saw in a small,scope. Like your great sketch.

It's interesting I have a background in art but am not compelled to try sketching.. It's probably an incredible tool for teasing out detail.. It's just the nature of what happens looking at an object to draw it.

#23 Mentor

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

Yeah, I have not seen the ring defined with a dark centre. I am not sure what the undelying physical or physiological reason for this is, but it always appears to me as a disk with a brighter edge and a not-quite hollow centre. I wonder if darker skies or larger aperture would make more of a difference in seeing a black centre in the ring. I have on occasion seen the ring to have variation in brightness and an oblong shape, but on the night I made that sketch I did not discern either to a notable degree. The transparency was likely poor at the time.

I sketch because it forces me to spend my time observing an object. I often stumble on interesting double stars or asterisms in the field that I would not have noticed if I just viewed and moved on. I spend on average 1 hour on a sketch, and evaluate at multiple magnifications before selecting the one that provide the optimal view. I figure that for many of the objects that I find I may never look at them again, so better to linger while I am there and get to know them well.

#24 amillego

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:06 AM

I shot this with my 9.25.

#25 VectorRoll

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:33 AM

I shot this with my 9.25.

I can not seem to view your picture for some reason. :(






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