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Should I get a telescope for these light pollution

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#1 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:31 AM

condtions?

Hi, new member here. I have enjoyed reading a lot of your posts already before joining. I live in Gwacheon, South Korea which I doubt any of you know but who knows...Anyway, it's 10 miles outside of Seoul, which is probably one of the most light polluted areas on earth.

I would say the air pollution is actually worse than the light pollution overall, but thankfully in the fall and winter siberian air clears that out for the most part. I'm okay with just observing for half the year, but I'm mainly interested in seeing deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae. The planets and the moon are cool, but it seems everytime I go to an observatory that's what I see, so if I'm going to be limited to Jupiter, Saturn and the moon, I think I might hold off till I move to the countryside (won't be happening anytime soon unfortunately...)

If you guys could take a look at this link and help me to tell me whether I'd be able to see galaxies in a fairly defined way in my light pollution conditions that would be great. This will be another thread, but I'm considering probably an 8" 9.25, or 11" celestron or possibly a 12" dobsonian. Weight is a consideration so I may end up on the low end of that, but certainly no lower.

So here's the link http://astroscanenth...-pollution-w...

(It shows various sky conditions you might encounter in the city, suburbs etc.)

When I look at the sattelite, basically I'm in a huge white spot, but we're blocked off from seoul by a mountain so I don't think it's quite that bad.

I would say we're between a 5 and a 7 in the best conditions, but that said I'd be observing a lot in 7 conditions.

Would I be wasting my money? I'm not expecting hubble telescope stuff, but I'd like to see spiral arms possibly, stuff like that....

#2 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:40 AM

I just showed the chart to my wife, she disagrees with me and thinks we're a 5, definitely no better than that though.

#3 obin robinson

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:45 AM

My recommendation would be to get a small telescope now and a larger one when you move. Enjoy what you can and get an idea of what is even visible from your area before you spend a lot of money.

obin ;)

#4 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:52 AM

I won't be moving for years probably. What size scope would you recommend to have an idea of what galaxies I would be able to see? Money isn't a huge issue, I'm okay with spending a few bucks...

#5 Illinois

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:14 AM

I won't be moving for years probably. What size scope would you recommend to have an idea of what galaxies I would be able to see? Money isn't a huge issue, I'm okay with spending a few bucks...


I think C11 is better because its F10 that you can enjoy look at Juipter, Saturn, Mars, Moon , etc in light pollution. C11 get more light that you might see faint galaxies and nebula. I used 10 inch dobsonian and I can see all 3 galaxies (M31, M32 and M110)so near Chicago. Chicago is terrible light pollution. (White zone) I think C11 F10 is great for many years to use and if you don't mind that C11 is heavy. C11 at low power for galaxies, nebula and open cluster while use medium and high power for planets and Moon, etc. That's me to pick C11! Good luck!

#6 Illinois

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:18 AM

galaxy's arms is very hard to see even in my 16 inch Dobsonian in yellow zone light pollution! Keep your eyes stay in dark and look at galaxy for a few minutes. look up, down and around then you might catch a faint arm but not easy! I can see faint arms in M51 and M101 in my 16 inch!

#7 obin robinson

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:20 AM

I live about 20 miles south of Houston which is terribly light polluted as well. I do 90% of my viewing with an ST-80 telescope and a 20mm or 32mm eyepiece. I can see star clusters, double stars, satellites, planets (but not in high detail), and the centers of galaxies like andromeda.

When I bring out the 6" or 10" telescopes I can see a few more stars but I also see a lot more light pollution. In the 80mm f/5 the sky is a dark blueish color. With the 10" f/4.5 the sky is almost light grey when looking at the exact same stars at the exact same time.

The big telescopes scoop up more light pollution. They do grab a bit more detail in nebula but it's not like they exclude light pollution either. I would vote for a smaller refractor like an 80mm-100mm or so and when you get a big 10"+ reflector in the future you can still use the refractor as a grab-and-go.

If money isn't an issue I'd go for an apochromatic refractor. I was surprised at the amount of double stars and galaxies I could see with my ED80. I am going to send you an IM to my online archive. You will get an idea of what I can see in the red/white zone with small telescopes.

obin :)

#8 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:24 AM

Thanks Illinois, I will think about the C11. That's disappointing about the arms, I doubt I'll ever get a scope as sizeable as yours. I have some family about 1 1/2 hours south of Chicago in a rural town, and I have to say the conditions aren't much better than they are here. A bit, but when you consider how much further they are from a metro area than I am, it's pretty disappointing. It seems once you get out of the immediate inner city things improve a lot, but you really need to get far from even the medium cities to get conditions significantly better. Some kind of light pollution law of diminishing returns or something...

#9 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:28 AM

Thanks a lot obin, I'm going to do some serious research on the scopes you're recommending. Hopefully they're available on ebay as it's hard to get things shipped here.. I didn't think of the fact that a bigger scope would get more light pollution.

If you have your telescope looking straight up, is this still an issue? I can see hundreds of stars straight up, it's the stars near the horizon that really suffer from being close to the city.

#10 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

How's a scope like this?

http://www.ebay.com/...REFLECTING-A...

It doesn't look like my favorite even for a cheap scope, but is available in Korea, would this compare favorably to what you have?

#11 obin robinson

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:44 AM

I have basically the same optics as that Meade EQ in the planetary camera I am building. Here's what Jupiter looks like on a good day. This is a stack of a CCD capture but you get the idea.

Posted Image

You'll be able to see a lot with it. I think you will be satisfied until you can get to the country and buy a larger telescope. I know mine got lots of usage before I rebuilt it.

obin :cool:

#12 AcesDJD

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:51 AM

Wow that's a lot better than I expected. Didn't look that much better at the observatory here which has a 20 incher. The moons did look a good bit larger though.

#13 REC

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 10:01 AM

That's a very nice image of what size it would look like in the scope. What would you say the approximate power that gave you this size of Jupiter? To me it looks about 15x?

#14 obin robinson

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 10:07 AM

Thanks! It's an f/7.9 114mm and the image seemed to be about the same size as when I put a ~7.5mm eyepiece in the focuser. I could be wrong though but that seemed about right from what I can recall.

obin :cool:

#15 BSJ

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 01:16 PM

Wow that's a lot better than I expected. Didn't look that much better at the observatory here which has a 20 incher. The moons did look a good bit larger though.


Visual and photography can't be compared. What you'll see in such a small scope will be MUCH less detailed.

#16 AcesDJD

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:23 AM

^ Thanks, I was just reading about this, apparently photographers usually leave the aperture open for minutes or longer which allows for a lot more light collection. I have a lot to learn apparently.

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:07 AM

Just me, but maybe consider a 4" achromat like the Omni 102XLT. Great optics, affordable, f9.8, 1000mm f/l...and on a CG4 mount as well. For a few dollars more you can motorize the mount for tracking.

#18 obin robinson

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:12 AM

^ Thanks, I was just reading about this, apparently photographers usually leave the aperture open for minutes or longer which allows for a lot more light collection. I have a lot to learn apparently.


I intentionally took those photos to represent what the objects looked like through the eyepiece. They aren't very long exposures.

obin :)

#19 AcesDJD

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:37 AM

Small scope-check
White zone seeing conditions-check
Pictures- amazing

#20 photowriter

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:17 PM

I live in Suwon. I recommend that you better go to Yangpyeong or Yongin to see a few galaxies.

Yangpyeong has relatively good sky to observe. But, it would take around 2 hours to go there.

Yongin is closer than Yangpyeong. From my home, it takes 35 min to go to Yongin Football Center. Yongin FC shows a grade lower than Yangpyeong(forget about western sky for the terrible light pollution from Seoul). But you can see Eastern Veil Nebular w/ 12 inch Dob.

You might see a few nabulae or deep sky objects in Gwacheon. But even though you might find them, they won't show any spectables to you in such a bad sky condition.

#21 GeneT

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:03 PM

I spent a year at Yongson, headquartered in Seoul, from 1978-79. Korea is a beautiful country. Maybe you could consider buying an 8 inch Celestron. It would be easy to set up where you live to view the brighter stuff, yet small enough to haul to a dark sky site. To see deep sky objects such as galaxies and most nebula, you need to get to a dark sky site. From light polluted skies, you can still see well the planets, brighter globulars and nebula, and a whole bunch of double stars. Double stars are fascinating with their variety, differing colors and separation of components.

#22 AcesDJD

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:02 AM

Thanks photowriter, will have to check those locations out I assume they are in Gangwon-do. You are right Gwacheon doesn't have the best conditions in the world, still light years better than Seoul unless you're observing downtown. I don't know if you're aware of this, but Gwacheon has an observatory at the science museum. The experience wasn't my cup of tea because the guy running it didn't know English and my Korean isn't up to snuff, so I didn't know how to request to look at other things besides Jupiter and Saturn, seems like he had things set up just to look at the planets... The biggest telescope there looked to be 20" at least so if you're in the area you might want to check it out once. They managed to darken all the lights near the observatory so its about the best conditions you'll get anywhere near here. Unfortunately they won't let me take a private telescope on the property at night unless I have a ticket to use the observatory :(

How clear are the skies in the Suwon area?

Anyway, after doing lots of naked eye observations over the past two weeks and reading lots of posts on here and on other sites, I think I'm going to downgrade my location to white zone :( Yes I had a day where it looked a lot better, but I don't think I can buy a telescope based on an anomaly.

I've come to the conclusion that although opinions vary, the majority say you actually need more aperture in a white zone, so I'll be buying either an 8" 9.5 or 11" SCT. So I'm pretty much down to an aperture vs weight situation. I'm not a big guy about 125 pounds soaking wet, so anything over 80 pounds would be out of the question. IF the 8" SCT is 65 pounds total than that's still a lot so I think I'll live with carrying another 15 for the much better views I'll get. If I can find a much lighter 8" say 45 or 50 pounds well then I think I'll take my chance on missing a little aperture.

Any posts by experienced red/white zone people would be appreciated as well as advice on SCTs. Thanks.

#23 AcesDJD

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for your post Gene. I wasn't here in the 70's, came here fairly recently, but I've run into a few people here who were there back then, and everyone says you wouldn't believe how much things have changed. There are neon lights everywhere and I think 40% of the population lives in Seoul now. I'd say at least in my area, most Koreans earn a higher salary than Americans do. They've really made a lot of economic strides.

I'm excited to take a look at double stars I think those will be my first target if galaxies aren't realistic. If you have any pertinent advice on SCT's it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:41 PM

Here's a short article on urban astronomy that I put together a couple of years ago:

Stargazing from light-polluted locales can be quite challenging. However, a fair number of celestial objects can be successfully observed from cities. The Moon, the bright planets, bright binary stars, bright open and globular clusters, bright nebulae, and bright galaxies are all possible targets.

A number of articles on the subject appear at http://www.astronomy...spx?c=ss&id=152

Tips on city observing are posted at the following sites:

http://www.astroleag...n/urbantip.html

http://www.skyandtel...cs/3303991.html

http://www.astronomy.../Setup is ke...

Urban astronomy is also discussed at these sites:

http://www.dirtyskies.com/

http://washedoutastronomy.com/

http://urbanastronomer.blogspot.com/

Books on the subject include Urban Astronomy by Denis Berthier and The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) by Rod Mollise.

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/052153190X

http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/1846282160

Lists of deep-sky objects that are visible from urban areas can be found at the following URLs:

http://mysite.verizo...55p46/id10.html

http://www.astroleag...an/urbanld.html

http://www.skyandtel...ts/3074841.html

http://www.astronomy...2/Explore de...

Dave Mitsky

#25 photowriter

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:08 PM

AcesDJD,

I agree that at least Gwacheon is quite better than Seoul. But it is not enough dark to observe deep sky objects. You can find how bright Gwacheon are at Dark Sky Map .

Suwon also is not good to observe deep sky. Past two weeks, the sky condition was fairly good. A lot better than usual Korean sky.

Anyway, it will be good to have a car to do observations. Yonging Football Center that I said is placed in Kyunggi-do. Yangpyeong is placed in Kyunggi-do also. Gangwon-do has better sky but it is too far from Gwacheon or Suwon.






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