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Best telescope for NYC nights

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#1 crimbo

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:04 PM

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.



#2 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 11:26 PM

I used a Orion XT10 F/4.7 dob in Midtown Atlanta for awhile when I lived there. You'll be just fine with that scope.



#3 Starman1

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:18 AM

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

Hey, I'm from LA.  You can drive 60 miles and still be in the city lights.  My night sky varies from blue to orange.

Seriously, an 8" f/6 dob would be just fine.  Good luck finding a site.  I have a friend in Manhattan who uses his roof top.

Moon, planets, double stars, bright star clusters, carbon stars, variable stars are among the untold thousands of targets that can be seen.

If you get a narrowband nebula filter, even M42 and M8 can be seen.  I did a house call in Hollywood once, where the guy's night sky had about 10 stars and it was a perfectly clear dry night!  Yet, we looked at M42 and it looked decent.

Never say never


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#4 Tom McDonald

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:40 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

I'm on Long Island not TOO far from you. I too have to deal with the bright lights from Manhattan.

If you can block out some of the lights with a tarp, tree, or even a building you shouldn't have much of a problem with that scope.

I'd suggest a local park but they usually close at dark for safety reasons. I wouldn't go alone in any case. And it's not a "Brooklyn" thing. I've had an unpleasant situation one night in the Poconos.

 

Best of luck!



#5 iddscoper

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 09:29 AM

Also on Long Island.. a strange sight last night - I was at a concert at an open-air venue at Jones Beach. My eyes were not light-adjusted, and it way very humid, but when I looked overhead during the show the ONLY three stars I could see were the Summer Triangle.

 

I'm not a scope user, but I use binoculars to stargaze. Our local area (about 40 miles out from NYC) has massive light pollution. Probably an hour and a half drive to dark skies, and that's only a guess.



#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 09:34 AM

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

F/ratio is totally irrelevant. Light pollution affects f/4 scopes just the same as f/10 scopes.

 

Actually, as major cities go, New York is quite dark. Alas, however, you're in the very worst part of NYC -- right in the heart of the light pollution. Northern Manhattan isn't half bad, and it's easy to get in a hurry from there to much darker places. You don't get to anywhere in a hurry from Brooklyn.



#7 howard929

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:04 AM

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

Depending on where in Brooklyn you view from, LP will vary greatly. If for instance you were in the south towards Coney Island, most of your southern and eastern sky should look darker then west and north. OTOH, north Brooklyn somewhere near Queens that might be a stretch but East should still be darker. While a 8" dob is a fine telescope IMO I'm wondering how high in the sky can you see an object above any buildings that are around you? For instance, I'm surrounded by trees in my backyard and planets need to be above 30 degrees to be seen and that's more then fine for me. That said, I wouldn't want to put a damper on you trying this hobby. You'll certainly be able to view the planets with great detail and you'll be surprised how wonderful it is to view the moon. Deep sky in LP is tough but with averted vision sometimes DSO's pop into view. Besides, if this was easy, we'd just let the kids do it. ;) I say go for it.


Edited by howard929, 06 August 2014 - 10:07 AM.


#8 crimbo

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:46 AM

 

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

F/ratio is totally irrelevant. Light pollution affects f/4 scopes just the same as f/10 scopes.

 

Actually, as major cities go, New York is quite dark. Alas, however, you're in the very worst part of NYC -- right in the heart of the light pollution. Northern Manhattan isn't half bad, and it's easy to get in a hurry from there to much darker places. You don't get to anywhere in a hurry from Brooklyn.

 

 

Robin Scagell in his 'City Astronomy' book: "The one type of telescope that is not particularly good for visual observing from towns and suburbs is the very short-focus reflector. Really short f-ratios, such as f/4, are best suited to observing deep-sky objects are fairly low powers, with the potential for wide fields of view."...."If you have the chance, aim for an f/8 instrument rather than f/5 or f/6."

 

 

 

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

Depending on where in Brooklyn you view from, LP will vary greatly. If for instance you were in the south towards Coney Island, most of your southern and eastern sky should look darker then west and north. OTOH, north Brooklyn somewhere near Queens that might be a stretch but East should still be darker. While a 8" dob is a fine telescope IMO I'm wondering how high in the sky can you see an object above any buildings that are around you? For instance, I'm surrounded by trees in my backyard and planets need to be above 30 degrees to be seen and that's more then fine for me. That said, I wouldn't want to put a damper on you trying this hobby. You'll certainly be able to view the planets with great detail and you'll be surprised how wonderful it is to view the moon. Deep sky in LP is tough but with averted vision sometimes DSO's pop into view. Besides, if this was easy, we'd just let the kids do it. ;) I say go for it.

 

 Im in south Brooklyn, next to the water, so I can get views fairly close to the horizon.



#9 howard929

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:23 PM

I'm familiar with those areas. You'll be good to go facing south and east, due north towards west maybe not so good with LP but for the most part you'll have plenty of sky to view. Sounds good to me. BTW which 8" f/6 are you considering?


Edited by howard929, 06 August 2014 - 12:26 PM.


#10 Talsian

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:13 PM

The author overstated the importance of the f ratio.  Visually, a dob is a great all around instrument.  With good optics and at larger apertures, they perform beautifully on all targets.

 

That being said your best options are probably a refractor in a longer f ratio like f7 or f8.  No central obstruction and the longer f ratio are good things for your prime targets such as the planets, moon, doubles, and other bright targets.  These two factors help with clarity.  If you go this route, make sure you get a good mount.  Even a tiny vibration looks like an earth quake at 200x.  Last but not least, when you narrow down your choices, ask for some opinions.



#11 howard929

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:43 PM

Ahhh.The debate between the $420 8" dob vs the $1000 plus 4" refractor seems to have no end and Yeah, by the time that refractor is devoid of what can make them undesirable AND solidly mounted, maybe a grand isn't enough..


Edited by howard929, 06 August 2014 - 01:45 PM.


#12 Tony Flanders

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:48 PM

 

 

Hi, I'm from Brooklyn and was wondering if a f/6 8inch dobsonian would cut it for my night skies, or if the f-ratio is too small. If it is too small, I was wondering what should be the cutoff number for my particular city sky should be. Im putting it this way because I'm guessing other light polluted night skies like Portland or Detroit are more forgiving than nyc, which is the extreme.

F/ratio is totally irrelevant. Light pollution affects f/4 scopes just the same as f/10 scopes.

 

Actually, as major cities go, New York is quite dark. Alas, however, you're in the very worst part of NYC -- right in the heart of the light pollution. Northern Manhattan isn't half bad, and it's easy to get in a hurry from there to much darker places. You don't get to anywhere in a hurry from Brooklyn.

 

 

Robin Scagell in his 'City Astronomy' book: "The one type of telescope that is not particularly good for visual observing from towns and suburbs is the very short-focus reflector. Really short f-ratios, such as f/4, are best suited to observing deep-sky objects are fairly low powers, with the potential for wide fields of view."...."If you have the chance, aim for an f/8 instrument rather than f/5 or f/6."


 

I agree with Scagell on many things, but frankly this statement makes no sense. Just because a fast scope can deliver low powers -- which is true -- doesn't mean that it's restricted to low powers. Anything a slow scope can do, a fast scope can do too, but not vice versa. Stick a 2X Barlow into an f/4 scope and voila -- you have an f/8 scope. And all for less than $100.

 

Moreover, I happen to enjoy browsing the sky at ultralow power in my 7-inch f/5.6 Dob, thank you. I frequently use it at 24X from my city home. And that's very low power indeed for a scope of that aperture.

 

In any case, you certainly shouldn't sacrifice aperture in a quest to achieve a long focal ratio. An 8-inch f/6 Dob shows a lot more than a 6-inch f/8 Dob, and both of those show a lot more than a 4-inch f/12 refractor.



#13 crimbo

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:18 PM

The author overstated the importance of the f ratio.  Visually, a dob is a great all around instrument.  With good optics and at larger apertures, they perform beautifully on all targets.

 

Well, he discusses how scopes with f/8 and higher produce darker background skies for fainter space objects than scopes of f/6 and lower. 

 

I'm familiar with those areas. You'll be good to go facing south and east, due north towards west maybe not so good with LP but for the most part you'll have plenty of sky to view. Sounds good to me. BTW which 8" f/6 are you considering?

 

Either the Orion skyquest or the Celestron. Are there any others? Zhumell doesn't make anymore, right?

 


 



#14 howard929

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:27 PM

Since Zhumell seems to be gone, The best bang for the buck for a 8"manual dob by the same company that made Zhumell, GSO is http://www.opticsmar...-telescope.html


Edited by howard929, 06 August 2014 - 03:31 PM.


#15 TDTO

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:34 PM

I live in northern Queens and I'm using a F10 8" cat. I'm new to astronomy but I think I'm limited to objects brighter than 7 magnitude. When I searched for M81 mag 6.94, I could see it, but when I searched for M82, a neighboring galaxy at mag 8.41, I couldn't see it. That still leave leaves a lot of objects to be seen, and then deal with the dimmer objects when I can get to a darker site.                       P.S. I was able to see M57,  mag 8.8 near zenith tonight, I guess conditions vary night to night.


Edited by TDTO, 06 August 2014 - 10:08 PM.


#16 Space Hunter

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 09:16 PM

Im on Long Island I Have A C8 I Love It



#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 04:36 AM

 

The author overstated the importance of the f ratio.  Visually, a dob is a great all around instrument.  With good optics and at larger apertures, they perform beautifully on all targets.

 

Well, he discusses how scopes with f/8 and higher produce darker background skies for fainter space objects than scopes of f/6 and lower. 

That is a result of the magnification -- or rather, the exit pupil (aperture divided by magnification), not of the f/ratio.

 

An 8-inch f/6 Dob at 100X has exactly the same brightness sky background as an 8-inch f/10 SCT at 100X. And both of those have the same brightness sky background as a 4-inch scope (of any f/ratio) at 50X. In all cases, you get an exit pupil of 2 mm. (200 mm / 100 = 2 mm, 100 mm / 50 = w mm).

 

It's true that with the same eyepiece, the background is darker in the SCT. But you wouldn't be using the same eyepieces in both scopes.



#18 jgroub

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:17 PM

Since Zhumell seems to be gone, The best bang for the buck for a 8"manual dob by the same company that made Zhumell, GSO is http://www.opticsmar...-telescope.html

+1 on the Apertura AD8, as you can see from my signature.  Crimbo, I've done a lot of research on this, and my conclusion is to definitely get the AD8.  

 

Your LP has got to be almost as bad as mine on the Upper East Side, and I can only see 30 stars on a great night.  Where are you, Sheepshead Bay?  Coney Island?  Manhattan Beach?  In around there?  Any idea how many stars you can see?  Because if it's in the two figures like me, then you're going to need either setting circles (which the AD8 offers), or get the Orion Intelliscope option, because starhopping just isn't going to work for you or me in the city with the LP we have.  

 

And regardless of which scope you get, look into flocking your scope.  No, that's not some weird sex term.  Check out the Opticsmart website and it'll explain what flocking is.  I've researched this too, and for LP like ours, meaning not just the skyglow, but the streetlights, the headlights, the building lights, everything lighting up this wonderful city around us, flocking is a must.  You mentioned contrast - flocking is supposed to increase it quite a bit.  Of course, mind you, I have no firsthand knowledge on any of this.  

 

Keep us up to date on what you decide to get and how it works out for you.  Good luck and clear skies!  



#19 dr.who

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:29 PM

While refractors are great for many applications if budget is a concern it's not the right one. The best recommendation here so far if budget is a concern is the 8+ inch Dob from Apertura with the tweaker package and setting circles. The 10" or 12" are better but the 8" is great. Either that or the Orion IntelliScope in the same apertures. Best bang for the buck. 


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#20 Abhat

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 05:41 AM

+1 for Orion's Intelliscopes for light polluted skies.



#21 YankeeJeff

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:14 PM

Lol. Get the biggest friggin mirror you can afford and can carry. That's how you'll see more in NY. Manhattan white zone viewing is not Brooklyn white zone viewing - you'll see more from BK. 

 

If you live in an apartment - an 8" dob is the biggest you'll be able to carry out. I had a Zhummell 10" and it was a pain to carry out of my apt to Floyd Bennette Field. When I bought my house it was a breeze to roll out and view from my patio. I've been out of the hobby for a while for various reasons - including Hurricane Sandy destroying my scope - but do a search for a couple of my observing reports and you'll get an idea of what you can see from Brooklyn with a 10" - every Messier object. You have to prep correctly - read as much as you can on this site and you'll learn tips and tricks to vastly improve your experience. 

 

I'm currently waiting on my new 18" to be built to blast my way to some better views. Half the fun is finding a faint fuzzy. But if I want I'll also be able to just roll it out from my house or break it down to take upstate or PA in my truck for a dark site treat. 

 

Good luck to you and welcome to the forum.

-Jeff


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#22 jgroub

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 10:17 AM

I've been out of the hobby for a while for various reasons - including Hurricane Sandy destroying my scope - but do a search for a couple of my observing reports and you'll get an idea of what you can see from Brooklyn with a 10" - every Messier object. 

 

I'm currently waiting on my new 18" to be built to blast my way to some better views. 

 

-Jeff

I'm sorry to hear about that, Jeff.  I presume you must have lost more than the scope.  So sorry.  

 

But glad to hear about your moving on up to the 18".  Good luck with that monster!  



#23 GeneT

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 04:05 PM

For your situation, an 8 inch, F6 telescope would be fine. It would also be compact enough to fit in most vehicles should you ever be able to get out to some dark skies.



#24 dr.who

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 10:04 PM

To add to what Gene mentioned you could go bigger if your apartment has an elevator and you use a cart to move things. For example the Skywatcher collapsible dob's like the BK 10 would be a good option and come with Synscan which is like IntelliScope and it folds up into close to a regular8" Dob footprint.








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