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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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GlennLeDrew
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Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5976487 - 07/17/13 05:54 PM

Then look at M31 with a big bino or RFT.

As an aside, M31 could serve as an excellent example of how utterly atrocious the eye's resolving power is at low light levels. A prime focus image taken with an 80mm f/6 will show more detail than can be seen visually with a 24". (And no, it's not due to some magical property of the CCD. To see this, take an image of Jupiter with that little scope at prime focus; it'll show a tiny ball with practically no detail to speak of.)

This is why even a monster galaxy such as M31 can be such a disappointment. If only we could crank up the scene brightness (even preserving the same contrast); it wouldn't be such a let-down then.


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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5976590 - 07/17/13 06:33 PM

I won't say M40 is over-rated, but maybe it's one of the most underwhelming DSOs I have seen. Unfortunately, I also have to add many of the galaxies in the Coma B./Virgo cluster to that list, too.

Maybe if I had a monster Dob I could see more detail in these, but for everything I have owned and used these faint fuzzies really do just look like faint fuzzies -- and you have to be very careful with a few of them to remind yourself which one you are looking at.

Cheers,

Ron


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ggalilei
professor emeritus
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Reged: 09/01/11

Loc: Kentucky
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5976606 - 07/17/13 06:42 PM

And yet with perseverance, somehow the eye learns to see more. I was looking at M31 just last night with a Z10 and saw the first dust lane and first spiral arm (towards M110) clearer than I had ever seen it in the 18" reflector. I even noticed a nearby bright/dark area combination (confirmed from a photo later) that I had never detected before. But I agree that it is frustrating how painful it is to extract visual information from our nearest gigantic galaxy.

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Usquebae
super member
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Reged: 06/11/13

Loc: 43 N, 73 W
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: ggalilei]
      #5976776 - 07/17/13 08:27 PM

Oh, the outrage!

No sky for you! Come back one year!

If you heathens only knew what the citizens of Andromeda are saying about our Milky Way...


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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Usquebae]
      #5976785 - 07/17/13 08:34 PM

Welll the Horsehead has mystique. I've seen it thru SN 18" with an Hbeta and Zi have to confess I loved it. Like many deepsky objects its images precede it but Im very very taken with the ominous intrusion silhouette. I don't even dream of it with my 8" and local sky's and no Hbeta to boot, but its ever out there for me.

M31 looking ho-hum in a big reflector is testament to the fact that great aperture shines brightest when the details or objects are the dimmest - or just dimmer perhaps. A blazing M31 core in SN 18" was rather a let down. But start seeking out its globular clusters and open clusters and resolve the extended nature of these things and now that 18" is turbo charged. If its already a bright object thru a medium aperture scope even more aperture is just well brighter. In the shadows tho the details begin to bristle.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (07/17/13 08:40 PM)


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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: acochran]
      #5977282 - 07/18/13 05:35 AM

Quote:

I find M 31 to be disappointing.




M31 is a tough galaxy to observe. It's intriguing that something so big and bright shows so much less detail than much smaller and fainter M33.


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ggalilei
professor emeritus
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Reged: 09/01/11

Loc: Kentucky
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5977441 - 07/18/13 08:44 AM

Is that because M33 is face-on? Or probably because its core is not as bright.

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LivingNDixie
TSP Chowhound
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Reged: 04/23/03

Loc: Trussville, AL
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: ggalilei]
      #5977575 - 07/18/13 10:06 AM

I like the suggestions of M40 and the Horsehead.

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ThreeD
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/08

Loc: Sacramento suburbs
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5977657 - 07/18/13 10:48 AM

People chase the Horsehead because it is perceived as serious challenge object and not because it is touted as being a thing of beauty. Viewing The Horsehead is a matter of being able to check off a box that most visual observers will never be able to check. (I'm speaking as one who hopes to check it off this upcoming viewing season.)

The Messier catalog on the other hand generally contains what I would describe as eye candy. Sure, not all of it is sweet but it is a collection of generally pretty easy to see relatively cool things. And then there is M40. If one is expecting at least some level of eye candy then M40 wins the belly flop contest hands down. There is no beauty in M40 beyond what is achieved by looking at any random star and as a double it is also a belly flop. There are no redeeming qualities other than you need to see it to complete the Messier catalog.

Yes, The Horsehead may not look like much when observed visually but at least one needs some skill, the right equipment, and the right conditions. M40? Bleh.


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David Knisely
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: acochran]
      #5977997 - 07/18/13 02:02 PM

I don't find M31 all that disappointing. The main problem with it is that it is so big and that to see all of its detail requires a lot of study at a sort of "magic power" that you have to find yourself. For so many years, I never saw the dust lanes in M31 until I increased the power by accident one time. Then, the first lane became rather obvious, even in my 9.25 inch SCT. My magic power for that scope was with my 14mm Ultrawide eyepiece (168x), although the dust lanes also showed up well at only 98x. Indeed, my 14 inch shows dark knots in the edges of the large arm that passes below the core region at around 134x, so the galaxy is hardly devoid of detail. It just takes a little study, that's all. Clear skies to you.

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blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5978091 - 07/18/13 03:01 PM

Quote:

I find M 31 to be disappointing. Looked at it through a 24" Dob two weekends ago, looked the same as with my 16" Dob, just bigger.



Yes it always looked the same to me in every scope I looked at it with, a very large oval blur that is brighter in the center, untill I looked at it from a really dark site with my AT66 semi-APO refractor. I then could see two dust lanes across the galaxy and the galaxy was larger (longer) than my 4 degree field-of-view. For some things bigger is not always better.

Quote:

I will strongly disagree with this statement. While other planetary nebula show the "blinking" effect in my 8" scope, it is far more pronounced and obvious with NGC 6826 than any other I have seen.



The nebula does not blink. This blinking illusion is dependent on your ability to switch back an forth between direct and averted vision and it has been said, many planetery nebula appear to blink and they do if you can switch between direct and averted vision easily.


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ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: blb]
      #5978276 - 07/18/13 04:37 PM

Heresy! No DSO is over-rated!

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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5978369 - 07/18/13 05:21 PM

Quote:

I don't find M31 all that disappointing. The main problem with it is that it is so big and that to see all of its detail requires a lot of study at a sort of "magic power" that you have to find yourself. For so many years, I never saw the dust lanes in M31 until I increased the power by accident one time. Then, the became rather obvious, even in my 9.25 inch SCT. My magic power for that scope was with my 14mm Ultrawide eyepiece (168x), although the dust lanes also showed up well at only 98x. Indeed, my 14 inch shows dark knots in the edges of the large arm that passes below the core region at around 134x, so the galaxy is hardly devoid of detail. It just takes a little study, that's all. Clear skies to you.




Thanks! M31 was the first DSO my Dad ever showed to me and over the past 58 years, it has remained my all-time favorite. There have been a few wonderous nights where the dust lanes and detail were incredible and M31 looked almost like a photograph. My favorite nights are when I can frame all three (M31, 32, and 110) in the same FOV, then I zoom into each and study it in detail.

These are certainly not over-rated in my book; they are overwhelming!

Cheers,

Ron


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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: ensign]
      #5978646 - 07/18/13 08:39 PM

Quote:

Heresy! No DSO is over-rated!




When all is said and done, I agree. I love them all.


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5978930 - 07/18/13 11:19 PM

M31 overrated? Good grief!!!

Dark skies.

Jack


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turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
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Reged: 10/09/06

Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5978987 - 07/19/13 12:06 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I find M 31 to be disappointing.




M31 is a tough galaxy to observe. It's intriguing that something so big and bright shows so much less detail than much smaller and fainter M33.




I'm guessing that the orientation of M31 has a lot to do with that. I suspect that if it were face on like M33 it would be quite a sight to behold.


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turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
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Reged: 10/09/06

Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5979002 - 07/19/13 12:19 AM

Quote:

The one that comes instantly to my mind is the Horsehead Nebula. So much effort is expended seeing it, and the view is bland even with a large telescope and a Hydrogen-Beta filter at a dark site.

My two criteria for what makes an object worthwhile to spend time on are either aesthetic beauty or astrophysical interest. Many of our favorite objects like M51 and M42 have both going for them. I can't get enough of the Veil Nebula, which is exceedingly beautiful, but of little astrophysical interest. The Crab Nebula currently has been written about in 4328 papers, so it's a worthy target despite it's faintness. Then there's the Horsehead Nebula, whose fascination is apparently that it looks cool in images.

Tom




I think that the Horsehead Nebula gets much of its intrigue from being a somewhat unusual combination of both a well-known (and beautiful) photographic object and a well-known challenge object at the same time.


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Astrodj
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5979010 - 07/19/13 12:24 AM

Quote:

Then look at M31 with a big bino or RFT.




+1

Or even a not so big bino. Years ago under a near perfect New Mexico sky I saw M31 with my 10x50's and was blown away. The 3D-like appearance was staggering.


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5979907 - 07/19/13 02:16 PM

If you be a doubting Thomas, then come on out and look at M31 from a black/gray zone sky at 6800 feet with a NP-101 and a 17mm Ethos. I doubt you will be bored.

Dark skies.

Jack


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JasonBurry
sage


Reged: 04/27/12

Loc: Cape Spencer, NB, Canada
Re: Most over-rated DSO? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #5979935 - 07/19/13 02:35 PM

Never been bored by M31 myself.... One of my favourite targets for my 8" dob....

I've spent hours tracing the gentle curves of its dark lanes, hunting down G1, the bright star forming region that makes a right triangle with M32/M110, observing its nucleus at high power (It ain't as simple as at first glance, there is detail there!)...

There IS alot of detail to be seen, but it takes patience and averted vision and what I think of as "integration time"...

There is no better galaxy, imho, to start someone out on galaxy observing with. At first glance a plain oval smudge, maybe 2 degrees long, but with careful and repeated study, much, much larger than that, far from plain and wonderfully varied.

J


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