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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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galaxyman
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190960 - 04/26/12 12:50 AM

Quote:

Do many out here use refractors for deep space observing? Over the years, I've started to move away from my largest scopes in favor or smaller more portable (somewhat) scopes for deep space hunting. These scopes almost always end up being refractors because I love the pin point stars they offer and wide field views. Of course there are still times when the skies are very dark and I take a journey to my dark site location, then I have to set up my biggest SCT, but generally, I find myself moving more toward using my refractors even for deep space observing. My 150mm and 180mm refractors are very fun to use, and still have plenty of aperture for deep space hunting. Maybe unlike most, I find myself more challenged looking for dim objects in my smaller scopes than finding the urge to want larger and larger scopes to dig out distant galaxies.
That seems to be my latest approach to this hobby.
One of my friends calls it "The less is more" mentality. Though my 180mm Refractor is quiet a beast, its still a feather weight compared to my 11 and 14" SCT's. Do others seem to enjoy this approach to astronomy also?

...Ralph in Sacramento




Hi Ralph

As Stan (Refractor6) mentioned, I only use my refractors for DSO's, and do get great results.

Jim also points out a bit why refractors do so well.

Over the past couple years I've done some hardcore galaxy observing with the 8", and in particular the ARP's.

I also notice you have an APM 7.1" f/6. Is that the APO or achro? A clubmate does have the 7.1" f/6 achro, and he gets great DSO results with that scope.

You also might want to check http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/deepspacewithrefractors if interested.



Karl
E.O.H.

Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Deep Space with Refractors - http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/deepspacewithrefractors
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.
Celestron 10x60mm Binos


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Alan French
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Reged: 01/28/05

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: galaxyman]
      #5191130 - 04/26/12 07:13 AM

An odd topic. Why would anyone NOT use a refractor for deep sky observing?

Even a small refractor can show a lot under reasonably dark skies. And one with a short focal length will provide wide true fields not attainable in most other types of instruments.

Clear skies, Alan


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Jim Curry
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5191217 - 04/26/12 08:33 AM

Quote:

And you really can see plenty with them; whether anyone chooses to believe me or not, I've observed Stephen's Quintet with my 4" on two occasions, both very transparent dark nights.




No surprise there, I've bagged them with my 140. It took the club's 16" to split the close members but smallish refractors can handle their workload. When you think of the equipment upgrade to go from a 13 mag. limit to 16 mag. the small refractors in a dark sky environment will provide endless satisfaction.

Jim


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curiosidad
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Reged: 06/09/11

Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: Jim Curry]
      #5191408 - 04/26/12 10:36 AM

Alan, I have a LP 66ED / 400mm focal lenght, for this, a Truly wide angle vistas..!! Also I have others telescopes much more Big, but for this observations the small refractor I think it´s THE KING!!

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aa6ww
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Sacramento, Calif.
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: Alan French]
      #5191443 - 04/26/12 10:56 AM

Quote:

An odd topic. Why would anyone NOT use a refractor for deep sky observing?

Even a small refractor can show a lot under reasonably dark skies. And one with a short focal length will provide wide true fields not attainable in most other types of instruments.

Clear skies, Alan





Over the last few years, I find myself doing more and more astronomy either by myself or with one other astronomer whos never lost the passion for astronomy. Everyone else has fallen out of this hobby because its too much hastle for them to put it the effort to get anything out of this hobby. Since now most of my astronomy is close to home, Ive found myself digging my 6" F/5 Celestron Omni with the XLT coating on the front lens. It gives me 6 clear inches of aperture and excellent field of views. The optics are so sharp for excellent star patterns and deep space also, and its such a lightweight fun scope. Im working on my the Herschel 400 with this scope now, it may takes a few years but its a fun game plan and with Ethos, ES and Nagler eyepieces along with my upgrades William optics 10:1 focuser, my larger scopes and mounts ( I use a GP-DX with this scope) will be spending more and more time at home now. Its gonna be another fun year of astronomy, definately!

...Ralph in Sac


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Scott99
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5191668 - 04/26/12 01:08 PM

Refractors are ALL I use for deep-space viewing! the bigger the better, however sometimes I'm amazed at what a 5 or 6 inch refractor can do compared to larger scopes.

A lot of people with truss dobs don't use a shroud, which is hard for me to understand. My smallish refractor will often give better views than big dobs because the view is totally washed out by the open tube. Many people seem to enjoy just having a huge scope and not really optimizing the views they're getting.

With a good refractor your view is 100% optimized every time


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Jim Romanski
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jan Owen]
      #5191682 - 04/26/12 01:16 PM

Quote:

Agreed. That pretty much mirrors my thoughts & experience.



Hmmm...were you trying to make a clever pun? I've been reflecting on your comment now for a while.


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Alan French
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Reged: 01/28/05

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jim Romanski]
      #5191722 - 04/26/12 01:32 PM

But if you really want to cruise the Veil, or get fantastic views of deep sky objects, it's impossible to beat a 28"+ telescope with any commercially available refractor.

Clear skies, Alan


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Jan Owen
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jim Romanski]
      #5191750 - 04/26/12 01:47 PM

Not at all... No pun; just a coincidence of word placement.

I am a strictly visual amateur astronomer (I got astrophotography out of my system back in the 1980's, in the film days), and have been in amateur astronomy now for... closer to 50 years than I want to contemplate. I use several types of instruments, and have owned and used others. I've been primarily a DSO guy for most of that time. I use all my scopes for DSO's, but the magnificence of the full field in a quality refractor can be stunning.

When I work at improving my reflectors, the aim is always to help facilitate a more *refractor-like* image. I've seen some stunning images in all types and sizes of instruments, but I'm always amazed at the level of quality in the images of a refractor, compared to many reflectors of different types in actual service (as many of them suffer because their owner hasn't worked to achieve the best images the scope is capable of delivering)...

To me, there is nothing I can dream up that's more visually stunning than, for instance, the double cluster, as framed in my EON 120, viewed through a 16 mm Nagler eyepiece.

No pun necessary...


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Jim Romanski
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jan Owen]
      #5191817 - 04/26/12 02:21 PM

I guess I just can't resist a good pun.

But kidding aside I understand where you're coming from. I'd owned reflectors for the first 30 years in the hobby. I had access to some observatory refractors (an 8" Grubb and a 10" Clark) so I knew how nice they were. But for DSO I'd always stuck to my reflectors. Then in March of 2008 Televue had a big sale and I bought the NP101...WOW what a great scope. But it's only a 4" scope so a year or so ago I got a good deal on an NP127. I must confess that I've been using it a lot for DSO in my backyard. It's especially nice for star clusters using the 31mm Nagler.

It won't replace my big reflectors but lately I've been using it most of the time just like hfjacinto.


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coopman
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jim Romanski]
      #5191897 - 04/26/12 03:20 PM

Yes, the pin-point sharp stars and great contrast make them very good for DSOs. However, eventually a light bucket Dob becomes desirable as aperture fever sets in.

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simpleisbetter
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: coopman]
      #5191917 - 04/26/12 03:33 PM

You're perhaps right Clay, but for me the POV would be that it depends on how one wants to challenge oneself. A large dob is great for galaxies, but I get more enjoyment out of seeing how far I can push my "smaller" refractors, and my eyes. I treat galaxies just like double stars, pushing my equipment and eyes to their visual limits and beyond. There's still plenty to see and never run out in a lifetime of observing.

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Sean Puett
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5192027 - 04/26/12 04:34 PM

I like using them both at the same time. Well not exactly the same time, like cockeyed binoculars but, in the same session. I think it is fun to find an object in one scope, observe it until you have found the best image possible, then try it in the bigger reflector. One target that is great and plays to both of their strengths is pleaides. In a refractor you easily fit them all in the fov and get the tightest possible stars. Then point the 12" reflector (paracorr of coarse) at them and not quite get them all in but, you can see the nebulosity around them and you are treated to the best possible views. I love refractor but until they make a 12" f5 refractor with flat field and perfect color correction on a mount for less than $2000, I'll own reflectors.

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Alan French]
      #5192067 - 04/26/12 05:02 PM

Quote:

But if you really want to cruise the Veil, or get fantastic views of deep sky objects, it's impossible to beat a 28"+ telescope with any commercially available refractor.

Clear skies, Alan




Alan:

If it's clear this weekend I will be rolling out the 25 inch and giving it some work. By early morning, before astronomical twilight, the Veil should be well placed and we'll give it a look, it is pretty impressive. But the Veil in the NP-101 and the 31mm Nagler is also impressive, just in a different way.

But that said, those faint galaxies just do kind of pop-up all over the place with a larger scope.

Jon


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Alan French
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Reged: 01/28/05

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5192109 - 04/26/12 05:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

But if you really want to cruise the Veil, or get fantastic views of deep sky objects, it's impossible to beat a 28"+ telescope with any commercially available refractor.

Clear skies, Alan




Alan:

If it's clear this weekend I will be rolling out the 25 inch and giving it some work. By early morning, before astronomical twilight, the Veil should be well placed and we'll give it a look, it is pretty impressive. But the Veil in the NP-101 and the 31mm Nagler is also impressive, just in a different way.

But that said, those faint galaxies just do kind of pop-up all over the place with a larger scope.

Jon




Jon,

I certainly agree. It's a lot of fun seeing the entire Veil in one view. But I had about 20 minutes to explore the Veil in a 30" Dobsonian one night at a dark sky site, and the amount of detail was just incredible.

Clear skies, Alan


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Mark Costello
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5192116 - 04/26/12 05:33 PM

Well, Jon, I waaaaaaas wondering when you'd step into this thread.

I use my 5" refractor for DSO observing and nothing else. That's easy for me to say since my achro is my only telescope at this time. In all seriousness, I like the refractor especially for open clusters. A couple of weeks ago, it was delivering images of M47 and M48 that had me gasping. Ditto last summer with M24.

That being said, I've have on a few times banged up against its 5" limits. And as great as larger refractors would perform, I know that I'm going to set up and so get more out of a larger mirror based telescope as opposed to a larger lens based telescope.

Cheers ....


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ken hubal
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Mark Costello]
      #5192219 - 04/26/12 06:23 PM

A 5" refractor is ALOT more portable than a 30" Dobsonian!

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rwiederrich
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Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Always Dark skies of Belfair W...
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Sean Cunneen]
      #5192226 - 04/26/12 06:27 PM

Quote:

Most of the real "WOW" moments I've experienced with DSO's in this hobby were with my refractor. Using it isn't easy but when it pays off, it pays off big! I can still close my eyes and see the detail in the Whirlpool from my view at the Bootleggers star party 2010. I was on my back in the grass with a too-friendly ant crawling on me...





Sean..you need to tern some of that engenuity you have into making a hydraulic pier or some other kind of elevating pier...so you can get out of the dirt and grass...and away from the crawling critters.....

Rob


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Alan French
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: ken hubal]
      #5192348 - 04/26/12 07:31 PM

Quote:

A 5" refractor is ALOT more portable than a 30" Dobsonian!




It depends. If you can just wheel the 30" out of the garage, it could easily beat the set up time of a 5" refractor.

But, in general, you're right. It depends on how much you want the views provided by a large Dob. We don't have any really large Dobs in our club, but we have several folks with pretty large scopes (two with refractors mounted piggyback) that take some time to set up. They find it worthwhile.

Clear skies, Alan


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rwiederrich
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: mikey cee]
      #5192383 - 04/26/12 07:48 PM

Quote:

I've just started with my setup. True I don't see any detail but then again I'm under a milky suburban light bubble too. A few of the DSO I've seen of late. Messier objects M65-66-95-96-51 and NGC's 205 and 2309. Thank God my refractor darkens the sky enough I can see them heck if I had a reflector no way Jose' they would be lost in the milky white field! Mike





The only thing I have to say Mike..is wish you had that scope under darker skies. Being what it is though you can grab the DSO's and bring them in.......Sweet.

Rob


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