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skybsd
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: InkDark]
      #3763776 - 04/23/10 01:58 PM

Hello,
Good to hear from you..,

Seriously - not everyone's situation affords them a dark sky site a mere "car journey away".

But just so you know that I do GET your point of view - in and amongst my large SCTs, I have my SV110ED-A, purchased specifically to accompany me on my overseas rotations to N America for my job, and the odd compatible vacation trips I have the opportunity to make each year.

In reality?

The SV110ED-A sits in its case when I'm at home.

Whilst I'm abroad, I'm happy to at least have A scope in the SV110ED-A. HOWEVER.., for every DSO target I line up, immediately after my initial rush of excitement, my second thought always is "I wonder how this would look in my C14?"

For now, I'm saving my pennies.., One day.., one day..,

Regards,

skybsd


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coutleef
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/21/08

Loc: Saint-Donat, Quebec, Canada
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: skybsd]
      #3764078 - 04/23/10 04:26 PM

If you cannot travel to a dark site, there are ways of improving your situation:

- aperture is one that is obvious
- observing past midnight may be better
- i just built a light screen that is large enough to completely mask any light (it is a small observatory) and that helps a lot since now i can be dark adapted.
- experience. the more i observe from the city the more i see.

that is qhat i could think of


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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: coutleef]
      #3764402 - 04/23/10 07:12 PM

Hello Francois,
Good to hear from you..,

Quote:

- aperture is one that is obvious




Check!

Quote:

- observing past midnight may be better




Check - though I don't see why you wouldn't think this wasn't a given..,

Quote:

- i just built a light screen that is large enough to completely mask any light (it is a small observatory) and that helps a lot since now i can be dark adapted.





Soooo.., you mean an observatory? Check

I do what I can - and I am not complaining. I chose this hobby already being in my current situation where I am, so am content to get what I can get out of each observing session, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

There is the good and then there is the bad with this hobby - so far, the good is still ahead.

Regards,

skybsd


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: skybsd]
      #3764429 - 04/23/10 07:24 PM

Quote:


I do what I can - and I am not complaining. I chose this hobby already being in my current situation where I am, so am content to get what I can get out of each observing session, whenever the opportunity presents itself.






That's the right attitude. It's all pretty amazing even if the skies are less than ideal... As John Wooden said,

"Don't let what you can't do, get in the way of what you can do."

Jon


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Hrundi
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/06/08

Loc: Estonia
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #3764572 - 04/23/10 09:01 PM

You could try a dob for portable. As long as your car can fit one, it's surprisingly easy to transport. It'd only perhaps marginally involve more effort than the SV, and you could double or triple the aperture. Keep the C14 as the observatory scope then.

For comparison, my 12" at a dark site shows me far far more than a 19" cassegrain in light pollution, while being still portable.

The thing would be cheaper than the SV too. Could use the refractor as a finder

Edited by Hrundi (04/23/10 09:02 PM)


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blockhead
member


Reged: 02/27/10

Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: sailor70623]
      #3764587 - 04/23/10 09:11 PM

Very well put sailor, as I was reading this I keep thinking.... How do I train my eyes??? Maybe I should have some new lenses implanted!!!!! But the universe is really a work of art. I am currently learning what quality views I can find in different caliber of skies. But to really appreciate a good night you need to take advantage and look for the "brush strokes" as they are not always lying on your doorstep.

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bigbeck
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/13/08

Loc: Trenton, NJ
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: skybsd]
      #3765214 - 04/24/10 09:57 AM

Quote:

Hello,
I think you're missing my point - for a lot of us, darker skies is not really an option

skybsd




And that really sucks. You can observe for an entire lifetime and never know what the night sky really looks like. Sure,you can look at pictures,but that doesn't even come close to actually being there.

When I came home from a dark sky trip with my 8" Dob,I went out and bought a 12" dob,hoping to improve the views in my LP. Twas not to be. The views through the 12" scope in LP were horrible compared to the 8" scope in dark skies.

While going "big" under LP skies certainly helps,it is a very poor substitute for dark skies.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: blockhead]
      #3765401 - 04/24/10 11:49 AM

Quote:

Very well put sailor, as I was reading this I keep thinking.... How do I train my eyes???




Eyepiece time... Trains the eyes, trains the brain...

Eddy Merckx was/is the greatest competitive cyclist ever. During his 10 year competitive career, he won 525 races, about one per week. He won 5 Tour de Frances, was leading a 6th when a fan punched him in the stomach as he rode by and was asked not to start a 7th because of political tension, he won every major race multiple times.

When asked how to train, he answered:

"Ride Lots."

That is my prescription for training your eyes and brain:

Spend every possible moment at the eyepiece.

Jon


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MikeRatcliff
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/12/04

Loc: Redlands, CA
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: bigbeck]
      #3766088 - 04/24/10 08:07 PM

Quote:



...When I came home from a dark sky trip with my 8" Dob,I went out and bought a 12" dob,hoping to improve the views in my LP. Twas not to be. The views through the 12" scope in LP were horrible compared to the 8" scope in dark skies.

While going "big" under LP skies certainly helps,it is a very poor substitute for dark skies.




And even a 16" in light pollution is no solution. Galaxies are just barely visible and would be disappointing to view.

Kind of like looking at the Mona Lisa with a dish towel over your face.

If you are really stuck in the city, some expensive solutions are the cameras like Mallincam that take a quick shot for 3 to 30 seconds and display on a TV screen. They can show much more. You need a tracking scope.

Backyards can still be good for open clusters, globular clusters to some extent, the brighter planetary nebula, and dimmer nebula if you use a nebula filter. Aperature does help with individual star brightness. Galaxies though are pretty much a wash.

A 6" in dark skies absolutely crushes a 16" in the city, for galaxies.

Mike


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bigbeck
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/13/08

Loc: Trenton, NJ
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: MikeRatcliff]
      #3766940 - 04/25/10 10:18 AM

Quote:

Quote:



...When I came home from a dark sky trip with my 8" Dob,I went out and bought a 12" dob,hoping to improve the views in my LP. Twas not to be. The views through the 12" scope in LP were horrible compared to the 8" scope in dark skies.

While going "big" under LP skies certainly helps,it is a very poor substitute for dark skies.




And even a 16" in light pollution is no solution. Galaxies are just barely visible and would be disappointing to view.





Mike




Hmmm..... Just thinking..... Maybe one would be better off NEVER going to a dark sky site unless it's close enough to use on a regular basis. I used to be quite happy viewing DSO's from my local LP observing sites - until I made a trip to dark site. Now,I don't even take my scope out on nights of "average" seeing. It's like looking at objects through a fog! Even easy objects like M81 & M82 look quite boring on a good night with a 12" scope.

I think my only solution to this problem is to never return to dark skies.


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Hrundi
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/06/08

Loc: Estonia
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: bigbeck]
      #3767518 - 04/25/10 02:48 PM

I think it's a matter of just going out there and getting used to it. We all have that initial dark skies shock, but if you keep going to observe with the scope, you should realize that the observing is still fun, at a dark site or not.

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: bigbeck]
      #3768303 - 04/25/10 08:05 PM

Bigbeck:

I live a big city (San Diego) with lots of light pollution and dark skies are close enough that I can get out maybe three weekends each month. Last night, even with the moon above the horizon in the west, I was able to see the Milky Way...

For me, one key to enjoying the night sky from my backyard is choosing targets that are less affected by light pollution. Obviously this includes the planets but there are a lot of interesting binary and multiple stars to enjoy.

If you enjoy the challenge of hunting down a faint galaxy group, the challenge of splitting a tight binary pair is similar...

Jon


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bigbeck
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/13/08

Loc: Trenton, NJ
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #3768450 - 04/25/10 09:21 PM

Jon, Where do you go,Cleveland National Forest?

The trouble with me is that I'm hooked on galaxies. Ever since my dark sky trip when they were popping up all over the place.......... I'd be searching for a glob or nebula and up pops a galaxy, then another and another. I searched for M81 & M82. They were big and bright with much detail. I had to double check to make sure I was actually looking at M81 & 82 because they looked so different without the LP. I also accidentally saw the Leo Trio while scanning the sky. At home,they look like fuzzy stars.

You're fortunate in that you only have an hours drive to dark skies. I have to drive about 4 hours to get to a Green/blue zone.

Don


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: bigbeck]
      #3768641 - 04/25/10 10:58 PM

Quote:

Jon, Where do you go,Cleveland National Forest?




We have a little place in the mountains not too far from the desert, it's past the Cleveland National Forest. There is not much use hunting down galaxies unless the skies are dark-dark. It can be fun to practice hunting them down but there is not much to see, though I think it builds ones skills.

Jon


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Tim A.
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: 40 30'N 105 3'W
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #3768685 - 04/25/10 11:21 PM

The aperture you need for galaxies ... excellent question!

But the answer depends on your expectations. If you want to see coffee-table book images, get a coffee-table book. Seriously, nothing else will do.

But even more seriously, you need to understand that galaxies, like diamonds, range from barely detectable to stunning. The stunning ones (few though they are) can be had, to some degree, with a pair of 7x35 binoculars from a white zone. The barely detectable ones need a "dark sky" and "some aperture".

Aye, there's the rub. I've seen NGC891 with a 6" refractor from a 'blue' zone. No dust lane, no detail, but it was definitely there. From a gray/black zone in the 12.5" dob, it was utterly stunning. The dust lane busts through the galactic plane almost as beautifully as the one in NGC4565. Um ... NGC4565 ... looks decent in the 8" SCT from a yellow zone, but with the 12.5" from a grey zone, well, words fail at this point.

The point being that your expectations fully determine the answer to your question. Yes, a 6" scope in a white zone will show you a lot of galaxies. Not well, but they will be detectable. The same can be said of a 12.5" scope, though the number of galaxies goes up a lot. But that 6" will knock your socks off in a blue, gray, or black zone. And the 12.5" scope in the gray/black zone, well, there will be too many galaxies to count, let alone identify.

Cheers!


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ransanjaya
member
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Reged: 11/12/13

Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: sailor70623]
      #6388131 - 02/21/14 04:42 AM

Utterly true. I can still remember what I saw in owl nebula at my first glance through my 10". nothing special. Actually without my COL I would never find and recognize this as Owl nebula.Then I spent my time on it and gradually it came with the features which are described in NSOG.I was amazed how subtle the object and how deep the subject of observation goes. Definitely it is an Art which should be mastered

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JonNPR
sage
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Reged: 03/04/13

Loc: Oregon
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: ransanjaya]
      #6388760 - 02/21/14 01:16 PM

This has been a thread well worth reading for both wisdom and concrete methods. A seriously useful aid when under light polluted skies is the hooded observing vest, at Dark Skies Apparel:
http://www.darkskiesapparel.com/hooded_vests.html
It can really help dark adapt your eyes, eliminating near by light sources that you cannot avoid. I'm glad I bought one in advance of clearer skies this year.

Jon


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gene 4181
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/12/13

Loc: n.e. ohio
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: ICE Q]
      #6388772 - 02/21/14 01:23 PM

get the scope that'll fit in the vehicle your driving, and then the one you might be driving next. dark adaptation of your eyes, a dark site with no lights visable, transparent skies and good seeing. i get critized about the good seeing not being applicable to deep sky, but have found a relevance to it. i'm not an amatuer astronomer, i'm an observer. i have seen the difference in transparent skies with good seeing versus not so good seeing. but your mmv. while your at it, when you pull your primary to loosen clips, check center on your primary spot. and collimate the scope well. get your secondary under the focuser and use the chesire to set your primary. an xt 8 is a good scope even at home for the planets and globs. my favorite scope. i've even blackened the leading edges of the secondary with a black sharpie. add some key rings to ends of springs to reduce alt tension, makes it easier to move. a teflon washer from hardware store helps on az bolt. my favorite eyepieces with the xt 8, meade 20 sw 68 and a meade 8.8 ew-82. i could spend the night with those 2, maybe a barlow.

Edited by gene 4181 (02/21/14 03:01 PM)


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Kevdog
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Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: InkDark]
      #6389223 - 02/21/14 05:42 PM

Quote:



True, but it's better to have a scope that you're able to bring to those darker skies, even if it's only on rare ocasions rather than have a monster that always stays under a light dome.

I've looked through 16 inch scopes, but I never had he view that my 6 inch provided under "grey" skies more tha 900 Km from home. No scope larger than a 10 inch would've made the trip (traveled by car).

BTW, this is an interesting thread. The same question being asked in the reflector forums (as was once done), is discouraging for folks that will never have huge scopes. What's nice here is that it's more about the objects (galaxies in this case) than the "perfect" equipment.




It also depends on your skies.

I'm in an orange zone. I have 2 scopes an 18" Obsession and a C11. I take my C11 camping with me all over Arizona, so I get to some pretty nice skies. The 18" stays at home in my garage and I roll it out about 4 times a month. I use my scope camping about once a month. I wouldn't give up either!

Here's what I've found for my situation. The C11 at the Grand Canyon Star Party (major dark site) showed great detail on M51 and its companion. The 18" at home showed almost the same view. The C11 had a little bit more detail, but it was minor. So the 2.67 X light gathering of the 18" helped make up for the LP. I've had that happen on many different objects at some of the various campsites I've been to. Usually the 18" keeps up and many times it's better because of the increased resolution.

I'm hoping to get my 18" up to a really dark site this spring. I don't normally make special trips with it, but I'm going to try and take it to an outreach star party (the first one I got to attend and help them out). I'm sure that is going to be a spoiler for me and I'll always long for the dark skies plus the big scope!


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: What size aperture for galaxies? new [Re: ICE Q]
      #6391031 - 02/22/14 06:35 PM

For galaxies, the bigger the better--sort of. Larger apertures pull in more light. However, no matter what size primary optic you have, there will be a galaxy that looks dim. It just won't be visible at all in a smaller telescope. I own a 12.5 inch, F5 Dob. It performs nicely on brighter galaxies, but no matter the size of your telescope, you need dark skies for galaxies to be decent.

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