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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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aa6ww
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Sacramento, Calif.
Using refractors for Deep Space Observing
      #5190175 - 04/25/12 04:10 PM

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


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desertlens
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Reged: 12/06/10

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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190223 - 04/25/12 04:45 PM

Call be crazy (or masochistic) but I enjoy DSOs with an 80mm Triplet. Less aperture presents an interesting challenge and wide field context. Charles Messier certainly did a lot with small refractors.

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JIMZ7
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Reged: 10/22/05

Loc: S.E.Michigan near DTW
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: desertlens]
      #5190250 - 04/25/12 04:57 PM

Nothing wrong with DSO using refractors. 100% clear aperture & sharp images at lower power. I had a Orion 100mm f/6 & Antares 105mm f/6.3 RFT's & they were fun because of the portability each of them provided. When using 2" eyepieces with 3 or 4 degree fov viewing-it's "jaw dropping" to say the least.

Jim


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Refractor6
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: desertlens]
      #5190263 - 04/25/12 05:02 PM

One of my favorites ways to observe when far away from light pollution is with bigger achros. In the past i've suprised myself on more than one occasion on what i've managed to pull in at the ep of my 152 f/6.5 achromatic refractor...this sometimes observing with bigger scopes of other designs right near by that had more difficulty nailing down the same objects such as some challenging galaxies and such.

Karl {Galaxyman} and Mr. Bill and many other members use larger achromats at dark sites for deep sky object observing and targets. The sharp pinpoint stars and very good image contrast afforded by an achro refractor with good collimated optics especially when you get to a 6" class of instrument can't be beat per aperature for the task at hand in my view.


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing new [Re: Refractor6]
      #5190286 - 04/25/12 05:12 PM

I absolutely enjoy refractors on DSO's and find they make very good scopes for it. I moved from a 12" f/5 GSO dob to a 4" f/7 APO which I happily used for 3.5yrs until just recently moving to a 6" f/8 achro. I much prefer a refractor to a reflector, the views just seem more pure for lack of a better way to qualify what I see and "feel". Refractors also cool down much quicker so you get in more quality observing time. 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. I also find refractors to be lower maintenance and easier to clean when needed. All these plusses are what make up for the lower aperture for me. Now if I had a big 16" dob fixed in an observatory at a dark site like Carol...

Edited by simpleisbetter (04/25/12 05:15 PM)


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hfjacinto
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Reged: 01/12/09

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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5190315 - 04/25/12 05:30 PM

While I like the view through my 120 Apo, aperture rules for DSO's. And here is the killer I use my refractor more, it's just easier to use.

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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190323 - 04/25/12 05:35 PM

"Do many out here use refractors for deep space observing?"

Yup.

I have a lot of telescopes, refractors included, at my disposal, including, for example, a 16" Dob and 11" SCT. Nonetheless, 4" and 5.5" refractors get more use for DSO observing than the larger aperture scopes.

If aperture is king (debatable) then contrast must be queen and optical quality, prince. No other design comes close to the efficiency per inch of aperture as a quality refractor. Under all but the most perfect of conditions, larger scopes of other designs introduce some amount of "mush factor" into the image. Sure, Jupiter in the 20" Dob at 300x may show additional belts and bands compared to the TC 140 at 200x, but the planet in the TEC is razor sharp, the limb is crisp and the object has three-dimensional shading. The edges aren't crisp in the bigger scope and the inter-belt transitions are a little hairy, even though there are more of them.

It is the ability to deliver 99% of its capability, 90% of the time that makes me come back time and again to refractors as DSO observing tools. Of course, it just makes me want a bigger refractor.

This year OFLI, my club, will do a week long dark sky trip, and I'll be taking the TEC 140 rather than the Teeter-Lockwood (though the Dob will go on the late summer observing trip to Pinnacles National Monument again this year).

Good post.

- Jim


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hfjacinto
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Reged: 01/12/09

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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: desertlens]
      #5190335 - 04/25/12 05:42 PM

Quote:

Call be crazy (or masochistic) but I enjoy DSOs with an 80mm Triplet. Less aperture presents an interesting challenge and wide field context. Charles Messier certainly did a lot with small refractors.



I don't know if Charles Messier is a good example everything is his catalog is supposed to be comet like, I guess he needed a larger scope to see that none of his objects look like comets.


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Jan Owen
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Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Sun City West, Arizona
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5190355 - 04/25/12 05:58 PM

Agreed. That pretty much mirrors my thoughts & experience.

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GeneT
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Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190377 - 04/25/12 06:07 PM

You are just a refractor guy. If I had the room, I would add a good 4 inch refractor to use with my 12.5 inch Portaball.

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desertlens
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/06/10

Loc: 36N 105W
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: hfjacinto]
      #5190399 - 04/25/12 06:23 PM

Quote:

I don't know if Charles Messier is a good example everything is his catalog is supposed to be comet like, I guess he needed a larger scope to see that none of his objects look like comets.




Nah... He just needed to see they weren't moving.


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ken hubal
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Reged: 05/01/07

Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: desertlens]
      #5190420 - 04/25/12 06:36 PM

I will always take the clear aperture of a refractor to that of an obstructed reflector!

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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: aa6ww]
      #5190429 - 04/25/12 06:39 PM

Refractors are all I use. Since I use a 6"f/15 and a 10"f/15 permenantly mounted in an OB...why would I need to switch? The 10"f/15 is awesome on DSO's. Not to mention the 6"f/15 with its Devany Objective.

Rob


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Sean Cunneen
Let Me Think
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Reged: 08/01/07

Loc: Blue Island Illinois
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: rwiederrich]
      #5190461 - 04/25/12 06:55 PM

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...

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dscarpa
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Loc: San Diego Ca.
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190486 - 04/25/12 07:09 PM

I've got a very good C9.25 and IM715 but find myself enjoying the WO ZS110 for DSOs just as much. A friend of mine has a Meade 10 and he keeps bringing up the DSO viewing he's done with the ZS. There's just something about the star colors he says. David

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John59
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/06/11

Loc: Round Rock,TX
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190615 - 04/25/12 08:32 PM

I have had many scopes over the years and I have made the full circle back to refractors. Currently I have a really nice 12" Goto Dob but it rarely gets used. I seem to always chose the 152MM refractor. As stated below cools faster than anything else and the views are very pleasant.

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Friendly Giant
super member


Reged: 12/11/07

Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: aa6ww]
      #5190636 - 04/25/12 08:43 PM

As you can see from my signature, I currently have only a small (72mm F6) refractor and a 10" dob. I went out with some club members to our favorite dark site a week ago (with both scopes). Obviously a 10" dob has more resolving power and light reach, and yet, I found myself enjoying looking at the brighter galaxies more in the 72mm refractor. I looked at M81/M82 in the dob, then in the refractor (same magnification framing the two galaxies together). I just found the view in the refractor more pleasing (crisper, contrastier). I don't think I'll ever get rid of the dob because there are times you just need that resolving power or light reach, but when I look back on that evening my fondest memories are of the views through the refractor.

I'm actually thinking now of getting a refractor at the midpoint between the two... a 5" scope. Although a 130mm Tak would be nice, it would be very expensive and take a while to cool down. I'm therefore also considering a D&G 5" F15 scope. From what I hear, the D&G would give views comparable in quality at least to a top 4" apo, but would have more magnification reach (and also a little more resolving power owing to the higher aperture). The only thing that gives me pause to go for the long D&G is the mounting requirement and being able to work with that long scope as the eyepiece position moves up and down.


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mikey cee
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Reged: 01/18/07

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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: John59]
      #5190653 - 04/25/12 08:51 PM Attachment (106 downloads)

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

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Vondragonnoggin
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Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Friendly Giant]
      #5190655 - 04/25/12 08:51 PM

Very much enjoy my 5" refractor for DSO's. It just makes things look so good. Well for larger DSO's anyway. I think a 6" is in the plans eventually, but for now the 5" is very lightweight and great for DSO's plus more. Was economical too.

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watcher
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Reged: 11/21/07

Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: Using refractors for Deep Space Observing [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5190677 - 04/25/12 09:05 PM

The only mirrored scope I own,(IM715) I only use for planets. Well OK globs too, but that will change when my 6" F/5 ISTAR arrives. Planning on a 9" F/7.7 refractor that will be for DSO only duty also.

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