I've read several threads about using night vision scopes like the NVD Micro for astronomy. Eddgie's posts about how much he and friends have enjoyed low power scanning with his NVD Micro over the last 6 months have really impressed me. I love the idea of being able to get wide-angle, "live" views of a whole new class of extended objects like the Heart and Soul nebulae, Barnard's loop, etc., and the prospect of (carefully) passing the unit around at outreach events I host. I've also read cnoct's excellent posts and enjoyed his terrific videos of imaging he's done using night vision on YouTube. So I'm thinking about jumping in, and I'd appreciate some advice. Honestly, I prefer the look produced by white phosphor tubes over the green views most night vision scopes deliver. But my preference for the aesthetics of white over green is not so strong that I want to sacrifice too much in the way of lost sensitivity, additional noise, etc. I really like the look of the white phosphor images and videos jdbastro has posted, particularly this video he took at 1x with an H-alpha filter showing areas in and around Orion, Monoceros, and Taurus:https://vimeo.com/148837447, including the Rosette Nebula, the NGC 2023 & Horsehead Nebula area, and the nebula around Lambda Orionis ("Meissa Ring"). But I'm not sure what night vision equipment he's using (he describes it as a "Gen 3 unfilmed white phosphor image intensifier"), or how his images will compare to what you'd see with a white phosphor NVD Micro operating at similar (1x) magnification with an H-alpha filter under similar skies.
If I pull the trigger on an NVD Micro, my plan would be to use this mainly for handheld viewing in 1x and similar (maybe 3x) low power modes, but also occasionally as an electronic eyepiece in my refractors. At some point, I'll probably try taking some photos with my modded Canon 6D, but I expect that'll only be a once in awhile thing. And I'd use it sometimes for terrestrial scanning at night try to see what the dogs are barking at. My main observing site is an a semi-rural area in an orange zone with most of the light pollution confined to the northern horizon, and with skies that can regularly get as good as Bortle 4, mag 6. Every once in a while, I get to travel to dark sky sites, including international dark sky parks.
As of today, the difference in price on Night Vision Depot's website between the highest performing white phosphor NVD Micro they list (Part number NVD-MICRO-WHP) and the highest performing green NVD Micro they carry (Part number NVD-MICRO-ULT) is less than $200. So price isn't going to be the deciding issue. In the specs shown on their website, the only differences I can see are that the green ULT tube has a signal to noise ratio of "30.0 min.," and a "photocathode response" of "2400 min." By contrast, the white phosphor WHP unit has a signal to noise ratio of "25.0 min.," and a "photocathode response" of "2200 min." Both are listed as having identical resolutions ("64 lp/mm min."). As a noob, I have no idea what these differences will mean out under the night sky. If I knew the white phosphor WHP NVD Micro unit with an H-a filter would yield views that approach what you see in jdbastro's video above under similar skies, then it would be a no-brainer -- I'd go for the WHP white phosphor unit.
Any insights from you veterans will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Edited by eastwd, 29 December 2015 - 01:45 PM.