Our ability to see color lies within the cones of our eyes, which are more centrally located and responsible for our daylight vision. This is why we can see color during the day or on very bright objects (like planets) at night.
The rods in our eyes is what gives us a very limited night vision. We can detect faint DSO's using "averted" vision...i.e. - getting the faint light to hit the offset rods of our eyes). We are not nocturnal creatures (astronomers notwithstanding ) and so our night vision has not developed to where the cones of our eyes can pick up much (if any) color at night or when viewing dim DSO's no matter big we make them via magnification. The cones of our eyes cannot detect much beyond subtle blues/greens and perhaps a slight bit of yellow (blue + yellow = green) under low light levels.
This is simply a matter of how our eyes are designed and not a "lack" in our equipment, and aperture will not change how our eyes are designed. Camera sensors however are not designed like our eyes, which is why you see so much more red/yellow in photos that we cannot detect visually only. I'm suspect of anyone who can see red/orange on any DSO. You might "see" it only because you expect it, not because you actually are. The brain is an even more fascinating piece to the optical equation.
We should be quite happy to see those faint fuzzies in any kind of detail, or color beyond gray.
Read Roger S. Clarke's Visual astronomy of the deep sky and compare the light levels of Broad Sunlit Day to that of a cloudy night devoid of moon.
I can navigate such a night in deep forest. Maybe I can't hunt furry rodents under such low light levels, but I can see as well as our early ancestors did- well enough to flee or to defend themselves against night-hunting predators, as our ancestors must have also done to survive.
It's true that scotopic rod vision robs us of color data, but you don't need to see the color of a lion to know it's a big cat.
Also, note that, while adding blue to paint to yellow paint does make a green paint; (mixing pigments is "subtractive combinination" by definition) - adding yellow light(green and red cones) to blue light (blue cones) makes white (or a more saturated hue: i.e. red+blue+green cones) as with the RGB colors of a video display screen(additive combination). This is the reason we never see green stars- there is always additive combination with a lot of blue and/or red light; usually with a fair to large amount of both: i.e. we see lots of yellow-white /white /blue-white stars.
We can see gas flourescing in a high vacuum in outer space. We can see "dead" Galaxies a billion light years away; So what if we can't see fine detail well enough to read a newspaper or a star-map at light levels less than 1 Quadrillionth of daylight levels? Yes, it's dim! But, by far the the blackest night sky you'll never see is the blackness behind those bright streetlights in the Walmart Parking lot.
Human eyes are not quite as good as those of night-hunting cats, but our primate ancestors eyes evolved to make effective use of extreme low light levels, and with practice and usage, a dark starry night sky is not a barrier to our dark adapted (eye-brain) sight the hardware is there, but it must re-learn to interpret those very weak signals..
When the power was out here least week, I could see in every room in my home by the light of ONE centrally located candle, with ease. I actually loved the way things looked in that dim warm darkness.
Edited by quazy4quasars, 21 October 2019 - 11:48 AM.