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Your best view through a reflector

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#1 InkDark

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:07 AM

I've been off CN for a couple of years. Lately I've been reading a couple of threads in the reflector forum.

 

Interesting topics about mirror baffle, mirror thikness, quality of primary and secondary, tube currents, etc.

 

No doubt that many of these factors may influence the views, but I'm curious to know what is the best view you ever had through a reflector (of planets or DSO) and which factor you think was responsible for the above average views you got that time (cooled off mirror, quality optics, very good seeing or transparency...)

 

I'll start:

 

Jupiter in my 10 inch Dob

Main reason (which I think but could be wrong): Good seeing with steady high altitude air. Planet high in the sky (winter).

 

 

 

 



#2 Myk Rian

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:21 AM

M81-M82 in the same view using my 13.1" Coulter dob with a 32mm 2" EP. I first saw them with my 8" dob, but the 13.1" made it a wow moment.



#3 Smug

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:28 AM

Jupiter with good seeing, it's always seeing that makes the biggest difference for planetary.


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#4 Joe1950

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:37 AM

Some years back. Jupiter with a Meade 6" f/8 OTA on an Edmund HD Mount.

 

Jupiter had very high altitude. Seeing was as good as it gets here and the scope had a good mirror.

 

Detail was amazing! 



#5 Markovich

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:40 AM

Markarian's Chain- my 15" Obsession and a 10mm Ethos.

Veil Nebula- O-III filter, 31mm Nag T5, 15" Obsession.



#6 MikeTahtib

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:55 AM

Another one for Jupiter, with my 8" f6 MEade with a mirror refigured by QSP (I think, or something like that).  I usually can only see fuzzy bands, but this tie I saw little swirls within the bands.  I still wonder if I imagined the whole thing.  I'm sure the seeing was the real deal-maker.



#7 epee

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 11:00 AM

2016 Mars; caught clouds gathering atop one of the Tharsis volcanoes; not sure which one. Seeing was great and, due to storage in a detached garage and the early AM hour, the mirror was well cooled.



#8 Astro-Master

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 11:06 AM

Edge on galaxy NGC 891 thru my 18" Obsession on a mountain 8,500 ft. SQM 21.84 seeing 5/5 trans. 5/5.  The galaxy was straight overhead at 3.30 am with no wind.  I was using my 17mm Ethos with the Televue Big Barlow working at 2.9x at a power of 350x.

The galaxy filled the whole field of view, and looked like a photograph.


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#9 opticsguy

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 11:28 AM

Saturn through a 14" f/7 at Mt. Kobau Star party. Many many years ago.



#10 junomike

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 11:29 AM

Eastern and Western Veils though a 16" Dob + Lumicon OIII at a local dark site.



#11 havasman

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 12:39 PM

The southern sky's wonders via 32" f3.3 Black Widow premium Dob for 5 consecutive nights from dark rural NSW last April. With Lockwood primary & secondary mirrors, John Pratt mirror cell, spider, secondary holder, hardware & engineering and structure, final integration & construction by Peter Read at SDM, Nexus DSC with custom one-off configuration, and Servo Cat that scope had the best of everything rolled into it's package. All the details were considered and covered in the design and it all worked. So the hardware and software were world class.

 

But the sky took the cake. LMC, Carina Nebula, Tarantula Nebula, Meathook Galaxy, Antennae Galaxies, 47Tuc, Homunculus...... The list is in the hundreds of the finest objects. Jupiter near zenith was included and that's a completely different matter than I get from my observing locations where it's down low on the ecliptic.


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#12 Don W

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 01:33 PM

For planets it would be through the 18" f/5.5 dob I built in the early 90s. Looked at Jupiter on a night of excellent seeing using a 4.8 Nagler and 2x barlow giving 1058X. Felt like I was in orbit around the planet. The details rivaled Voyager images. Never saw it that good again.

 

Second was using a 14" f/7 homebuilt dob 250 miles NW of Sydney Australia. I was touring the Small Magellanic Cloud and got stuck on the Tarantula Nebula. It was bigger and brighter than the Orion Nebula and it wasn't even in our galaxy!! I used an OIII filter, UHC filter and no filter. It gave a very different look each way and was spectacular each way.



#13 Starman1

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 04:05 PM

I've been off CN for a couple of years. Lately I've been reading a couple of threads in the reflector forum.

 

Interesting topics about mirror baffle, mirror thikness, quality of primary and secondary, tube currents, etc.

 

No doubt that many of these factors may influence the views, but I'm curious to know what is the best view you ever had through a reflector (of planets or DSO) and which factor you think was responsible for the above average views you got that time (cooled off mirror, quality optics, very good seeing or transparency...)

 

I'll start:

 

Jupiter in my 10 inch Dob

Main reason (which I think but could be wrong): Good seeing with steady high altitude air. Planet high in the sky (winter).

Best view of a planet: Jupiter at 456X  due to superb seeing conditions  So many details a drawing would be impossible plus albedo shadings on Ganymede

                                   Saturn at 1123x due to superb seeing, in which "spokes" shadings were seen on the rings, and the C ring went down almost to the disc of the planet.

                                   Uranus at 493x due to excellent seeing, in which a transitory white stripe was seen by a few of us.

Best view of a galaxy: M51, wherein the dark lane in the bridge was visible, the "D" shaped bright area around the companion and 3 fingers of faint extension and a feathered spiral stucture extending from the main galaxy on the side       opposite the companion.  Spiral pattern and clumps in the spiral arms all visible.  Superb transparency, a very dark night, and good seeing conditions all together.

Best view of a globular cluster: M15 fully resolved to the center into tiny little pinpoints all the way across the field and even as it exited the field.  Superb seeing conditions and excellent eyepiece.

                                                  NGC104 in which the predominant color of the cluster was yellow due to the high density of red giants.  Superb seeing and larger aperture (18")

Best view of a planetary nebula: NGC7009 (Saturn Nebula) with center oval details, outer glow and satellite "pods" visible at 493X.  Excellent seeing and transparency.

Best view of faint stars: O/A/B giant stars in NGC206 in M31--superb seeing and darkness

Best view of a star cluster:  NGC7789 on a night of superb seeing and transparency

Best view of a nebula: M20 on a night of great darkness and transparency: the blue area completely surrounded the emission part and the center stars in the emission art formed a long "L".  Superb seeing, transparency, and darkness

                                    M17>M16 where nebulosity was tracked from one nebula to the other--excellent transparency and darkness

                                    M17 with the nebula completely filling a 42' field and the "swan" only a portion of the visible nebula.--superb transparency, seeing, and darkness.

                                    NGC6888 where the large oval was filled from one end to the other with ropy tendrils and a tendril in the center made the nebula outline look like a Greek theta.  Fantastic darkness and transparency.

                                    The Veil nebula wherein the Witches broom handle looked like a tubular-shaped filligree of silver--superb seeing and transparency.

                                    NGC2359 in which 4 extensions from the center bubble could be seen and thin striae of nebula covering the center bubble.  Fantastic transparency.

                                    M27 in which ropy "berms" of nebulosity could be seen surrounding the long oval part of the nebula--excellent transparency and seeing, allowing for a high power view.

                                    M76, where the outer ansae joined to make it look like a 2-handled beer stein.  Amazing transparency and very high power due to good seeing.

                                    Eta Carinae in which the homunculus in the center appeared gold in color against a rose colored outer nebula (dark skies and 18" aperture)

 

I could go on and on.  Too many things to list.

Factors of importance: Transparency, Seeing, Darkness, collimation of the optics, cooling of the optics.  When they're all good----MAGIC!

All views were in the 12.5" except where noted.


Edited by Starman1, 16 August 2018 - 04:06 PM.

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#14 kfiscus

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 04:32 PM

M-51 in my 16" LB / EQ platform with 10mm Ethos.  The galaxies were on the meridian on a night of excellent transparency.  Dust lanes and star clouds were amazing.


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#15 Blakheaven

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 04:38 PM

Best planetary- Jupiter/Saturn same night in my 8" Orion due to good seeing and slow speed of the scope

 

Best DSO - Orion Nebula in my 12" Lightbridge (with custom mirror). Could see green, blue, and alot of structure detail. 

otherwise I didnt really care for my lightbridge all to much and sold it. 


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#16 Vic Menard

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 07:03 PM

...All views were in the 12.5" except where noted.

That's astounding! What you've seen in a 12.5" is a testament to your exceptional observing skills (and should be included in your "Factors of importance")!  I think I've seen all of the objects and details you've carefully documented--but I was using a 22-inch!

 

I enjoy observing many of the brighter planetary nebulae for their vivid colors (various shades of greens, blues, purples, pinks and reds), and I remember NGC1501 showed the fine internal lace work detail on an exceptional night in the Keys. But most recently, the view of NGC7789 using a pair of LOA 3D eyepieces--I could actually see the 3D petals in Caroline's Rose!  A "Best View" for sure!


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#17 Starman1

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 08:05 PM

Vic,

I might also mention seeing purple in NGC1514--the most unusual planetary color I've ever seen.

As for "rose petals", try M5 some time.  I definitely see arcs of stars there too.



#18 Vic Menard

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 08:39 PM

Vic,

I might also mention seeing purple in NGC1514--the most unusual planetary color I've ever seen.

As for "rose petals", try M5 some time.  I definitely see arcs of stars there too.

I didn't see purple in NGC1514, but it's easy in NGC3242 (with chartreuse for contrast). Barbara Wilson was astonished to see color in IC418, and claimed she had never seen color in NGC3242 (I don't think she had ever looked at it at less than 1000X). And M5 is my favorite globular, again for the color, so many bronze and golden stars...

 

Have you tried the LOA 3D eyepieces? Next time I get to Chiefland, if Russ Lederman is there again, we'll have to try them on M5!



#19 barbie

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 09:42 PM

Jupiter and Saturn in my 6" F8 dobsonian.  Saw albedo features on Ganymede and 4 moons around Saturn along with Encke's minima and the crepe ring and  many swirls and festoons in Jupiter's belts and with detail around the GRS.  I was using 298X and could easily make out all of these features in the best seeing I've experienced in my locale in many years!!  Along with the seeing, I also attribute the fine optics of my Orion Skyquest XT6, of which I  have gotten an excellent sample!!laugh.gif

Best DSO: Orion Nebula complex during the winter of 2017 in my 40+ year old Japanese Erfle eyepiece in the aforementioned 6"F8 dob.

 

NOTE:  My optics were perfectly aligned and properly cooled which I believe to be two of the most important factors in seeing these details.


Edited by barbie, 16 August 2018 - 09:56 PM.

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#20 Blakheaven

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 10:35 PM

I didn't see purple in NGC1514, but it's easy in NGC3242 (with chartreuse for contrast). Barbara Wilson was astonished to see color in IC418, and claimed she had never seen color in NGC3242 (I don't think she had ever looked at it at less than 1000X). And M5 is my favorite globular, again for the color, so many bronze and golden stars...

 

Have you tried the LOA 3D eyepieces? Next time I get to Chiefland, if Russ Lederman is there again, we'll have to try them on M5!

Using a 22 inch what magnifications you like best for most dso”s? I agree 1000X sounds excessive expecially when trying to see color



#21 Allan Wade

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 11:22 PM

Jupiter in John Prattes 32” at the Winter Star Party a couple of years back. Everything I hear about the steady Florida sky was true that night. At 909x, the image scale was huge and the planet rock steady against the sky. It was literally impossible to describe what I saw, an image only rivalled by spacecraft flyby. Transparency and darkness were irrelevant, it was the steady sky and large, superb Lockwood mirror that made that view possible. A view I will never ever forget.

 

Every time I view an object with my 32” the first time, is basically a lifetime best view. Galaxies and Planetary Nebula in particular look incredible in the big dob. On a great night of seeing, at high power, the Homunculus at the heart of the Eta Carina Nebula looked like a Hubble image. That’s probably my favourite so far.

 

I get to observe where the sky is as dark as it can get, and the transparency is generally at the top end of the scale. But the memorable sessions usually occur when the seeing conditions are very good, which is hit and miss at my dark site. I would be happy to trade a little sky darkness for regular steady seeing. That combination and large and high quality optics make for the best combination.


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#22 Bill Schneider

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 07:27 AM

Saturn - 8" Discovery dob w/ plate glass mirror was left outside all night with the top capped. I woke up before dawn, then used my 4mm Radian for a 300x view.

 

It was one of those very calm summer mornings where transparency wasn't the greatest, but the air was rock-steady.

 

I could have watched it for much longer, but the sun soon came up.



#23 Mike Spooner

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 08:28 AM

I've had many special views while observing but I'm still waiting for my best ever view - it's why I keep going back!

 

Mike Spooner 


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#24 Pinbout

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 09:16 AM

I've had many special views while observing but I'm still waiting for my best ever view - it's why I keep going back!

 

Mike Spooner 

chasing the dragon...


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#25 Vic Menard

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 10:23 AM

Using a 22 inch what magnifications you like best for most dso”s? I agree 1000X sounds excessive expecially when trying to see color

With a 31 Nagler (83X) I get almost a full degree field of view, useful for bigger DSOs. To darken the background a bit, I use a 13 Ethos (200X, 1/2-degree fov) and even an 8 Ethos (320X). Using the 8 on M82 (and later NGC4449) I was able to view what I call the "Christmas Tree" effect--what looks like so many tiny foreground stars blinking in and out, but what I suspect is stellar-like brightenings in the network areas associated with star formation ( http://www.astronomy...-marquee-galaxy  full text here:  https://archive.org/...ot.com_djvu.txt  search for M82)


Edited by Vic Menard, 17 August 2018 - 10:30 AM.



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