Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Your best view through a reflector

  • Please log in to reply
45 replies to this topic

#26 Redbetter

Redbetter

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6291
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Central Valley, CA

Posted 18 August 2018 - 03:42 AM

Mars in the 20" f/5 in 2003.   The seeing was excellent and the detail was fantastic, with both moons visible at the same time as a bonus.  Once the aperture is well into the large range, there is no substitute for superb seeing.

 

For DSO's there have been so many moments that I could not pick a single target or even a single instance of a particular target.  I got started on the path to the 20" after viewing M51 through a 24" Tectron in dark skies 20+ years ago.  As good as the view was through the 24", the eventual views through the 20" have been sharper.   



#27 X3782

X3782

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 206
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2018
  • Loc: ---

Posted 18 August 2018 - 04:45 AM

The best view ever was through someone else's 18 inch(?) Dob of Jupiter at a star party, high up in the alps in Europe. It was one of the darkest skies available in the country where I was living, the telescope was expertly handled, and the mirrors well cooled I would imagine. The most impressive view was by naked eye in the desert of Arizona maybe 35 years ago.

 

I'm reasonably confident that I am collimating my mirrors well enough most of the time (this is not that easy for me with my 16 inch f4.5, I think the truss Dob is not rigid enough). Optics collimation and evaluation is part of what I do in the day job and it would be embarrassing if I messed this part up. Nevertheless if I see a bad image through the eyepiece with my 16 inch or even my 12.5 inch, I'd say my skills aren't good enough to distinguish whether that's due to thermal effects of the mirror or from "seeing" (until recently I chalked most everything up to "seeing" which might be a convenient excuse, but then I started to study this problem in detail and got surprised at what thermals can do). I might believe "tonight the seeing is great" or "the seeing is bad", but it might just be due to the mirror following the ambient temperature more closely or not. I sometimes set up a 85 mm doublet refractor (my reasoning is that this type of telescope will be least sensitive to thermals) next to the Dob trained on the same object to judge the seeing. Often I think I can see a correlation (the images in both telescopes seem to behave the same), but often I see that one image looks fine (implying good seeing?) and the other degraded (meaning that there is some other factor at play?). Sometimes the pavement or some building is causing a bad effect, seen in one telescope but not the other, so if I move this factor out the seeing improves dramatically. I just don't have the experience maybe to definitively say which is the limiting factor most of the time. Also I can't spend too much time observing. I decided to build a smaller 8-10 inch telescope and work from there to gain more experience.

 

The dedicated people in my home country sometimes train two or three telescopes of the same aperture using tracking mounts and continue observing only one object for hours changing eyepieces and adjusting the telescopes until they make some pronouncement, and even then the opinions are often cautious. So probably me going out for a few hours to look at a few things would be too crude to say "this is true" or "that is true".


Edited by X3782, 18 August 2018 - 06:13 AM.


#28 CHASLX200

CHASLX200

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15428
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Tampa area Florida

Posted 18 August 2018 - 05:19 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).

My best ever was with a 14.5" non GO-TO Starmaster and Zambuto mirror in Feb of 2001 on a nite of no seeing. What i mean by no seeing is that it was like being in space as nothing moved.  Jup and Sat were unreal at 1150x and i maxed out my barlow- eyepiece combo and could not go higher.



#29 Starman1

Starman1

    Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 39076
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2003
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 18 August 2018 - 09:13 AM

The best view ever was through someone else's 18 inch(?) Dob of Jupiter at a star party, high up in the alps in Europe. It was one of the darkest skies available in the country where I was living, the telescope was expertly handled, and the mirrors well cooled I would imagine. The most impressive view was by naked eye in the desert of Arizona maybe 35 years ago.

 

I'm reasonably confident that I am collimating my mirrors well enough most of the time (this is not that easy for me with my 16 inch f4.5, I think the truss Dob is not rigid enough). Optics collimation and evaluation is part of what I do in the day job and it would be embarrassing if I messed this part up. Nevertheless if I see a bad image through the eyepiece with my 16 inch or even my 12.5 inch, I'd say my skills aren't good enough to distinguish whether that's due to thermal effects of the mirror or from "seeing" (until recently I chalked most everything up to "seeing" which might be a convenient excuse, but then I started to study this problem in detail and got surprised at what thermals can do). I might believe "tonight the seeing is great" or "the seeing is bad", but it might just be due to the mirror following the ambient temperature more closely or not. I sometimes set up a 85 mm doublet refractor (my reasoning is that this type of telescope will be least sensitive to thermals) next to the Dob trained on the same object to judge the seeing. Often I think I can see a correlation (the images in both telescopes seem to behave the same), but often I see that one image looks fine (implying good seeing?) and the other degraded (meaning that there is some other factor at play?). Sometimes the pavement or some building is causing a bad effect, seen in one telescope but not the other, so if I move this factor out the seeing improves dramatically. I just don't have the experience maybe to definitively say which is the limiting factor most of the time. Also I can't spend too much time observing. I decided to build a smaller 8-10 inch telescope and work from there to gain more experience.

 

The dedicated people in my home country sometimes train two or three telescopes of the same aperture using tracking mounts and continue observing only one object for hours changing eyepieces and adjusting the telescopes until they make some pronouncement, and even then the opinions are often cautious. So probably me going out for a few hours to look at a few things would be too crude to say "this is true" or "that is true".

I try to remember the three "C"s:

--Cooling.  Any scope larger than 6" needs to have a fan or fans blowing on the optics to cool them down.

--Collimation.  No scope perferms its best if uncollimated.  This is not a complicated art, merely an adjustment, and there are simple tools to help us there.

--Conditions.  We need good seeing (lack of turbulence in the air), darkness (away from lights), and transparency (no dust and little water vapor in the air) to see things well.  The key here is to observe often so

                  that when the good conditions come around, we are out under the stars observing.


  • Inkswitch and izar187 like this

#30 stevenrjanssens

stevenrjanssens

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 32
  • Joined: 24 May 2018
  • Loc: Vancouver, BC

Posted 18 August 2018 - 06:39 PM

Only been at it a few weeks now but I had a magnificent view of the Eastern Veil Nebula at 42x earlier this month. Transparency that night was excellent. M81 and M82 in the same FOV at 42x came second.



#31 Kunama

Kunama

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3897
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Canberra, Australia

Posted 18 August 2018 - 10:20 PM

Two stand out as my best reflector views, Saturn at 729x through my 18"F5.6 with an XW3.5mm on a perfect night and Homunculus Nebula through Allan's 32" SDM .... both were just sensational views....



#32 aatt

aatt

    Surveyor 1

  • ***--
  • Posts: 1742
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2012
  • Loc: CT

Posted 18 August 2018 - 11:35 PM

Mars on August 27  2003 with the best seeing that I have encountered in New England for the whole evening.My scope went as high as my eyepieces and barlow allowed. Never will see it like that again I m pretty sure.

Jupiter somewhere in the depths of winter three or four years ago when the jet stream called it a day for about a half an hour.Tremendous detail all around.I especially liked the swirling in the GRS.

M22 at AHSP as well as M33 through my 15" which was thermally right, collimation was spot on, seeing and transparency were good and skies were as good as it gets on the east coast in terms of darkness. My goodness, that was was a heck of a night. binoviewing the Lagoon was pretty epic too.

my first view of the Sombrero in my 15" from a dark site. Comditions were good amd I was floored.

Baxter State Park in northern Maine on one short summer night of very good  transparency.Every object was a treat due to the extremely dark skies there. Cant say which was best really as they were all fantastic.

three nights in New Hampshire three years ago with fairly dark skies, decent seeing and really dry transparent air. i think those nights showed how deep,that 15" scope can go.I can remember sweeping through Andromeda, Perseus and Triangulum and seeing faint fuzzies everywhere punctuating the void- not just a few, but many often in the same field of view. pretty much every NGC on my charts was probably evident and then some. Awesome!

There are others like my first OIII view of the Veil in a 17.5"...and even more than that that I cant bring up as I write this.i mentioned in the planetary thread that Mars this last Thursday looked better than I have seen it, in terms of seeing, since my night back in 2003. Did I mention my M42  experience in my 9 mm 100 degree's first dark sky light? that was a doozy too.

Looking at the Scutum star cloud overhead in Costa Rica in binoculars from a really dark site. my buddy was pretty jaded to visual astronomy, but when I handed him the binocs and had him grudgingly look he exclaimed emphatically" holy ****!"

He was spot on in his description:)

I could go on probably.


Edited by aatt, 18 August 2018 - 11:37 PM.

  • Mike Spooner and gene 4181 like this

#33 Shneor

Shneor

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1613
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2005
  • Loc: Northern California

Posted 19 August 2018 - 01:19 AM

Can't do just one.

 

Jupiter at 1100X (stacked Barlows)  in the 18" I owned at the time, late 1990s, very dark sky, excellent transparency and seeing. Jupiter full of detail, whorls, storms, bright color bands. At Blue Canyon.

 

M51 a blazing blue, at the zenith, excellent transparency and seeing, 18", late 1990s, Blue Canyon.

 

Double quasar in Ursa Major, high in the sky, with my 22". From an average sky, suddenly thee were so many stars it was hard to make out the constellations. It was February, the Double Quasar was high, found N3079 and immediately thereafter, at about 600X, the components were visible, seemingly pulsating at different rates. Great sky lasted for 20 -25 minutes. Lake Sonoma.

 

Eta Carinae, at Magellan Observatory in Australia, 24". Most unique visual object for amateur telescopes.

 

Results of the spacecraft that crashed into a comet, I and two other observers saw "sparklies" for about 8 minutes after it hit (time adjusted for lightspeed). 18".



#34 X3782

X3782

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 206
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2018
  • Loc: ---

Posted 19 August 2018 - 02:10 AM

I try to remember the three "C"s:

--Cooling.  Any scope larger than 6" needs to have a fan or fans blowing on the optics to cool them down.

--Collimation.  No scope perferms its best if uncollimated.  This is not a complicated art, merely an adjustment, and there are simple tools to help us there.

--Conditions.  We need good seeing (lack of turbulence in the air), darkness (away from lights), and transparency (no dust and little water vapor in the air) to see things well.  The key here is to observe often so

                  that when the good conditions come around, we are out under the stars observing.

 

Three "C"s, that's great. If somebody could find a way to circumvent or at least relax as much as possible the "this hobby needs time for many conditions to stoachastically line up" part,  I guess a lot more young people might get interested. While many might have the interest and financial means, the killer part is often the time.



#35 Kadmus

Kadmus

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 44
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2018

Posted 19 August 2018 - 11:41 PM

Double cluster in 12” dob with 17T4 is one of my all time favorites. 



#36 Daniel Mounsey

Daniel Mounsey

    Vendor (Woodland Hills)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 7209
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2002

Posted 20 August 2018 - 04:53 AM

I try to remember the three "C"s:

--Cooling.  Any scope larger than 6" needs to have a fan or fans blowing on the optics to cool them down.

--Collimation.  No scope perferms its best if uncollimated.  This is not a complicated art, merely an adjustment, and there are simple tools to help us there.

--Conditions.  We need good seeing (lack of turbulence in the air), darkness (away from lights), and transparency (no dust and little water vapor in the air) to see things well.  The key here is to observe often so

                  that when the good conditions come around, we are out under the stars observing.

 

Don, true but away from lights for planets, definitely not.



#37 Pinbout

Pinbout

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 21174
  • Joined: 22 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Montclair, NJ

Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:16 AM

Don, true but away from lights for planets, definitely not.

I love my street light for planets

 

viewing over roof tops, streets and warm cars...not a good thing. grin.gif

 

med_gallery_106859_3508_133994.jpeg


  • Daniel Mounsey likes this

#38 wky46

wky46

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2438
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2005
  • Loc: West central, Ky.

Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:43 AM

chasing the dragon...

Best view was my first view of Saturn through my bros dept store 60mm when I was around twelve one Christmas night

Still chasing that feeling

 

*sorry. Kept bloviating about another type of scope. DOH!

Carry on....


Edited by wky46, 20 August 2018 - 03:07 PM.

  • Pinbout and MikeTahtib like this

#39 paspat

paspat

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 99
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2015

Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:08 AM

first time viewing ngc 4565, 10" Dob very dark clear night.  dust lanes captiating. perhaps i was moved emotionlly becasue I was not expecting the object to be outstanding not being a M list target. still remember the feeling of the moment



#40 Muddman97

Muddman97

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 620
  • Joined: 18 May 2017
  • Loc: NE Oklahoma

Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:39 AM

Like yourself, my best view so far was Jupiter a couple months ago.

 

The seeing was totally still, the best I've ever had, and Jupiter had good altitude with the GRS facing me and its 4 major moons visible as well.  The cloud bands were visible and clearly distinct with swirls and festoons dancing about.  The view was so stunning that I spent most of my observing time right there, even got to watch Ganymede pass behind the planet.

 

A close second would be catching the F star in the Trap of M42, I'm still working on G. 



#41 InkDark

InkDark

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2360
  • Joined: 29 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Lanaudiere, Quebec, Canada

Posted 20 August 2018 - 04:36 PM

Only been at it a few weeks now but I had a magnificent view of the Eastern Veil Nebula at 42x earlier this month. Transparency that night was excellent. M81 and M82 in the same FOV at 42x came second.

My second target through my 6 inch Dob (first scope) at the time was M81-82 in the same field of view. I remember my excitement and the almost uncontrollable laughter. 

 

Was it the best view ever (clean with a lot of details,etc.), no, but the feeling of seeing a group (two is a group right?) of galaxies made my night. 



#42 RichardHennig

RichardHennig

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Gainesville, FL

Posted 23 August 2018 - 07:43 PM

It’s tough to pick just one favorite, but if I have to, here it goes: M101 from the Texas Star Party in my 18” Obsession. It was the darkest sky I had the 18” at so far. The spiral structure was like a photograph. We could see six spiral arms with quite some detail. This view alone was worth the 2 days of driving each way.

If I can have a second object, it has to be the Eskimo nebula, straight overhead from Florida at 1200x. The detail was amazing and it was rock steady.
  • Mike Spooner likes this

#43 stargazer193857

stargazer193857

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6012
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Southern Idaho

Posted 25 August 2018 - 01:25 PM

For me, the Pleiades naked eye one morning. They were at meridian, and each of the 7 looked at bright as Sirius normally is. They dominated the sky no matter where I looked. It was a grey zone, and they were opposite direction from town.



Also M81 and M82 in the same view in a 10" f5 dob with a 24mm Plossl. I was in a well shielded yellow soon, and they near the horizon opposite the city. I was seated comfortably. They looked majestic.



Orion Nebula near meridian in a green zone, opposite direction from town. 8" older Celestron SCT, 25mm Plossl. It looked blue green and detailed with a dark background. Very impressive. That SCT also gave a bright M31/32/110 that seemed to defy physics for that aperture.



M51 in a 20" f4.5, 90x. It was in color. At a grey zone.



Milky way galaxy at a grey zone and 5000 feet, at zenith. I saw a lot of structure naked eye, but I suspect it could have been better.


2017 solar eclipse at totality. Likely the best of all here by a mile. I want to see another.

#44 stargazer193857

stargazer193857

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6012
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Southern Idaho

Posted 25 August 2018 - 01:29 PM

You can spend a lot on aperture, but I think dark adaptation is where it is at. Use a hood or a pat or walls. Use a dew shield and cup the eyepiece. It all matters so much. You can do this with a big scope too, but sitting comfortably matters too.

#45 CrazyPanda

CrazyPanda

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1380
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2012

Posted 26 August 2018 - 01:10 AM

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.

Agreed with this. The atmosphere in New England is frustrating to the point of almost making astronomy not worth it in this region. The clouds I can deal with. The light pollution I can live with. The excessive trees I can manage. 

 

But the atmosphere is a shitshow all of the time. Either local seeing is bad but the jet stream is a fairly lazy 7m/s, or local seeing is good and the jet stream is ripping by at 50m/s. The two conditions almost never align. I've only ever seen one night where the atmosphere showed zero scintillation on the Moon, and it looked perfectly frozen in the sky.

 

This has implications for all classes of objects, not just planets. There are plenty of details in galaxies and planetary nebulae to be seen, even at 12" aperture and even under bortle class 4 skies, but they often require high magnification, and when seeing isn't good, those fine/subtle details become invisible.


Edited by CrazyPanda, 26 August 2018 - 01:14 AM.

  • MikeTahtib likes this

#46 Drew57

Drew57

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 230
  • Joined: 24 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Minnesota

Posted 27 August 2018 - 07:23 PM

The 2017 Solar Eclipse at totality with my little 152mm Comet Hunter; won't ever forget that view...so good hard to put into words.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics