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NV at a club stargaze...

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#1 Jim4321

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 11:11 AM

Our club stargaze this weekend was held on Saturday night at  our club's mountaintop observatory ( http://www.astroashe...in-observatory/   ) .  We've had a lot of events suffer weather cancellations lately and this time there were clouds and a few light showers before sunset.  But they cleared away nicely toward dusk except for some distant ones in the east, and we were treated to a fine view of the sunset.

 

I set up my Evolution 9.25 on the patio, and a couple of other members set up cameras.  I got good looks at Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars as the sky darkened.   We ended up with a head count of about 30-35, with maybe 10-15 being club members.  I think the earlier clouds kept attendance down; a pity, since it turned out to be a glorious night.  We were even entertained most of the evening by distant lightning flashing in the clouds to the east.  It's been a while since the Milky Way was that bright here.

 

With full dark, out came my Mod 3 at prime focus.  This location has an excellent view of the southern sky, spoiled somewhat by the light dome of the city and its western extension, about 20 miles away to the SSE and S.  I have both a 1.25" 610nm longpass filter (Baader), and a 1.25" Orion 'Extra Narrowband H-a Imaging Filter', as well as a .63 focal reducer for my f10 scope.  I was swapping around among these all evening, as well as making a brief test of an Orion ST120 refractor on a manual mount.  I may have to start taking notes on combinations and targets as an aid to memory, but that might spoil the fun...

 

My main targets for the evening were M16, M8, M24, and M20.   I spent a fair mount of the evening sharing the views, mostly with a few club members.  Their reactions were pretty much the same as mine... "WOW!"  The Lagoon is huge with NV! The Trifid is intense!  I even had a very much tentative sighting of the Pillars of Creation, but I'm going to need some time to research & verify that.

 

The one thing I forgot to try is adding a Barlow to the mix.  I'll remedy that at the first opportunity. 

 

Jim H.

  


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#2 Eddgie

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 02:13 PM

Happy to hear that you and your mates had a good session!

 

I would think that the Pillars would be visible in your scope so if you think you saw them, you probably did see them.  At 1480mm, they have a more than big enough angular size to resolve, but a bit more speed and a bit more aperture would serve to show more detail.

 

Happy to hear that you had fun though, and I am pleased that your friends enjoyed the view.  People have to see it to really understand the value of NV.  There are a lot of concerns, some of which have been expressed right here that were concerned about the "negative" of NV, such a scintillation and the narrow field of view, but most have long ago forgotten about that stuff once they started to view with it.

 

Have fun out there and hopefully you will continue to be amazed by what you can see.



#3 Jim4321

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 06:00 AM

I finally got a clear, moonless, undisturbed 'just me' night to check out M16 again.  After looking at online pix, yep, I saw the Pillars!  Waa-hoo!  The nebulosity isn't even visible thru glass with my 9.25 under our not-ideal SE skies. This may be partly because from my usual observing site I'm looking across the light dome of our too-bright city just behind the ridge to the SSW.

 

But add night vision and heavy filtration, and WOW!  The nebula really pops!  The NV gadget has really added a whole 'nother dimension to my observing.  I've now crossed off an item from my bucket list that a year ago I wouldn't even have considered practical to put on that list.

 

Jim H.


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#4 Eddgie

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 06:20 AM

Hello Jim,

 

Congratulations!

 

Upon your first report, I felt reasonably confident that you had seen the Pillars because they are not terribly difficult to see (using NV I mean) and you had a big enough scope to give them enough scale to be resolved, though the speed probably made you work a little to see them though the noise.

 

There will be many things that you can see now that you could not see before.

 

One item that I would suggest putting high on your list for the upcoming months:  Barnard's Loop.  Not only is this giant nebula not visible just about any other way, it is one of the most dramatic sights in the entire sky.   It is like we have half a ring nebula hanging above us.   It might take a night of pretty transparent skies, and if you are using a narrow band filter like a 7nm, you will have to pan back and forth at 1x until you find it because the band shift of the filter might make it hard to see all of it at once (though once you find it, you can trace it out with the narrow filter, but a 12nm under really dark skies gives a better view).

 

California Nebula is also amazing, but this one I think is best in a 135mm to 210mm SLR lens, or in a very small refractor with a lot of compression. 

 

There are tons of things you will be able to see now though, so hope you enjoy a lot of new and exciting views!

 

And again, congrats on your second trip to M16 and seeing this amazing celestial feature.  



#5 Jond105

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 06:34 AM

Oh crap. Alright maybe Eddgie should just PM me. Living in Detroit, 10" dob, how do you use this Mod 3, just stick it in the focuser as is like an eyepiece? It's obviously highly expensive, but is it literally that easy? That's awesome you got to see some cool stuff Jim4321. Especially things you thought you wouldn't see

#6 Jim4321

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:18 AM

Jond, with the Mod 3 C-mount, you unscrew its lens, screw in a cheap 1.25" hollow 'snout', screw any appropriate filers into that, and then put it in just like any other eyepiece. 

 

On my SCT, it takes maybe 2 turns from 'normal' glass EP focus to get to focus.  Fiddle with the gain knob if so equipped.  Then enjoy!

 

You can vary the magnification with Barlows or focal reducers.  Also, because of its cost, I loop the Mod 3's neck lanyard around the finder bracket for safety.

 

Jim H.


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#7 Jim4321

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:44 AM

Eddgie, thanks for the tips and kind words.  It was your posts on this subject that got me started on thinking about getting into NV, of course... wink.gif 

 

Yes, I have plans to use it a lot more this fall and winter, if only we have clearing skies here.  On the issue of speed and focal length, I'm still looking at options.  I find the Evo 9.25 with glass EP's is absolutely great for outreach, which I do a lot of and really enjoy (3rd generation teacher grin.gif ).  I'm unwilling at present to use the NV much for outreach, since it takes so much time to explain what they're looking thru that the number of people who can look is limited.  Maybe in the future....

 

Jim H.



#8 slavicek

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 12:23 PM

Oh crap. Alright maybe Eddgie should just PM me. Living in Detroit, 10" dob, how do you use this Mod 3, just stick it in the focuser as is like an eyepiece? It's obviously highly expensive, but is it literally that easy? That's awesome you got to see some cool stuff Jim4321. Especially things you thought you wouldn't see

For nebulosity you have to add Ha filters!


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#9 Eddgie

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 01:11 PM

Oh crap. Alright maybe Eddgie should just PM me. Living in Detroit, 10" dob, how do you use this Mod 3, just stick it in the focuser as is like an eyepiece? It's obviously highly expensive, but is it literally that easy? That's awesome you got to see some cool stuff Jim4321. Especially things you thought you wouldn't see

The Mod 3 with C mount has a flange on the front that can accommodate either stand alone objective lenses (like movie camera lenses or SLR lenses though not all lenses will be guaranteed to work).

 

To use it in a telescope, you remove the objective lens (not tools, just unscrews) and screw on an inexpensive 1.25" or 2" nose piece.   With this in place, you simply insert it into the telescope, turn it on, focus the telescope and the eyepiece, and away you go. 

 

This picture shows a Micro Monocular, so a bit smaller than the Mod 3 and no gain control, but with this shows the conversion. Screw off, screw on.  Takes less than 45 seconds to convert from one mode to the other.  No tools, no alignment.  A 6 year old could do it. 

 

IMG_20180530_090207.jpg

 

Here is the Micro mounted in my Comet Cather.  My first view of Horse Head Nebula in my 35 years of trying was using a Comet Catcher cradled in my lap, sitting on the curb in front of my house.    This scope has limiting magnitude performance of a 10" to 12" Newtonian.   I can easily see structure in the Trifid Nebula from my red zone sky (and so much more).   There are no laptops, tablets, or cables required.  The device has a built in power supply and will run for over 40 hours on an inexpensive 123A Battery. I can carry this whole rig out the door in one trip and see stuff that I used to struggle to see in my C14. 

 

Orange Comet Catcher.jpg

 

IR long pass filters make for powerful light pollution abatement, turning red zone skies into the equivalent of Bortle 4 like skies. You still need decent transparency, but form semi-urban locations, seeing a very detailed Milky Way is pretty easy, and seeing things like the Pillars of Creation is not at all out of the question.   Not saying everybody will see it on every night, by a 10" dob should show it easily enough on a night of good transparency.   

 

And last but not least, you can use these with very short focal lenght lenses for binocular type views.  A 25mm CCTV lens will give about 1x (and people that have never used NV almost always doubt the need for this type of power, but there is some mighty big stuff out there like the Great Rift that is beautiful at 1x) and SLR lenses can give moderate powers.

 

Here is a device with a Nikon 180ED f/2.8 lens.  From my light polluted yard, this lens gives superb views of larger nebula like the North American/Pelican, or California, Heart and Soul, and many more.  This lens is a high quality ED lens and it cost less than many eyepieces do. (used vs used).   It can be hand held, and is also fantastic for scanning the huge star clouds of the southern Milky Way and the walls along the great rift.  To use a lens like this, you have to have an inexpensive adapter to convert it to C mount (just mounts using the lens bayonet on one side, and the C mount thread on the other. I do a lot of observing with this lens).

 

 180mm Nikkor.jpg

 

So, C mount is very flexible and I think this makes it the most popular format for US based CN members.   I don't think there is any C mount housing available new outside the US so European and UK users tend to use PVS-14s, but they report excellent results. 


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#10 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 02:23 PM

Jond, with the Mod 3 C-mount, you unscrew its lens, screw in a cheap 1.25" hollow 'snout', screw any appropriate filers into that, and then put it in just like any other eyepiece. 

 

On my SCT, it takes maybe 2 turns from 'normal' glass EP focus to get to focus.  Fiddle with the gain knob if so equipped.  Then enjoy!

 

You can vary the magnification with Barlows or focal reducers.  Also, because of its cost, I loop the Mod 3's neck lanyard around the finder bracket for safety.

 

Jim H.

 

Just to add to this ...

 

The Mod 3 sensor is located somewhat "deeper" in the device, so it takes a bit more back focus (inward travel) than many eyepieces. Perhaps 1/8" to 3/16" more than a 31 Nagler.

 

Back focus is a little more problematic for Newts than other designs, but still not difficult if you expect it and are prepared for it.

 

I find that using the ScopeStuff 2" "snout" (I love that term!) gives me just a little bit more back focus than the ScopeStuff 1-1/4" snout. YMMV.

 

Since the snouts are inexpensive, I bought both sizes for flexibility in my kit.


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#11 Jond105

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 03:06 PM

Thank you guys for your answers. I gotta do something if I want to really keep observing. Cameras were never going to be an option for me as I don't own any computer. Come on now I'm 33 we use our cell phones for everything now a days. So again thank you. I don't want to hijack the thread any further. Keep the NV observations coming Jim4321.

#12 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 04:38 PM

Come on now I'm 33 we use our cell phones for everything now a days. 

 

You can do a lot with a cell phone camera these days.

 

Not the quality of a dedicated imaging camera, but fast and trivially easy. Computer post processing not required.

 

The other night I shot seven Sharpless nebula (22 total exposures, varying ISO settings). 18 exposures came out ok, focus issues with four of them.

 

According to the metadata, I started at 9:13:03 and finished 9:33:33. (Moonrise was 9:35 that night.)

 

Looking at some of the exposures, the camera was not square to the eyepiece. So I guess on the next clear night I'll set aside 20 minutes to shoot 20 more lol.gif

Attached Thumbnails

  • Sh 2-155, Epsilon, 12nm ISO 4000.jpg
  • IC 1396, Epsilon, 12nm, ISO 5000.jpg

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#13 Eddgie

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 05:27 PM

Elephant Trunk, yes? Very nice.  This is a really beautiful object in Peter's 16" dob from Bortle 6ish sky, but it is much less defined form my red zone using my 12" f/4.9.   

 

I am as pleased as punch for Jim.   I knew he sounded excited the first time he thought he saw the Pillars, but having a second try did the trick.   It really is remarkable.  Yeah, it isn't like the Hubble or anything, but the fact that you can look though a telescope and see it as well as we do is pretty rewarding.  

Heck, before NV, the Eagle Nebula was so faint from my house I could hardly see it, but part of that I know now is because it is rather large.   I gave up after trying to see it with my C14, but in retrospect, I did not have enough true field around it to make the nebula stand out from the background. 

 

It is so fun to see the Pillars though.   Once of the highlights of my 35 years in astronomy.   Never thought I would be able to see it.  I imagine Jim used to think the same thing.  


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#14 Jond105

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:14 PM

Just to add to this ...

The Mod 3 sensor is located somewhat "deeper" in the device, so it takes a bit more back focus (inward travel) than many eyepieces. Perhaps 1/8" to 3/16" more than a 31 Nagler.

Back focus is a little more problematic for Newts than other designs, but still not difficult if you expect it and are prepared for it.

I find that using the ScopeStuff 2" "snout" (I love that term!) gives me just a little bit more back focus than the ScopeStuff 1-1/4" snout. YMMV.

Since the snouts are inexpensive, I bought both sizes for flexibility in my kit.


I have a 10" collapsible, if I don't have enough back focus, could dropping it into the Binoviewer clips on the collapsible help with this?

#15 GeezerGazer

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:20 PM

Jim, the first time with NV I saw the Pillars in the Eagle, I thought... "Those can't be the Pillars!" So I took a photo with my phone and sure enough... they were "The" pillars.  Congratulations and know that it only gets better!   



#16 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:29 PM

Elephant Trunk, yes? Very nice.  This is a really beautiful object in Peter's 16" dob from Bortle 6ish sky, but it is much less defined form my red zone using my 12" f/4.9.   

 

Yes it is, thanks. I'm going to come back to that one with a telephoto lens, the 2.2 degree field of the Epsilon is a little tight.

 

I was originally thinking Canon 200mm, but after reading about your Nikon 185 ED that sounds like a better choice.



#17 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:32 PM

I have a 10" collapsible, if I don't have enough back focus, could dropping it into the Binoviewer clips on the collapsible help with this?

 

 

If your scope works with binoviewers, it will work with a Mod 3.

 

It would probably work with a Mod 3 + focal reducer too.

 

My Antares 2" 0.7x requires about 12 mm extra backfocus.

 

The GSO 2" 0.5x requires about 55mm backfocus.

 

Both of those are from the normal Mod 3 focus position.


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#18 Jim4321

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 07:45 PM

I'd actually rate the Pillars as about a dead tie for first for me.   It's tied with a view of Saturn about 5-6 years back, thru the 7" TEC refractor on our club's pier at the ROR we share with the local state university.  The Pillars speak to the fundamental processes of the Universe... initially-minute gravity fields and the tiny push of light pressure forming new stars from a hydrogen-rich nebula.   Saturn was simply stunningly beautiful.

 

Jim H.



#19 Eddgie

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 08:38 PM

I have a 10" collapsible, if I don't have enough back focus, could dropping it into the Binoviewer clips on the collapsible help with this?

The Mod 3 C by itself takes about 15mm of back focus but if you use a 1.25" nose piece and have to have a 2" to 1.25" adapter, and this might add as much as 10mm, so in that configuration, you would need 25mm total back focus.

 

Now if you are a few millimeters short, lifting the mirror to the full extension of the collimation screws might get you there if you are pretty close.

 

I use an Orion 12" f/4.9 and reach focus with about 7mm or 8mm to spare even when using the 2" to 1.25" adapter, but there have been several people that say that they can't quite reach focus, so it is not a slam dunk. 

There is also a 2" adapter from Scopestuff that has a shorter light path than the 2" to 1.25" adapter path.



#20 Eddgie

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 08:43 PM

I know when I saw the famous Hubble picture of the Pillars, I was thrilled to see the picture, but of course thought there was no possibility that I would ever see even a trace of it in any telescope I would ever own.  Oh. I tried, but even from dark skies, I came up blank.  

 

Jim, there are other amazing things to see out there.  If you can get to darker skies, Barnard's Loop is mind blowing.   I think it is remarkable in that besides the spiral arms and dust clouds of the Milky Way, it is the single largest angular size DSO you can see form the surface of the earth.  I was blow away when I saw how huge it is.  Throw in the Angle Fish Nebula and it is pretty surreal.

 

But there is so much.    

 

I hope you have as much fun with this as I have had the lest 3 years. 



#21 Kevdog

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 02:45 PM

One of my first "blow your mind" moments with NV was when I saw the Horsehead Nebula easily and in great detail through my 18" with a 35nm Ha filter and using my old NV device.    It was just THERE!

 

Can't wait to try again with my 7nm filter and new WP NV device!   I can probably throw in the 2x barlow and still get a good view!  And I'll get a phone pic too!



#22 Eddgie

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 06:40 PM

Yeah, Horse Head was maybe at the top of my bucket list of things I had tried to see for decades. 

 

Now my bucket list is done, and I am seeing things like the Pillars and Gamma Gygni, and stuff that I don't even know what it is!


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#23 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 09:31 PM

One of my first "blow your mind" moments with NV was when I saw the Horsehead Nebula easily and in great detail through my 18" with a 35nm Ha filter and using my old NV device.    It was just THERE!

 

Can't wait to try again with my 7nm filter and new WP NV device!   I can probably throw in the 2x barlow and still get a good view!  And I'll get a phone pic too!

 

I shot a bunch of HorseHead images last night through my 16" f/7, 55 Plossl afocal, 12 nm filter.

 

Image scale helps. Through your 18 from the Phoenix light dome it might look something like this 10 second ISO 800 exposure ... minus the outer field curvature (hopefully):

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0058.jpg

Edited by Jeff Morgan, 05 October 2018 - 09:31 PM.

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#24 Eddgie

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 01:41 PM

That is a really great picture.  You can actually see the void in the dark nebula between the top of the "mane" and the horse's neck.. I have not been able to see this visually I think but to be honest, I don't think I worked hard to look for it.  

 

Now that I have seen it in this picture though, I plan on trying to see it next time I have excellent conditions.

 

Great pic!




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