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What is your scope to take out on a moonlit night?

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#1 maknswarf

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:14 PM

I was just wondering what scope do you choose to take out on a moonlit night, if you are going to be observing other objects besides the moon?

I have 2 scopes a XT10 f/4.7 and a Meade 102mm f/5.9, would I be correct in thinking the smaller refractor would show less washed out visuals? The last time I took the XT10 out on a moonlit night, the sky was extremely bright to the point everything just kinda blended into the sky.

I know I won't see too many DSOs besides clusters but even the XT10 delivered less than impressive results on globulars.

Clear skies

#2 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:23 PM

I've used the baader moon and skyglow filter to observe clusters and stellar objects while the moon was out. It darkens the sky a bit but won't help much for faint fuzzies and nebulae. Only the brighter ones. Planets won't be as affected by moonlight so maybe target those more with a bright moon. On a side note, for a real treat try the moon and skyglow filter on Jupiter. Features really stand out with it.
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#3 Mitrovarr

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:41 PM

Right now I'd probably take my Skywatcher 150 ED refractor. It's very good at planets and double stars, which are the most obvious targets that one can look at when the moon is up. It's also especially strong on clusters, since it gives sharper star points than my other scopes do and this allows the stars to break through more light pollution.


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#4 Barlowbill

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:42 PM

A little off from what you asked but I have been taking the ETX90 out recently to view the moon.  Much easier than the 8" on a moon-lite night.  I started when the moon was just a sliver.  I got amazing views of it.  Have kept following as the moon "grew" and I am really enjoying the little scope.  I recently acquired a Meade 3X Barlow (here on CN) and I think it is magnificent with this scope.  When I have clear nights here (been iffy in Oklahoma this spring) I have been using my Astro-Tech Paradigms with the 3X and have had amazing moon views.  Saw a good view at around 450X and quite good views with the 3.2mm at just under 400X.  I have neglected the little scope for a couple of years and I regret it.  So easy to carry it out and view Luna.


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#5 kfiscus

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:01 PM

ST80

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Edited by kfiscus, 14 June 2019 - 07:02 PM.

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#6 maknswarf

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:03 PM

Thanks for all the advice, I'll have to look into the skyglow filter when I purchase the OIII that I want to get.

Don't get me wrong, I love observing the moon and the planets are a favorite of mine every night that I've gone out since I got the 102mm a couple months ago, and now I have a 13% moon filter which makes it a little easier on the eyes for long periods of observing. However, I don't get too many days a month to observe due to my local weather, so I try to make the most out of my clear nights.

Also, before I bought my 1st I never realized how many "clear" nights are actually cloudy. I haven't really been able to max either of my scopes out on the moon, since I only have a 2x barlow, but Ive had the 102mm up to 266x on the moon with a 4.5mm HD-60 and the barlow and it was amazing. For such a cheap little scope it does surprisingly well, especially on a decent mount, I have it on a Twilight I and it is rock steady.

I think I will take the 102mm out tonight, since it hasn't had any star time since I got the XT10, which is an amazing scope on those dark moonless nights.

Thanks again.

#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:17 PM

I have 2 scopes a XT10 f/4.7 and a Meade 102mm f/5.9, would I be correct in thinking the smaller refractor would show less washed out visuals?


Absolutely not! You just have to use the same exit pupil in both scopes, and the sky background will appear the same. Since the Dob has 2.5x as much aperture, you need to use 2.5x as much magnification. In which case the objects that you're viewing will appear much bigger and brighter in the Dob -- assuming that they fit in the field of view at that magnification.
 

I know I won't see too many DSOs besides clusters but even the XT10 delivered less than impressive results on globulars.


Actually, it's possible to see plenty of DSOs besides clusters -- they just won't look as good. How much worse depends on the Moon phase. A 25% illuminated Moon barely brightens the sky if you live in an already-bright suburb, except right near the Moon itself. A full Moon, which runs some 30 times brighter than a 25%-lit Moon, is a whole 'nother story.

It's true that a 10-inch scope won't resolve globular clusters very well when the Moon is fat. But it will do it a whole lot better than a 4-inch scope!

 

And of course the bigger scope will resolve the planets a lot better, too.

 

On the other hand, one might argue that since you're not going to get optimal views of anything except planets, double stars, and the Moon itself, maybe you should have a shorter session, in which case it might not be worth the hassle of lugging out the bigger scope and letting it acclimate.


Edited by Tony Flanders, 14 June 2019 - 07:19 PM.

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#8 Sketcher

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:31 PM

Moonlight or no moonlight, it makes little difference to me.  On my last night out (it was under moonlight) I used the same telescope that I had used on my last dark (moonless) night out.

 

I switch telescopes from time to time; but moonlight or lack thereof have rarely been my reasons behind making the switch.  I enjoy using all telescopes for all purposes.


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#9 REDSHIFT39

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:29 PM

When the moon is more than half full I only look at the moon,planets and double stars so the scope I take out is the 102mm mak.


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#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 11:20 PM

I think Tony Flanders pretty much nailed it.  The bigger scope will show more, dark skies or moon lit skies.  I don't use any sort of a moon filter, even with my largest scope, I let my eye adapt.  

 

Which scope I choose on any given night depends on a number of factors, my energy level, the position of the moon in the sky, whether I am in San Diego or out in the high desert where the skies are quite dark and most often clear.  If I am in San Diego, I will probably use a 3 or 4 inch refractor and concentrate on the planets and double stars unless I am feeling energetic and/or it feel like the seeing is going to be on the very good to excellent side.  Then I may take out the 10 inch or the 13.1 inch Dob.  

 

In the high desert, I work around the moon. From the third quarter to the first quarter, there's at least half the night that's moonless so I setup based on the moonless portion. That would generally be the 16 inch or the 22 inch along with the 4 inch refractor.  After the new moon, I will mess around for an hour or so after sunset, then go to sleep and wake up around moon set and finish the night under dark skies.  

 

Tonight, it is cloudy so I didn't have to decide.

 

Jon


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#11 WyattDavis

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 06:27 AM

The 10" unless I am just going to be our for minutes. Early this AM looked to be the last time that will be clear for several days in Rye, so I went on out. My backyard is normally around 20.5 MPSAS. In the Lyra/Cygnus region (about 100 degrees East of the 95%-illuminated Moon at 12:30am), I was getting a sky quality meter reading of 19.2 MPSAS - much brighter than usual for sure but I was able to see many DSO targets.

 

Your question reminds me of Rod Mollise's Urban Astronomer's Guide. His two core pieces of advice for seeing DSOs in light-polluted conditions (but moonlight is much prettier than light pollution - even if it does wash things out) are to use as much aperture as you can manage and to use higher magnification to help darken the sky/FOV. From Uncle Rod:

 

"If the sky is bright, you need all the aperture horsepower you can muster. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise with tales about the “bright sky background.” If the field in your larger aperture telescope looks annoyingly bright, increase the magnification—that will darken it. But at any magnification, deep sky objects will show more detail with large aperture than with a small scope. Mollise, Rod. The Urban Astronomer's Guide (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) (p. 13). Springer - A. Kindle Edition.

 

If you also contend with light pollution, this is a great reference book for how to maximize your observing - highly recommended.

 

even the XT10 delivered less than impressive results on globulars.

 

What magnification were you using?

 

My best views last night were of globulars (M56, M71). With the seeing I had, I was finding that a 6mm eyepiece in my 10" f/4.7 (230x with Paracorr) was giving the best balance of sharpness and target resolution. Not as good as they look without all the moonlight but still great targets with a lot of detail in them. With a 13mm EP (105x), they were much less impressive for sure.

 

Under the same conditions, NGC7000 wasn't visible at all. M27 was clearly visible but more diminished than the globulars compared to how it looks under darker sky. M57 popped right out, and targets like M29, M39, and M52 were fine. Carolyn's Rose was less impressive than it normally is without the moonlight, but it was also quite a bit lower in the sky when I was out compared to the globulars referenced above. Both of the globulars were pretty close to transiting the meridian when I observed them.


Edited by WyattDavis, 15 June 2019 - 06:35 AM.

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#12 brentknight

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:09 AM

Your question reminds me of Rod Mollise's Urban Astronomer's Guide. His two core pieces of advice for seeing DSOs in light-polluted conditions (but moonlight is much prettier than light pollution - even if it does wash things out) are to use as much aperture as you can manage and to use higher magnification to help darken the sky/FOV. From Uncle Rod:

 

"If the sky is bright, you need all the aperture horsepower you can muster. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise with tales about the “bright sky background.” If the field in your larger aperture telescope looks annoyingly bright, increase the magnification—that will darken it. But at any magnification, deep sky objects will show more detail with large aperture than with a small scope. Mollise, Rod. The Urban Astronomer's Guide (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) (p. 13). Springer - A. Kindle Edition.

 

If you also contend with light pollution, this is a great reference book for how to maximize your observing - highly recommended.

 

Wyatt,

 

Thanks for the Urban Astronomer's Guide suggestion.  I'm going to see if I can grab me a copy - All of Rod's works are great reads.  I hear he has a new one coming out too...


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#13 brentknight

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:12 AM

I'll only look at Luna or the planets when the moon starts washing out the skies.  I just got my 120ST, and that's just so fun to use, but my 10" is just as easy to transport to the front yard, so I'll use it too.  Some nights I'll bring them both out.



#14 SeaBee1

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 11:37 AM

I hardly think of the moon as an issue, nor an object to be avoided. I have turned every scope I own at the moon and they all show Luna quite nicely...

 

Good hunting!

 

CB


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#15 jcj380

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 01:00 PM

ST80 or ST120 since those are the only working scopes I have.  I'm planning on a Cass open cluster run early tomorrow AM if the weather clears.  Based on the obstructions around my deck, I'll probably have a look at the moon closer to sunrise.  Just got an #21 orange filter, so I'm anxious to try that on the moon.


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#16 Cali

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 01:39 AM

A moonlit night is when I bring out the binoculars. For me its a time to enjoy and not be too serious.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 21 June 2019 - 01:42 AM.



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