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NV Observing report 11/8 2019

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#1 GOLGO13

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 12:31 AM

Had a nice night of observing tonight. With the Moon pretty full it wasn't probably as good as it could have been. And don't forget the Moon! Was observing it earlier with my 103s. It is the best object in the sky to me. And can be observed with near any telescope.

 

It was frosty out there today. My 6 inch F4 looks like it was actually doing imaging as it was frosted over good. 26 F was the temp.

 

Have you guys ever taken NV for granted? I did today. I was looking at the Orion Nebula, which is really stunning with NV. It and the Swan nebula are probably the best so far in my opinion NV wise. Well, the lagoon is nice also. Anyways, I'm like, oh...I should put in a regular eyepiece and look at Orion. And here I am thinking, wow, I can see the running man but where is Orion (and why the heck can I see the running man). OH! That is Orion!! What a gigantic difference NV makes on nebulas in light pollution!

 

I did make one mistake. I brought in the NV unit, then thought I should see barnard's loop at 1x. Well, not going to happen as it's now dew full. And I need to get some sleep.

 

So, yeah. I'm staying up late and going out in 26 degree weather, because NV is that good.


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#2 Eddgie

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:20 AM

Fun report!

 

Yeah, for nebula, it is hard to get people to understand how good NV can be.  Many say it is not as effective on galaxies, but I have had great success with it seeing galaxies from my white zone in my 12" that I could not make out in my C14.

 

If you have not seen Barnard's Loop yet, prepare to be amazed.  As with nebula in general, the visual impact of Barnards is quite spectacular becuase it is right there, so big that it swallows up more than half of the constellation of Orion. 

 

You will see it with light pollution, but everyone needs to see it from a very dark sky sometime using a wider pass filter (12nm) so you can see it all at once (with very narrow filters, you need to pan around to take it in). I don't think a view of anything in the sky with even the widest of wide field conventional eyepieces can hold a candle to this majestic nebula as viewed in the puny 40 degree apparent field of an NV device.

 

Nice report!  Stay warm out there! 


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#3 Lukes1040

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 08:51 AM

Nice report!

I agree with Eddgie that NV does indeed help with galaxies. I was actually testing this last night, trying to find M74 from my bortle 5/6 backyard with it sitting about 23 deg from the moon. I used a narrow band lp filter and was able to just see it. Couldn’t notice anything with a glass ep.

Barnard’s loop has been my favorite object to see by far at 1x in NV. This time of the year is nice for me because it’s up when I get up for work in the morning, so I can just go out and check it out for a few minutes before heading off to work. Don’t forget to scan up to the angelfish!

#4 Gavster

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 10:13 AM

I agree Barnard’s Loop is amazing with nv. From both lp and dark sites I personally prefer narrower band ha filters which imo bring out the contrast more on the nebulae and make them seem brighter (despite some bandshift from the narrow filter). Here is a 20 second phone shot through my nv monoculars with a 5nm chroma ha filter.

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Edited by Gavster, 09 November 2019 - 10:15 AM.

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#5 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 10:42 AM

For the NV astronomer, there is something even better than Galaxy Clusters: Nebula Clusters!

 

In the winter sky, frame it right at 1x and you can get the M42 complex, Barnards Loop, Horsehead, Flame, Angelfish, Seagull, Cone/FoxFur complex, Rosette, Lowers, Monkey Head, and Jellyfish all in the same FOV. And you can probably pick up many lesser known Sharpless nebula like the 280-284 chain.


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#6 careysub

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 12:49 PM

Last night I took my first shot at observing nebulae with my Mod 3C, also tested a few lenses that I have gotten all the adapters and filter rings for.

 

I was observing from my backyard in Rancho Cucamonga, which is near San Bernardino in the Inland Empire of Southern California.

 

With the FotodioX Canon EF to C-Mount Pro Lens Mount Adapter* from BH Photo my Canon F/1.8 50mm "Nifty Fifty" gave nice wide field views.

 

My Solignor 80-300mm (Canon FD base) did not come into focus at infinity, almost, but not quite - so a $30 white elephant (with shipping on eBay).

 

I have four C-Mount native lenses, all of which came into focus, and worked well.

 

My Vivitar 75-205mm lens (T-mount) worked came into focus, and worked well.

 

I tested an Optolong 7A 48mm filter, and a 5A 1.25" filter from the eBay filter guy on Orion. The 5A filter with the Vivitar at 205mm (7.6X) gave the best view, allowing easy observation of M42, M43 and the nearby NGC nebula complex. Significant structure within M42 could be detected.

 

*This is a $60 adapter, which is very nice. I have since found a simpler $30 version on BH Photo as well.


Edited by careysub, 09 November 2019 - 12:50 PM.

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#7 careysub

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 03:38 PM

Last night I made my first trip to a dark sky site with my Mod 3C and filters.

 

Thus far, I have not been that impressed by the view of star fields with it - sure I could see stars where I could see none due to light pollution - but it wasn't what I would describe as a good star field view.

 

So last night I tried it in prime focus with a 22" F/5 Newtonian at Riverside Astronomical Society's GMARS site in Landers, CA.

 

I looked at the Crab Nebula and Orion Nebulas, using 12nm (Astronomik), 7nm and 5nm (bjomejag, the Omega seconds filter guy on eBay) H-alpha filters. And the views knocked my socks off (not good time to lose your socks, since weather was in the 30s).

 

I could actually see the structure of the Crab that I had only ever seen in photographs, comparing it with a visual filter (Thousand Oaks O-III) there was no comparison.

 

And the structural detail of Orion was incredible too, more than I see in photographs!

 

Switching the filters I found the narrower the better, continuous improvement as I went from 12nm to 5nm.


Edited by careysub, 24 November 2019 - 10:38 PM.

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#8 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 06:42 PM

Last night I made my first trip to a dark sky site with my Mod 3C and filters.

 

Thus far, I have not been that impressed by the view of star fields with it - sure I could see stars where I could see none due to light pollution - but it wasn't what I would describe as a good star field view.

Careysub,

 

Do you have a IR pass filter yet such as this one: https://www.baader-p...r-(685-nm).html

 

That made a big difference on star fields in light pollution. Basically use your HA filters for nebulas and the IR pass for everything else.

 

I really need to get to some dark skies!! I've only used it in fairly heavy light pollution.



#9 Mazerski

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 07:11 PM

Carey,

 

As GO states, you need IR filter(s) — I mainly use the Astronomik 642nm and the views of star fields, Milky Way wispiness, clusters, globulars are great (in scope and hand held with Nikon lens (in my case)).  After a couple seasons of viewing, I still cannot decide if I prefer M42 with 6nm Ha filter or the 642nm.

 

If you do not own an IR filter, you’re missing out big time.



#10 careysub

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 10:37 PM

I do have IR pass filters (they are cheaper than the Ha narrow bands), which is what allows me to see stars where I could see none before. But the fields still seem a bit sparse, and there is active noise in the background instead of just darkness.

 

Still I only have a couple of observing sessions under my belt thus far, and will be working with more lenses and filters, etc. Also need to work out the gain adjustment knob business to see what effect that has. Currently I just have the knob off for adapter clearance.



#11 Dale Eason

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 01:56 AM

Can't wait to get to a dark site but tonight I went out into the back yard since it was clear for the first time in several weeks.  Hand held at 2x with 7nm HA swept from California (NV neck object straight up) down to Flaming star, Then Something at the foot of Gemini (SH2-261 I think, Rosette big and round.  About the biggest round thing I have so far seen.  Finally down to Orion and Barnards loop.  The loop was very dim and I needed dark adapted eyes to see it.  It was another wow night of about 10 minutes of viewing before I had to go in.  



#12 Dale Eason

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 01:57 AM

Oops, Might not had  seen Sh2-261 might have been the Crab instead.



#13 The Ardent

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 08:56 AM

Any NV handheld (small lens) viewing shows plentiful stars in all parts of the sky , except when I used poor lenses : zoom SLR and/or cheap c-mount lens .
Use a pair of 50mm binoculars to compare widefield visual with low-power NV. Binocs should show many more stars than eyeball, NV should show even more stars. Lens aperture should be wide open first, and then close in increments to reduce sky glow and interfering streetlights (if any) Find the right balance of filtering and aperture for best view.

IR filter should darken background sky.

Reduce the gain to reduce noise.


I do have IR pass filters (they are cheaper than the Ha narrow bands), which is what allows me to see stars where I could see none before. But the fields still seem a bit sparse, and there is active noise in the background instead of just darkness.

Still I only have a couple of observing sessions under my belt thus far, and will be working with more lenses and filters, etc. Also need to work out the gain adjustment knob business to see what effect that has. Currently I just have the knob off for adapter clearance.


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#14 GOLGO13

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:01 PM

I do have IR pass filters (they are cheaper than the Ha narrow bands), which is what allows me to see stars where I could see none before. But the fields still seem a bit sparse, and there is active noise in the background instead of just darkness.

 

Still I only have a couple of observing sessions under my belt thus far, and will be working with more lenses and filters, etc. Also need to work out the gain adjustment knob business to see what effect that has. Currently I just have the knob off for adapter clearance.

Careysub,

 

Which IR pass filter do you have? I suggest you heck the gain control knob as that could be the reason for issues. I adjust the control often when using the unit. And the gain control is different between the IR pass filters and the HA filters. The IR pass filters can take more gain in my experience. So that could explain some of the issues.


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#15 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 04:33 PM

Any NV handheld (small lens) viewing shows plentiful stars in all parts of the sky , except when I used poor lenses : zoom SLR and/or cheap c-mount lens .

 

Out of curiosity I wanted to get a fast estimate of magnitude gain of my NVD at 1x vs. naked eye.

 

Looking at the bowl of the Little Dipper just after astronomical twilight last week (SQM 20.3), I could just barely manage Eta (averted vision) at magnitude 4.98. None within the confines of the bowl.

 

Pointed my NVD at the bowl, I could easily see many stars, and counted down a short star chain just south of Zeta. The faintest I picked up with direct vision was SAO 8314 at magnitude 8.96. I was not using a filter.

 

If I had taken some time with this and relaxed into my zero gravity chair, I am fairly sure I could have counted more than 20 within the bowl - and gone fainter. As it is was I had dinner going in the oven, so it was a quick look.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 25 November 2019 - 04:33 PM.

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#16 careysub

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 11:51 AM

Thanks all for the suggestions. I do have some cheap camera lenses (made sense to try those out first) and have not even tried the whole lot yet. I'll experiment with the various things.

 

I someone wants to recommend specific lenses that I should try...

 

That said - at a dark sky site with binos I can see star fields very nicely.

 

But with the NV tube showed nebulas in a way I could never see them before no matter what I did or tools I used. And I expect to put it to use in chasing the Billion Light Year Club objects, especially quasars. It is to see the things I cannot see in any other way that I bought it, and thus far it is delivering on that.



#17 The Ardent

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 01:20 PM

Vintage prime lenses : Nikon , Canon FD, Pentax K mount , Pentax M42 mount .

 

Why?

 

1. Adapters are readily available 

 

2. These lenses were made in large quantities and usually very good quality to satisfy the Japanese photo enthusiasts of the 20th century 35mm SLR film age. (I suspect this is why we have nice refractors and eyepieces today- Astronomy sure didn’t drive large scale lens industry) 

 

25mm to 100mm for handheld 

 

Any current lenses - provided adapter is available and reach infinity focus. I can’t comment on these. 


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#18 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 04:45 PM

Love my Canon 50mm f/1.4!

 

I would not say that it is the "best" because there are great things to see at all image scales from 1x up to the telescopic fields. So "best" is really determined by the target.

 

But 50mm shows you constellations in a whole new way. shocked.gif



#19 gliese

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 05:39 PM

Are CLS filters good for NVD, please?

 

Not the CLS CCD, because if I understand correctly, they stop the IR (= greater than 650/700 nm), so we lose a lot of light to intensify, because several NVD are sensitive up to 800nm ​​or even 900. ...

 

And lose the IR radiation that is very common in nebulae, it's a "shame".

 

And even more, because it is a wavelength that is absent from light pollution halos, and therefore a very good thing to increase the SNR report.

 

Very Few manufacturers, give the curves after 700 nm, unfortunately . And many curves seem to plunge after 700nm. The  Lumicon deep sky filter let the IR pass , just like the CLS Astronomik and UHC , but only 60% transmission ....

http://www.astrosurf...ters/curves.htm

And H alpha filters have a narrow band and nothing pass in the IR.

 

.......When will there be a special filter for NVD ?!  fingertap.gif


Edited by gliese, 28 November 2019 - 04:57 PM.


#20 gliese

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:17 AM

It would be nice if someone knew where to address the request , to make a special NVD filter  = With a tight band H.alpha (ex : 7nm) ,  AND the long red wavelengths allowed too = IR pass.

 

With conventional H alpha filters, we lose the huge part of IR .... because of the photographers for whom we made this filter . NVD  are IR sensitive : It's very obvious, when in a polluted place, we put IR pass filters, which remove all the visible light. And we see a lot of things in IR, poluted site. It's really sad that we're being removed of so much informations and light , with just a narrowband Halpha

 

Light pollution does not emit IR . And in addition, nebulae often emit a lot of IR .

So a Ha. + IR pass filter  =  a maximum specific light signal picked up, with a very very low background noise



#21 The Ardent

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:40 AM

Baader 35nm Ha

My preferred filter not to extinguish the star “context” the nebulae reside in. 

 

It would be nice if someone knew where to address the request , to make a special NVD filter  = With a tight band H.alpha (ex : 7nm) ,  AND the long red wavelengths allowed too = IR pass.

 

With conventional H alpha filters, we lose the huge part of IR .... because of the photographers for whom we made this filter . NVD  are IR sensitive : It's very obvious, when in a polluted place, we put IR pass filters, which remove all the visible light. And we see a lot of things in IR, poluted site. It's really sad that we're being removed of so much informations and light , with just a narrowband Halpha

 

Light pollution does not emit IR . And in addition, nebulae often emit a lot of IR .

So a Ha. + IR pass filter  =  a maximum specific light signal picked up, with a very very low background noise



#22 gliese

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 06:43 PM

yes it's good to have the 2 together , stars and nebula , but some of the nebulae are very weak with a 35 nm. 

A 7nm .... with IR " long pass" , = above 640nm for example , would have a very beautiful nebula and many many stars



#23 careysub

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 12:57 PM

Update on my experience with lenses and observing (I had a great News Year Night with the Mod 3).

 

I have maxed out my camera lens collection now, I have every sort of lens I might ever need and have verified them all as working at least acceptably.

 

Since the investment in the top-of-the-lime Mod 3 (gain control, white filmless screen) and the filters to go with it are so substantial I want to maximize its utility and also investigate the different types of lenses and mounts to investigate what works best. Nickle and dimeing on lenses when you have spent $5000 or so on the NV and filters makes no sense.

 

So I ended up with 15 camera lenses. For the ones I consider "astronomy related" (12 of them) I spent a total of $700 on them, or about $60 per lens, and $200 was for just one, my smallest, the 23FM25SP Tamron 2/3 25 mm F/1.4 for its special threading as others have done here. Leaving that aside it is $500 for 11 or about $50 each. Of this set I have 11 that are usable for astronomy - some were defective or could not reach focus (with no current fix), one was coming apart (cheap mechanical design), and one had damaged filter threads so I could not use a front filter. The set has focal lengths from 18 mm to 1000 mm.

 

Three lenses that have proven to be useful that were not astronomy related per se but can be used for that purpose are:

Canon Nifty Fifty F/1.8 (I already had it for an actual camera)

Cosmicar Asahi 15-180 mm F/1.9 TV (not CCTV) Zoom Lens C-Mount (which was surprisingly huge) which I am planning on using for unfiltered nature observing (these are still available on eBay)

Pentax Super Takumar Thorium lens 50 mm F/1.4 

 

The Takumar I bought for my element collection because it has a lens that is 11% thorium. They don't make these now since they are mildly radioactive. The radioactivity creates problems for the lenses since it knocks electrons out of place and cause it to acquire a sepia tint over time. My lens, from the 80s, has the tint (proving it is what it is supposed to be). It turns out to be a very nice lens to use though. It shows what a real premium lens is like, sophisticated mechanical design, buttery smooth focusing which has plenty of out focus past infinity. The tint is no problem at all, the lens is still plenty fast (I actually dialed down its aperture a bit last night to darken the sky for star field viewing). BTW the tint can be removed by exposing it to intense light - I could if I want to let sunlight pass through it to knock the electrons back into place.

 

I poked around looking for adapters and was able to round up C-mount adapters for every type of lens mount I was at all interested in: T-Mount, Canon EF, Canon FD, Pentax K-Mount, Nikon F-Mount, 42mm screw (and C-mount of course). The different adapters allow me to explore the Mod 3 clearance problem (some are tapered and have no problem), whether I can put a 1.25" filter ring inside the mount, which are easiest to use, etc.

 

One discovery is that not all K Mounts work together. Older ones do not work with new ones, they do not engage securely. One older K-mount lens I bought I can't use for this reason.

 

I ended up with lenses of every mount type except the Nikon F, having the adapter collection allowed me to shop for lenses without worrying much about the mount - which was good since two lenses I bought advertised the wrong mount but I could use them anyway.

 

One advantage of having so many adapters and lenses is that I have can have a complete observing set for a night all with C-mounts ready, no adapter changes needed.

 

One type of lens that I encountered which is pretty neat is a long focus mirror lens - a catadioptric lens like an SCT. These are light and compact for the focal length (500mm) and are also inexpensive used. Seems these are not too popular with shutterbugs - the central obstruction (which our community knows all about) produces "bokeh" (blurring basically) but is fine for astronomy use.

 

The cheaper models of lenses do tend to have infinity focus problems since their max out-focus is "infinity" which it may not be quite for you. The better lens-makes provide out-focus past nominal infinity.

 

Two K-Mount lenses I have that did not quite come to focus I was able to resurrect with a cheap 2X teleconverter. Doubles their focal length but they now focus. I tried a T-Mount teleconverter but it did not work at all, led to optics that were way off.

 

I came up with filter rings for all of these lenses so that I can front-mount 2" filters, thanks to Raf Camera in Russia for five of them. Of the critical lens ring (that makes it possible to use cheap commodity rings sets to finish) three of them (the biggest, and the smallest two - extreme odd ball sizes) the rings were undersized and either engaged loosely or just barely did not engage. No problem, I just epoxied them on, since there is no situation where I would want to remove them ever.

 

Word of advice about working with threaded things and epoxy - if you are epoxying something that has a thread you intend to use later always coat that thread with petroleum jelly - just a thin wipe is all you need. You can say "I won't get any epoxy on the thread", and maybe you won't, but the jelly wipe guarantees that the thread will stay good.

 

Last night I was working with my shorter FL lenses, up to 135 mm and testing 2" filters. I have the Optolong 650 and 685 nm long pass, a cheap 590 nm long pass from eBay, the Optolong 7nm H-Alpha, and the Baader 35 nm H-Alpha. I found that I liked them all, for different effects. The 590 nm for $23 was a good deal that gives you more options. 

 

I finally got the viewing dialed in for wide field star fields and was blown away in observing the Cassiopeia Window. The 50 mm lenses (of which I have four, with F ratios from 1.3 to 1.8) provided 20 degree TFOV with a high density of stars and many clusters visible simultaneously. I've never seen anything like it before.

 

I found the fastest lenses were a bit too fast, and liked to dial it down a bit for a darker sky background (using the long pass filters). Orion was nice with the Baader 35 nm, which showed nebulae, the constellation and surrounding stars in a "normal" like view (7 nm made the constellation largely disappear). I like the narrowest H-alphas when zeroing in on nebulas at higher power.

 

I will start posting lens pictures in the near future, and my further experiences when working with all this gear.


Edited by careysub, 01 January 2020 - 08:10 PM.

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#24 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 01:07 PM

Wow, you have been busy!

 

Maybe I will have to give that 35nm another look. I sold mine quickly because it was rather weak - almost like a 640 long pass - on nebula. Should have given it more of a chance it seems.


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#25 The Ardent

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 01:39 PM

The Canon FD 85mm 1.8 SSC doubles as a casual astrophotography lens. 
 

 

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