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Are refractors really mainly solar system & imaging instruments

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#51 bobhen

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 07:50 AM

I've been meaning to check this stuff out.  Would they work well with achromat?

 

Jeff

Yes – an Image Intensifier will work with a fast achromat. To eliminate Chromatic Aberration you will need to use filters like a Ha filter for nebula and a Pass filter for non-nebula objects. With an image intensifier, even if you live under a really black sky, you will still need to use those filters anyway.

 

HERE is a website that will get you started and you can head over to the EAA forum to ask questions about Night Vision.

 

One of the telescopes I use with my intensifier is a 102mm F5 achromat. This combination just kills on wide field observing, even from a mildly or heavily light polluted location.

 

California Nebula, Heart and Soul Nebula, Question Mark Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Helix Nebula etc., etc. are all seen from the Philadelphia suburbs with the below.

 

Bob

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#52 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 10:44 AM

To clarify, the seeing here usually supports no more than about 150-200x, so that’s about the magnification range that I typically want to use for planets here. Achieving 150-200x without reducing exit pupil below 1mm requires at least a 6 to 8 inch scope.

 

That’s the reason, I don’t consider any 4 inch scope an entirely satisfactory planetary scope: for me, a 4 inch scope starts to run out of usable exit pupil at about 100x. 
 

 

:waytogo:

 

In my experience, at equal magnifications, a larger scope will show more. I've had some gorgeous, detailed views of Jupiter and Saturn at 170x in my 16 inch.. At 220 x in the 22 inch reveals far more than the 120 mm ED at 225x. 

 

Jon


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#53 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 10:54 AM

. . . depends on who's using the refractor and what their sky is like.

 

I own several refractors.  Each of mine might, possibly, have been used more often for visual deep-sky observation than for any other purpose.  I consider all my refractors to be multi-purpose visual instruments -- suitable for solar, lunar, planetary, and deep-sky visual use.

 

If a 1-inch refractor can provide deep-sky views like the following, what do you suppose could be seen with a 2-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, etc?

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

So far I've observed 83 Messier objects with only 1-inch of (refractor) aperture.  Soon I expect to "catch" most, if not all, of those that remain.

This is the kind of observer I admire and respect greatly. waytogo.gif


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#54 stevew

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 03:04 PM

High contrast is a must for good views of deep sky objects, and is often overlooked.

Good quality refractors have the highest contrast per inch, as a result I find they deliver visual images above their aperture class.


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#55 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 05:28 PM

High contrast is a must for good views of deep sky objects, and is often overlooked.

Good quality refractors have the highest contrast per inch, as a result I find they deliver visual images above their aperture class.

 

I think of it differently.  A quality refractor performs essentially to the theoretical limit of what's possible.  Other designs have limitations that result in diminished performance, the amount depends on the design.

 

In terms of contrast, Roland Christen has said:

 

There are two kinds of contrast, planetary contrast which depends almost entirely on optical quality and deep space which depends almost entirely on scattered light control..

 

When all is said and done, refractors have their advantages and disadvantages, reflectors have their advantages and disadvantages.. Barnard's loop is best viewed with a refractor,  a 15 th magnitude galaxy is the realm of a reflector.

 

Jon


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#56 BillP

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 05:51 PM

Are refractors with their small apertures but excellent optics really only good for detailed views of solar systen objects, and for imaging?

 

 

Hmmm.  Interesting question.  Before I offer my perspective would be curious what your perspective is since your sig line shows you have reflectors in 12", 10", 8", 6", 4.25" and refractors in 120mm, 100mm, 85mm, 80mm, 70mm, and 66mm.


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#57 stevew

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 07:37 PM

In terms of contrast, Roland Christen has said:

 

 

Jon

Jon,  It seems that you quote Roland Christen about every 4th or 5th post. You must have an R.C. book of quotes lol.gif

I know he is one of the top authorities on refractor design and manufacturing, but I'd lay money down that you have more eyepiece time under the stars.

There are many people on C/N that like to think they are experts and spout off about anything that springs into their heads, but your post are always based on thousands of hours at the eyepiece with a wide variety of telescopes under real world conditions. As far as I'm concerned you don't have to quote anyone.


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#58 stevew

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 07:40 PM

 

When all is said and done, refractors have their advantages and disadvantages, reflectors have their advantages and disadvantages.. Barnard's loop is best viewed with a refractor,  a 1th magnitude galaxy is the realm of a reflector.

 

Jon

I'm sure you meant an 11th magnitude galaxy, and I completely agree.



#59 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 01:12 AM

I'm sure you meant an 11th magnitude galaxy, and I completely agree.

 

Thanks for catching my error, I went back and changed it. I actually meant to write 15th magnitude galaxy.

 

As far as quoting Roland Christen, I might have more eyepiece time but my eyepiece time is limited to my own scopes and the scopes of friends. I'm primarily an observer and not a builder or perfectionist who experiments with different designs. 

 

Roland Christen is someone I have learned a great deal from.. I could not venture to say that there were two types of contrast based on my personal experiences. There are fields where I am an expert and people sometimes quote me but amateur astronomy is not one of them.  

 

Bottom line: Roland said it, I didn't. 

 

Jon


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#60 Tom Masterson

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 01:43 AM

A single word answer would be - No!

 

Don't know how you define small aperture but my 6" is an incredibly versatile scope. After almost 35 years of use it still impresses me with it's ability to do everything so well (visually - I don't image). Sure, it doesn't show as much structure in deep sky objects as a larger scope but the views are always impressive. I've owned a 16" dob, currently own a 12" SCT and I've never looked through my 6" and thought "meh."


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#61 Mr. Mike

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 06:33 AM

High contrast is a must for good views of deep sky objects, and is often overlooked.

Good quality refractors have the highest contrast per inch, as a result I find they deliver visual images above their aperture class.

I have to agree here.  My very first scope was a classic Orion 6” dob which was decent but honestly, my 4” ED doublets and current 4” triplet beat it on most objects for overall image quality.  Now, bump that dob up to 8” or 10” and it leaves the refractor way  behind, no question.  But IMO, I’ll take a slightly smaller, high quality refractor over a reflector or cassegrain everytime.  Notice I said slightly smaller refractor.  To me that’s about 2 inches of aperture difference.  More than that and the light gathering power of the other scopes trump the contrast/sharpness of the refractor.


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#62 clearwaterdave

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 07:17 AM

The title of this thread indicates that the OP has been told this is so.,otherwise why would they ask such a       question.,

To answer.,No that is not true.,



#63 makeitso

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 10:43 AM

No.

 

I’ve had an AT102ED since July, I’ve hardly used it for planetary viewing at all. I have used it to view Jupiter and Saturn. I view Uranus a few nights ago.

 

I have viewed many double stars, globular and open clusters. I’ve used it for viewing nebulas also.

Clusters are beautiful as well as double stars. The double double is great. Orion is just fantastic.

 

Weather permitting, I hope to catch Venus and Jupiter tonight together in the same field of view. That would be pretty awesome. 
 

Jack


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#64 25585

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 06:35 PM

Hmmm.  Interesting question.  Before I offer my perspective would be curious what your perspective is since your sig line shows you have reflectors in 12", 10", 8", 6", 4.25" and refractors in 120mm, 100mm, 85mm, 80mm, 70mm, and 66mm.

Fair question :)

 

Living at 51N, low or no planets, and on the border between red & yellow zones, green not too far distant, I use a 10" F6 Dob mainly for longer sessions, and refractors for shorter. The refractors are great for more general viewing and wider views, but my frustration is they are less use for globulars, my main DSOs, snd OIII etc filters are too dark. I guess galaxies and planetary nebulae are too faint mainly too

 

Double stars and the Moon become samey after awhile, and aperture limitation to try & see charted regions & objects can feel like a handicap. I don't now have a refractor and reflector out together to give the refractor its own stage.

 

What I need are satisfying refractor targets, apart from Moon, planets & double stars.  



#65 punk35

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 08:25 PM

How about open clusters, and the brightest dso’s.  Always a worthwhile view, and seeing the “big picture”’at lower powers is always enlightening. 


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#66 Rollo

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 09:20 PM

My friend and I were at a public observing night with our scopes under a dark sky.   We were both tracking the Orion Nebula,,, me with my 6in. refractor and him with his 25in. Obsession.   So, a lady with her girlfriend and their children came and looked through both of our scopes at the Nebula.    My friend told me later that night long after the family had left us that he over heard one woman telling her friend that she preferred the view of Orion the 6in. refractor offered her over the view provided through his 25in reflector !   I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that !!     cool.gif


Edited by Rollo, 24 November 2019 - 09:20 PM.

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#67 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:09 AM

How about open clusters, and the brightest dso’s.  Always a worthwhile view, and seeing the “big picture”’at lower powers is always enlightening. 

I can spend hours with a 72mm ED doublet or an f/4.9, 102mm achromat looking at open clusters inter alia. I often look at summer objects like the Veil, Caldwell 20 and what I can perceive of the Cygnus Loop with my ED80, a 55mm TV Plossl and a broadband OIII. I can actually see a fair bit with the 72ED and a 36mm Baader Aspheric as well. The Summer Triangle and Cassiopeia/Perseus are rich in clusters. The Milky Way is a naked eye object for me, but sweeping it at low powers is really enjoyable. I've spent many a night sweeping with a small refractor and a 19mm or 24mm Panoptic and never run out of objects to look at. 


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#68 Sarkikos

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:24 AM

I prefer larger aperture for viewing planets because I like a bright, colorful image and fine surface features.  My best planet scope is a 10" f/4.8 Dob.  If I don't observe planets with the 10" I feel I'm missing something.  In fact, I know I'm missing something.

 

I hardly look at planets with my refractors.  I use my refractors mostly for deep sky and double stars.

 

I look at the Moon with everything.  There is so much detail on the Moon, that most any aperture will show something interesting.

 

I don't image with refractors or anything else.  I'm 100% visual.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 25 November 2019 - 07:27 AM.

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#69 MalVeauX

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:55 AM

Heya,

 

Taking away the obvious, that a huge aperture will absolutely show more, especially on DSO that are already very faint, a refractor does the same job, smaller, wider FOV, lighter weight, faster to use, little to no thermal acclimation time, easier to mount, grab & go level stuff and it's fuss-free with no collimation. Mean while, a well corrected ED/APO can handle high magnification, so one can get a really wide FOV to a high magnified image in the same instrument, again, without crazy fussy collimation (a fast mirror system would be way fussy for this same act). I have a lot more refractors than reflectors/SCT, but there's no need to even attempt to convince someone that they'll see anything more in a 102mm refractor than they will in a 200mm reflector/SCT. They just won't. Now, there's of course the common story of a 102mm APO beating out larger mirrors on planets, but this is anecdotal and basically is just showing the difference between poor seeing conditions and thermal acclimation not being reached and then comparing them, as that's all that's happening there, the 102mm has no magic over a 200mm or larger, you're just seeing the poor seeing/thermal conditions more resolved and present on the larger aperture. Lots of that refractor-magic around here of course.

 

We love to use short and long refractors for quick views, fuss free, mostly to see planets and the moon and of course our local star.

 

We have larger aperture mirrors, so we use those for DSO. Seeing M42 in an 80mm compared to a 200mm is a very different experience, or larger even. My view of M42 from a dark sky where I live with 80mm shows a bat-wing looking shape, but from my 250mm mirror, it fills out and is a different DSO to see, I can only imagine how much more can be seeing from a 14~16" even or larger. Granted, the size/weight/usability of these big scopes really makes this a challenge for most people. But my point is that there's no refractor magic with DSO. They look good in the scope, but they do not generate magical light that wasn't there. If your preference for DSO is based on globs, clusters, stars in general, you'll love a refractor. But if your DSO preference is nebula & galaxies, a big aperture is the only way to really go if you want to see a bunch, literally a bunch more of it.

 

Even though we have big mirrors in our observatory, sometimes we just grab the 80mm, 120mm or 150mm refractors out and just use them for fun. Quick 5~10 minute sessions. No fuss. One of our favorite things about refractors is that they're fuss-free, no waiting, grab-and-go. If that means we look more often, but for shorter periods of time, then great! I will absolutely suggest a scope that is used more often, than one that will sit for months because it's too big or takes too much time to be ready to view with. This is where refractors usually win out for everyone, they're just so much faster to get out there with, setup, no fuss, no collimation, no waiting for thermal acclimation, and you can view a much wider range of FOV yet still push  magnification too.

 

Imaging with a short, small refractor is much easier than a larger aperture, longer instrument. Regardless of what type it is. It comes down to the mount, the seeing, and thermal stability. The image scale on a wee refractor is so much courser and will handle poor seeing, and a less accurate stable mount. A larger aperture, finer image scale setup, will be subject to seeing conditions, thermal stability (focus drifting), and be a lot harder to mount, making it far more difficult to image with, without very, very heavy duty mounting and higher quality mount components in general. This is why a lot more people have their entry Chinese mount and a small refractor imaging and getting great results, compared to someone with a premium mount and a 14" RC in an observatory on a mountain. So again, no magic here, it's just easier to image with a short, small aperture instrument than it is a larger, longer one since it puts more stress on the mount being high quality and requires good seeing.

 

Very best,


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#70 Nippon

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 08:17 AM

I have an 8" SCT that is a good one optically and a 4" ED refractor that is also very good optically. I use the refractor most of the time. I can't really say why other than I prefer the views through the refractor. The SCT shows more detail on Jupiter and Saturn and it will also split closer doubles and of course more detail of DSOs but the refractor just has a perfection to it's images. Perhaps the smaller refractor's views look tighter because of being less affected by seeing. So I find refractors to be very capable as general purpose instruments. 


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#71 macdonjh

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 08:29 AM

Fair question smile.gif

 

Living at 51N, low or no planets, and on the border between red & yellow zones, green not too far distant, I use a 10" F6 Dob mainly for longer sessions, and refractors for shorter. The refractors are great for more general viewing and wider views, but my frustration is they are less use for globulars, my main DSOs, snd OIII etc filters are too dark. I guess galaxies and planetary nebulae are too faint mainly too

 

Double stars and the Moon become samey after awhile, and aperture limitation to try & see charted regions & objects can feel like a handicap. I don't now have a refractor and reflector out together to give the refractor its own stage.

 

What I need are satisfying refractor targets, apart from Moon, planets & double stars.  

 

 

I can spend hours with a 72mm ED doublet or an f/4.9, 102mm achromat looking at open clusters inter alia. I often look at summer objects like the Veil, Caldwell 20 and what I can perceive of the Cygnus Loop with my ED80, a 55mm TV Plossl and a broadband OIII. I can actually see a fair bit with the 72ED and a 36mm Baader Aspheric as well. The Summer Triangle and Cassiopeia/Perseus are rich in clusters. The Milky Way is a naked eye object for me, but sweeping it at low powers is really enjoyable. I've spent many a night sweeping with a small refractor and a 19mm or 24mm Panoptic and never run out of objects to look at. 

I think what 25585 needs is skies like Shorty Barlow has.  Perhaps a night under a darker sky will provide an appreciation for one of the other things a small refractor is good at.

 

But then, maybe not.  I owned a William Optics 66mm refractor for a while.  I traded it for an Orion XT6i Dobsonian and didn't regret it.  At the time, that little refractor may have had the best optics I'd ever had, but it just didn't provide the views I wanted.  I don't generally sweep the wide star fields like Shorty Barlow and others do.  It's great we have the choice.


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#72 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 10:31 AM

Come to think about it, like Sarkikos, I'm more likely to use reflectors for dedicated lunar/planetary observing. My 150mm, f/6 Newtonian is basically a dedicated planetary scope.

 

med_gallery_249298_5348_637359.jpg

 

At one stage I seriously considered an Orion Optics UK VX6, but there are only f/5 and f/8 versions. But this f/6 TS Optics (GSO) 150mm was a perfect fit. At the extreme northern end of my garden it is mounted on an EQ5 solely for plane of the ecliptic observing. As the EQ5 is kept under a tarpaulin when not in use (spring-summer-autumn) carrying the OTA down to it is as grab'n'go as I can manage. Basically, this is the biggest scope I can easily set-up relatively quickly. I usually disassemble the EQ5 in the winter months.

 

med_gallery_249298_5348_222343.jpg

 

And I have Mak's.

 

med_gallery_249298_10580_190632.jpg


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#73 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 10:39 AM

 

 

But then, maybe not.  I owned a William Optics 66mm refractor for a while.  I traded it for an Orion XT6i Dobsonian and didn't regret it.  At the time, that little refractor may have had the best optics I'd ever had, but it just didn't provide the views I wanted.  I don't generally sweep the wide star fields like Shorty Barlow and others do.  It's great we have the choice.

med_gallery_249298_10284_261607.jpg

 

72mm Evostar, ST102: hours of fun, easy to carry.

 

med_gallery_249298_10284_75891.jpg



#74 BillP

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:06 PM

Fair question smile.gif

 

Living at 51N, low or no planets, and on the border between red & yellow zones, green not too far distant, I use a 10" F6 Dob mainly for longer sessions, and refractors for shorter. The refractors are great for more general viewing and wider views, but my frustration is they are less use for globulars, my main DSOs, snd OIII etc filters are too dark. I guess galaxies and planetary nebulae are too faint mainly too

 

Double stars and the Moon become samey after awhile, and aperture limitation to try & see charted regions & objects can feel like a handicap. I don't now have a refractor and reflector out together to give the refractor its own stage.

 

What I need are satisfying refractor targets, apart from Moon, planets & double stars.  

 

Ahhh.  I see.  The real issue at hand is what is best instrument for globulars, fainter extended objects including those needing narrow band filtration.  So more of an issue as I see it that you have a niche of target categories you prefer, which leads you to needing more aperture.  So really nothing to do with optical designs IMO.  FWIW I mainly use refractors from 3" to 6".  Rarely go larger in aperture of any design.  In my own visual comparisons my 6" refractor easily goes as deep and as bright as an 8" SCT, so plenty of umpf for a large swatch of different DSO.  I enjoy a smattering of open clusters, globulars, doubles, nebula.  Not really a galaxy fan as these do nothing for me, even in 20"+ instruments.  I do like globulars a lot also, and tend to use mostly my 4" refractor for those.  But I also like observing globulars in context in wider TFOVs and am not into the core-busting mania any more.  So when observing them at lower magnifications, all of a sudden aperture is not as important.  Once in a while I will be poking around and find a small and faint globular that takes on a fairly ghostly appearance in a small aperture instrument, but I like that also as cool to see them rendered as ethereal patches with hints of granulation hiding in the background smile.gif  Point I'm making is that what you said, "satisfying refractor targets", is also very subjective as well and what might be unsatisfying to you can be very satisfying to another!  Many times the issue is really observer style and preferences and nothing really to do with aperture I find.


Edited by BillP, 25 November 2019 - 12:26 PM.

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#75 25585

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:44 PM

Its when I have seen everything in a patch of sky, that I can with a 120mm, go up in aperture, & see more realising how that opens up what seemed comparititively fallow before. 

 

I go by guide books and maps, so if they say & show something is there, and its invisible in my 120, but easy in 250mm, I often think why bother with smaller. I agree it can be fun finding faint stuff, but equally exasperating knowing its there. 

 

Double stars are nicer in refractors though, no spider spikes. Sirius & pup for example are very neat when seeing is good enough. Gotta find globulars before busting a core, or not.   




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