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Views with a TV76 in Bortle 3-4 skies

refractor observing observing report
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#1 StarAlert

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 01:12 AM

I purchased a used TV76 a few months ago to use as a wide-field, grab-n-go in my Bortle 7 back yard. This past weekend, I brought it with me for my first visit to GMARS in Landers, CA. I was initially going to bring my 5”, but decided to start with the little 3” to make the trip less stressful. No heavy mount. No big tri-pod. No big scope.  

 

GMARS is classified as class 3 skies, but just barely. The Light pollution map says the site has SQM = 21.73, Just barely making it Bortle 3. Regardless, just looking up at the much darker skies was a treat compared to my back yard. 
 

The TV76 was mounted on a Tele-Pod mount with a small carbon fiber tripod. No tracking, go-to, or DSC to help find my targets. Just a pair of Tasco 110s brought by fellow star-gazer and a couple star maps. Once the sun set, my first target was M1 in the eastern sky. Hey, why not start at the beginning, right? However, with the sky not quite dark enough to identify the Crab, I had to move on. 
 

With the help of another comrade who has a lot more experience then I do, I got my first look at M37 in Auriga. Oh my goodness! I found myself saying that a lot during the night. I simply couldn’t believe how many stars this little 3” was showing me with a 17mm Morpheus. At 27x with a 2.8* TFOV, I was in awe.  From there, I nudged the scope up to find M36 and then M38. While M36 and M38 didn’t have the same pow as M37. I was very pleased with the views. 
 

From there, I pushed the scope towards the zenith to catch the double cluster. Again, I was ooing and awing at how much detail this little guy shows in dark skies. And the stars were tack sharp, despite my optometrist telling me the day before that I had to go see the ophthalmologist on Monday to fix a small tear in the retina of my right eye. I sat and stared at the double cluster for quite some time. It never looked this good in my back yard. 
 

Next up was M31. Why not?.... I’ve looked at this in my 5” many times from the back yard and it always showed  up as a rather large smudge with not much to look at beyond the core. Well, again, I was surprised at just how much I was able to see. I think the galaxy filled about half the FOV. At this point, I was incredibly happy with my decision to just bring the 76. It made me realize just how little one needs to see some really incredible stuff without all the light pollution. 
 

I spent the rest of the night viewing:

M42 - simply awesome. Tried to resolve the E star in the trapezium, but with 96x and retina problems, no luck. Maybe next time. 
Splitting the Castor double with my 11mm DeLite at 44x and then making it look like the headlights of on oncoming car at 96x. So cool!

Splitting the Mizar double with the 11mm DeLite was a treat, too. 
Pleiades - WOW!

M44 (the Beehive)- Sweet!

M48 - Sweet!

Orion’s belt - I simply couldn’t believe how many stars surround the 3 bright ones. Who knew?!

 

 

In total, I spent about 3 hours observing before it got too cold... didn’t anticipate that. Trying to look through an eyepiece while shivering doesn’t work so well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go back to M1. But all in all, I can’t wait to get back out GMARS with this little gem. If anyone has any doubts as to what a 3” refractor will show you, leave them at home. My next purchase is a logbook to keep track of what I’ve seen with this little guy.... no doubt in my mind I’m gonna fill a lot of pages. 

Clear (dark) skies!
 


Edited by StarAlert, 29 January 2020 - 01:06 PM.

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#2 Allan Wade

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 06:38 AM

Nice report. waytogo.gif

 

I spent a week at my dark site once just using my TV85 and TV76, and I had a great time. The TV76 had the most perfect star test, so it didn’t surprise me that over the week I saw the E and F stars in the TV76 but only the E star in the TV85. I observed the Horsehead in both scopes that week as well to prove how good these little TeleVues perform.

 

I eventually sold the TV76 because it didn’t suit my own personal observing style, but I very near kept it based on that star test alone.


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#3 REC

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 12:55 PM

I purchased a used TV76 a few months ago to use as a wide-field, grab-n-go in my Bortle 7 back yard. This past weekend, I brought it with me for my first visit to GMARS in Landers, CA. I was initially going to bring my 5”, but decided to start with the little 3” to make the trip less stressful. No heavy mount. No big tri-pod. No big scope.  

 

GMARS is classified as class 3 skies, but just barely. The Light pollution map says the site has SQM = 21.73, Just barely making it Bortle 3. Regardless, just looking up at the much darker skies was a treat compared to my back yard. 
 

The TV76 was mounted on a Tele-Pod mount with a small carbon fiber tripod. No tracking, go-to, or DSC to help find my targets. Just a pair of Tasco 110s brought by fellow star-gazer and a couple star maps. Once the sun set, my first target was M1 in the eastern sky. Hey, why not start at the beginning, right? However, with the skies not quite dark enough to identify the Crab, I had to move on. 
 

With the help of another comrade who has a lot more experience then I do, I got my first look at M37 in Auriga. Oh my goodness! I found myself saying that a lot during the night. I simply couldn’t believe how many stars this little 3” was showing me with a 17mm Morpheus. At 27x with a 2.8* TFOV, I was in awe.  From there, I nudged the scope up to find M36 and then M38. While M36 and M38 didn’t have the same pow as M37. I was very pleased with the views. 
 

From there, I pushed the scope towards the zenith to catch the double cluster. Again, I was ooing and awing at how much detail this little guy shows in dark skies. And the stars were tack sharp, despite my optometrists telling me the day before that I had to go see the ophthalmologist on Monday to fix a small tear in the retina of my right eye. I sat and stared at the double cluster for quite some time. It never looked this good in my back yard. 
 

Next up was M31. Why not?.... I’ve looked at this in my 5” many times from the back yard and it always showed  up as a rather large smudge with not much to look at beyond the core. Well, again, I was surprised at just how much I was able to see. I think the galaxy filled about half the FOV. At this point, I was incredibly happy with my decision to just bring the 76. It made me realize just how little one needs to see some really incredible stuff without all the light pollution. 
 

I spent the rest of the night viewing:

M42 - simply awesome. Tried to resolve the E star in the trapezium, but with 96x and retina problems, no luck. Maybe next time. 
Splitting the Castor double with my 11mm DeLite at 44x and then making it look like the headlights of on oncoming car at 96x. So cool!

Splitting the Mizar double with the 11mm DeLite was a treat, too. 
Pleiades - WOW!

M44 (the Beehive)- Sweet!

M48 - Sweet!

Orion’s belt - I simply couldn’t believe how many stars surround the 3 bright ones. Who knew?!

 

 

In total, I spent about 3 hours observing before it got too cold... didn’t anticipate that. Trying to look through an eyepiece while shivering doesn’t work so well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go back to M1. But all in all, I can’t wait to get back out GMARS with this little gem. If anyone has any doubts as to what a 3” refractor will show you, leave them at home. My next purchase is a logbook to keep track of what I’ve seen with this little guy.... no doubt in my mind I’m gonna fill a lot of pages. 

Clear (dark) skies!
 

You where looking at my favorite part of the sky. Those Auriga clusters are so pretty, especially M37, the Salt & Pepper cluster. I could see all three in my 7x35 binos last night. Back was sore,but the sky was so clear I had to go out and look at something! Yeah, love Orions belt area, so rich un bright stars. Did you see the formation of an S in stars that loop through the 3 belt stars, very nice. Your skies at a class 3 must have been quite the sight! I'm stuck in a 7, but I make the best of it. Small wide field scopes are a lot of fun. I use a 80ED for that and a two inch eyepiece for about 3* FOV. You have some nice gear there.

 

Clear skies!



#4 StarAlert

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 05:10 PM

Nice report. waytogo.gif

 

I spent a week at my dark site once just using my TV85 and TV76, and I had a great time. The TV76 had the most perfect star test, so it didn’t surprise me that over the week I saw the E and F stars in the TV76 but only the E star in the TV85. I observed the Horsehead in both scopes that week as well to prove how good these little TeleVues perform.

 

I eventually sold the TV76 because it didn’t suit my own personal observing style, but I very near kept it based on that star test alone.

I'm kinda new to this hobby... maybe a year? For the past three or four months (it's winter in SoCal), I've been thinking a LOT about equipment. EPs, filters, mounts, tri-pods, tv76 or tv85?... well, after last weekend, all I've been thinking about is what I want to see the next time I get out to dark skies. I need to make a list of targets so I don't waste any time. 
 


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#5 StarAlert

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 05:15 PM

You where looking at my favorite part of the sky. Those Auriga clusters are so pretty, especially M37, the Salt & Pepper cluster. I could see all three in my 7x35 binos last night. Back was sore,but the sky was so clear I had to go out and look at something! Yeah, love Orions belt area, so rich un bright stars. Did you see the formation of an S in stars that loop through the 3 belt stars, very nice. Your skies at a class 3 must have been quite the sight! I'm stuck in a 7, but I make the best of it. Small wide field scopes are a lot of fun. I use a 80ED for that and a two inch eyepiece for about 3* FOV. You have some nice gear there.

 

Clear skies!

Sore back wasn't the only problem I was having... sore neck was right up there, too.

 

I did not notice the S formation through the belt stars. I will add that to my to-do list.

 

I have not yet seen a globular cluster. That needs to get added to my list, too.
 



#6 REC

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Posted 30 January 2020 - 02:49 PM

Sore back wasn't the only problem I was having... sore neck was right up there, too.

 

I did not notice the S formation through the belt stars. I will add that to my to-do list.

 

I have not yet seen a globular cluster. That needs to get added to my list, too.
 

Globs need a lot of aperture and magnification. You will need at least a good 8" and 100x plus to resolve any stars. M22 is the easiest to resolve. Averted vision also helps bring out more stars. Start with M22 when it's out (summer) M13,92, 5,3, ect.


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#7 Spikey131

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 07:37 PM

It is amazing what you can see in a 3” refractor at a dark site.  My TV 76 went with me last summer to a lake in Ontario on a boat in a Pelican case, along with a Skywatcher AZ GTI and a Gitzo tripod.  The Lagoon nebula, Trifid, the Sagittarius star clusters were fabulous, With an O3 filter, the entire Veil nebula was visible.  M31 was bright and clear.

 

Around Thanksgiving the TV76 was an easy companion on a family trip to New England.  More dark skies.

 

This winter the TV 76 went by airplane to the Florida Keys, again with the AZ GTI/ Gitzo Mount.  Here, the entire winter Milky Way from Canis Major to Cassiopeia displayed its wonders.  All those open clusters look great against a black sky in the TV 76.  Way down south I got to explore the sky south of Canis Major that I cannot see well in the northeast.

 

It is great to have a scope that is an easy travel companion that allows me to take advantage of dark skies wherever I go.


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#8 StarAlert

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 08:47 PM

It is amazing what you can see in a 3” refractor at a dark site.  My TV 76 went with me last summer to a lake in Ontario on a boat in a Pelican case, along with a Skywatcher AZ GTI and a Gitzo tripod.  The Lagoon nebula, Trifid, the Sagittarius star clusters were fabulous, With an O3 filter, the entire Veil nebula was visible.  M31 was bright and clear.

 

Around Thanksgiving the TV76 was an easy companion on a family trip to New England.  More dark skies.

 

This winter the TV 76 went by airplane to the Florida Keys, again with the AZ GTI/ Gitzo Mount.  Here, the entire winter Milky Way from Canis Major to Cassiopeia displayed its wonders.  All those open clusters look great against a black sky in the TV 76.  Way down south I got to explore the sky south of Canis Major that I cannot see well in the northeast.

 

It is great to have a scope that is an easy travel companion that allows me to take advantage of dark skies wherever I go.

What eyepieces do you usually bring with you? 



#9 Spikey131

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 09:21 PM

What eyepieces do you usually bring with you? 

20mm ES 100, 14, 8.8, 4.7 ES 82 (all of these are waterproof) and Nagler 3-6 zoom.

 

If flying, 24 Panoptic instead of the ES 100.

 

Lumicon 2” O3 and UHC.

 

See also:  https://www.cloudyni...aphy/?p=9954922


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#10 Tom and Beth

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 09:34 PM

Love mine. An incredible visual scope that fits in the overhead.



#11 Rocklobster

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 11:19 PM

I purchased a used TV76 a few months ago to use as a wide-field, grab-n-go in my Bortle 7 back yard. This past weekend, I brought it with me for my first visit to GMARS in Landers, CA. I was initially going to bring my 5”, but decided to start with the little 3” to make the trip less stressful. No heavy mount. No big tri-pod. No big scope.

GMARS is classified as class 3 skies, but just barely. The Light pollution map says the site has SQM = 21.73, Just barely making it Bortle 3. Regardless, just looking up at the much darker skies was a treat compared to my back yard.

The TV76 was mounted on a Tele-Pod mount with a small carbon fiber tripod. No tracking, go-to, or DSC to help find my targets. Just a pair of Tasco 110s brought by fellow star-gazer and a couple star maps. Once the sun set, my first target was M1 in the eastern sky. Hey, why not start at the beginning, right? However, with the sky not quite dark enough to identify the Crab, I had to move on.

With the help of another comrade who has a lot more experience then I do, I got my first look at M37 in Auriga. Oh my goodness! I found myself saying that a lot during the night. I simply couldn’t believe how many stars this little 3” was showing me with a 17mm Morpheus. At 27x with a 2.8* TFOV, I was in awe. From there, I nudged the scope up to find M36 and then M38. While M36 and M38 didn’t have the same pow as M37. I was very pleased with the views.

From there, I pushed the scope towards the zenith to catch the double cluster. Again, I was ooing and awing at how much detail this little guy shows in dark skies. And the stars were tack sharp, despite my optometrist telling me the day before that I had to go see the ophthalmologist on Monday to fix a small tear in the retina of my right eye. I sat and stared at the double cluster for quite some time. It never looked this good in my back yard.

Next up was M31. Why not?.... I’ve looked at this in my 5” many times from the back yard and it always showed up as a rather large smudge with not much to look at beyond the core. Well, again, I was surprised at just how much I was able to see. I think the galaxy filled about half the FOV. At this point, I was incredibly happy with my decision to just bring the 76. It made me realize just how little one needs to see some really incredible stuff without all the light pollution.

I spent the rest of the night viewing:
M42 - simply awesome. Tried to resolve the E star in the trapezium, but with 96x and retina problems, no luck. Maybe next time.
Splitting the Castor double with my 11mm DeLite at 44x and then making it look like the headlights of on oncoming car at 96x. So cool!
Splitting the Mizar double with the 11mm DeLite was a treat, too.
Pleiades - WOW!
M44 (the Beehive)- Sweet!
M48 - Sweet!
Orion’s belt - I simply couldn’t believe how many stars surround the 3 bright ones. Who knew?!


In total, I spent about 3 hours observing before it got too cold... didn’t anticipate that. Trying to look through an eyepiece while shivering doesn’t work so well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go back to M1. But all in all, I can’t wait to get back out GMARS with this little gem. If anyone has any doubts as to what a 3” refractor will show you, leave them at home. My next purchase is a logbook to keep track of what I’ve seen with this little guy.... no doubt in my mind I’m gonna fill a lot of pages.

Clear (dark) skies!

I had a very similar night to yours a few weeks ago and saw the Pleiades nebulosity for the first time. That's alone was worth the 5 hour drive.

Super cool

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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