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Please Suggest Easy Deep Space Objects for a Beginner

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#1 Reece

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 03:09 AM

I am currently working on the Orion Nebula, my first Deep Space Object. I would really appreciate if anyone has a list of other brighter deep space objects that are beginner-friendly with modest equipment (200mm F/2.8 camera lens, Vixen Polarie mount).

An apparent magnitude <= 5 I think would be ideal for my equipment. 

 

Messier Objects: https://en.wikipedia...Messier_object 

Caldwell Catalogue: https://en.wikipedia...well_catalogue 

NGC Objects: https://en.wikipedia...of_NGC_objects 

 

There are quite a few to choose from! I would welcome your suggestions. Thank you so much!


Edited by Reece, 08 March 2021 - 03:39 AM.


#2 sg6

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 03:18 AM

M33 at around 1 degree and I guess M45 at sort of 2.5 degrees.

M42 can be difficult as the core will "burn" out before the nebula bits.

 

If you fancy galaxies try Markarians chain, think around 4 degrees across the span.

 

M13 can be good or not so good, seems you need around 800-1000mm focal length to "open" the cluster a little and show the stars around the circumferance. Also needs to be good optics.


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#3 Reece

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 03:39 AM

Thank you so much for your response sg6! 

 

I am struggling with what exactly the "Apparent Magnitude" of an object measures. The Pleiades has an Apparent Magnitude of 1.6 according to my Wikipedia Messier Object link however it seems to still require considerable exposures time to get a really nice picture with the surrounding faint dust. (example: https://www.astrobin.com/u8cnse/0/ . It really is a lovely deep space object)

 

Your M13 suggestion is quite beautiful. I think the Markarians chain is quite neat also.

 

I would happily accept suggestions of all types of deep space objects that can produce nice results in a reasonable period of time -- say, 4 hours.


Edited by Reece, 08 March 2021 - 03:48 AM.


#4 alphatripleplus

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 09:08 AM

With a 200mm focal length lens you probably want large targets. How about M31 in Andromeda, and as summer comes along, some of the brighter emission nebulae like M8 the Lagoon Nebula, and NGC7000 the North America Nebula. These will require longer exposures than M42 however.


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#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 09:20 AM

 

 

I am struggling with what exactly the "Apparent Magnitude" of an object measures. The Pleiades has an Apparent Magnitude of 1.6 according to my Wikipedia Messier Object link however it seems to still require considerable exposures time to get a really nice picture with the surrounding faint dust.

Loosely speaking, if one could take all the light from an extended object like a cluster or nebulae, and "shrink" the source to a single star, apparent magnitude is a measure of the brightness of that star. A much better indication of how bright an extended object appears to the eye or camera is its surface brightness, or brightness per unit area.

 

For example, if you have two targets with the same apparent magnitude, but one is four times as large as the other, it will have a surface brightness that is four times lower, and will require an exposure roughly four times as long to appear as bright in an image as the smaller target.


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#6 RFtinkerer

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:05 AM

I used my 70-200 f4 and an iOptron SkyTracker 3-4 years back or so.  My suggestions beside the Orion sword area:

 

1) M31

2) M33

3) California nebula (NGC 1499)

4) North America nebula

5) Sadr area

6) Lagoon/Trifid nebula

7) Pleiades

8) Rho Ophiuchus area

9) Heart/Soul nebula (higher difficulty but just try it)

10) Witch head nebula, maybe. 

11) Flaming Star/Tadpoles.  (should be high enough now for a few hours)

12) Seagull Nebula (should be high enough now for a few hours)

13) Rosette Nebula/Christmas Tree area (should be high enough now for a few hours)

 

You probably have an unmodded camera, like I did, so you'll suffer on Ha about 2 stops, but shoot at slightly stopped down to balance out light/CA/sharpness and shoot a LOT.  Your lens is fast so you'll get the Ha data, but you have to boost the 25-75% part of the red channel curve vs. green/blue in post-processing to make the emission nebula to show up well.  Be VERY careful focusing, it's quite difficult with a camera lens, especially on a light mount.  I'd suggest a Bhatinov mask from Farpoint Astro or somewhere.  Touch it slightly with the live view zoomed in on a very bright star, try to get it as perfect as possible.  Get the best data you can; 30s-1min subs and shoot a LOT of them.  Getting better at processing will be faster than being able to reacquire data...I reprocess stuff all the time as I learn but getting good data is key.  Great focus, tight round stars, process over and over again.

 

Edit:  Oh yeah, Astronomik, IDAS sell clip-in filters that might fit your camera for light pollution at least that enhance contrast.  

 

Edit 2:  If you don't know already, https://www.blackwat...maging-toolbox/ can help frame out the images if you select your camera/lens combo.


Edited by RFtinkerer, 08 March 2021 - 12:25 PM.

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#7 rj144

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:21 AM

It helps to know where you are if you want to target now.

 

M31, for instance, is a good target but, for me, it's only out for less than half an hour after sunset now and you need hours on it so it's not a viable target for me right now.


Edited by rj144, 08 March 2021 - 10:22 AM.

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#8 Reece

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:03 PM

Thank you so much for all the suggestions! 

 

alphatripleplus, thank you so much for explaining the superiority of surface brightness versus apparent magnitude and your DSO suggestions.

 

RFtinkerer, thank you so much for all your suggested DSO and advice. 

 

@rj144, I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I am ideally looking for South-facing targets as I have a lot of neighbors in the Northern direction and am not sure what they may think of cameras pointed in their bedroom direction at night! That is something I should be able to verify in the Stellarium web app.


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#9 Benschop

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:21 PM

Generally speaking, emission nebulae are easier targets than galaxies. They also lend themselves to a duo-band filter, where you can collect data even in moderately moonlit or light polluted skies.

As summer looms, M8 Lagoon, M17 Omega, M16 Eagle and M20 Trifid are all quite bright and relatively easy targets.

I would start with M16 and M17 as they will be higher in the sky. You can start getting data on these targets in early May, around 2AM, prior to the eastern sky brightening in dawn.

(If you are in a northerly clime, this also avoids the mosquitoes... as it is usually too cold for them at that time)

Then, as summer progresses, revisit the same targets earlier in the night, repeat the framing, add more data and keep refining the processing as you go.

 

In the same area of the sky, widefield imaging of the galactic core can be quite easy and rewarding for the beginner. 50mm to 80mm lens for example


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#10 MattZ40

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 10:59 AM

I'm not an expert or even a small fraction as knowledgeable of astronomy as many of the folks here so I struggled with the same topic - What's out there tonight that I can see (or image) from my location, taking into account the obstructions I have to deal with?

For the 'what's out there tonight' part I found this website to be priceless - https://telescopius....deep-sky/search

You can search by your location, time of night objects will be above a specific altitude, their magnitude, brightness, size, etc. Bookmark it after you put your parameters in and it'll do the same search every time you visit. Quick and easy.

Stellarium is a real helpful free program that helps to determine which of those objects you can see at a particular time from your location. I'm surrounded by obstructions, trees and a house, so I made a custom landscape of my location (it was surprisingly easy) and now I can tell exactly what time a given object will emerge from or be hidden by an obstruction.

Lastly, is it going to be worth going out tonight? Here's a sky conditions forecast website I've found to be pretty accurate. Find your location, bookmark it and check it before making plans for the night - http://www.cleardarksky.com/csk/

I hope these resources help you on your journey.


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#11 rimcrazy

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 11:17 AM

This is probably a good place to start.  


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#12 Starman609

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 02:41 PM

The following are larger/easier targets that are in season now in the US.

 

M45   Pleiades Cluster

IC 2177   Seagull Nebula

NGC 2237   Rosette Nebula

IC 410   Tadpoles Nebula

IC 434   Horse Head/Flame

IC 443   Jellyfish Nebula

NGC 2174   Monkey Head

NGC 2264   Cone Nebula

NGC 2359   Thor's Helmet

M81/M82   Bode's/Cigar Galaxies

Heart/Soul/Fishhead Nebulas


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