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OVNI-B First Light in Michigan

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#1 Mort H

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 01:51 PM

I think this is my first CN post outside of the classifieds.  I've been observing for 20 years from my Bortle 4 site (my sister's farm, about an hour from my home) in central Michigan, for the first 5 years with an 8" f/6 Dob and since then mostly with a wonderful 12.5" f/5 Dob.

 

I've also done some observing from my home, Bortle 6 sky on the north side of Grand Rapids (inside the city limits, not in the burbs), 2nd largest city in Michigan.  The convenience of observing at home can't be beat, but my sister's farm is so much darker that I almost always load up my gear and make the hour-long drive.

 

I just do visual observing, no astrophotography, it's just wonderful looking at the sky in real-time.  And while it's fun to look at the planets, I love deep-sky objects the most.  So there's always the desire to see fainter objects!

 

I've considered a larger Dob, but size and weight have been factors holding me back there, and I'm not getting any younger.

 

A couple years ago, I became aware of this thing called EAA, and checked into that a bit.  But having to use a computer, not having it be quite real-time, not being able to "look" through the scope like I'm used to...well I dunno it just didn't seem like EAA would be my cup of tea.

 

Then last year I became aware of NV astronomy.  Never heard of it before, it never really dawned on me that military NV optics (which I barely knew existed in the first place) would be suitable for astronomy.  Well I started reading about NV here on CN forums, and it started becoming apparent that NV just might be right up my alley!  So I decided it's time to take the plunge!

 

Then the question became what to buy.  As with scopes, there are so many options and details to consider.  Well I decided to go for OVNI-B from Jonathan Kobs in France.  I wanted the binocular version for sure, as I've been totally spoiled by my Binotron-27 which I love.  (I was previously spoiled with my Nagler eyepieces, then years later with my Ethos eyepieces and Paracorr, but since owning the Binotron-27 those fantastic eyepieces basically just stay in the case, two-eyed viewing with the Binotron-27 is just so very enjoyable.)

 

After inquiring with Jonathan about the OVNI-B, at the start of summer 2021 -- and with some mild amount of fear and trepidation -- I wired a lot of money to another country, something I'd never done before.  Took about a week-and-a-half for the money to appear at Jonathan's end.  Then after waiting another couple of months, I got word from Jonathan that my OVNI-B was ready!  So I wired  more money to pay the balance (took another week-and-a-half to show up on Jonathan's end), and my OVNI-B was shipped out, and just a week later I had my OVNI-B!  (Import duties were $105 USD, I was expecting worse!)

 

Communications with Jonathan were always outstanding, just first-class all the way.  That was key, the communication and the total comfort level with Jonathan, if it wasn't for that I probably would have been a lot more hesitant to order something this expensive from another country.

 

So Michigan is notoriously cloudy, but I got a clear night this week after receiving my OVNI-B a few days prior, loaded up my gear and headed out to my sister's farm.  New moon was about half a week away.

 

I set up my 12.5" f/5 Dob on my equatorial platform, got the fan running to start cooling down the mirror, slid in the OVNI-B at prime focus (it's like a binoviewer with built-in 27mm eyepieces), put my Kendrick dew heaters on the OVNI-B eyepieces, set up my adjustable-height chair, and I was ready to rock.

 

First time I powered on the OVNI-B was now (I didn't power it up at home at all), I focused, adjusted the inter-pupillary distance, and adjusted the manual gain control to just a little past half-way.  Started looking around...I thought man this is cool, it works!  This looks pretty darn good!  Started looking around the summer Milky Way, I can see lots of stars, boatloads of stars, then I made my way to the Lagoon Nebula.  Screwed a 2" Chroma 8nm H-alpha filter onto the OVNI-B, took a look.  I gasped!  Actually I think I said out loud "Holy sh-t" then started laughing.  Moved up to the Trifid.  I'm like "you gotta be kidding, this is way cool"!  Looked to me like a black-and-white photograph, it was that good.  The structure and definition I can see in these nebulae was a real revelation, never before had I experienced that.

 

I switched out the 8nm filter for a Chroma 5nm.  Very cool also, shows the nebulosity a "bit" better than the 8nm, they did not appear all that different from one another, both fantastic.  Then tried an Astronomik 12nm, again very nice view, and really not that much different from the 8nm and 5nm.  I think I find the view through the 8nm to be my favorite on these targets, there is a small but not huge difference between these filters as far as I could tell.  Also with these filters I can still see stars in addition to the nebula, and through the OVNI-B all the objects are WHITE, I like that the stars don't get turned some weird color or whatever.  I mean I like my UHC and O-III with the Binotron-27 (or single eyepiece) too, but something about the stars being white in the OVNI-B makes it very pleasing to look at.

 

Also tried an Astronomik 642 long-pass filter, nice view but didn't show anywhere near the nebulosity of the narrow-band filters.

 

So then I decided to leave the 8nm filter in and scout around the sky for more nebulae.  Headed over the Veil.  Absolutely jaw-dropping.  The structure and detail, the definition.  Then to the North American and Pelican, out-of-this-world, never seen anything remotely close to that before.  Why stop there?  IC5068, Gamma Cygni area, IC1318b, Sh2-119, Crescent.  Somebody pinch me, wake me up, I must be dreaming, this can't be real!

 

With the Veil, just as a test I took out the OVNI-B for a few minutes and instead put in my 31mm Nagler with O-III filter.  Nice view, nothing wrong with it, I could see the Veil pretty nicely, that's the best view I ever used to be able to get.  But holy smokes what a far cry from the OVNI-B, the OVNI-B just blows the Nagler/O-III out of the water, literally puts it to shame!  Also tried the UHC with the 31mm just to be sure.

 

Headed over to Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis.  Sh2-129, IC1396, Sh2-134/135, Wizard, Cave, Bubble, too many more to mention...I don't even know what they all are, never seen any of them before, I went 5 hours non-stop!  Bunch more in Perseus.  Later in the evening I went for the California Nebula, never seen it before.  It was easy (and HUGE)!

 

I also at times just started scanning around randomly, enjoying the view until I stumbled upon a new nebula, then I would look up to see where I was in the sky and check my star charts to see what I was looking at.  Had quite a bit of fun just doing that!

 

Had to check out some traditional showpieces too.  The Dumbella...stunning.  The Helix...Good Lord, I almost came to tears.

 

Most of these nebulae tonight, I had never seen before at all.  Or barely seen as faint fuzzy structure-less challenge objects.  With the OVNI-B, what used to be challenging or impossible are now in-your-face.  I think I'm discovering that "easy" is a lot more fun than "challenging"!

 

Another thing that struck me was how HUGE most of these nebulae are, seeing them in all their glory for the first time.  I just move the scope around (my scope thankfully is a dream to push smoothly around) and check out the full extent of them.  Very cool.

 

I was also moved by the defined dark nebulae what were now readily apparent, I had never really seen dark nebulae well before.  This adds a whole new dimension.

 

Took off the filter.  Globulars take on a new life, especially as you play with the gain control, basically you just go as deep as you want.  Really I'm runnning out of superlatives to describe.

 

Pushed the scope over to the Andromeda Galaxy (no 8nm filter now).  Admittedly this was not as much of a jaw-dropping wow-factor as the nebulae were, but still better than the view with my conventional eyepieces.  Pushing the scope around to see the full extent of the Andromeda Galaxy, I'm struck by the dust lanes I can now see in the galaxy, I had never before seen that!  With a conventional eyepiece (or my 25x100mm binoculars) all I had seen before was the fuzzy central part of the galaxy with no structure.  Now I'm faintly detecting the outer limits of the galaxy, and seeing dust lane structure (not in-your-face by any means, but it's there), which I thought was really cool!

 

Still lots to explore with the OVNI-B, but WOW WOW WOW the first night was a smashing success!  I have yet to even try the OVNI-B in afocal, I have the Televue 55/67mm waiting to try that out, it will give me wider fields and faster optics (less gain required probably) compared to native 27mm prime focus (which is already amazing).  On the higher-power side of the coin, I also have a couple Barlows coming from Harry Siebert, will give that a try when I receive them.  The native 27mm prime focus gives me about 60x on my scope, really I could be very happy just using that and nothing else.

 

Funny thing about the apparent field of view, which is 40 degrees in the OVNI-B.  Used to be I was all about a super-wide apparent field, first with Naglers (84 degree AFOV) then with Ethos (100 degree AFOV).  And while those are fantastic eyepieces, when I got the Binotron-27 (I use 24 Pans, 68 degree FOV) I totally never missed the AFOV of the Nagler/Ethos, using two eyes just seems (for me) to compensate somehow.  Well it's a similar story with the OVNI-B...though the AFOV is only 40 degrees, the view doesn't seem constricted, it's very pleasing to look through.  I think that might be due mainly to the fact that like the Binotron-27 the OVNI-B is a binoviewer, I think that makes a huge difference.  I don't understand the physiology or psychology of it all, I just know I like looking through the OVNI-B's 40 degree AFOV very much.  The equatorial platform is also priceless in terms of mitigating a narrower actual FOV.

 

I love astronomy, and when I got my Binotron-27 I really considered that life-changing (for me, two eyes are SO much more pleasing to view with than one), but with this OVNI-B I don't think I've had quite this level of excitement in a good many years!

 

So I am in love now, but will the OVNI-B totally sideline my previously love the Binotron-27, in the same way the Binotron-27 sidelined my Naglers/Ethos?  I think the answer is it very possibly might!  A couple things however I REALLY like about the Binotron-27:  1)  The power switch, and 2) the filter slide...both of those are SO SO SO nice to have!  To never have to change eyepieces to change power (just keep my 24 Pans in the Binotron-27 all the time), and to have UHC and O-III filters available instantly are just priceless.  If the OVNI-B came with options for a power switch and filter slide (that worked with my Dob), then I really would think I had died and gone to heaven.  Obviously the OVNI-B is now my choice for nebulae, it's in a whole different league for that, can't be touched.

 

Any other things I would change about the OVNI-B?  Not really...maybe a hard case (especially for this price) would be nice.  The Binotron-27 comes with a quality hard case and I like that a lot.

 

On the OVNI-B, the white phosphor is great, the ability to use prime focus, or afocal (which I have yet to even try), or handheld at 1x (which I also have yet to try), or at like 3-8x with an adapted camera lens (which I also have yet to try but I already had fast Canon EF lenses for normal photography, and I bought an adapter now so I can try that out)...I mean how can you beat the flexibility of this system, I think it will keep me busy for a very long time to come.  I also have the smartphone adapter, who knows maybe I will be tempted to snap a few photos with it, though I just like getting out under the stars on a peaceful night and observing, it's always so good for my soul.

 

Only downside really is high cost, this OVNI-B FOM 2600 is big bucks, I suspect that here in the USA it's probably the most expensive NV option out there.  But it's the full package, is very flexible, and is VERY convenient to start observing with right out of the box without cobbling together all the pieces on your own.  (Also I have no idea whatsoever how a lower FOM compares, but 2600 is supposed to be the best, buy once I say.)  I'm not a rich person, very middle class.  But I drive old cars, I have a modest and paid-for house that I've been in for 33 years, I don't own a boat/snowmobile/motorcycle/motorhome, I have no debt, I don't go out to eat (I'm vegetarian anyway), don't go to the bar, don't buy alcohol or smoke, I save my pennies in many ways...so I'm able to purchase good gear for my hobbies.  It's a matter of priorities in life, my priorities (I've been told) are vastly different than those of the mainstream person!  But in part because of that, I have quality gear that I really enjoy, even more so now being retired.  So the OVNI-B cost me the  equivalent of a picking up crappy 10-year-old used car.  Doesn't seem very extreme to me, I can see it's already been totally worth it!

 

I also have a feeling the OVNI-B will make observing from my Grand Rapids home much more feasible, for the times when I don't want to truck my gear out to my sister's farm, so that's another huge plus I think to getting into NV.

 

So THANK YOU to all CN NV posters who gave me the information that helped me start on this sure-to-be-amazing NV journey!


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#2 GOLGO13

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 02:07 PM

Sounds like a winner. I feel the same way about the HA filters being pretty similar. If I got 12nm to 3.5nm I can see a bit more detail in the 3.5, but nothing extremely dramatic.

You should be good to go for a long time with that setup. It does seem to make more sense than getting a massive dob.

Enjoy!
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#3 chemisted

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 02:13 PM

Welcome to the good life! Your wonderful and extensive report will be enjoyed by many and perhaps will bring more into the NV family.


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#4 Dale Eason

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 05:10 PM

Great report.   Reminds me of my first NV experience.  It was about the most wow's I have ever had in one night and I only have a one eye version.  Glad to hear others besides me get lost in the cave,  wizard, and bubble area just because there are so many things there that we never knew or paid attention to before NV showed them to us.

 

I have been thinking about upgrading from my Mod3C to that same unit.   Hmmm.  Like you I have never spent large cash overseas.


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#5 a__l

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 05:38 PM

 

Funny thing about the apparent field of view, which is 40 degrees in the OVNI-B.  Used to be I was all about a super-wide apparent field, first with Naglers (84 degree AFOV) then with Ethos (100 degree AFOV).  And while those are fantastic eyepieces, when I got the Binotron-27 (I use 24 Pans, 68 degree FOV) I totally never missed the AFOV of the Nagler/Ethos, using two eyes just seems (for me) to compensate somehow.  Well it's a similar story with the OVNI-B...though the AFOV is only 40 degrees, the view doesn't seem constricted, it's very pleasing to look through.  I think that might be due mainly to the fact that like the Binotron-27 the OVNI-B is a binoviewer, I think that makes a huge difference.  I don't understand the physiology or psychology of it all, I just know I like looking through the OVNI-B's 40 degree AFOV very much.  The equatorial platform is also priceless in terms of mitigating a narrower actual FOV.

You can get a field almost equal to the N31 in your 12.5 f/5 dob using the TV 67 afocal. In addition, the brightness of the visible objects will double (relative to prime focus). To do this, you need a good NV lens, quality no worse than PVS-14. Perhaps there will be problems with this.

 

 

So I am in love now, but will the OVNI-B totally sideline my previously love the Binotron-27, in the same way the Binotron-27 sidelined my Naglers/Ethos?  I think the answer is it very possibly might!  A couple things however I REALLY like about the Binotron-27:  1)  The power switch, and 2) the filter slide...both of those are SO SO SO nice to have!  To never have to change eyepieces to change power (just keep my 24 Pans in the Binotron-27 all the time), and to have UHC and O-III filters available instantly are just priceless.  If the OVNI-B came with options for a power switch and filter slide (that worked with my Dob), then I really would think I had died and gone to heaven.  Obviously the OVNI-B is now my choice for nebulae, it's in a whole different league for that, can't be touched.

You can most likely make one of the options yourself. Namely, install a slide for filters.
The power switch no.

 

I would recommend replacing your f/5 dob at least at f/4.


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#6 ButterFly

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 05:54 PM

A 12.5" and NV has great reach.  Go for Jupiter's Himalian moons while it's close to opposition, starting with Himalia bare eyepiece.  7x with my 80mm really shows the interconnectedness of those H-alpha regions.  The resolution and scale are much smaller, but the image is also bigger in some ways.

 

Have fun and share.


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#7 The Ardent

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 05:58 PM

Mort
Your setup sounds perfect. What makes NV so powerful for you is that you are a skilled visual observer already.

I would not change a thing.

I suggest Sharpless 2-88 in Vulpecula, Sh 2-188 in Cass, OC King 2 and GX’s Maffei I and II in Cas. These were ones I can’t forget seeing for the first time.
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#8 Mort H

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for the comments folks.  Let me reply to some...

 

First of all yes this is so much better for me than going for a massive Dob I can't physically handle, though as a__l suggested a faster Dob could make sense some day.  This rig is pretty darn awesome already with my f/5 scope though.

 

Looking forward to trying out the TV 67 in afocal, as a__l says it will make my rig faster in addition to giving more FOV.  Nice to have all the options for how to use the OVNI-B.

 

Purchasing from overseas...I was somewhat apprehensive for sure, but got good vibes from Jonathan right from the get-go, and he delivered.  Very positive buying experience.

 

Great suggestions on more objects to go after...I have a whole new world of objects to learn about and see!



#9 Mazerski

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 08:20 PM

Mort,

 

Nice writeup. 
In my NewMoon dob (f/4.5) I use the 2” ScopeStuff c-mount adapter (with 1.25” filter threaded inside adapter) and screw on 2” Antares focal reducer - 0.7x or 0.5x and they focus and provide bigger FOV, smaller but bright image.
 

For the upcoming winter, turn your scope on M42 and use the 642 IR filter for a wicked view... less nebulosity that with Ha filter but a lot more stars visible than with Ha. 

Don’t forget that the Eagle and Omega nebulas (M16, M17) are just above the Lagoon. M17 in my opinion is one of the best. 


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#10 GOLGO13

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 08:35 PM

I wouldn't change your scope. The difference between F4 and F5 isn't great enough to change scopes in my opinion. I have a 6 inch F4 newt and a 6 inch F5 refractor. Both are pretty close with NV and I prefer the F5 refractor.

 

What I would rather consider is a small 4 inch or 5 inch F5 refractor which can be mounted on an alt/az mount. That would provide a wider field of view and be more grab and go. Plus, could be helpful in the cold winter. The 12 inch F5 will work better for the most part, but it can be a compliment to get wider fields of view.

 

If you were ever looking for a new scope, sure consider a faster scope. But for now that should be just fine. 


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#11 Eddgie

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 09:16 PM

A wonderful report! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

 

Two points.

 

First, the darker the skies, the less noticable the difference between the different H-a filters will be. Where the narrowest filter will be most useful is under suburban or brighter skies. The more light pollution, the more valuable the narrower pass will be.

 

Next, from the way I read it, it sounds as if you were using the full binocular in you Binotron? I am not sure. You don't say that exactly but that is kind of the way it reads.

 

Here is what you should know about that. Because the binoviewer is a beam splitter you are taking half the light available and shipping to one intensifier and sending the other half to the other intensifier.  In essence, rather than working at f/5, each tube is working at one full aperture stop slower. Now with NV, the faster the system, the brighter the image and the brighter the image, the less noise you have.  If your modules can be used individually, you may want to try just one directly in the eyepiece holder. I was a confirmed B27 user but the reality is that the beam splitter function of a binoviewer does indeed have an impact on the view.  I tried using NV in my B27, but the reality was that the performance was better using one device at prime focus (or afocal as you prefer.)  I use my BVs for planets, color doubles, and bright clusters because you get to see star colors, which you can't do with NV, but for galaxies and nebula,  you probably would not miss using both eyes. The eye relief of the monoculars is very good and the narrow field is very comfortable, so viewing with NV usually does not produce eye strain like using a single non intensified eyepiece can. 

 

If you have the back focus, you can also add a filter wheel and if you can shorten your trusses a bit, you might also want to try a focal reducer.  Of course you can also do afocal, but the filter wheel and a focal reducer is a very nice setup for prime viewing.

 

Dark Nebula are pretty amazing. Don't miss the ink spot. Because it is in a bright star field it will show under even fairly light polluted skies, but under darker skies it is magical.

 

The Milky Way at 1x is going to make you feel like you are in space. Even from Bortle 6 skies, it will be spectacular. 

 

I love reading observing reports and especially first light reports so this was a real treat for me, and it made me reflect on some of my first views using NV. Thank you again for taking the time to post and since you are a visual observer, being one myself, I look forward to reading your next report!

 

Have fun!

 

Ed


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#12 Mort H

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 09:49 PM

Interesting suggestion about the Antares focal reducer, I might have to try that out...I wasn't aware that a focal reducer was an option for a Dob, I thought they were just for SCT, refractors and the like (all of which I've never owned)...that has peaked my interest!

 

Oh yes am I looking forward to M42, Orion was just starting to rise as I was packing up.  I got to bed about 6 am, my wife was just getting up!  Will definitely try the 642 IR on M42!

 

M16 and M17, seen them many times, I was going to head up there from the Trifid, but then got I distracted with my 31mm+O-III comparison, after which like a zombie I forgot about M16 & M17 and shot over to see what the Veil looked like.  I don't drink but I must have been intoxicated on something to zone out and skip over those!  I think in the back of my head I intended to shoot back over there, but by the time I thought about it again that part of the sky was getting low and falling behind some treetops.  If I had any brains I would have stayed put a while longer in the southern Milky Way, knowing that Cygnus is basically overhead for almost the whole night, no hurry.  I dunno, the night was a blur, went by fast!

 

A fast rich field scope is actually in my future too I believe, don't have one yet, my 25x100 binoculars have been filling the rich field role.  I also took the 25x100's out to look at elk last fall (believe it or not we have a small herd here in Michigan's lower peninsula), got some looks/comments using those babies elk-watching!

 

Really, hard to fathom that I could want for anything more at this point, I have so much good stuff at my disposal already!  What a great time to be an amateur astronomer, does life get any better?  How blessed and yes spoiled so many of us are, compared to people around the world who have so little and struggle with even the basic necessities of life.  Doesn't seem fair somehow, but I don't know what to do about it, and I'm not giving away my gear to go join the Peace Corps!  I don't know what I did in my previous life to be so fortunate in this one, but I'm going to enjoy it!


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#13 Mort H

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 10:01 PM

Ed thank you for the comments, and sorry if I gave the impression I was using the OVNI-B with my Binotron-27, I was only using the OVNI-B at prime focus, no Binotron.  I only mentioned the Binotron so much because it was previously my favorite way to observe prior to getting the OVNI-B, and like the OVNI-B it's a binoviewer.

 

I don't think I have the back focus currently to use a filter wheel, I would have to re-engineer the scope as you suggest, could be done but may be more ambitious than I dare to undertake!  Would be very cool though.

 

Focal reducer however, I definitely have to try that.

 

Looking forward to some 1x viewing too!  Will give a whole new perspective.  Got cloudy here in Grand Rapids again, but for sure I have to see what NV and my various filters can do for me here at home under urban skies.



#14 a__l

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 10:49 PM

14 f/4 or better 16 f/3.3 will be more compact than 12.5 f/5
Therefore, if your further goal is only NV, it makes very sense to think about it.
If your tasks are divided and you love planets and your 12.5 has an excellent Strehl then the replacement does not make sense.

No reducer can show it as afocal TV 67, so I rejected this idea as a duplicate one, but with a worse result. The main thing is to provide a good optical path for the afocal.
There are nuances with vignetting, coma corrector, etc. Therefore, the question must be considered comprehensively, depending on the desire.


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#15 Joko

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 05:41 AM

Afocal and handheld (like binoculars) will blow your face too !


Edited by Joko, 04 September 2021 - 05:41 AM.

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#16 AllStarez

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Posted 11 September 2021 - 03:31 AM

Mort, thanks a LOT for the great report and being part of your observations :) 


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#17 Avillac'h

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 07:58 AM

Thank you for the review. After reading that I did my final decision to also try NV for the first time in my live.

 

My initial setup will be my current NP127is and ONVI-B 2600 and Baader H-alpha 6.5nm.

 

But I would have one question regarding filters. Have anybody tried a Quad-Band Narrowband Filter for NV (like Triad Ultra)? Does it have any sense to use for NV instead just H-alpha?



#18 Mort H

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 12:13 PM

Hi Avillac'h, your setup sounds very nice!

I don't have any experience with the quad-band filter you mention, but the 6.5nm H-alpha is a great choice.

645nm IR might be the next filter to acquire...

#19 maxmir

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 09:03 PM

My favorite telescope is a now a 135mm F2.0 camera lens fitted with a Ha filters.

I live in Bortle 4 skies. It is amazing what you can see at this focal length

 

You are just getting started !

 

Max


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#20 Mort H

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 08:12 PM

maxmir, must be some sort of cosmic coincidence that you just posted about the 135mm f/2, I was just out NV observing handheld with that lens in Bortle 1 skies!

My wife and I left Michigan behind for a month here to visit our daughter and 1-year-old grand-daughter in Montana, she & her husband live 1 mile from Yellowstone National Park's north boundary. They do guiding, have been living there about 10 years, finally got around to giving us another grandkid!

Our son also happens to be out there renting a room from them, and though the yard at their house is already Bortle 3, there are mountains and trees and such blocking the view except pretty much overhead, so he & I went up into the park to Bortle-1-land with my OVNI-B, where we could see close to the horizon in almost all directions.

He was really blown away by the experience, and especially liked using the 135mm f/2 handheld, we did that for quite a long time after starting out with a 400mm on a tripod where I could show him stuff.

NV is great for travel, just add a camera lens basically and away you go! Well actually I also had a heater, filter wheel and observing chair, but still that's traveling pretty light! In our camper van I already had a 400mm f/4 and tripod for wildlife photography (though that lens gets more use handheld), and the 135mm doubles as a portrait lens for my little grand-daughter, and I normally bring along a few other lens too on our trips...so really I'm not packing much "extra" in order to do some really nice NV astronomy!

On this particular night, there was somewhat of a moon to contend with, however the thing that really struck me about this dark site was just how dark and pristine the horizon was in all directions. Back home in Michigan I'm used to the horizon basically sucking (though NV helps that too)!
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#21 RichieNg

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 10:43 PM

Very nice write up and pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing your viewing experiences thru OVNI-B, I like this statement "Somebody pinch me, wake me up, I must be dreaming, this can't be real!"

Edited by RichieNg, 28 October 2021 - 10:48 PM.

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#22 MT4

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 08:21 AM

Hi,

 

This is my first post in the NV forum so please forgive me for asking newbie questions.

 

I’ll start with a bit of background.  I have many binoculars but don’t have any scopes yet and have been having trouble deciding what scope to buy.  The problem is that I live in mid Tokyo where light pollution is through the roof.  I’ve read many threads on the types of targets suitable for viewing under Bortle-9 skies and it seems that with traditional types of instruments one would be limited to the sun, the moon, the planets, some double stars and open clusters.  I can do all those targets reasonably well with my excellent 82mm Kowa Highlander Prominar but I am not satisfied until I can see some nebulae and galaxies.  Using a big Dobs and cranking up the mag are not viable for me from my apartment’s balcony.

 

I’ve recently wandered to the dark side, a.k.a. the NV forum, and I am super excited about the possibility of eventually being able to see some nebulae and galaxies.   In particular, I am so inspired by this thread that I’ve started checking out the OVNI-B and some scope options to use it with.

 

Until recently, I had been thinking of buying either the Takahashi TSA-120 or the APM 140 ED APO refractor for solar, lunar and planetary viewing.  Having “discovered” the OVNI-B, now I think I should get a faster scope instead.   My understanding is that faster scopes would allow the use of low mags which help deliver more light to the NV eyepiece thus allowing it to deliver its magic. 
 

With that thought process, I am now considering the following fast scopes:

1). Televue NP-101:  F/5.4

2). Takahashi FSQ-106:  F/5

3). Takahashi TSA 120 with 0.7x reducer:  F/5.25

4). Takahashi Epsilon 130:  F/3.3

 

i intend to use the ONVI-B in prime-focus mode and hand-held mode.  I am not so sure about the afocal mode with a long eyepiece stack hanging off the scope.

 

Without considering price as a factor, which of the above scopes would you suggest for my Bortle-9 skies?

 

Adding price as a factor, which would provide a better bang for the buck, especially in a single-scope scenario?  (I don’t have a lot of storage space in my mid-Tokyo apartment and won’t be able to keep multiple scopes.)

 

What types of filters would you recommend?

 

Last but not least, does aperture still rule in the world of NV astronomy?  If not, then would a Televue 85 be a better choice than a Televue 101?

 

Thank you in advance for any tips and guidance.



#23 The Ardent

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 12:39 AM

MT4 

 

The common inexpensive  6” f/4 imaging Newtonian is good for NV. With a NVD at prime focus it gives an upright image that you’re used to with the binocs. The Epsilon will do the same . 
 

A camera lens will also give a correct image. Small lenses are handheld just like with small binoculars. Large lenses are best mounted , just like larger binoculars. 
 

The Afocal will give you an amplified view of what the eyepiece is seeing. If that view is reversed / upside down that’s what you get. 
 

Since I am a naked eye/ binoculars observer I like the correct image whenever possible. 
 

Filters - I was asking this six years ago now. I found that a deep red helps with light pollution. These can be had in various cutoffs. The common Wratten 29 will still pass Hydrogen Alpha at 656mm. The Baader 685 will block Ha nebula light but very good for clusters and galaxies. A red filter that blocks everything below 650nm and allows maximum light at 650 and above is ideal but not absolutely necessary. 

The most important filter is the Hydrogen Alpha. I find the 12nm to be the most useful, some prefer more narrow passband. Any is better than none for nebulae viewing. 
 

Research the imagers who use hydrogen alpha filter to image in the city and during full moon. NV viewing is very similar in practice and result. 


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#24 MT4

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 05:11 AM

MT4 

 

The common inexpensive  6” f/4 imaging Newtonian is good for NV. With a NVD at prime focus it gives an upright image that you’re used to with the binocs. The Epsilon will do the same . 
 

A camera lens will also give a correct image. Small lenses are handheld just like with small binoculars. Large lenses are best mounted , just like larger binoculars. 
 

The Afocal will give you an amplified view of what the eyepiece is seeing. If that view is reversed / upside down that’s what you get. 
 

Since I am a naked eye/ binoculars observer I like the correct image whenever possible. 
 

Filters - I was asking this six years ago now. I found that a deep red helps with light pollution. These can be had in various cutoffs. The common Wratten 29 will still pass Hydrogen Alpha at 656mm. The Baader 685 will block Ha nebula light but very good for clusters and galaxies. A red filter that blocks everything below 650nm and allows maximum light at 650 and above is ideal but not absolutely necessary. 

The most important filter is the Hydrogen Alpha. I find the 12nm to be the most useful, some prefer more narrow passband. Any is better than none for nebulae viewing. 
 

Research the imagers who use hydrogen alpha filter to image in the city and during full moon. NV viewing is very similar in practice and result. 

Thanks a lot Ray for the very helpful reply.  The point about correct-image NV is particularly helpful to me since I am used to correct-image views through binoculars not having used any scopes.

 

I have a feeling that my NV journey will likely start at 1x, then 5x (Canon 135mm F/2) before I move up the mag scale.

 

I wonder if there is such a thing as an image-stabilized NV device, like a Canon 15x50 IS but with night vision.  Would be a killer astronomy instrument for me if there were such a thing.




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