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How well do you see Veil and N America nebulae?

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#1 Jsg

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 09:53 PM

Not just cloudy but raining tonight, a welcome respite from the Dixie Fire which burned my local town of Greenville, California. I was spared, along with my 12" Dob. One positive from the fire was that the local utility was out, decreasing light pollution, so the other night I aimed at the Veil and N American nebulae. I could see some of the Veil, a distinct band on one side of it all. Not so good on the N Am. With averted vision I saw some contrast between areas of black and dark grey. Doesnt help that my lowest magnification is 60, not a large enough field of view to see all of each of these in one view (1500 FL, 25mm Plossl).

Can you see these well? What do you use.

My area is Bortle 2 but with the utility out (and the town burned down anyway) might be closer to a 1.

#2 mich_al

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 09:59 PM

The Veil appears much better with the proper filter.  Just now I don't remember which but someone will be along soon to fill in that detail.



#3 Jsg

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 10:08 PM

Should have mentioned- using OIII

#4 maroubra_boy

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 11:16 PM

For us in Australia, both the Veil and North America nebulae are horizon grazers.  To have a good view of them transparency needs to be very good in our northern horizon.  I mention my experience being south of the equator because if I can see it, then anyone being north of the equator will have a better time of it.

 

When I was first tracking down the Veil a few years ago I came across the N.A. neb totally by accident and it blew my socks off!  Transparency towards the north was superb!  I was using an 8" f/4 dob.  The Veil I nabbed a few moments later.  The whole of the ring formed by the Veil fits inside an 800mm focal length - JUST fits at 800mm.

 

I sketched the whole of the Veil using my 8" f/4 dobbie, and the eastern arc with my 17.5" dob.  I didn't get to sketch the N.A. neb because at the location I was it would run behind a building before I had enough time to sketch it (I approximated 2.5 to 3 hour sketch time.  This site was Bortle 2.

 

I have also seen the whole of the Veil under a Bortle 4 sky through a 70mm ED refractor, also from Australia.  Fainter due to the smaller aperture, but the broken-ring structure was unmistakeable.

 

For what it's worth, both sketches were done using white soft pastel, charcoal and white gel ink on A4 size black paper.  I sketch this way at the eyepiece on to black paper.

 

Alex.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 8in Veil LR.JPG
  • 17-1.5in Veil LR-1.jpg

Edited by maroubra_boy, 18 September 2021 - 11:19 PM.

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#5 spaceoddity

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 11:29 PM

The Veil(s) should be very easy with an OIII filter. I've observed it with a 12 inch dob and OIII and it looked like twisted fibers of rope. It was a very obvious direct vision object but you had to pan around as it is too big to fit in the FOV of a 12" dob even at low power. Without the filter it wasn't visible. That was in bortle 3-4 skies. It should obviously be better in bortle 2. The North American I've looked for a couple times but have never been able to see. It's very large with low surface brightness. Very dark skies and an instrument with a wide FOV are probably more important than aperture for that one, not sure what filter is best - OIII or UHC. 


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#6 Napp

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 11:46 PM

The North America Nebula is actually a very large naked eye object in a dark sky.  Binoculars are the ideal instrument to observe the North America shape.  One of my clubs’ dark sky sites is Bortle 3.  On nights with excellent conditions the shape is plainly visible to the naked eye.  However, it is not a bright object.  The huge size and lack of brightness actually makes this a somewhat difficult object in a scope.  You can be looking at it and not recognize it because it more than fills the field with very little contrast.  You mostly just see the star field in a scope.


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#7 maroubra_boy

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 12:14 AM

Transparency is one thing that is often talked about but it is actually much more nuanced than many people identify.  It is the single most critical element to seeing most DSO's, if not all of them.

 

I'll put it to you in terms of another example, the Horsehead Neb.  This is a notoriously difficult object to see.  If transparency is not as good as it can be then you will find it extremely difficult to see the Horsie if not impossible.  Aperture has little to do with it.  With my 17.5" dob, I have both easily seen it and found it impossible to see it from the same location (Bortle 4).  The ONLY difference being transparency.  During the star party when I did the two sketches of the Veil Neb above, a Bortle 2 site, that same night I found it extremely difficult to see the Horsehead and other people found it impossible - and we were using my 17.5" dob.  Transparency conditions had changed during the night.

 

If you are struggling with the Veil or the N. America nebulae, and you are at a dark site, then it is because transparency is not as good as it can be.  Low magnification is all you should be needing.  And just because a location is quoted as being say Bortle 2, it does not mean you found a site with exquisite transparency.  The two do not go hand in hand.  If your site is often subjected to heavy dew then transparency is for certain to be compromised.  Site selection is much more involved than just finding an open grassy field.  So if you are struggling to see these, consider not just your gear but from where you are viewing from.

 

It will also serve you well to spend some time developing a list of naked eye targets with which you can gauge the quality of transparency.  I have a bunch of them littered across the sky for this purpose.  If I cannot see certain objects easily naked eye then I know transparency in that direction is not up to scratch.  I also have a few telescopic object for this same purpose too.  How easily or not I find it to see certain DSO's through my scope tells me what transparency is doing and I then adjust my observing plan to suit.

 

Alex.


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#8 PKDfan

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 03:11 AM

Hi Alex!

People, I mean, observers, really don't understand ultimate transparency or even really good transparency well at all.

The following is a true story.

Envision a stretch of 4 days of constant heavy rain.

That would scrub the atmosphere pretty clear now would'nt it?!
Pretty obvious it would, now couple that with an area of great natural seeing.

Poof the rain be gone!

Clear steady skies ahead!

This sets the scene for me, much younger and 20/12 eyes using a 70mm Pronto at 40× so nearly 2mm exitpupil...the dark HH(B33) embedded in IC434 and the flame nebula(NGC2024) were so bright I literally mistook them for the clouds coming back! of course when I looked it was clear.

I was so astonished!!!

When there is no particulate matter in the atmosphere you actualize perfect transparency and a great side benefit is none of that pesky light pollution can interfere with visual observation as there is no scatter.

People are woefully misinformed and it causes no end of mischief such as needing ludicrous aperture to see it.

It is really ultra low contrast so a power and brightness eyepiece/scope synergy is the best recipe for success with this particular target in partnership with great transparency and good seeing does'nt hurt at all.

Perhaps for this target alone(HH) of all DSOs, transparency is the single biggest determinant for success or failure. Imho.

Altitude is the easiest solution or as I did observe after a heavy rain storm and after clear skies develop.

OF COURSE this NEGLECTS the AWFUL and INSIDIOUSLY INCREASING poor atmospheric conditions most people probably have.


Not to mention acuity differences!


No wonder all the different claims!

Probably one for each observer!



Well THANKS for letting me get that off my chest Alex!!



Clear skies & Good seeing

P.s. wanted to say your sketches are really works of art and your posts very helpful.
p.p.s. Hope to get down there one day!
Edited typo

Edited by PKDfan, 19 September 2021 - 03:44 PM.

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#9 esd726

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 03:43 AM

I can see the Veil ( 6960 easily) without a filter and with a filter both main sides are great. 

The NA stands out pretty well, especially around the Gulf, with a filter 



#10 maroubra_boy

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 04:37 AM

PKDfan,

 

A 70mm frac to see the HH neb!  Blooming awesome!

 

EVERY duck possibly aligned:  Dark site, supreme transparency, maximum acuity & sensitivity thanks to young age and small aperture to go with it.  You lucky, lucky sod!!!! choo-choo.gif

 

Age is another factor not often given credit for as well.  Many of us somehow imagine that our eyes are the same despite 30 years having gone by.  I have noticed changes in my eyes in 15 years.  Experience then helps compensate for some of this.

 

Eye health is a big factor that often complicates age.  From acuity to sensitivity, all manner of reasons can affect these.

 

So while age works against us, we then need to figure out ways to optimise our viewing experience.  Site selection goes a LONG way to help here.

 

I mentioned celestial landmarks I use to gauge transparency.  One object I use is Uranus.  From the Bortle 4 site I use not only is Uranus a naked eye object but when transparency is stonking good I can see fainter stars around it.  From another site that is twice as far from my home than this first place & Bortle 2, seeing Uranus naked eye is difficult and infrequent, and seeing fainter stars around it just about impossible.  Bortle 4 site vs Bortle 2, and the former outperforms the latter.  To find the site I use it took me and my observing buddies several years to identify the environmental and geographic conditions that make a site optimal for astro where we live around Sydney.  

 

Oh, as an added bonus, the geographic and environmental conditions that make my site excellent for astro also makes for dew-free conditions for us.  We can have had a clear and bone-dry night, yet just 2km away and 40m lower in elevation the locality can be totally fogged in and soaked in dew.  

 

What I am getting at is to reinforce the importance of site selection, its influence on transparency and ultimately our ability to see DSO's easily regardless of the instruments and gear we have.  Having a 12" scope is not necessary to see the North America or Veil nebulae.  An aperture of 70mm is enough.  The key is transparency.  Same for the Horsehead Neb and every other DSO.

 

Alex.


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#11 Jsg

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 10:33 AM

Thanks All- wonderful sketches Alex.

Though the utility was out giving me less light pollution I'm sure transparency has been poor here due to numerous fires across the state. And you've made me think about other particulate factors such as that we typically get no rain through summer here in California which probably allows a buildup of particulates or at least provides no mechanism to eliminate them until fall. But it has just rained so I'll try soon.

Thanks again

JG
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#12 PKDfan

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 06:07 PM

PKDfan,

 

A 70mm frac to see the HH neb!  Blooming awesome!

 

EVERY duck possibly aligned:  Dark site, supreme transparency, maximum acuity & sensitivity thanks to young age and small aperture to go with it.  You lucky, lucky sod!!!! 

 

Age is another factor not often given credit for as well.  Many of us somehow imagine that our eyes are the same despite 30 years having gone by.  I have noticed changes in my eyes in 15 years.  Experience then helps compensate for some of this.

 

Eye health is a big factor that often complicates age.  From acuity to sensitivity, all manner of reasons can affect these.

 

So while age works against us, we then need to figure out ways to optimise our viewing experience.  Site selection goes a LONG way to help here.

 

I mentioned celestial landmarks I use to gauge transparency.  One object I use is Uranus.  From the Bortle 4 site I use not only is Uranus a naked eye object but when transparency is stonking good I can see fainter stars around it.  From another site that is twice as far from my home than this first place & Bortle 2, seeing Uranus naked eye is difficult and infrequent, and seeing fainter stars around it just about impossible.  Bortle 4 site vs Bortle 2, and the former outperforms the latter.  To find the site I use it took me and my observing buddies several years to identify the environmental and geographic conditions that make a site optimal for astro where we live around Sydney.  

 

Oh, as an added bonus, the geographic and environmental conditions that make my site excellent for astro also makes for dew-free conditions for us.  We can have had a clear and bone-dry night, yet just 2km away and 40m lower in elevation the locality can be totally fogged in and soaked in dew.  

 

What I am getting at is to reinforce the importance of site selection, its influence on transparency and ultimately our ability to see DSO's easily regardless of the instruments and gear we have.  Having a 12" scope is not necessary to see the North America or Veil nebulae.  An aperture of 70mm is enough.  The key is transparency.  Same for the Horsehead Neb and every other DSO.

 

Alex.

Hi Alex, all excellent points, like usual!

 

I was in rush to get that off my chest my last post so I bypassed the most crucial part but what I referenced with my light pollution and scatter comment touched on it.

 

The observation was done in a suburb of Vancouver Canada, this location was ideal for observing back then, for a city observer, a laminar flow, on the leeside of a bluff escarpment that has a remarkable 500 foot or more cliff running for a considerable distance behind my site  promoting constant laminar flow but much of the time is quiet windwise as its near the highest point on the ridge west of the main city. A quiet much tree lined residencial neighbourhoods so for a large city thirty years ago was a great darkish place for a kid to stare at the sky first with a great little 60mm uncoated lens and if I remember a Tasco, then 7×50 Nikons. Using these for years.

 

I believe that taught my eye and brain to perceive faint details so when that beautiful night happened I was or my brain was was able to immediately see  the complex.

 

The location at the time was bounded by farmland for miles to the south, after the Fraser river to the immediate south.

 

So, me, in a location that had all these perfect attributes plus need to emphasize was in a place significantly shielded from the worst LP Vancouver had to offer.

 

Like I said it was ideal!

 

Not today!

 

The area has dramatically densified below that bluff and although much of the farmland is protected that once nice 'little' big city has now become a megacity and while the particular geography has'nt changed all the other ancillary effects have increased  i.e. LP, vehicles, fine particulate matter etc have made it much harder if not impossible to do that same observation.

 

My circumstances were certainly unique to say the least. 

Years observing, perfect conditions, good acuity, great scope and the correct magnification.

 

But I DID NOT need perfect dark skies as transparency trumped the conditions to reign supreme.

 

I have always been blessed with very good acuity so I wonder if that has anything to do with my love of astronomy and landscape photography? But I digress.

 

And speaking of observing I found that a proper eyebath before going out helps get thin films off and a gentle rub of the closed eye gets rid of any nasty buildup.

Not doing so means dodging tiny specks causing scatter.

 

So just wanted to clarify that the observation was far from dark skies.

 

To reiterate, a clean atmosphere is a transparent one able to have zero or minimal scatter.

 

LP not as much an issue as there is no appreciable back scatter.

 

Clear?!?

 

The key is always Transparency as you so rightly declared!

 

Cs & Gs

 

 

 


Edited by PKDfan, 19 September 2021 - 06:08 PM.

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#13 Rocklobster

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 11:50 PM

The North America Nebula is actually a very large naked eye object in a dark sky. Binoculars are the ideal instrument to observe the North America shape. One of my clubs’ dark sky sites is Bortle 3. On nights with excellent conditions the shape is plainly visible to the naked eye. However, it is not a bright object. The huge size and lack of brightness actually makes this a somewhat difficult object in a scope. You can be looking at it and not recognize it because it more than fills the field with very little contrast. You mostly just see the star field in a scope.

Quoted for agreement. I'm almost 100% sure I saw it with the naked eye from a B2 location near Glencoe, Scotland last autumn. Crystal clear an moonless sky.

I could be wrong though.

Glad to hear others have seen it. Makes me believe that I wasn't imagining it.



Sent from my WP5 using Tapatalk
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#14 maroubra_boy

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 01:12 AM

Nah mate, you were imagining it. Too much haggis & single malt will do it...

Kickarse conditions that night for you too :)

Alex.

Edited by maroubra_boy, 20 September 2021 - 01:16 AM.

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#15 Redbetter

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 02:04 AM

With an OIII, I can see the North America Nebula "naked eye" in the suburbs, 19 MPSAS.  The OIII recovers the contrast similar to dark sky, but with most of the star field gone.  The NAN has relatively high surface brightness, but is involved with a rich MW starfield.  So in a small scope at low power the main obstacle is increasing the contrast of the nebula vs. the general star field glow of the Milky Way.  With larger scopes the primary limitation is TFOV and being able to trace the various portions and pan as needed.

 

The Veil also has high surface brightness to the primary arcs, but with thinner strands that can go missing in small apertures in brighter sky.   Scale is a factor in observing it, with the eastern arc being easier.  Still, with an OIII it can be seen with small aperture in the suburbs on transparent nights.   In dark sky the filter is mainly for increasing the visibility of the fainter components within. 


Edited by Redbetter, 20 September 2021 - 06:58 PM.

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#16 Migwan

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 07:47 AM

I prefer my 120 f5 achro with OIII for both. 

 

For the Veil, Alex's most excellent first sketch is about what I see with a 30mm & 3.5° tfov, though with a bit less brightening is the center and and what he has below is cut out.  Also a bit less density on the main bodies.  I do see the brighter areas depicted within, especially at the top of the western in my right left reversed view.  

 

His also excellent second sketch is pretty much what I get with the C11 & OIII, though a bit more wispy.  I can see the Veil with both scopes without a filter and have done so in Bortle 5 skies on good nights, but it's much better from dark skies.

 

The NA nebula largely evaded my efforts to catch it till this year.  The C11 is close to blind on this one, even with the OIII.  It was also a difficult target for the 120 without the filter.   With the filter it and the Pelican Nebula stand out are quite worthy of exploration, provided I don't up the magnification much.  There's a lot of going on there.  

 

At a supposed Bortle 3 SQM 21.84 site, I turned my Telrad on to locate the NA and was able to see it when I put both eyes on it.   Doubt I would have found it otherwise.    



#17 Don H

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 04:28 PM

As far as the NAN goes, if you have a finder that can use 1.25" eyepieces, you might try the Olll filter with your finder. I can easily see it in my 8x50 with a filter, and by changing eps, the mag can be increased a bit more. But it really shines in my 114mm f/4. If I use my UHC in a 24mm 68 degree ep, the structure is like a textbook and it is nicely framed at 19x. If I bump up the mag to 25 or 30x, it fills the field and shows even more stars and structure. Be aware as you look up at it, that the continent can show up sideways, or flipped, depending upon where it is in the sky and what kind of scope you use. When I try and view the NAN with my 10 or 12.5" scope, I can only get a small chunk at a time...


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#18 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 01:00 AM

While I've had some great views of NGC 7000 through various binoculars and filtered rich-field refractors, some of the most interesting were through a homemade 12.5" Dob at Stellafane some years ago.  The owner really knew the NAN very well and was able to put specific areas into view.


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#19 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 01:02 AM

Two of Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge articles were on NGC 7000.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-ngc-7000-r3158

 

https://www.cloudyni...ying-high-r2909


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#20 bobhen

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 07:11 AM

I live at a heavily light polluted Bortle 9 location just outside of Philadelphia.

 

I have seen the east and western section of the Veil with a 120mm refractor and an OIII filter. I have never seen the N. American nebula from this location in any scope. That is, until I purchased an image intensifier.

 

With the intensifier and a 6nm filter, I can easily see “all” the sections of the Veil (including the center) and the complete N. American Nebula and in rather stunning detail, especially for this location. When using the intensifier, I have even seen the brighter sections of the Veil with a handheld scope as small as 50mm. The N. American Nebula is also seen in the 50mm and the complete nebula fits in the field of view.

 

With the intensifier, even tougher targets, some considered mostly CCD imaging targets, are also observed.

Bob


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#21 bjkaras

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 01:16 AM

I can see the Veil pretty easily from my driveway in my Bortle 8 neighborhood. It’s even better when using an OIII filter. To see the North America nebula I’ve had to go to darker skies.


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#22 Spikey131

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 08:47 PM

I frequently observe the Veil Nebula regularly with a 12.5” Dob and O3 filter in Bortle 4-5 skies over the backyard.  I can see much of the details in Alex’ sketches above.  The entire Veil is visible with an NP101 with the same filter in the same skies, but it is dimmer and less detail is revealed.

 

I also observe the North America nebula with the 12.5” Dob and O3 filter in the same skies, but it is more difficult.  I try to center the observation around the “Gulf of Mexico” section where there is the most contrast in the nebula. With that focal length, the entire nebula will not fit in the FOV, so I need to pan around.

 

Darker skies are better, of course, an in Montana’s Bortle 2 skies, I have seen the NA Nebula with just my eyeballs and it is fabulous in 10x42 binoculars.



#23 bjkaras

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 02:17 AM

The Veil appears much better with the proper filter.  Just now I don't remember which but someone will be along soon to fill in that detail.

OIII filter.



#24 alder1

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Posted 31 October 2021 - 05:39 AM

As a binocular observer, I’ve tried for the NA nebula many times over the years without success. 15 years ago our skies here were Bortle 2, now slowly changing to Bortle 3. So even though the skies aren’t quite as dark, I got my first view of this lovely object last year. What changed? Better binoculars (Oberwerks 15x70), more experience, and really good atmospheric conditions. The seeing and transparency were particularly good that night. So the lesson I got was to never give up, and keep observing. It’s worth it!


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