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Is anyone else tired of the hassle?

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#176 Terra Nova

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Posted Yesterday, 07:24 AM

 Mike,

 

You don’t need a NV binocular. Just like with eyepieces, a monocular is all you need to get the full benefit of night vision.

 

There is no learning curve. You unscrew the lens on the intensifier. You screw on the adapter. You screw on a filter. You turn on the intensifier. You put the intensifier in the telescope just like an eyepiece. It's less complicated than changing the time on the digital clock in my car.   

 

And one doesn’t need a turnkey system. A Mod 3 intensifier with a $25 C-mount to 1.25” adapter and two filters are all you need. The system offered by Tele Vue is nice but it is not the only game in town.

 

And just like with telescopes, one also doesn’t need the absolute top of the line NV intensifier tube to get most of the NV experience. 

 

For deep sky observing, an Obsession 15” F4.5 Standard (no extras) Dobsonian will run $6,000, with extras it will cost more. And one will need wide field eyepieces and filters, etc. And that scope will need a reasonably dark sky to deliver its best. With the same budget, one could get a Mod 3 intensifier, the extras needed and a 10” Orion Dobsonian. The 10” with the intensifier will show things (like the Horsehead Nebula, etc.) that are just not seen in mild to heavy light pollution and you won’t have to travel to a dark sky and that system will also go deeper and show more details in many objects under a black sky.

 

I wouldn’t recommend an intensifier for someone starting out. Then again, I wouldn’t recommend a 15” Obsession either.

 

But for the experienced observer who likes the "visual experience" and wants to see more, an intensifier is a very strong consideration over getting a larger mirror, and it can actually be a less expensive proposition.

 

Or for those getting up in age and need to downsize but don’t want to give up the light gathering capability of larger aperture, again an intensifier can be a very strong consideration with the added benefit that you will actually see “more” and with "less hassle" in a “smaller telescope” using an intensifier. I think that qualifies as a win/win.

 

Bob 

Still, it’s like one fixed focus 1.25” eyepiece isn’t it? I guess with several barlows of different power and a thread in reducer or two you have more flexibility? What is the field of view? Is it limited like a CCD camera? You mention two filters? Why are filters needed? I thought the point was to enhance existing light. As I said, it’s interesting stuff. Still, it seems like a lot of tinkering with things to have much flexibility and I think the cost is beyond most people’s consideration. One could buy a lot of gas for many dark sky trips. Imonly have to go 25 miles from my house to get pretty dark skies.


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#177 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 07:43 AM

It's like FC in a fast fract. I get a bending of vision as i move my head. Same for glasses with a line in them. I can use them to read but not for normal vision.

I see the FC in fast fracts, because I've lost accommodation for focus. 

 

But I got used to progressives within an hour after I first put on a pair.  Looks perfectly normal to me.  Maybe it just takes longer getting used to them for some people. 

 

I bet the trick is to actually wear them them long enough to get used to them, and not flip them on and off.  But people who haven't worn glasses for most of their lives, and acquire presbyopia as they age, aren't used to wearing glasses period.  They don't want to wear glasses all day long.  They want to just flip them on and off.  And any momentary difficulty or discomfort is seen as a good excuse not to wear them all day.  shrug.gif

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, Yesterday, 07:52 AM.

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#178 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 10:49 AM

 Mike,

 

You don’t need a NV binocular. Just like with eyepieces, a monocular is all you need to get the full benefit of night vision.

 

There is no learning curve. You unscrew the lens on the intensifier. You screw on the adapter. You screw on a filter. You turn on the intensifier. You put the intensifier in the telescope just like an eyepiece. It's less complicated than changing the time on the digital clock in my car.   

 

And one doesn’t need a turnkey system. A Mod 3 intensifier with a $25 C-mount to 1.25” adapter and two filters are all you need. The system offered by Tele Vue is nice but it is not the only game in town.

 

And just like with telescopes, one also doesn’t need the absolute top of the line NV intensifier tube to get most of the NV experience. 

 

For deep sky observing, an Obsession 15” F4.5 Standard (no extras) Dobsonian will run $6,000, with extras it will cost more. And one will need wide field eyepieces and filters, etc. And that scope will need a reasonably dark sky to deliver its best. With the same budget, one could get a Mod 3 intensifier, the extras needed and a 10” Orion Dobsonian. The 10” with the intensifier will show things (like the Horsehead Nebula, etc.) that are just not seen in mild to heavy light pollution and you won’t have to travel to a dark sky and that system will also go deeper and show more details in many objects under a black sky.

 

I wouldn’t recommend an intensifier for someone starting out. Then again, I wouldn’t recommend a 15” Obsession either.

 

But for the experienced observer who likes the "visual experience" and wants to see more, an intensifier is a very strong consideration over getting a larger mirror, and it can actually be a less expensive proposition.

 

Or for those getting up in age and need to downsize but don’t want to give up the light gathering capability of larger aperture, again an intensifier can be a very strong consideration with the added benefit that you will actually see “more” and with "less hassle" in a “smaller telescope” using an intensifier. I think that qualifies as a win/win.

 

Bob 

If / When I get a NVD, I'd probably go monocular.  I posted the cost of a binocular NVD system as an example of the typical higher end amount that people sink into this technology.  I know there are some people that don't want to look through any telescope system unless they can use both eyes.  I am definitely not one of those people.

 

By learning curve, I did not mean learning how to fit together and use an NVD system.  I meant the learning curve involved in figuring out what is available, what is better and why it's better, what to look for in a system, how to finagle a superior sample of the technology from a vendor, which filters to use and when to use them.  IMO, determining what features you want in a big Dob and ordering one from one of the small companies that make big Dobs, would be a much easier proposition.  Most amateur astronomers who have been observing with Dobs for a few years should not have much problem doing that.  But figuring out NVD's?  Not so much.

 

I live in a Bortle 4 area, so I really don't need to travel to a darker site. Thankfully, my hour long or longer road trips to dark sites are over.  

 

I have a 10" f/4.8 Dob which I've observed with for nearly 14 years.  The OTA is great, but the mount is a rigged up job with necessary improvements over a not-so-great mount I bought many years ago for the OTA.  What I'd like to do is have someone make me a better Dob mount or just go ahead and order a decent 14" Dob.  NVD is something I'd get into beyond any of those considerations.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, Yesterday, 10:56 AM.

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#179 bobhen

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Posted Yesterday, 10:59 AM

Still, it’s like one fixed focus 1.25” eyepiece isn’t it? I guess with several barlows of different power and a thread in reducer or two you have more flexibility? What is the field of view? Is it limited like a CCD camera? You mention two filters? Why are filters needed? I thought the point was to enhance existing light. As I said, it’s interesting stuff. Still, it seems like a lot of tinkering with things to have much flexibility and I think the cost is beyond most people’s consideration. One could buy a lot of gas for many dark sky trips. Imonly have to go 25 miles from my house to get pretty dark skies.

I guess this is turning into a NV thread anyway. I’ll answer your questions.

 

Yes the eyepiece on the intensifier is fixed. However, there are "2 ways" to observe with NV: Prime focus, with no eyepieces in the optical train and afocal, using eyepieces in the optical train “after” the intensifier. Each has advantages.

 

With my three telescopes: a 102mm F5 refractor, a 120mm F7.5 refractor, a C8 and one reducer and one Barlow, I find that is all I need for deep sky observing using an intensifier. I can go as fast as F3.5 to as slow F20 and from a 350mm FL to a 4,000mm FL. There are of course many other choices of scopes and optical trains that can be used depending on what you want to observe.

 

The field of view is around 40-degrees. When most people hear that they cringe. But as "absolutely every" Night Vision observer will tell you, the field is “so rich with stars and objects” that you will “never miss” the wider but “much sparser” view of regular glass. A larger bucket won’t quench your thirst if there’s no water in it.

 

Yes in some ways an intensifier acts like a camera but the views are in "real-time".

 

The filters used are “not visual filters” they are the very strong filters that imagers use. One filter is used for nebula and one for non-nebula objects in mild to heavy light pollution. In a very black sky one can use no filters. The intensifier has so much light boost that one can actually use filters that are designed for imaging! This is the secret! The combination delivers so much added contrast that once completely invisible nebula become visible. Small, distant globulars that were just unresolved smudges now become resolved.

 

There is no tinkering. If when observing deep sky objects you use an OIII or deep sky filter, then changing filters on an intensifier is exactly the same procedure: screw on, screw off. 

 

You will see more at home with an intensifier than you will making those trips. And the simplicity of observing from home like you were observing from the sky at a national park cannot be overstated.

 

Want a quick look at the Flame and Horsehead Nebulas on a 25-degree night? You can do that from your home. You also don’t need to dark-adapt, so on those clear, cold nights, you can go back inside to warm up.

 

The cost is what it is. But many have spent much more and have not seen as much.

 

Many NV users also use handheld lenses with an intensifier for “extremely” wide fields of view for the ultimate, “hassle free” grab-and-go system that cannot be topped. Even the huge expanse of Barnard’s Loop can be observed.

 

Since I got the intensifier, I have not used an eyepiece for 99% of my deep sky observing in over 5-years.

 

Below is an image of one of my optical trains. Most items would also be used for visual observing.

 

From left to right…

1. The refractor optical tube, or any OTA
2. A GSO 2” focuser, or any 2” focuser
3. An Astro-Physics 2” diagonal
4. “Optional”: An Antares 2” .7 reducer
5. The 2” to 1.25 adapter that comes with most 2” diagonals
6. 1.25” filter (Ha or Pass) 6 or 7nm Ha filters are popular, 685 pass filters are popular in heavy light pollution
7. C-mount to 1.25” adapter (screwed on and stays on the nose of the intensifier)
6. The NVD Micro Intensifier

 

Bob

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Edited by bobhen, Yesterday, 03:40 PM.

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#180 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 11:11 AM

One of the deal breakers for me when I was researching the Tele Vue TNVC Night Vision, is that it cannot be used for prime focus.  You need to use an eyepiece with the TNVC.  At least this is my understanding.  Which makes sense, since Tele Vue sells eyepieces.  grin.gif  Or maybe this is an incorrect impression I received from posters here on CN?  thinking1.gif  Buying a turn-key system from Tele Vue sure would make things easier.

 

But I would want a more flexible system that can be used at prime focus and with eyepieces.  Not all DSOs have a large apparent size.  Most do not.  I'd also like to view small galaxies, open clusters, globulars and nebulae. When I've skimmed through the Night Vision Astronomy Quorum, though, the great emphasis seems to be on viewing the super big objects.  Or maybe that's because that's what the most vocal practitioners are interested in?  On the other hand, I would like to view the big stuff, too!

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, Yesterday, 11:23 AM.

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#181 Terra Nova

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Posted Yesterday, 02:49 PM

Thank you Bob for your detailed and informative answers. It certainly seems like an attractive option for some folks. As for myself, I’ve been cutting things way back and lessening my investment to a sum I am both comfortable and guilt-free with. At the same time, my effort in scaling down is to eliminate frustration and get back to a more hassle free, impromptu, easy observing style which actually gets me outside more, rather than less. I guess I’m just an old fashioned star gazer at heart. I don’t see myself taking a leap in this direction. I think it’s great for those who are so inclined, and perhaps you’ve made a convert or two here.


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#182 bobhen

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Posted Yesterday, 04:17 PM

One of the deal breakers for me when I was researching the Tele Vue TNVC Night Vision, is that it cannot be used for prime focus.  You need to use an eyepiece with the TNVC.  At least this is my understanding.  Which makes sense, since Tele Vue sells eyepieces.  grin.gif  Or maybe this is an incorrect impression I received from posters here on CN?  thinking1.gif  Buying a turn-key system from Tele Vue sure would make things easier.

 

But I would want a more flexible system that can be used at prime focus and with eyepieces.  Not all DSOs have a large apparent size.  Most do not.  I'd also like to view small galaxies, open clusters, globulars and nebulae. When I've skimmed through the Night Vision Astronomy Quorum, though, the great emphasis seems to be on viewing the super big objects.  Or maybe that's because that's what the most vocal practitioners are interested in?  On the other hand, I would like to view the big stuff, too!

 

Mike

Mike,

 

Yes, the TV system cannot be used at prime focus. And you are probably right TV still wants to sell eyepieces. But many use the TV system and they love it. The TV system does have its own advantages.

 

It would take exactly 2 phone calls to put together a Mod 3 intensifier system: one call to purchase the intensifier (from a NV retailer) and another to purchase the C-mount to 1.25” adapter and filters (from an astro retailer). It’s not complicated. A Mod 3 system can be used at both prime and afocal focus.

 

Globular clusters are spectacular using NV, as you can see more stars, as are open clusters. Many globular clusters that were previously unresolved will resolve with NV. Dark nebula both large and small, are also really spectacular and easy to see, which was a surprise to me. 

 

Last spring I used my C8 to observer 47 galaxies in a Bortle 8-9 zone, 6 of which I had not observed before in 35-years from this location, even with my 15” Dobsonian. Now, galaxies are very far away and you will not see the detail in real-time as you would with a long exposure image. With galaxies, think of an intensifier as adding aperture (light gathering capability) to your telescope. For example, when using glass, you will see more galaxies with a 20” mirror than you will with a 6” but the details in many galaxies even in the 20 will still be somewhat fleeting. That is kind of what happens with galaxies and night vision. Heck, when I was doing EAA, I found that there are a ton of galaxies that don’t show any details, even with a camera.

 

One of my best views of the planetary nebula M27 was with the C8 working at F7 at 1,400mm FL. The real-time NV view matched the detail in a 10 or 10-plus second EAA exposure. 

 

The great emphasis on large nebula is because most or many of these objects are faint, diffuse and lack the contrast needed  to be seen so they become difficult or impossible to observe visually with just glass. Before NV, many were considered imaging targets only.

 

Bob


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#183 Sarkikos

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Posted Yesterday, 04:45 PM

My prime telescope for NV would probably be the Bresser 8" f/3.9 Newt.  This is an astrograph with plenty of backfocus.  I could stack a filter wheel with the NVD.  

 

Mike



#184 YeloSub

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Posted Today, 12:53 AM

I am by no means an "experienced" observer in my book. But I have to agree that for most of my observations I prefer the dob mount for newts and alt az for widefield refractors...

But I personally love planetary and want a GEM to drive a large Mak or SCT as a dedicated moon/planetary setup at some point when I have space to have it more permanently setup.

Alt az is definitely easier though to get my rump out the door to a actually just observe to sky for all its worth.

Glad we have so many options these days!

Clear skies

Jake
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#185 Mrcloc

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Posted Today, 05:38 AM

I've been using my new dob (used to use one until about 9 years ago), and that's definitely something I prefer about the Maksutov - the EQ mount it's on. It's manual, but I find tracking a lot easier with it than moving the dob. I always put the tripod in more or less the same spot, so I don't have any setting up to do, just point and shoot, and then track for as long as I'd like to look at whatever it is I'm looking at. I also find it's a little more cumbersome to take the dob apart, move the two parts outside, and then put it back together again - maybe someday I'll have a way of carrying the parts together. What I do like about the dob is that you can quickly hop from object to object if you're not going to be looking for long at only one.

 

That said, I've seen the wires and setup for AP or EV viewing, and it looks like a hassle I won't put up with for long. In fact, I tried an electronic eyepiece in my telescope, and that wiring was enough for me to not do that all the time. It is something I want to do, especially for outreach, but for the 2-3 times a week, carrying the manual scope to viewing location is easier, and something I'm more likely to do.

 

It's also easier to travel with a small scope on an EQ. It's easier to carry in to the tent or other accommodation, and easier to carry out to use. In other words, it's not about fitting it into the packing space, but rather about usability.


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#186 bobhen

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Posted Today, 05:51 AM

My prime telescope for NV would probably be the Bresser 8" f/3.9 Newt.  This is an astrograph with plenty of backfocus.  I could stack a filter wheel with the NVD.  

 

Mike

I think you would find that all of your listed telescopes ( including the slower C8) would deliver the goods. Your other scopes would just offer different perspectives.

 

With NV, the intensifier adds so much light boost that light gathering (aperture) is not as important as it is with regular observing. With NV, as with EAA/imaging, things like" field of view" and "focal length" become more important, depending on the objects you want to observe.

 

Bob 




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