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Thread: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

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    Question Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?



    I live in a relatively light polluted area, which makes it hard (but not entirely impossible) for me to see and image DSOs. The main limiting factor is that the ambient sky glow is just too much, which of course washes out dimmer objects and puts more strain on processing images. Because of this, I recently have been doing a lot of research on light pollution filters as a possible solution, and was hoping to get some advice from some of you who have experience with them.

    Also, just as a side note... I also recently purchased an Orion 5587 1.25-Inch H-Alpha Extra-Narrowband Filter which I plan on using for nebulas. If my experimenting with that goes well, I am interested in getting OIII and SII filters and doing mapped color images... but that's a whole other issue.

    Anyway... my main questions about light pollution filters are as follows:

    1. How well do they really work? I've done tons of research on them and seem to have found mixed options. Some people swear by them, while others say they do very little in the way of helping with DSO imaging.
    2. How much does cost matter? What is the difference between a really expensive LP filter, and a lower end one? Is this one of those things where it's wise to buy the more expensive one, or will the cheaper one suffice?
    3. Do you have any particular filter that you would suggest?


    Thanks in advance
    ~Ashley

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    Hello Ashley,

    I can't speak about imaging, as I am purly visual.
    However, you already have an H-Alpha filter, and the most usual way will be to complement it with an RGB(L) set. The Baader RGB(L) CCD set RGB-CCD-Einzelfilter, L-RGB und L-RGB-C CCD Filtersätze bei Baader Planetarium - Zubehoer, Sektion 43c has a green/red gap on the annoying yellow Natrium doublet in the light pollution, and a blue/green overlap on the OIII doublet in the nebular emission, which improves the color balance H-Alpha against OIII, see the curves http://www.baader-planetarium.de/sek...rgbc_gross.gif The green/red gap kills the worst in the light pollution.
    This may be the start, before you add the narrow-band OIII and SII filters to your equipment. And again, these both filters should be in the CCD quality grade.

    Others here may offer suggestion on the light pollution filters, clear sky, and broad band UHC filters, for imaging.

    Best,

    JG
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    I'm watching the thread with interest, as a transplant from middle of nowhere western SD with incredibly dark skies to eastern NC, where even the "rural" skies are comparatively light polluted.

    So far, I've found observing and imaging DSO's to be disappointing, compared to what I used to see.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    I have ordered an Orion Skyglow Imaging Filter (be careful, there is a similarly named much cheaper Skyglow broadband filter which is not near the same thing). I don't have it yet to give you my report, but it is supposed to be very similar (but less expensive esp. if you are in the US) to what most people consider the best light pollution filter, the IDAS LPS. If you look at their transmission graphs they have much more transmissive and blocking peaks than other, simpler filters like the Astronomik CLS etc, which difference reportedly has an impact in performance.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    Filters can be called the same thing by the many companies who offer them. The key is knowing which one is top quality, and actually will perform the task you want out of that filter. I am not that knowledgeable of filters, , but I do know that you need to ask questions here on AF's to help you find the filter that will give you the performance for the task you give it.

    So far I have only purchased one filter for visual, and that was an Astronomik UHC filter. I've viewed through an Orion UHC, and while the Orion was good, it seemed the Astronomik provided just a bit better visual image.

    You might want to look at photos, say on Astrobin, that have mentioned what filters they used to achieve the image. If what you see, pleases your eyes, then that probably is a filter you might want to try. To me, filters are just about a hit and miss thing, but getting some opinions here and doing research can narrow down the multitude of choices to just a few. Best wishes to you and I hope your find that filter that will fit your needs. Caley
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    Default

    I use the Astronomik CLS-CCD light pollution filter which is a clip-in filter designed for most Canon DSLR's, and it works very good. I also have a less expensive light pollution filter made by Celestron which was the first filter I ever bought and it didn't perform very well and kinda gave me a bad vibe to all filters for quite some time but when I got the Astronomik CLS-CCD my thoughts on filters changed to they're necessary.

    So to answer your question on price differences I'll say go for the higher end filter based on my experience where the $100 filter was junk compared to the $260 filter, but maybe someone will chime in and let us know of a good less expensive filter.

    What camera do you use?
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by j.gardavsky View Post
    However, you already have an H-Alpha filter, and the most usual way will be to complement it with an RGB(L) set.
    Thanks for that suggestion. I will definitely be doing some more research down that route.


    Quote Originally Posted by ecuadorgr View Post
    I have ordered an Orion Skyglow Imaging Filter (be careful, there is a similarly named much cheaper Skyglow broadband filter which is not near the same thing). I don't have it yet to give you my report, but it is supposed to be very similar (but less expensive esp. if you are in the US) to what most people consider the best light pollution filter, the IDAS LPS. If you look at their transmission graphs they have much more transmissive and blocking peaks than other, simpler filters like the Astronomik CLS etc, which difference reportedly has an impact in performance.
    I would be curious to hear how you like the Orion Skyglow Filter. That is one of the filters that I have previously heard of along with the IDAS LPS. I suppose that comparing the transmission graphs would be a really good way to compare different filters, not sure why I never thought of that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jameedon View Post
    I also have a less expensive light pollution filter made by Celestron which was the first filter I ever bought and it didn't perform very well and kinda gave me a bad vibe to all filters for quite some time but when I got the Astronomik CLS-CCD my thoughts on filters changed to they're necessary.

    So to answer your question on price differences I'll say go for the higher end filter based on my experience where the $100 filter was junk compared to the $260 filter, but maybe someone will chime in and let us know of a good less expensive filter
    Thanks for your insight, it seems so far that the general consensus is that price really does make a huge difference.


    Also @Jameedon and @ecuadorgr, I use a Canon 60D with a NexStar 6SE telescope.
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashleyy View Post
    I would be curious to hear how you like the Orion Skyglow Filter. That is one of the filters that I have previously heard of along with the IDAS LPS. I suppose that comparing the transmission graphs would be a really good way to compare different filters, not sure why I never thought of that.
    If the weather permits (I'm in the UK), I should be able to show you before/after comparison next week when it comes, from a "red" LP location. But, yeah, the transmission graphs at least show you roughly what category each filter is. For example the IDAS LPS and the Orion Imaging are the same category, blocking multiple artificial light each separately while allowing wavelengths between them. The Astronomik CLS is a different category, it just blocks a wide band where all the artificial lights lie, trying to do the same thing more coarsely, which is why people say the IDAS is worth the extra money (the Orion is relatively new AFAIK which is why it has not been compared to so widely - plus it doesn't help that there is also a "Skyglow" visual filter which is not related). There are "lighter" filters like the Baader Neodymium which I have heard is helpful for specific situations (depends on your LP) and then there are the "heavier" that block much more in order to bring out more nebulosity contrast, like the Baader UHC-S etc, which will bring out more nebular detail (with longer exposures of course, but still less than the narrowband filters like OIII etc).
    So far I have tried a Celestron UHC/LPR which looks like the same general type as the Astronomik CLS, but it is probably not as good judging from the price (and the less steep transmission graph) and it did not help as much as I expected, a dirt cheap chinese ("Kson") UHC filter, which seemed to give better results (but cut more light, so I guess it was not hard to be better) so this time I thought I would go for one of the best. Ok, most people say the IDAS is THE best, but dammit it they overdo it with its price!
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a Light Pollution Filter?

    Quote Originally Posted by ecuadorgr View Post
    If the weather permits (I'm in the UK), I should be able to show you before/after comparison next week when it comes, from a "red" LP location.
    That would be awesome.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ecuadorgr View Post
    So far I have tried a Celestron UHC/LPR which looks like the same general type as the Astronomik CLS, but it is probably not as good judging from the price (and the less steep transmission graph) and it did not help as much as I expected
    Those are the 2 filters I have and the Celestron filter sucks, and more so when compared to the Astronomik.
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