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Thread: Nebular Filters

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    chelseablue's Avatar
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    Default Nebular Filters



    I just noticed recently that some telescope manufacturer sell these nebular/light pollution filters- broadband and a couple different narrow band types. Does anyone have experience with and/or an opinion of these? I'm reading a lot of mixed reviews. I live in an orange zone and I'm looking at the possibility of getting the Orion SkyGlow broadband but I'm unsure if its worth the investment.

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    Nebula filters work. Of that there should be no doubt. The thing is dark skies will work too and in most cases are needed PLUS the filter for maximum effect.
    You would be bettere off IMO spending some money on gas and getting right away from LP. This would be the best bet.
    Nebula filters will work from urban skies but they are not magic, they cannot reverse the effect of thousands of streetlights. But from dark skies where they have a chance then they really can show some breathtaking views. The veil nebula, for example can look photographic through a large scope fitted with an O-III filter.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    Thanks for the reply. I ended up ordering the broadband filter but I was tempted to get that O-III but they're much pricier- another time maybe. I'm glad you said they do work, I felt I was taking a gamble with buying it without knowing.

    You say not to expect magic but what might I expect? Just really dim fuzzies a little less dim?

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    You must chose and pick your filter depending on what you wish to see. Narrowband filters are useful for objects like the Veil nebula but you need dark skies. Read on David Knisleys article about Filters and you will learn more. Just google it.
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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    I have the Orion Skyglow filter and it helps. I used in my last location, a white zone and the difference in the backgroud was significant. Just got to my new location, a red/orange, but haven't tried it here. Will do that soon, but the difference I've seen due to my move is far more than the filter gave me.
    Clear Skies

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    Filters work by filtering light so they don't make objects brighter what they do is increase contrast by filtering out unwanted light ie LP.
    For this reason they only work on emission nebulae or those reflecting emission line stars and nothing else.
    They don't work on galaxies, globs, open clusters or nearly all reflection nebulae. For these dark skie are the only way.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    Great replies so far.

    Here is a great write-up on the different kinds of nebula filters: Light Pollution and Narrow-Band Filters

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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    I tried my nebula filters for the first time the night before last. In fact it was more or less the first real effort with my AR152 as well because I'm currently getting the focuser fixed and using a loaner single dial for now. To save some money I picked up the Zhumell filter kit of 2" filters which included the UHC, OIII, Skyglow and polarizing moon filter. The moon filter works great to begin with. After aligning the mount I chose the tour mode of known objects paying particular attention to nebulae. Unfortunately I didn't keep an activity log of where the scope took me, but I did appreciate the performance of the UHC filter, it does enhance the views. Based on memory and thats even more speculation; I viewed the Dumbell, Eagle, Helix, Hercules Cluster, Lagoon Nebula, Ring Nebula, Swan, Veil and Trifid Nebula. Out of the above I recall the Dumbell, Lagoon, Hercules, Ring, Swan and I believe it was either the Helix or Trifid that provided an outstanding view with the UHC filter in place. On a few occasions I replaced the UHC with the OIII and generally the OIII didn't work as well. Again, I'm guessing and I've heard OIII filters do better with larger aperture scopes and they also have a niche as to what type or composition of nebula you are viewing. They excell on certain types and not so much on others, so that simply tells me to do a little more outside research and narrow the field of targets to view when using the OIII. I think I bookmarked a very good site documenting what filter works best and where, it might be the same as the write up Skaven provided, I'll have to check. There was one or two occasions when using the UHC the image showed a little on the dim side. To remedy the brightness I simply removed the filter and this improved the view. I know there are some variables here and this is something that I consider normal under the circumstances, there were many more improved views than dim ones so overall the filters are worth the investment.

    Another factor of course is the eyepiece. I had the best success using a mid range 2" 17mm prototype I bought from Vic at Stellarvue. I didn't expect much from an unnamed piece, but it served very well for capturing large nebulae accompanied by awesome views. It was the classic porthole effect I've heard others mention when describing what they see and the sensation they experience when looking through the eyepiece.

    Lastly, obviously I haven't had a chance yet to do some filter comparisons, its very likely there will be performance differences, thats life. The Zhumell filter kit is considered a low end product based on cost alone. I didn't want to spend a lot of dough on filters because I needed some key eyepieces instead. The filter reviews were good enough at this price point so I figured I wouldn't be out much if they were a total failure, but I knew they wouldn't be. If memory serves me correctly, the kit was only around $118 for the four pieces. Expect to pay that and more for just a single filter. I can't advise if I got what I paid for, but I can say the enhanced view was well worth buying the Zhumells. One of these days I'll try to arrange a comparison test so I'll really know where I stand with them.
    Last edited by John999R; 06-19-2012 at 12:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Nebular Filters

    That was a great read, thanks for that Skaven.
    Based on reading that I'm glad I got the Skyview, I can't wait for winter to try it on the Orion nebula. I think once I pay down my credit card some I'll consider another filter but until then I really need to find some darker skies. I love living near Seattle but I hate its LP.

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