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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects



    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    One thing about averted vision I have found is that I have a distinct sweet spot. By testing the results of averted vision at all eye positions, I found that my biggest gain is when I am looking slightly above the object, where its light strikes my eye slightly below center. That is the position where I pick up the largest increase in object brightness and size. I recommend everyone also do this check to see if they can pin down one eye position that is just a little better.
    Alan, thanks for this wisdom. I gave this a shot this evening, and I was really amazed. I pulled out a couple of faint ones this evening (report in the reports forum) after I found my sweet spot. I feel like I leveled up on my averted vision.
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Yeah, I find the edges sometimes distracting too and wish I had a Edge now but I hope there's some other way (flattener, etc.) that I can achieve that later. I am trying my best to train my brain to recognise true DSOs from aberrations at the edge which so far seems to be going okay - my gotos have generally been excellent and seeing is great usually too, so that has helped.

    Regarding the focus back and forth, yeah, for me, when things go in and out of the field of view, it highlights it against a dark background. For me I find it works best on the faintest DSOs and for the faintest features within the brigher DSOs. I also do this the NPB filter. I wonder if the fact that I have only one functional eye plays a role. I had two eyes functional until age 10 (lost one to a bottle rocket) and when that happened, my depth perception actually got better and I can even "see" a small bit of 3D in 3D movies. Apparently people to whom this happens compensate for the loss of stereoscopic vision by using motion and other cues so my one eye is probably (actually almost certainly) trained to behave differently now than before I lost it.

    (I normally never talk about my eye but since I've started this hobby, I've talked about it a lot, no surprise).

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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Glad to hear it Bryan. I cannot state whether every individual has a true definable sweet spot, but I suspect that we all likely do. It just takes experimentation to find it so that we can max out our AV capability. Well done!
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Quote Originally Posted by ramdom View Post
    Yeah, I find the edges sometimes distracting too and wish I had a Edge now but I hope there's some other way (flattener, etc.) that I can achieve that later. I am trying my best to train my brain to recognise true DSOs from aberrations at the edge which so far seems to be going okay - my gotos have generally been excellent and seeing is great usually too, so that has helped.

    Regarding the focus back and forth, yeah, for me, when things go in and out of the field of view, it highlights it against a dark background. For me I find it works best on the faintest DSOs and for the faintest features within the brigher DSOs. I also do this the NPB filter. I wonder if the fact that I have only one functional eye plays a role. I had two eyes functional until age 10 (lost one to a bottle rocket) and when that happened, my depth perception actually got better and I can even "see" a small bit of 3D in 3D movies. Apparently people to whom this happens compensate for the loss of stereoscopic vision by using motion and other cues so my one eye is probably (actually almost certainly) trained to behave differently now than before I lost it.

    (I normally never talk about my eye but since I've started this hobby, I've talked about it a lot, no surprise).

    --Ram
    That is quite interesting Ram. I know I've always heard that when we lose one sense, that we typically gain in the others. So, perhaps it is that since you lost use of one eye, your body has compenstated and made your remaining one a bit more sensitive in various ways. I certainly do not get the same sense of the fainter DSOs, nor fainter details in the brighter ones in the same manner that you do. So it really is quite interesting the ways in which we can all vary optically. I would think that a field flattener would help with that EOF breakdown. I don't know if you have considered a focal reducer to also give you a little wider field or not? There are some ways to manipulate what we are using to gain some improvements. Happy viewing!
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Alan, yeah, I'm mulling on which FR to get. I'm thinking of either the Mallincam MFR 5 II or get the Denkmeier 2" diagonal with the FR/FE slider (and the filter slider) and then get a few 2" wide field EPs to match. I'm getting a CCD video cam soon so then if I adopt that approach, that diagonal may not be necessary - it's unclear. I didn't think I'd enjoy visual observing so much but I am having fun finding objects even though they're not really that much better than fuzzy patches (except for star clusters and stars in the background in general---man, the detail I can see with the 9.25" is quite amazing). So I always wanted to do the VA thing and I will but if I do that I'm not sure how much I should invest in visual related stuff. The problem with getting too many things (I'm already planning my ED Apo purchase) is that I think one needs to play with the toys you have first before you get new ones (I try to tell this to my kids).

    Yeah, when I lost my eye all my senses became heightened. Not as much as in the case of those people who lose both eyes that I ran into at the hospital and later (apparently losing one or both eyes to fireworks is not uncommon) but significant enough that in hearing range tests like the one you can do at the SF Exploratorium I could beat all my friends. I also had sharp eyesight, taste, and smell. The latter two I still have but the others I've lost due to abuse - my hearing went after going to a LOT of concerts and listening to loud music. Similarly, I need glasses since I started computing with those green CRT monitors day in and day out and then one day everything started to look a bit blurry. It became better but I didn't stop using those terminals and then it became permanent. Fortunately, monitor technology has improved a lot since once I started using high end monitor that problem seems to have been halted.
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    There certainly is no end of ways to spend money in this hobby. Though truth be told, most hobbies wind up being that way. I really can only afford one at a time as it is, and astronomy, being my first real hobby as a child, is the one I've settled on to take me through the rest of what life I have left. My hearing isn't the best either, but mostly due to work environment and some due to hobbies. Not near deaf mind you, but my hearing aids certainly do open up a new world for me when I use them. I tend to observe without them, so something could possibly sneak up on me in the dark. But I can still usually hear owls or the snap of a twig at night provided its close enough to me. Biggest problem is I tend to get so absorbed in my observing that I often block out a lot what is around me, so maybe a black bear might walk up on me at the dark site! Good luck with all your choices, and hope they work out well for you.

    Sorry Dave, Ram and I kinda wandered off topic a little. Back to your regular programming now.
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    One thing about averted vision I have found is that I have a distinct sweet spot. By testing the results of averted vision at all eye positions, I found that my biggest gain is when I am looking slightly above the object, where its light strikes my eye slightly below center. That is the position where I pick up the largest increase in object brightness and size. I recommend everyone also do this check to see if they can pin down one eye position that is just a little better.

    Another thing the article touched on that is of more importance than many may realize is the fact that our eyes are more sensitive to moving dim objects than stationary ones. The tube tapping and drift methods are excellent ways to confirm the presence of suspected dim, extended objects.

    Also, by moving the suspected object just out of the FOV and letting it drift back into view and across the FOV with the normal motion of the stars is a good way to detect sublte shading variations against the background sky.
    I'm with you on this one Alan, I've spent a lot of time observing double stars and some of the tricks mentioned here can help with doubles too. i find the up/down averted vision helps as sometimes it can reduce glare. letting an object drift is also another trick i use along with aperture masking. Tapping the mount has worked for me in the past as well.

    I still think that understanding what's "achievable" with your own equipment and observing conditions is more important than anything.

    Don't be taken in when someone tells you that a certain telescope will show you one object or another. For the first few months i wondered why i couldn't see what others were seeing, i used the same equipment and tricks without success only to find some time later that sky brightness was the underlying issue. It took a trip to a dark sky site to work that one out.

    so my tip is "go to a dark sky site" it will reassure you that the equipment you own isn't at fault. Or is! depening on what you've got
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Its funny, we talk about draping a dark cloth over our heads to block out extraneous light and keep our eye and eyepiece in a dark environment. I get a sense that maybe some people are a little shy about of doing that sometimes. One reason could be that they are afraid to take away their peripheral vision of the surrounding area because they don't feel exactly safe where they are observing, or maybe they are a bit claustrophobic, or perhaps in cold weather they have issues with eyepiece fogging from breath when the cloth is over their head. In cold weather I tend to exhale by keeping my lips closed and directing my exhaled breaths out the corner of my mouth farthest from the eyepiece. Be that as it may, the below link shows one possible solution for those that for one reason or another simply don't want to cover their heads. Looks intersting, but to my way of thinking, it looks like it could easily get in the way of normal head movement between focuser and finder scope (be it a unity or RACI, or both). I could see myself poking myself in the eye in the dark on the edge of the shield, and then I'd need two eyepatches!

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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    Its funny, we talk about draping a dark cloth over our heads to block out extraneous light and keep our eye and eyepiece in a dark environment. I get a sense that maybe some people are a little shy about of doing that sometimes.
    I wear a coat with a hood in winter or a hooded sweatshirt in summer. I also have a shed and a garage that block light from the street, i quite often setup in the shadows as this can make a small difference. I still think i get better results by spending minutes rather than seconds on each observed object. i go through a kind of ritual with each object so i can see it from every angle possible.
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    I had a chance to try the averted vision check last night with the binoculars but wasn't quite working for me - I wonder if this is valid with binoculars as I suppose each eye may be different?

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