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Thread: Galaxies and how to view discussion

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    Nomma's Avatar
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    Default Galaxies and how to view discussion



    Okay, starting this thread for a full on community in depth discussion on getting the most out of your eyes and scope when it comes to galaxies..

    As most know I just got the ad12 and I live in bortle 3/4 skies with pretty good seeing conditions however.. getting that super crisp quality of galaxies is still something I'm lacking. With the amatuer newbie knowledge I have I am aware that galaxies require dark skies and massive light absorbtion in combo with eyes that will handle it. So I want to break this into a couple different areas and get the community involved here.

    Eyepieces: what truly works the best and why

    Filters: do you use them what do you use them and why.

    Aperature: for the people that get those amazing dust lane views.. what size what mirror maker what focal speed.

    Your eyes: vitamins eyepatches eye drops eye training.. things you guys do to keep your eyes in top shape for Galaxy hunting.
    Mike.
    100% beginner.
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 with telrad. Tasco galaxsee 45 on an equitorial mount. Vivitar 2inch refractor on basic tripod.
    Eyepieces: Apertura 30mm 2" superview. Apertura 9mm plossl. GSO 32mm plossl. GSO 1.25" 2x shorty Barlow.
    Photography: coolpixl110 on a basic tripod.

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    The key is aperture. Go to a star party to find out. Here's the 28" Dob that I get to see through once a year at the RTMC, the view of the whirlpool galaxy is amazing. Color if I remember correctly, no averted vision.

    http://www.whiteoaks.com/gcsp2001/800/Dscn0703.jpg
    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Nomma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    Star parties don't exist near me ): next thing I'm thinking of doing once I get some experience is heading up a local astronomy club. Or at least throwing a line out to see who bites
    Mike.
    100% beginner.
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 with telrad. Tasco galaxsee 45 on an equitorial mount. Vivitar 2inch refractor on basic tripod.
    Eyepieces: Apertura 30mm 2" superview. Apertura 9mm plossl. GSO 32mm plossl. GSO 1.25" 2x shorty Barlow.
    Photography: coolpixl110 on a basic tripod.

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    CamelHat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomma View Post
    Star parties don't exist near me ): next thing I'm thinking of doing once I get some experience is heading up a local astronomy club. Or at least throwing a line out to see who bites
    The one I mentioned is a 5 to 6 hour drive one way for me but it lasts 5 days with many excellent presentations and is well worth the trouble.
    ... Henk. Telescopes: 6" Mak-Newt (Comet Hunter), ES ED127CF, ES ED80, Zhumell Z12, Coulter Odyssey 10, AT6RC, Venture RX-7, Celestron Skymaster 20x80, Mounts and tripod: Losmandy G11S, AVX, LXD55, Tiltall, Cameras: Fuji X-a1, Canon SX40, Xt, XSi, T6, ELPH 100HS, DIY: Dob and camera barndoor trackers, afocal adapter, Dob with foldable base and Az/Alt setting circles, Accessories: SSAG, Plossls, Barlows, Telrad, laser collimators (Seben LK1, Z12, Howie Glatter), Cheshire, 2 Orion RACIs 8x50, Software: DSS, ImageMagick, PHD, Nebulosity, Photo Gallery, Gimp, CHDK

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    That I would do hahaha.
    Mike.
    100% beginner.
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 with telrad. Tasco galaxsee 45 on an equitorial mount. Vivitar 2inch refractor on basic tripod.
    Eyepieces: Apertura 30mm 2" superview. Apertura 9mm plossl. GSO 32mm plossl. GSO 1.25" 2x shorty Barlow.
    Photography: coolpixl110 on a basic tripod.

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomma View Post
    Eyepieces: what truly works the best and why
    Depends on personal taste to some extent, and exit pupil (not eye relief).

    For myself, I do like a wider apparent field of view with galaxy hunting, hence my preference of my ES 82º series for this endeavor, but I don't use those exclusively. I also like to employ my orthoscopics as they yield better contrast and transmissivity vs. the ES.

    Exit pupil: for me, I like starting out with an exit pupil of around 5mm and then work my way down to around 2mm for most galaxies. This equates, with my AD12, to eyepieces in a range between a 24mm to a 9mm. Occasionally, if the sky supports it, I will use a smaller exit pupil on really small galaxies. For the larger, broad, and face-on low-surface-brightness galaxies, a larger exit pupil is helpful to me.

    Filters: do you use them what do you use them and why.
    No, no filters required for galaxy observing. They don't really help, and they cut the light down too much.

    Aperature: for the people that get those amazing dust lane views.. what size what mirror maker what focal speed.
    Very few galaxies will offer views of dust lanes and structure. The brighter Messier galaxies can, on nights of excellent transparency, sometimes offer up these views. However, these may not be readily apparent. With practice and experience, one can begin to pick this stuff out, but it is quite subtle. Of course, the larger the aperture, the easier this can be, and the darker the sky, the better also. This is also a case of the more you observe, the more you begin to see.

    Your eyes: vitamins eyepatches eye drops eye training.. things you guys do to keep your eyes in top shape for Galaxy hunting.
    Nothing wrong with vitamins for overall well-being, but I don't think eyedrops would be especially beneficial. No alcohol to constrict blood flow. Seems like I've read that even smoking can have a bit of a negative effect too.

    I usually set up before dark, and then approximately a half hour prior to observing time, I'll don an eyepatch over my observing eye to get a jumpstart on dark adaptation. Also, a cloth over the head (inverted t-shirt, old bath towel) while at the eyepiece can significantly cut down on the stray light intrusion. Often a few deep breaths to increase your oxygen level in the blood can help too, and taking a break and walking around a bit during observing is helpful. If you have to go inside for anything (bathroom break, or to grab something you forgot), flip the eyepatch down over your observing eye. Use only dim light sources while outside (such as red) to consult charts or atlases, and if you must use a tablet or phone app, make sure your brightness settings are very low and night mode is engaged. Helpful with these is to not use your observing eye to consult the app. Keep it closed and use the other eye.

    And give this a read if you have not already: Why Can't I See That Galaxy?
    Last edited by bladekeeper; 03-02-2019 at 06:36 PM. Reason: backward brackets
    Bryan

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    Galaxy Hunter's Creed - When you play whack-a-mole, sometimes you hit 'em on the head, sometimes you miss 'em. But its always fun to play, and if you don't play, you ain't gettin no moles! - KT4HX

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    Awesome excellent answers. I'm hoping this will really help all of new gazers learn and grow and use as a resource!
    Mike.
    100% beginner.
    Scopes: Apertura AD12 with telrad. Tasco galaxsee 45 on an equitorial mount. Vivitar 2inch refractor on basic tripod.
    Eyepieces: Apertura 30mm 2" superview. Apertura 9mm plossl. GSO 32mm plossl. GSO 1.25" 2x shorty Barlow.
    Photography: coolpixl110 on a basic tripod.

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    The three main requirements for galaxy hunting are dark skies, patience and practice. If you are just setting out on viewing galaxies, then you may be disappointed in the beginning. Remember that galaxies are very far away, and are, in the main, very faint objects. So, don't just view galaxies, view other objects as well, things like star clusters, globular clusters and nebulae, and throw a few galaxies in throughout the session.

    Start with a few that are easier to see, at this time of year that would include M81, M82 and M108 in Ursa Major, M94, M63 and M51 in Canis Venatici, and M65 and M66 in Leo. In the next couple of months, the Virgo-Coma cluster galaxies will be visible at a reasonable hour, and there are some lovely objects there.

    Start off with a low magnification eyepiece, and take your time. Spend a few minutes looking at the galaxy with a couple of different eyepieces, and try averted vision.

    Everyone has their own favourite eyepieces, my preference is to start with a 24mm Televue Panoptic, then move down to a Meade 14mm ultrawide, and, if conditions allow, a 10mm Speers Waler. The Speers Waler gives 120x in my dob, and there is no real point in going any higher than this, as the light from the galaxy will start to spread out and you will lose the capacity to get a good focus. It is usually a good idea to focus on a star in or near the field of view before moving the scope on to the galaxy itself. But most of your galaxy hunting should be with an eyepiece giving somewhere in the region of 60-80x. The Explore 18mm would be an excellent choice for your telescope.

    Filters do not help with galaxy viewing, although, on, for instance, M33, a filter will allow a slightly better view of star-forming regions within the galaxy

    Bryan's suggestion about using an eyepatch and a towel over your head is a good one, and will definitely help with keeping your dark adaption. Plan your session before starting, use a red light torch to read maps and keep notes, and don't be looking at those mobile phone sky maps every five minutes.
    Last edited by hal2000; 03-02-2019 at 06:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    And most importantly keep observing. By putting in time and keeping detailed logs of what you observe with what equipment you will progress fast.
    mandomom, 10538 and bladekeeper like this.

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    Default Re: Galaxies and how to view discussion

    Since 1996 I loved hunting the faint fuzzies. Still do at multiday star parties. At home, well I've completely changed my viewing paradigm. Remote scopes and wifi EAA in the warmth of my house. No comparison. That being said several things really help me using my C8 in viewing galaxies. Dark adaption, using different magnifications, peripheral vision (and moving the target around in the view to get the "best spot" for both direct and peripheral vision). Moonless nights and no bright lights no matter what the color - even made sure the HC was on the lowest brightness as well as tape over all diodes. Drank herb teas instead of coffee. Just little things I learned to do over the years (especially as I chased the Herschel 2500). Did I mention Patience? Lots, and lots of Patience.
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