Clouds, Some Clear Spots & My 80mm....

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Clouds, Some Clear Spots & My 80mm....

Postby Dan Chieppa » Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:58 am

Greetings,
Finally got in some eyepiece time on Sunday night, actually early Monday as I set up at 12:05AM. I'd been checking the sky every hour and watching the clear spots grow in size. By midnight there was enough clear sky to make it worth setting up my Stellarvue 80mm on its alt-azimuth mount. The setup took just a few minutes and I was sweeping Lyra with a 23mm EP. I found M57 without difficult even in my light polluted sky here in New Bedford. The Moon was not an issue tonight as it was well to my west and hidden by a tree.
The Ring Nebular is described as magnitude 8.8 in Messier Marathon by Don Machholz. The size is given as 2' in diameter. I wanted to try out some filters I have to see if the view could be improved. After some reading I decided to try my Meade Broadband filter first. I tried four different EPs, a 23mm ER, 16mm ER, 12.5 OR and my Televue 11mm Plossl. Each view was made without the filter in place and then viewed again with the filter in place. In my 80mm telescope the view was nice but not spectacular. Even with the 11mm Plossl the magnification was only 43.6x. The dark core of the Ring was enhanced but not by much. I understand that nebular filters like the Meade 4000 series work best in a dark sky. I don't have a dark sky so perhaps the views would have been better had I set up at a friend's house out in Rochester. No street lights out there and no porch lights. It's worth trying some night.
Next up, my Meade Narrowband filter. Same deal, each EP was used without the filter in place and then another view with the filter. The view with the filter was darker but the image had more contrast. I know the image would be better with more aperture but with the sky as unpredictable as it was I didn't want to set up the 5-inch refractor or my 10-inch SCT. That's for another night.
I spent about 30 minutes viewing M57 before moving on to a very nice double star, Albireo, in Cygnus. This is a beautiful pair, yellow and blue, when viewed with the 11mm Televue. Both stars were pinpoints of light as they should be. I switched out the 11mm and popped in my 23mm. Nice FOV with this EP and I was about to move on to the Dumbbell Nebular but took one last look at Albiero. At 12:56AM a satellite passed through the FOV traveling south to north. Right place at the right time. I've had a lot of luck seeing satellites when I'm viewing to my east.
I went inside to make some quick notes about my observations. I was outside again at 1:05 AM and the sky was completely clouded over. I felt cheated! However, I did get in nearly one hour of viewing and spent that time on just two objects, M57 and Albireo. Some nights are better than others. Considering the crappy weather the last few days I'll take the one hour. :lol:
Clear skies,
Dan
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Postby Pete » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:14 pm

Thanks for the report Dan. I haven't found any filters to help with M57. And as you probably noticed, putting one of these filters on an 80mm scope gives you the light throughput of a 20mm scope. Best save your filters for the 10".

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Postby Dark Helmet » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:01 pm

Dan,

I find using filters can be a hit or miss kinda thing. Some objects they work great and other not so great. Like Pete mentioned filter can really knock down the like throughput of your scope so the image may look better but not so bright in the scope.

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Postby Dan Chieppa » Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:32 am

Matt or anyone reading this post,
In your opinion, any advantage to buying the Televue or Lumicon brands over Meade or Orion? Pretty big difference in price. I'm asking because I'm in the market for a 2-inch O-III filter.
Clear skies,
Dan
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Postby Dark Helmet » Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:11 am

Dan,

Yes there is a big price difference in filters made by Televue, Lumicon, Meade, Orion etc. Given my six or so years as a lens manufacture I can tell you that you basically get what you pay for when it comes to filters. The advantage of Lumicon over any body else's filter's is quality control, high quality of the filter's glass material, and the way and or type of coating used on the filter. Yes, you could argue that one gets the same or better view from a Meade/Orion filter than through a Lumicon but the Lumicon filter will last you life time and is much better in terms of quality.

One bad experience I had with an Orion Deep Sky filter was tha there was a wave in the glass of the filter cause the image to curve a bit in the eyepiece. It was the most annoying thing ever. So, I showed the filter to Mark, with his 10 to 15 years a licensed optician and sure enough the was a wave in the glass on the filter.

Also, I liked to mention that if you eventually get into phottography better filter will lead to less frustration and more consistant results.

Last but not least the re-sale value of Lumicon filter is 80-90 percent of its origianl purchase price. Where as a Meade or Orion filter your lucky to get 40 percent of what you originally paid for it.

Therefor I can recommend only two companies to buy filter's from in my experience:

Lumicon

Thousand Oaks Optical

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Postby Dan Chieppa » Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:49 pm

Hi Matt,
Thanks for the feedback. It's sorta what I expected to hear and it makes a lot of sense. I'll keep an eye out for the Lumicon and Thousand Oaks filters as you suggest.
Clear skies,
Dan
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Postby Dark Helmet » Sun Jun 25, 2006 1:24 pm

Dan,

Keep your eye out on Astromart, Cloudynights, and Ebay for Lumincon filters. Just be a bit more cautious on Ebay. Lumicon filters come up all the time and buying used should not be a problem as long as the previous owner used but not abused the filter. Thousand Oaks filters are hard to come buy on the used market. Mainly with Thousand Oaks you either buy new or get those filters at a discount at NEAF or similar astro events.

Not that I am "pushing" Mark's ClearVue Optics but I hear his Antares lines of filters is pretty good. I have used a deep sky filter he sales and it was really good.

If you want to go crazy with this try checking out Andover Filter Corp. in Salem NH. Just do a simple Google search and Andover should pop up. Mark let me borrow either a DeepSky or Nebulae filter from this company he was thinking of becoming a dealer ,for. Wow, was that a sweet filter and just about blew away my Lumicon especially when I was using it with my digital camera.

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Postby Dan Chieppa » Sun Jun 25, 2006 1:45 pm

Matt,
Thanks again for the added info. It's all good to know. I will take a peek at the Andover filters you mentioned.
I'll also give a look at the Antares line. I don't mind throwing some business Mark's way. :)
Clear skies,
Dan
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Postby Pete » Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:56 pm

I hate of introduce a conflicting opinion here guys, but I think the world of my 2" Orion UltraBlock (narrow band) filter, and Phil Harrington agrees with me. He rated it as the best.

My friend Jim Henson had a lumicon filter lab tested and found that it came nowhere close to spec.

So based upon Matt's feedback I guess there are inconsistent filters in any line.

I own several 2" filters that you're welcome to try out. They include Orion's SkyGlow, Orion's UltraBlock, Orion's O3 and Lumicon's H-beta. The O3 is so close to the UltraBlock that it may have been a waste of money. The SkyGlow was certainly a waste of money. And I don't think any of these filters will work for you unless you're using large aperture.

Clear skies,

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Postby Dan Chieppa » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:26 pm

Hi Pete,
Thanks for your input. That's what I'm looking for, more info on filters so I don't make a mistake and waste money on a filter I won't use.
I think I'd be able to use an O-III filter with my 10-inch SCT.
Clear skies,
Dan
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Postby RobCos » Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:49 am

Here's another opinion guys....

Dan,

If you planned on using a narrowband filter that would come in handy in both your scopes, then another option is the Baader UHC(narrow band-similar to Lumicons, Orions and the like).

What makes the Baader UHC useful is that it allows certain wavelengths thru that the others do not. This was great for my 4" or even 80mm scopes due to the fact I could still see stars while STILL enabling nebula to come in full view. It's narrower than a broadband but not as tight as the others. A nice feature if you're using a smaller scope.

The Lumicon or UltraBlock are BOTH fine filters and both have been proven over time. Time and time again the pros have given both these filters the thumbs up. Each has beaten the other in tests so.....

It's kind of a moot point. :D

My opinion? Both guys are right. What would I get? The Orion because it's cheaper and you're really not losing anything. Both would get about 70% back in their value on Astromart. 80-90% is stretching it. You don't see that too often.
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Postby Dan Chieppa » Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:39 am

Rob,
Thanks for your input. I'll continue looking for a good deal on whatever O-III is available keeping the above points in mind. :)
Clear skies,
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