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Old 28-07-2020, 09:43 PM
MountainGoat
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Advice on Filter purchase

Hi Everyone,

I am wondering if someone could recommend a filter or two to get me on my way.

I've recently picked up an Astro Fi 6, which is finally looking pretty good (goto setup almost finally mastered).

So initially, and with a few planets on offer at the moment, I would like to consider buying a couple of filters.

One is to benefit the view of Jupiter, and the other from what I have read, is to remove some of the local light (I'm in central Adelaide).

Does that sound about right? We already have one for the moon which I think is ok.

I know there is a huge amount of information out there, almost a little too much, so I just throught I would throw this one out there to those that know.

Currently, I'm viewing through a 25 and 10 mil Kellner, both of which came with the scope. I do have a Celestron Barlow on the way (I want that eye relief!) and over time I will be upgrading the standard eye peices that came with this scope.

Likewise, if you know of a few suppliers out there which are worth checking, please let me know.

So far, I've seen only the major ones which throw up results through the usual search engines.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 29-07-2020, 11:57 AM
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roberto84 (Robert)
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I am no help, I have a standard filter set I got with an eyepiece kit. I only really use the moon filter for viewing the moon.

I see there are eye pieces specifically for light pollution, might put one of those next on the list when I decide what eye pieces upgrades I want to go with.
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Old 29-07-2020, 01:07 PM
sunslayr (David)
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I haven't really found any advantage to using filters when looking at planets. In my opinion there is more to gain by using a better quality eyepiece rather then trying to pick out detail by blocking out light, other than a moon filter for making Luna a little easier on the eyes. Now deep space objects on the other hand, that's where something like a city light suppression filter (cls) or an ultra high contrast (uhc) filter really comes in handy for picking out the faint fuzzies. It's probably worth picking up a good quality uhc filter from Astronomik or Baader you might just find you never take it out.
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Old 29-07-2020, 01:34 PM
MountainGoat
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Originally Posted by sunslayr View Post
I haven't really found any advantage to using filters when looking at planets. In my opinion there is more to gain by using a better quality eyepiece rather then trying to pick out detail by blocking out light, other than a moon filter for making Luna a little easier on the eyes. Now deep space objects on the other hand, that's where something like a city light suppression filter (cls) or an ultra high contrast (uhc) filter really comes in handy for picking out the faint fuzzies. It's probably worth picking up a good quality uhc filter from Astronomik or Baader you might just find you never take it out.

Thanks. I'm researching better eye pieces at the minute, and I've also ordered a barlow as I really want to maintain good eye relief.


I am tempted on cls. I haven't tried for any DSO's yet (too busy with the planets and stars) but it's only a matter of time.
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Old 31-07-2020, 10:30 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Colour filters can be very useful for the Moon and planets. One problem I find with many "filter kits" is the colours usually found with these are both too intense/deep, made to appeal to people's eyes as pretty colours, and not the best colour selections for "general" applications.

I won't go through a run down on what colour is best for here or there. There are plenty of resources already detailing this, including the pic below. Instead I will give a few tips on how to get the most out of them. What all filters do though is only help with showing specific features, and are not intended to enhance the overall image. All filters are for specialised applications.

PLANETS
Planetary details are subtle, and more often than not require less intense colour to bring out the details. Also, deeper colours are better suited to larger apertures as the amount of light they cut out is significant and smaller apertures are just not able to deliver a usable image brightness with these.

There is also the difficulty that most planetary details when using colour filters will not just jump out screaming "here I am!". More often how these details appear will only be as gentle enhancements that depend more on a patient, more trained eye to pick and identify them.

Aperture, optical quality, seeing conditions, eyepiece selection, are also important as the planets are already very small, planetary features are even smaller, so it is not just a simple thing as bunging in a filter and "BANG! there it is"... Sometimes some features will suck your eyeballs out in just catching a glimpse of them!

Often it is not just one filter colour that is necessary but different intensities of the same colour or different colours that by interchanging the filters helps with identifying features.

I've come to find that observing the planets is more of a niche than I thought of when I started. I also thought that one only needed just two, three or four filters, which for most people this is enough, but as I spend more and more time with the planets I'm using a larger number of filters, and several just to pull just ONE feature.

I have also noticed that Jupiter is much more dynamic than I first thought. Features not only come and go, but also vary in colour saturation, hue and contrast over the years. Jupiter has been especially colourful this year I'm finding, but it could be my observing skills have improved.

I have also noticed that over the last 20 years the choice of colour filters has also been reducing. Some colours are difficult to find and others have just about disappeared. The image below shows a huge number of filter colours and their applications, many of these colours very difficult to find now. I have 12 of these, and some not found in most astro stores. I am looking for a few others too.

LUNAR
When it comes to the Moon, if I'm viewing the whole of the Moon then its brilliance can be painful, so I use either one polarizing filter or couple two together that allows me to vary the amount of light that is being transmitted from around 50% down to close to 1%. I prefer this as I could be using an 80mm refractor or a 9" Maksutov or a 17.5" dob, and they all deliver different levels of image brilliance. But most times I am using high magnification, so glare is not a problem. But with high magnification I find the 82A fantastic to bring out low contrast features, such subtle shade variations in the Seas and to help make ejecta rays stand out more, of which there are a surprising number of small craters with bright ejecta collars which are difficult if not impossible to identify without the help of the 82A filter. These days I am observing and sketching the Moon both neat without a filter and with an 82A, and frequently alternating during the session.

COMETS
Some colour filters can be used to help bring out cometary details. One thing that helps most with comets is aperture. If features like the tail (or tails as there can be multiple dust and ion tails) are faint, aperture is your best friend as a filter alone may not be enough for our eyes to pick up the transmitted light. Strong colours will not help, they need to be subtle saturations of colour. Yellows will help with the dust tail, soft greens the ion tail. Even an OIII filter can help with the ion tail.

Comets are difficult customers too, often not living up the the predicted hype, but sometimes they do throw up surprises. Bright ones are also rare. Filters for these are best not bought expressly for them, but best allowed for in the filters you chose for other things.

There was a specialised comet filter offered by Omega Optical, but I haven't seen it being offered recently though. Their Hb + Oiii hybrid filter would be a good option though.

http://www.ebaystores.com/BJOMEJAG-E...2&_sid=8343593

It is also a very good all-in-one filter if you don't want to spend money on having separate Oiii and UHC fliters. I have this filter and it is the one I use most - I also do have dedicated Oiii and UHC filters, and use them when I want to really get funky with relevant DSO's.

PATIENCE
If you want to see more you just need to give yourself time. You are battling not just your eyes but also prevailing seeing conditions. You will need to wait for those fleeting moments of absolute clarity more often than not, and these need patience as it may take a few of these moments to really get your eye in. The amount of planetary detail that can be seen really is staggering, and every bit as much as photos show. But there are many factors that need to all line up first PLUS patience from you. And it may also take a few nights of observing to finally get one of those nights when what you see just leaves you truly astounded.

The polar ice caps of Mars are easy to see, but high altitude clouds not so much.
The GRS of Jupiter is a soft salmon pink that needs a little concentration so spot today, but the festoons and other turbulence features need time at the eyepiece.
The A and B rings of Saturn are easy too, but shading variations in these and the C ring need time.

Patience, grasshopper.

OH, one last thing! Seeing details on the planets is also a very individual thing! Don't forget everyones's eyes are different, different sensitivity, different colour perception, different eye health, different acuity, different ages, different experience. Our eyes are not all the same like bottles of Evian water. When I was 42 years old I was showing Saturn at an outreach event, telling people that there were three of its moons visible with the scope I was using. A 14 year old boy comes up to the eyepiece and says "I can see four, no, five moons"... And there were!

Alex.
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Click for full-size image (Jupiter, May 5 2018 (3) LR.JPG)
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Click for full-size image (C-2020 F8 SWAN LR.JPG)
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Click for full-size image (Archimedes et al (2) LR - Copy.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (Saturn, June 12, 2013.jpg)
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Last edited by mental4astro; 10-08-2020 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 31-07-2020, 10:45 AM
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Outcast (Carlton)
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I'll wade in with my two cents FWIW...

I own & have owned a number of filters, here are my thoughts:

Colour filters: I have a number, I use them very occasionally.. on planets. My most used is an 82A (light blue).. the others are useful to a point but, all of them impose a colour cast on your viewing.. they are cheap enough however so, not a huge waste if you don't use them all the time.

Narrowband Filters: These are your UHC, OIII, Ha, etc.. I own two UHC (one 1.25" & one 2"). The most used filter in my collection, fantastic for helping certain types of Nebula pop... definitely worth owning one. OIII, I own one, I barely ever use it.. maybe I use it on the wrong things but, I just haven't found a great deal of use for it... don't own the others so can't comment.

Lunar Filters: Own two neutral density filters. Used to use them don't anymore.. If I do Lunar viewing then, that's all I do.. I let my eyes adjust to the brightness of the moon in whatever state & the views are crystal clear & superb detail. Is it bright, you bet but, your eyes are pretty amazing & will adjust accordingly.. Still own the NDs but, rarely if ever use them anymore..

Light Pollution Filters: I've owned a couple.. CLS, not convinced it does that good a job & absolutely detest the blue colour cast it puts on everything.. don't own one for visual.. do own a clip in for my DSLR, not convinced about it though.. although, you can process out the colour cast I guess. I own a Neodymium Moon & Skyglow filter.. it seems to have considerably less of a colour cast.. does it work... hmmm.. I really don't know.. haven't used it that much.. will see if I can give it a bit more of a run in the more light polluted part of the sky &/or as the moon gets brighter & see..

Definitely get yourself a UHC filter for nebula though... you won't regret it

Cheers
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:46 AM
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Crater101 (Warren)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post

PATIENCE
If you want to see more you just need to give yourself time. You are battling not just your eyes but also prevailing seeing conditions. You will need to wait for those fleeting moments of absolute clarity more often than not, and these need patience as it may take a few of these moments to really get your eye in. The amount of planetary detail that can be seen really is staggering, and every bit as much as photos show. But there are many factors that need to all line up first PLUS patience from you. And it may also take a few nights of observing to finally get one of those nights when what you see just leaves you truly astounded.
...

Patience, grasshopper.

OH, one last thing! Seeing details on the planets is also a very individual thing! Don't forget everyones's eyes are different, different sensitivity, different colour perception, different eye health, different acuity, different ages, different experience. Our eyes are not all the same like bottles of Evian water. When I was 42 years old I was showing Saturn at an outreach event, telling people that there were three of its moons visible with the scope I was using. A 14 year old boy comes up to the eyepiece and says "I can see four, no, five moons"... And there were!

Alex.

From someone who is still very new at this, Thank You! There was a wealth of good advice, of which I've quoted only a small amount. I am not worthy... I'll be rethinking a few of my options as a result.
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:12 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Originally Posted by Crater101 View Post
From someone who is still very new at this, Thank You! There was a wealth of good advice, of which I've quoted only a small amount. I am not worthy... I'll be rethinking a few of my options as a result.
Thanks Warren!

Mate, don't beat yourself up about this. We all start from zero, and it is a learning process. I have changed my thinking MANY times over the years with many of my observing ideas and techniques, and this comes from experience, keeping an open mind to new ideas and also challenging the "accepted" thinking.

Like I said in that first post of mine, up until quite recently I used to say one only needs two, three or four filters. Today I say START with two, three or four filters and let your experience grow for it to dictate how much you want to follow planetary observing

For me, I stick to the Moon and planets from my home in Sydney, so my experience with these is growing, and I am now looking at pushing myself further with them, so my colour filter collection is growing. When I go bush, these colour filters stay home, but take the various Oiii, UHC and Hbeta + Oiii filters with me instead. But this is ME, and I try not to forget that I too started from zero, and keep this at the forefront of when I write here for people looking for help.

Alex.
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