Author Topic: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!  (Read 242 times)

Aaron Maggot

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But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« on: December 24, 2017, 09:35:36 AM »
Hi Everyone! I got my 8" dob about a year and a half before, type of doodling around with it.  This summer I finally managed to locate some Messier objects, and my curiosity has zoomed ahead.  I recently commissioned the 25 mm Sirius Plossel that came with the scope using a Meade 10 mm MWA eyepiece, and swapped out the red-dot finder for a Telrad finder.  Unfortunately, I've only managed to use them after, but I think they'll significantly improve my seeing and finding expertise.
However, all I see is a fuzzy blob!  I'm sort of joking here I've been tremendously excited by the fuzzy blob galaxies I've found (M81 + 82, M65 + 66, M108, M106, owl nebula).  However, when I read about observing these it appears I should be able to see spiral arms, dust barrels and these.  I can at least partially answer the implied question here - mediocre seeing conditions (Western PA is not an astronomy mecca for a reason), not spending a lot time after I've found something (too excited and wish to find more!) , in addition to overall inexperience.  But,  in case these are not sufficient explanation...
My question is: what tips would you have for seeing detail in deep sky objects?
Thanks!
Deb



presalacder

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 02:51:29 AM »
I'm just going to say this: Be prepared for the barrage of posts regarding visual observing. There is a reason they call them "faint fuzzies". There is an art form to visual observing. Averted seeing, atmospheric conditions, light pollution, expectations . . and on and on. Welcome to the world of visual astronomy! Don't give up.

Tim Jauregui

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 09:38:12 PM »
It is invigorating to find your first objects, isn't it? Enjoy the journey. I've just recently begun myself and love seeing new things, as well as re-finding last years conquests. Great job, tk

gairiloocon

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2017, 07:51:18 PM »
They are nicknamed "faint fuzzies" for a reason.

Many galaxies are tough objects for detail. M82 you can see has a diagonal split, and some material coming out the top giving it an irregular shape. Seeing spiral structure in M81 requires significant aperture and significantly DRY skies.

But M57 and M27 both offer nice detail. Also the little dumbell M76. The Veil Nebula and North America nebula offer fabulous and intricate detail. M17, M16....a lot going on. M24 is very intricate and large, with dark nebulae and open clusters nestled within a fabulously dense star cloud. Also the crescent nebula....some of these are best with an OIII.

Galaxies are among the hardest to get detail from, M51 and M33 are among the best; M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, has a lot going on in it, sometimes more than can be taken in. Dark lanes should be visible.

They'll never look, at the eyepiece, the way they do in the photographs.

OH YES. THE MOON. If you are posting because you tried last night and were disappointed, THE MOON ANNIHILATES DEEP SKY.  Stay in and catch a flick. Or go out and watch planets. Not only does the full moon destroy deep sky objects, it annihilates detail on itself. You need a waxing or waning phase with a terminator to see all the complexity.

Greg N

Rahul Sanders

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 05:45:57 PM »
They'll never look, at the eyepiece, the way they do in the photographs.

Which is one reason I image.

boysagiskest

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 07:23:03 AM »
Quote
Hi Everyone! I got my 8" dob about a year and a half ago, kind of doodling around with it. This summer I finally was able to locate some Messier objects, and my interest has zoomed ahead. I recently supplemented the 25 mm Sirius Plossel that came with the scope with a Meade 10 mm MWA eyepiece, and swapped out the red-dot finder for a Telrad finder. Unfortunately, I have only been able to use them once, but I think they will greatly improve my finding and seeing experience.
But all I see is a fuzzy blob! I'm kind of joking here - I have been tremendously excited by the fuzzy blob galaxies I have found (M81 + 82, M65 + 66, M108, M106, owl nebula). However, when I read about observing these it seems I should be able to see spiral arms, dust lanes and such. I can at least partly answer the implied question here - mediocre seeing conditions (Western PA is not an astronomy mecca for a reason), not spending much time once I have found something (too excited and want to find more!), as well as general inexperience. But, just in case these are not sufficient explanation...
My question is: what tips do you have for seeing detail in deep sky objects?
Thanks!
Deb


Deb,

Welcome to Cloudy Nights! And welcome to the never-ending journey to study the stars!

The short answer to your question is: More aperture. That is the simple answer to see more detail. But even if you stick with your 8 incher, things will still be okay. Because.....

The other answer is: More experience. The more you go out and look at these objects, the more you should see. No, I doubt you will ever lots ofdetails in M81, but on a good night, you should catch the spiral arms - depending on your sky conditions.

Also, as you gain more experience, you will probably learn how to fine tune your collimation to get the most from your scope and you might also try some better eyepieces. But even if everything is perfect, the sky conditions might intervene and wreck your plans. If that happens, wait for tomorrow and try again.

Cheers,

Ron

Rahul Sanders

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 03:58:53 PM »
It takes time and effort to train the brain and eye to see "detail" in faint fuzzies. This takes time and constant effort. If you get out only very rarely this training usually doesn't happen. It takes constant reinforcement. Like about anything the more consistent effort you put into it the more you will gain. In our club those that do the most dark sky work developed the best eyes for it. Those that go out occasionally are often amazed by what the highly experienced ones can see. While our experienced members can easily see the Horsehead nebula in even a very small scope those that get out only a few times each year are yet to find it in their 16" and larger Dobs. Yet in those scopes to the experienced folks it is "big and bright" at least as faint fuzzies go.

As mentioned by others it isn't all in training the eye-braint but also learning tricks such as averted vision, selecting the right magnification for your aperture, learning how to slightly bounce the scope so the object moves slightly which helps bring out faint detail and how to use averted vision etc.

Still after 10 years now of mostly imaging my eye-brain has gone "flabby". I've lost the edge I used to have. It takes constant work I'm finding to stay in peak condition.

I should mention I've been doing this over 60 years so have watched hundreds in our club I helped found in 1961 put in the effort and succeed or not put it in and fail. Some go to bigger and bigger scopes which helps with big and bright objects to begin with but is a poor substitute for learning the tricks and training the eye-and brain.

Rick

Prasanna Patel

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 01:26:46 AM »
For galaxies, I use a hood and an eye patch. I let my eyes get as dark adapted as possible. I drape the hood over my face and move the eye patch to my non-observing eye. I live in red-zone light polluted skies. On the clearest nights, I have been able to just get a glimpse of spiral structure in M51 and a hint of a dust lane in M31 using the hood and eye patch and 16" aperture. The hood blocks out light intrusion from streetlights and porch lights. The eye patch goes back over my observing eye to preserve dark adaptation in that eye while I look at charts and so forth.

aceslaise

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 03:07:32 AM »
if you want to see more detail, simply, just continue observing. every time you look at a dso you have seen, you see just a little more detail every time. its called a trained eye. if you want specific detail on how to get the best view, do not look straight at the object. look slightly to the side of it. the corner of your eye will collect more light. since you said you've already viewed m81 and 82, try looking in between the two galaxies if you have both in the fov. This helped me a lot when i first started viewing with my 8" dob also.

contiostetti

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 03:54:27 AM »
Visual astronomy is like wine tasting in many ways, it takes a bit of practice and those with some experience tend to go overboard with the descriptions / explanations of the experience. Others may disagree with me, keep at it.

handvestlazo

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 07:22:56 AM »
Quote
My question is: what tips do you have for seeing detail in deep sky objects?
Thanks!
Deb


You have to use equipment capable of showing the sort of detail you want. I was never satisfied with the view I could get with a traditional eyepiece and always had the desire to see more. Traditional eyepieces have their limit. You have yet to learn how to get the most out of them but just the same even the most skillful eyepiece observers only get to see a fraction of what a modern electronic eyepiece will show.

For some reason a few traditionalists take exception to electronic viewing and occasionally contradict what I have said. For arguments sake or rather to prevent an argument my traditional observing skills are the equal of most skilled observers.

I viewed with eyepieces for over fifty years, using larger telescope than most and in darker skies. About five years ago I started observing with video cameras and eventually bought my first Mallincam Astro video camera. In those five years I have seen much more of the deep sky objects than I would ever have seen with my eyepieces. Their really is no comparison. There is also no need to try and describing the difference. The Internet will do far better than I can.

Take a look at what people are doing electronically on the two NightSkiesNetworks websites. They regularly broadcast their observing sessions, whether permitting. Check the sites during the evening. There are rarely more than two or three nights in a row without someone broadcasting.

http://www.nightskiesnetwork.ca/

https://www.nightskiesnetwork.com/

I own and regularly use several Mallincams. Take a look at the Yahoo Mallincam forum. There are thousands of live and near live viewing images posted there that will show you what can be done with those cameras.

https://groups.yahoo...rsations/topics

You might have to start at the Yahoo Groups homepage and navigate your way to the Mallincam group but it will be worth the effort.

https://groups.yahoo.com

CN has the Electronic Assisted Astronomy section but it can be somewhat overwhelming on several levels.

Tarence Allen

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 12:21:52 PM »
What do you see when you point your dob at M13, M5, and other sizeable globulars? If the scope is well collimated, you should resolve a lot of the outer stars of those clusters. Note the difference in shapes between M13 and M92.

Flocking your dob's tube is one way to enhance contrast. With good contrast, some of the structure of M82 should be visible.

Be certain that your scope is well collimated and that the mirrors have had time to reach ambient temperatures.

geblusandde

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 03:21:55 AM »
one way i help my eye become better is too bring my scope out on a full moon. point your scope at a dso and try best you can too see it. yes, its pretty hard, but, what your doing is "training" your eye too see something when it is very hard too see. this should help out when there is no moon and dark skies. it helped me. infact I'm going out tonight on a full moon.

caheadhilldea

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 08:51:43 AM »
Hi Deb,

 Everyone here has offered more advice than I can.  However, one other thing to consider when looking at "faint fuzzies". Sometimes "less is more". Don't try to over magnify with a say a 9mm eyepiece. 25mm, 32mm are much better. If you start over magnifying , you're going to restrict your field of view and cut out a lot of light. The key with telescopes isn't necessarily the magnification, it's the light gathering ability. I have an 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain and I find that a 17mm is about as strong as I want to get with some of the brighter clusters or something like the Orion Nebula. If the objects are fainter than that, back off to the 25mm or 32mm if you have one. I hope this helps.

 Eric

Tim Jauregui

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Re: But all I see is a fuzzy blob!
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 09:32:42 AM »
Quote
Debora I wish to convey a warm welcome to you. You have found the # 1 astronomy site on the web. imho
Galaxies have earned their nickname of "faint fuzzies". The more that you observe the more you will see, the eye takes some training in this hobby.
Light pollution and sky conditions aren't our friends.
Just keep on trying you will get there.


I second Herbs

You have gotten some good advice here, the importance of clear dark skies and experience at the eyepiece cannot be overemphasized. Galaxies are faint, small objects, in finding them, you are doing well. When you find one look at, use averted vision, swap eyepieces, see as much as you can see and then move on.

But don't forget about, comeback later and look at it carefully, comeback tomorrow, next month, next year. When I look at M-51, I've seen it many times but each time it's new and there's a little something new.

This is a lifelong project, the more I look, the more I see. One of my favorite quotes..

"Considered as a collector of rare and precious things, the amateur astronomer has a great advantage over amateurs in other fields ... the amateur astronomer has access at all times to the original objects of his study; the masterworks of the heavens belong to him as much as to the great observatories of the world. And there is no privilege like that of being allowed to stand in the presence of the original."
--Robert Burnham Jr, Burnham's Celestial HandbookHandbook

Jon Isaacs