Saturday, December 15, 2012

Star Atlases: The Good, The Bad, And The Not-So-Good...

Just a quick heads-up: I recently purchased some "printed Astronomy materials" - A few books and...Star Atlases, etc. Including the 'Bright Star Atlas' 2000.0 by Wil Tirion: I bought it, because I read a recommendation for it, on some binocular Astronomy site (I believe).
From what I read, it was supposed to be great...Well, the fact is, I don't happen to like it very much... It seems as though there are many Deep Sky Objects missing/not shown.

I'm not sure "what happened" when this atlas/book was produced; because other publications that Wil Tirion has worked on are excellent! So, I don't get it..

Luckily, it was only ~ $14 (shipped) from Amazon. So, first & foremost, I just wanted to start with this one: It's on my "Not-So-Good List" 

On the other hand, 'The Pocket Sky Atlas', from Sky&Telescope - Is awesome! Excellent images, useful Legends and measuring scales. One of them, represents a Telrad sight. The atlas is spiral-bound, and conveniently sized. I use it all the time, as my main sky chart. Nice, accurate, and detailed:

...Beautiful cover too! :)

And, another really good publication -
Binocular Highlights: 99 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users (Sky & Telescope Stargazing) [Spiral-bound]

Being a die-hard binocular Astronomer, I really love this book! Highly recommended...I can't say enough good things about it. It is a delight. For example: I really love how Gary Seronik simply comes right out and states, that 10x50 binoculars are, in fact the best size to get (and why). Outstanding!

I recently noticed, that another favorite Author of mine (Stephen Tonkin) also recommends 10x50's as the best size overall... And, one of his most awesome books, is now in it's Second Edition - It is simply a must-have!


Clear skies!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Best Kept Secret In Nebula Filters! DGM Optics!

Just a quick post, to let you know, that I've ordered a pair of innovative new "nebula" filters from a company called DGM Optics. Not only are these filters priced lower than many other companies' offerings - But, according to the excellent reviews (on Astronomy forums, etc.) they perform better than filters from the other well-known companies! (It's true - I've seen it myself now, using my 8" Dob). You can check out this Link , to order filters. OIII filters are currently on sale!
I have ordered a pair of their GCE filters for use on a couple of pairs of binoculars, for spotting DSO's.
CGE stands for Galaxy Contrast Enhancement! Neat, huh? These are the only filters currently in existence, that are actually indicated for the image improvement of Galaxies! I think this is great, and I'm really looking forward to receiving them! A full review will be posted up in the near future!

Check out the transmission plot:

...Very interesting...
Here is their e-bay Link where you can read more about these, and other filters. Their NPB - Narrow PassBand nebula filters have been tested & compared by several experienced amateurs - And the general consensus is, that they are the best contrast-enhancing nebula filters currently available!

And, here is a Link to a full review/comparison done with the GCE filter by an expert, on the CloudyNights Web site. Since originally starting this post, The filters have actually arrived, and I even got a chance to test them; a little bit...The filters were shipped out to me on Monday; and arrived on Wednesday. Since we've got a full moon, I wasn't able to really check out their performance. But, I screwed both filters onto the threaded EP barrels of my brand-new 10x50 Garrett Signature Series binocs. And, they seem to: Darken the background sky, Allow a nice amount of light through (compared to OIII's for example), And I like the way they render most stars a hot purple-ish hue (it's a nice change from the usual green of other filters).
These GCE filters are perfect for binocular use! 

Dan, of DGM Optics is dedicated to his customer's happiness. It's not only obvious, but very nice of him to be very accommodating. . And, I appreciate it a great deal.
So, I can report that ordering/dealing with Dan at DGM Optics, has been a pleasure. Keep an eye on their Website, their VHT Nebula filters should be going on sale soon! 

Clear skies!