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Quality of observations in london

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:37 pm
by badders
Im pretty new to astronomy, still havent bought my first scope yet. My main worry about that is that i live in central london, so most of my observations will be from here. How much will the light pollution impact my enjoyment and my ability to see various bodies? Are some scopes better than others under these condtions?

My assumption is that my ability to view deep space objects will be severly hampered, but i would still be able to get reasonable views of local bodies in our solar system, the moon, mars and jupiter being of most interest to me. Is this assumption accurate?

My garden itself is reasonably well shielded from the street lights, but obviously there is a lot of ambient light anyway.

Anyone else under the same conditions have some good advice for me?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:16 pm
by A
Hi

Welcome to the forum.

When I was last in London (the SPA meeting in January)
I was a bit surprised at how many unaided eye stars I could
see from outside Paddington station. The view was much much
better than I had expected from such a light polluted city.

A friend of mine lived in WC2E, and he observed from the top of
a block of flats with binoculars and telescopes.
He was able to carry out plenty of useful astronomy.

I have observed the planets and moon, from some very bad
light polluted sites, and to be honest I have never found the
light pollution to be a problem.
The deep-sky objects will suffer, but you might still be surprised
by what you can see.

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:14 am
by badders
A wrote: A friend of mine lived in WC2E, and he observed from the top of
a block of flats with binoculars and telescopes.
He was able to carry out plenty of useful astronomy.

I have observed the planets and moon, from some very bad
light polluted sites, and to be honest I have never found the
light pollution to be a problem.
The deep-sky objects will suffer, but you might still be surprised
by what you can see.
Thanks, i guess its more of a problem for people doing photography rather than just observing with the eye, i think i might have to start seriously looking at getting my first telescope now. At least i have family living in the middle of nowhere up in wales, so i get to go up there for some pretty fantastic viewings.

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:30 am
by joe
I spent six years observing from my back garden in Greenwich. I don't know how central you are but it shouldn't be a problem for the Moon and planets. Clusters are still good to amazing on steady nights and the brighter nebulae are easily within reach. It's with galaxies, faint nebula detail and faint stars in open and globular clusters that you will have problems but none so big that you should be put off buying a telescope. After a while the most frustrating part of urban observing is the roof, tree or rising hot air that gets in the way, not the lack of choice of target.

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:07 pm
by badders
joe wrote:I spent six years observing from my back garden in Greenwich. I don't know how central you are but it shouldn't be a problem for the Moon and planets. Clusters are still good to amazing on steady nights and the brighter nebulae are easily within reach. It's with galaxies, faint nebula detail and faint stars in open and globular clusters that you will have problems but none so big that you should be put off buying a telescope. After a while the most frustrating part of urban observing is the roof, tree or rising hot air that gets in the way, not the lack of choice of target.
Thanks joe, im in camden, but my back garden is pretty well shielded from externeal light sources, so im now pretty confident i will be able to get some good views. My only concern now is which telescope to get, ill be posting in the forums for an opinion there.

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:31 pm
by Scrumpy
joe wrote:After a while the most frustrating part of urban observing is the roof, tree or rising hot air that gets in the way, not the lack of choice of target.
I couldn't agree more!

For me, convection is my worst enemy (too much concrete!).

unaided eye viewing of DSOs is within the scope (no pun intended) of inner city astronomy but you'll want to budget for some filters eg. UHC, especially if you get a large aperture scope.

CCD photographers have come up with various techniques to capture great images of DSOs in light polluted conditions. These also include the use of filters as well as post capture, software processing.

Cheers,
Kieran

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 11:26 am
by mkp
Though not in Central London, I use a telescope in the London suburbs and the orange city skyglow is apparent on most clear nights (night of 5.5.06 recently was unusual - no light pollution whatsoever as a result of atmospheric conditions). I use the telescope mainly for ccd imaging and get good results with filters which narrow the waveband of light entering the ccd chip - blocking the bands which streetlights and general light pollution generate. If you are interested in imaging don't be put off by general light pollution - you can still get great results.

regards

Malcolm