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The larger planetaries, while maybe having an encouraging total magnitude, are more often quite faint visually, and tend to be less likely to respond favorably to intensification. 4. M57 in Lyra, intensified image. J. Collins. 5. M27 in Vulpecula, intensified image. J. Collins. at all. 5), or the Little Dumbbell Nebula M76. Other famous planetaries, such as the Owl Nebula M97, do not seem to respond well to any method from the suburbs. You will find, however, that most planetaries are small, with some notable exceptions.

With the proper equipment, it is also possible to record the images directly to your video recorder as well as computer, as movie clips or still frames. I once again must differentiate between video and CCD imaging. The latter is capable of producing some of the most stunning images imaginable, but remember they are not observable in real time. Video can indeed provide us with monitor viewing and a reliable record of something of the real time experience, often remarkably so. But there is still ample justification to draw what we see at the time, since there is still nothing yet to quite duplicate the way the eye registers detail.

Regularly throw the image out of focus and readjust. You will find the strain on the eye is greatly reduced and the newly focused image seems all the sharper. Most of the time you will be wading through unsteady or blurry views, with detail suddenly flashing out with amazing resolution. You have to train yourself to snatch all these moments and try to comprehend what you are seeing during those times. Very occasionally, “seeing” is so good and steady that planetary detail stays sharp and defined for prolonged periods.

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