Back in the 80’s they used to sell telescopes by surrounding a studio shot of the scopes with various full-color astrophotos of the objects you could see with each one. The implication–at least to my 8-year-old brain–was that these astrophotos represented the view through the eyepiece. Two objects from those ads stood out to me in particular: The brilliantly-colored Lagoon Nebula and the vivid red and blue bouquet that is the Trifid Nebula. I’d go to sleep dreaming of those colors.
Turns out you don’t get to see those colors with the naked eye, in any visual scope of any size. The good news though is that they still look amazing through the eyepiece and they’re right next to each other. They can even show up in the same eyepiece, depending on your telescope’s focal length.
Most wide-field scopes don’t gather a lot of light. The scopes that do gather enough light to dazzle your eyes night after night typically show a very narrow field of view.
This is where the Drifter excels. You get the short focal length of a small scope, but the equivalent light gathering of at least a 12″ (300mm) scope. That kind of performance in a single mirror scope would require an expensive, custom-made f/3.3 mirror and an expensive, heavy, fiddly coma corrector. And obviously, you’d still have to squint through one eye.
Now that we’re getting into summer, these amazing nebulae are back in the early morning sky. The field depicted above is what the Drifter will show with Siebert Optics 34mm eyepieces. The Trifid particularly benefits from filtering and the Drifter’s filter cartridges will make this sight easy to enjoy.