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Multi-Broadband Filters

Optolong Filter Comparison

Best for imaging galaxies, reflection & dark nebulae, and star clusters

Multi-broadband light pollution filters are a great choice for photographing galaxies, reflection nebulae, dark nebulae, star clusters, and other broadband targets from under unwanted light interference. Multi-broadband filters work by allowing large portions of the spectrum to pass through, but blocking out common sources of obtrusive artificial light.

Though there's no true substitute for dark skies, broadband filters can drastically reduce the color gradients and glow effects often seen when imaging from light interference. See the above comparison image from Optolong to see how a broadband filters can enhance the contrast and give more natural sky colors. While multi-broadband light pollution filters can be somewhat effective for imaging emission nebulae, multi-narrowband filters are much better suited for allowing light from emission nebulae to pass through.

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Multi-Narrowband Filters

Optolong Multi-Bandpass Filter Comparison

Best for imaging emission nebulae, planetary nebulae, and supernova remnants

Multi-narrowband filters, also known as multi-bandpass light pollution filters, are the ideal choice for any celestial object that emits light in a specific part of the spectrum. This includes emission nebulae, planetary nebulae, and supernova remnants, which all feature gases that emit light at narrowband emission lines. This includes Hydrogen Alpha (Ha, red color), by far the most common gas found in nebulae, and other prominent gases such as Oxygen III (OIII, aqua color), Sulfur II (SII, deep red color), and Hydrogen Beta (Hb, green color). Multi-narrowband filters allow multiple emission lines to pass through at once, meaning you can capture useful data on targets that emit multiple emission lines such as Hydrogen Alpha and Oxygen III in one go with a color camera.

Mutli-narrowband filters work by isolating these emission lines and blocking out everything else, effectively eliminating most obtrusive artificial light. For this reason, multi-narrowband filters are best paired with astronomy-dedicated cameras or modified DSLRs, but they can have a limited response on stock DSLRs as well. Lower-end light pollution filters allow a wider bandpass, which lets in more light interfereance than higher-end filters. Higher-end filters like the Radian Triad Ultra use a narrower bandpass, which allows the nebulae to appear more contrasted from the background of space. This leads to more pleasing images, and the ability to take great deep sky images even from heavily light-polluted areas.

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Still have questions? We have answers.

Do light pollution filters work?

Yes, light pollution filters do work. The purpose of these filters is to reduce the amount of artificial light that reaches your telescope and eyepieces, allowing you to observe objects in the night sky more clearly. Light pollution filters are designed to block specific wavelengths of light that are produced by urban lighting systems, street lights, and other sources of man-made illumination. In addition to blocking out unwanted light, they also help enhance contrast so that stars and galaxies appear brighter against a darker background. With the right filter in place, light pollution should no longer be a major obstacle when it comes to observing celestial objects.

Are light pollution filters worth it?

Yes, light pollution filters are definitely worth it. With a good quality filter, you can cut through much of the artificial light that is present in urban and suburban areas, allowing your telescope to perform better and giving you a clearer view of objects in the night sky.