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Binocular Universe: Some Royal Clusters

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#1 Olivier Biot

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 08:12 PM

Binocular Universe: Some Royal Clusters

By Phil Harrington

#2 Mark9473

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:34 AM

Many thanks Phil for pointing out a few worthwhile targets that are so easily overlooked in view of what else is on offer in the region.

#3 PhilH

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:20 AM

Hi Mark,

I always enjoy going off the beaten path a bit. Sure, the old standards are great, but it's fun to broach unfamiliar terrain a little, as well.

#4 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 07:36 AM

I see in this month's "Binocular Universe" that Phil Harrington found M52 and M103 in 10x50 binoculars. I can not yet find them in my Nikon Action Extreme 8x40, yet comparing the surrounding stars to my charts, am confident I am looking at the right part of the sky. How do I decide when to keep honing my skills, and when to buy a larger binocular with more magnification?

The skies are plenty dark here. Light pollution is not the problem.

#5 REC

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:35 AM

Nice report there Phil! I love that area of the sky :jump:

#6 Mark9473

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:23 PM

I see in this month's "Binocular Universe" that Phil Harrington found M52 and M103 in 10x50 binoculars. I can not yet find them in my Nikon Action Extreme 8x40, yet comparing the surrounding stars to my charts, am confident I am looking at the right part of the sky. How do I decide when to keep honing my skills, and when to buy a larger binocular with more magnification?


I struggled with them for years and years in 10x binoculars. M103 is the easier of the two IMO, its main problem is that it's just so small - looks more like a chance alignment of a few stars than a real cluster, in that size instrument. With M52 you're looking for its unresolved glow with averted vision.

These targets are both MUCH nicer to look at with 15x binoculars. Let me assure you, you will NEVER regret buying a quality 15x binocular - it opens up a whole new sky to you. In very good sky with a mounted 15x binocular, expect to see partial resolution in many clusters which in the 8x - 10x instruments are just fuzzballs: M37, NGC7789, M11, M67, etc. etc.

#7 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:45 PM

Buying a 15x70... I've thought about that. It would be wonderful to have an endless budget. There are so many choices. My club advises that 7x or 8x is the most anyone can hand hold; Phil Harrington recommends 10x as the minimum for astronomy; Garrett Optical recommends 12x as the most one can hand hold; 15x (mounted) gets lots of votes for its blend of magnification and field of view; others say 20x is better, because more power better resolves stars... What's a guy on a budget to do?! I had hoped to not buy anything until I was more liquid, but the dark skies above me are a nightly haven, and do not wait for the economy to improve.

My sense is that, absent skills I do not yet have, the right bigger binocular would radically aid my viewing and learning.

What a rant. Sorry.

Any other recommendations for favorite binoculars to reveal M52 and M103 to someone who can not yet find them in his 8x40? I'd bet 15x70 will prove popular as a sweet spot between making objects sufficiently large and bright to be visible, while also offering a wide field to ease actually finding them.

#8 Mark9473

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:47 PM

15x you could hand-hold when sitting in a reclining chair with your elbows firmly on the armrests. Not ideal, but it will get you by until you save up for a tripod. With 20x I would advise against it.

Do you want to take this conversation into the binoculars forum? Surely other people could have suggestions. We're sort of hijacking this thread.

#9 JakeSaloranta

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:17 AM

Rony De Laet's sketch of the M103-region has taken some serious damage compared to the beautiful original! Please do not use JPEG-packing at least in such rough way.

/Jake






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