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Best Lunar Binoculars

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#1 jnewton

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:01 PM

In your experience, what are the best binoculars for observing the moon?

#2 charen

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:20 AM

Unless you go for the larger binos with interchangeable eyepieces on a solid mount you would be best off going for an actual good quality telescope. Hand held binos in the 10x to 15x magnification range will show you some minor lunar detail but to give you any real detail you need a mounted optical instrument.

Chris

#3 Rich V.

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:44 AM

While the Moon is best viewed through a telescope, a binocular telescope with higher mag. eyepieces would be the next choice, IMO. The Moon begs higher magnifications which excludes most binoculars.

I've had my best binocular lunar views through my Miyauchi 100mm f7.5 BT at 71x and 150x. I can just make out the "big four" Plato craterlets on a very steady night. My 80mm apo refractor shows greater detail, even though not as bright.

As far as more "traditional" binos go, my WO 22x70ED binos give a great lower mag. view with almost non-existent CA; less CA than the achro BT but of course, with much smaller image scale.

If the 20x range is OK for you, Pentax still makes their 20x60 PCF WP model. A few other binos can provide up to around 30x. The WO 22x70ED and Takahashi 22x60 fluorite apo binos are no longer made and only available on the used market.

If price is no object, the 80mm ED Docter Aspectum bino or the 82mm Kowa Highlander Prominar are available with eyepiece options up to 50x.

Rich

#4 Jay_Bird

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:40 AM

It would help to know what binoculars you have now or if you would use mounted or hand held binoculars for the moon.

A big plus is that even a low-power binocular view of the moon shows more detail than is seen on any other planet.

A lawn chair and 6x to 12x binoculars would let you work through a used copy of Ernest Cherrington's book "Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars". You could look at whole disk views in the Virtual Moon Atlas available on line and just not zoom in too much, to get a feel for the binocular image and learn lunar features. These hand held bino's would be multi-purpose for daytime use or for other astronomy use.

Mounted 10x to 20x binoculars show even more detail. Some regulars here use the Pentax 20x60 as a low cost lunar binocular. These magnifications really need to be mounted.

Binocular telescopes like Rich described above approach small telescope lunar detail.

Binoculars give a 3-D appearance to the moon, and because you are using both eyes, the view through binoculars will be like the view with one eye through a telescope with maybe 20-25% more magnification.

#5 Man in a Tub

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:15 AM

A new version of Virtual Moon Atlas was just released.

Virtual Moon Atlas

When the Moon gets in my face, I will perforce scratch away at its features usually with my Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II. Large details such as Rupes Recta and Vallis Alpes are fun and easy to detect with such "puny optics" (a memorable Flanderism).

Clear skies,

#6 Mark9473

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:20 AM

It would help to know what binoculars you have now


His signature line says 10x50. It also lists several telescopes, so I'm very curious what is behind the question he asked.

#7 jnewton

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:31 AM

I am very happy with all of our instruments.
I just like the different views that different optics can offer.

#8 plyscope

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:45 AM

Because the moon is always changing night to night it can be fun to observe with different magnifications depending on the phase and the elevation in the sky.

Sometimes when it is breezy and cloudy it can be interesting to observe the moon as clouds sweep past it and then it is best with low magnification and wide field.

Also when it is low in the sky and you can see it in context with hills or mountains, buildings etc. All part of the fun.

#9 daniel_h

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:02 AM

15x power is ok, or as Todd suggests try 20 or even 25x. Low power doesnt inspire on luna imo
The moon is one object I've not found an interest to study, I only give it a cursory glance or show to visitors/public. I did sketch some features once though

#10 Mark9473

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

I am very happy with all of our instruments.
I just like the different views that different optics can offer.


Well then I would suggest a wide-angle 7x35, since you've got all other magnifications covered. Such a wide angle binocular gives wonderful views when there's a lunar corona visible or when clouds are sweeping in front of the Moon.

#11 edwincjones

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:08 AM

a tripod to hold the binoculars steady-any bino that you have

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#12 edwincjones

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:08 AM

a tripod to hold the binoculars steady-any bino that you have

edj

#13 Jay_Bird

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

Glad to hear you want to look at the moon... I don't understand the aversion that many have to observing when the moon is up. There is such a wealth of detail that the smallest instrument shows a lot and there's a lifetime of 'selenography' to learn...

Ed is right - just mounting your 10x50 will make for a good lunar binocular. I put 7x, 10x, and bigger 11x and 16x bino's on a small parallelogram mount. The steady image makes a 10x show abundant lunar detail. I like seeing the straight wall, serpentine ridge, craters within Clavius, or pairings like Atlas/Hercules in binoculars.

The earthlit young crescent moon is one of the most beautiful views that the sky offers, and binoculars are perfect to show this.

Watching over a lunar month to see shadowed topographic features become albedo feaures closer to full moon is part of what makes lunar views never quite the same month to month as well as night to night.

With 10x mounted you'll be able to see a lot of the 'lunar 100' list from sky publishing, and you'll be surprised how much you see when comparing with a guide like VMA.

#14 SMark

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:16 PM

During the last cycle I spent a couple nights observing the moon through my 30x80 Orion MegaView, and I have to say that I really enjoyed observing the moon with this glass. Probably more than I have with any other binocular. The 30x magnification really brought out more detail than I have ever seen through a binocular, and the 80mm objectives seem to be just right as well. For example, my 25x100 is actually painfully bright on a gibbous or greater sized moon. The 30x80 just seems perfect on all phases with regard to brightness. This combined with the generous (and likely understated) FOV make this binocular my favorite for moon observing.

There is one of these on eBay at the moment. It ends soon and the price is still low, so you can likely catch a deal on it...

eBay Link...

#15 eklf

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:18 AM

Agreeing with Charen and Rich V. my best views of moon have been through a vixen BT80. I routinely use 3 mags - 30x, 45x, and 60x. The moon looks great at all these mags. At 45x and higher the views feel more like binoviewer/telescope or telescope views. But there is something a little magical at 30x - no other instrument (or mag) i have (or have seen through) can infuse such a mesmerizing quality to the moon. I am thus in agreement with Mark about 30x80 being a very good combination.

#16 KennyJ

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:31 PM

For some reason,I've always found 40x magnification to be some kind of "magic milestone" for viewing the moon.

Kenny

#17 warpsl

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:45 PM

if you can afford them,definately doctor aspectum ed 40x80.jupiter looks brilliant too.

#18 Andresin150

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

indeed...

#19 faackanders2

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:49 PM

25x100 Appogee/Celestron only $300 and lots of detail but requires camera or sturdier tripod.






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