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First look at Andromeda this evening!

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#1 John Kuraoka

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:00 AM

So I set the scope outside to cool while putting my younger son to bed, then went out for a quick hour or so of viewing.

My challenge to myself was to track down the objects I'd seen a couple nights before, the double cluster, NGC 7789, and M103, and add Andromeda.

Despite the neighbor's porch lights giving me nearly enough illumination to read by, and the moon blasting in from the other quarter, and car headlights turning down our street every few minutes, I quickly located everything except M103 using my Nikon "Naturalist" 7x35 binoculars. (Just to give an idea of how bright the sky was, I couldn't see the Pleiades directly with the naked eye.) The next challenge was finding everything with the scope, which took a bit longer.

But, using averted vision and star-hopping, I managed to find everything. Including my first look at Andromeda in, oh 20 years or so! With all the light bouncing around, I could only make out a faint fuzzy ball through the scope, but I was still thrilled to be looking straight at another galaxy! I can hardly wait for the kids to get completely over their viruses so they can stay up a bit late and share the sky!

I may head out again right before I go to bed, when the sky will be darker and the traffic will be done for the day, to see if I can make out a bit more of Andromeda's form.

I took the ES 11mm 82° out with me, but did most of the viewing with the 25mm Ploessl that pretty much lives in the scope. When I did some eyepiece switching on M103 and Andromeda, I really came to appreciate the added brightness the 25mm offered. My next eyepiece purchase will definitely be in the direction of lower magnification!

The other revelation, was how much brighter the 7x35s are than the 10x30s, and how much easier they are for me to hold steady. It was like night and day! I had been considering a pair of 10x50s for nighttime use, but now I suspect that 7- or 8-power may be the limit to what I can actually hand-hold.

So, another great night of personal discovery!

#2 WaterMaster

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:11 AM

Congrats on seeing an old friend!

I have a pair of vintage 7X50 binos that live next to the back door. If it's clear (and I'm not otherwise observing) I take them out on the back deck for a few minutes before bed. The combination of lower power and 50mm objectives (and some really good Japanese glass) make them a real pleasure to use.

The difference you're seeing between the 7X35's and the 10X30's is two-fold, both magnification and objective size. I also have a pair of 10X42 Nikon Monarchs, which are a great balance of power, light gathering, and weight, but the 10X does make it tough to hold by hand (so they tend to get used more for terrestrial viewing).

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:15 AM

The other revelation, was how much brighter the 7x35s are than the 10x30s, and how much easier they are for me to hold steady. It was like night and day! I had been considering a pair of 10x50s for nighttime use, but now I suspect that 7- or 8-power may be the limit to what I can actually hand-hold.


You weren't trying to use them from a standing position, were you? The key to binocular observing is a chair. Or, for objects overhead, lie down on the ground.

#4 kenrenard

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:03 AM

The other revelation, was how much brighter the 7x35s are than the 10x30s, and how much easier they are for me to hold steady. It was like night and day! I had been considering a pair of 10x50s for nighttime use, but now I suspect that 7- or 8-power may be the limit to what I can actually hand-hold.


You weren't trying to use them from a standing position, were you? The key to binocular observing is a chair. Or, for objects overhead, lie down on the ground.



Your neck will thank you the next morning!

#5 newtoskies

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:36 AM

Nice report John.
Like the others said, a chair for bino viewing. I too have mine close to the door and a fold up lawn chair outside the door.

Look fowrad to hearing your next night out.

#6 CJK

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:36 AM

I've seen those inflatable kiddie pools recommended as an aid to binocular astronomy, though I haven't tried that myself. I imagine you'd probably want to drain the water in the winter. :iwhat:

-- Chris

#7 John Kuraoka

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

Yes, I was seated in a resin patio chair. The kids usually lie down on the concrete, but it was a bit too cold for that for my old bones - I might not be able to get back up!

I also have a pair of ancient Zeiss Jena 7x50s that I kept after I sold my old scope maybe 20 years ago - I remember I had them cleaned and collimated. My next thing will be to compare the Zeiss with the Nikons. As I recall, though, they have hard plastic eyecups that might be hard on my glasses. I may need to see if the bike inner tube trick works on those eyepieces.

#8 csrlice12

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

I've seen those inflatable kiddie pools recommended as an aid to binocular astronomy, though I haven't tried that myself. I imagine you'd probably want to drain the water in the winter. :iwhat:

-- Chris


Hmmmmm, or, for refractors, fill it up with water, let it freeze. Instead of rubber feet on your tripod, put metal spikes. Now, set your tripod on it's new "Winter Pier", north Align as normal an go. No more sitting on the ground! You may need two pools, one left empty for laying in watching the stars with binos and another, filled with Hydrogenated Oxygen, as a pier for your refractor. (The empty ones also make great "Giant Frisbees".....

#9 lamplight

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

congratulations! isnt it gratifying? i find it so. for some reason the limitless number of objects really appeals to me.


btw- ive had to yank my tripod legs out of the frozen ground a few times already, im sure its common ;)

#10 panhard

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

John it sounds like you are making great progress.






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