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Binoviewers at the star party last night

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#1 David E

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:54 AM

I know people have had mixed success using binoviewers at public star parties, but I thought I'd post my results from last night here as I ended up with a very positive experience. I think I managed to solve all the issues to one degree or another by keeping the power low and my setup simple. So last night, I installed the Stellarvue binoviewers to my SV80mm Aplanat, an 80mm F7 achromat. With the 2x adapter and 27mm SA wide angle eyepieces I got 40x. I carried two more sets of eyepieces for higher powers but never got a chance to use them. The Aplanat displayed almost no false color (although some of the younger customers did notice the blue lateral color around the extreme edge caused by the eyepieces.) At 40x, two of Jupiter’s bands could be easily seen and all four moons were lined up on the western side.

I started out with the Moon, but as it got really high in the sky putting the binoviewers quite close to the ground, I switched to Jupiter. Then later as Orion got high enough, I switched to M42. All three were popular targets and I was kept very busy with a constant stream of customers. No one seemed to have any troubles merging with the binoviewers (at least no one mentioned seeing double). Really small children had difficulty looking through them but then they have troubles with single eyepieces as well. But no children around age 8 or up had any trouble using the binos, although it did take most people a while to find the right eye placement. I am always busy keeping the target aligned with my altaz mount, but at 40x it stayed in place long enough for two or three visits to the binos between adjustments, as long as no one bumped the telescope. The biggest issue with binoviewers that night was the adjustment of the interpupillary distance. I have a rather narrow IPD so adjusting them for me worked well for all the children. I opened up just a bit and the adults seemed to have no troubles getting that great bino-view. I don’t know how many visitors we got last night, but once I got started I had an almost constant stream of customers. We have a club meeting this Tuesday so I might find out then what the count was. And I have a feeling I've converted one club member to the double-dark side! :)

David Elosser
80mm Stellarvue Aplanat the “Aplanasaurus Rex”

#2 johntrob

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:35 AM

It is great when a club can reach out to the community like that, especially with positive results.

I can imagine that your visitors were surprised to be using both eyes. When I first heard about bino viewers I did not know what to think. After using them a few times, I definitely believe they add a lot to the experience.

John

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#3 David E

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

Everyone had a great time that night. I got an email from the club saying that over 200 people showed up for our 2 hour event! Over the years I've only used binoviewers twice before, both with positive results. The good thing is, if someone is having trouble using the binos, it's easy to convert to mono-mode.

#4 faackanders2

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

Glad it worked out weel for you and the public. :jump:

Since I often get lines 40 people long with my 17.5" dob at public star parties, I just use my single "public" eyepiece, and often setup my 25x100 binos next to it (for when the line is much shorter). Both are manually operated, so I have to manually find, center and/or refind objects every 2-3 people.

It would just take so much longer to have each person adjust IPD and focus for each eye. With just a single eyepiece, most choose not to refocus, unless they take off their glasses. When doing general observing (non-pulic star parties) I do share binoviewer views with clubmembers, guests, and some public but then for the most part there are no lines, and people just come over when you shout out "Anyone want to take a look at ..."

#5 Paul G

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

My experience with binoviewers at public observing session has been pretty dismal. They have enough problems finding the light cone with a single eyepiece, takes forever to get them set with the binoviewer. I also feared for my bv's safety as people tried to bend it in directions it isn't designed to go.

#6 REC

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Dave, where is your club in NC?

Bob

#7 DaveJ

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

My experience with binoviewers at public observing session has been pretty dismal. They have enough problems finding the light cone with a single eyepiece, takes forever to get them set with the binoviewer. I also feared for my bv's safety as people tried to bend it in directions it isn't designed to go.


I've used the Mark Vs at public events, but I usually wait until the "tourists" call it quits. When the crowds dwindle down to the more dedicated observers, then out come the binoviewers to the delight of the remaining. Seems to work well and the smaller group really enjoy the experience.

#8 Mike B

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

When the crowds dwindle down to the more dedicated observers, then out come the binoviewers to the delight of the remaining.


I've done similar- especially when there's groups of youngsters involved. When the crowd gets small enough- even with kids- then the BVers make more sense.

#9 David E

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:54 AM

Dave, where is your club in NC?

Bob


I'm with Forsyth Astronomical Society in Forsyth County. We have two places for public events: Pilot Mountain (aka Mt Pilot for you fans of the Andy Griffith Show!) and Sci Works in Winston-Salem. Pilot Mountain is the "dark sky" site. We usually schedule lunar viewing for Sci Works although some of the brighter DSO's are visible from that location as well. M42 actually looked pretty good through the binos that night.






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