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Stiff Necks and the Zenith

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#26 City Kid

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

I guess I will just have to continue all of my binocular viewing laying back in a lawn chair. While it's true that I miss detail in objects due to not being able to hold the binoculars steady, seeing extra detail isn't worth having problems with my neck. I have three herniated discs (disks ?) in my neck and I just can't hold my head back for any length of time without causing problems. Plus I just enjoy laying on my back and looking at the sky in comfort. Like Jon, if I want a low power wide field of view that allows me to see detail I use my short focal length refractor.

#27 eklf

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

The mirror-mount is my prefered apparatus for viewing the zenith.

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#28 REC

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Yep, sure is more comfortable sitting is a nice chair look down for up!

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#29 Don M

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:36 PM

I don't view at the zenith very often, but when I do, this is how I do it!! The StarRocker is not perfect; however, for the investment it has provided much fun / enjoyment! I tell Doris, "If I am not back in, in an hour, call my cell . . . if I don't answer, call 911!!" :jump: In cold climates - (it was well below zero, degrees F, when these pictures were taken) half the work is getting enough clothes on so you are comfortable for a while! When 'flying' the StarRocker you literally feel like you are in a 'craft' exploring the cosmos! In the first photo I am using 20 X 80's, 2nd photo 15 X 70's. Here is a link to the StarRocker in action (well in the daylight!! :cool:) (YouTube) Link to another thread (StarRocker - link) There are additional pictures in my gallery. (My Gallery Link)- - - CN Rocks!!

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#30 Mr. Bill

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

IMO, 45 degree binos are the way to go with the commercial products currently available.

Unfortunately, there are no 90 degree currently available (as far as I know) that pass muster optically.

That's why I built my 5 inch 90s.

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#31 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:33 PM

At and near the zenith is where the sky is (usually) darkest. And so it's worth making the effort to be able to observe there in comfort. And angled binos need not be bulky at all. One could so easily rig up a capable bino from a pair of 50mm angled finders, *without* the commonly envisaged, volume-eating, big, flat support plate with four mounting rings.

Such an instrument, up to perhaps 15X or so, doesn't *require* a tripod. Perhaps the best support which requires the least ancillary equipment is somewhat low stool, which has your butt a little below the level of your knees. This one item supports *both* you and the bino. The former is comfy, and the latter enjoys the steadying effect of elbows on thighs/knees. The 'tripod' type of folding camp stool is the lightest solution, and works nicely.

Sure, one has to get used to aiming the bino, but with a little practice it's not so hard. A green laser could be attached so as to ease things, rigged so than its on/off switch is conveniently placed, or even actuated 'remotely' via a mechanical linkage or extra wired-in switch.

There has been manufactured a 45-50mm angled (45 degree) binocular, but the pitifully small prism system allowed only a small field, and so magnifications of 15X or 20X were offered. In other respects they were interesting; they were pretty light, and the IPD adjustment was based on moving each telescope on a width-adjustable stage.

I'd like to see a similar approach employing prisms sufficient to obtain a 5 + degree field, permitting magnifications down to 7X. The accommodation for 1.25" eyepieces would be a doddle for the manufacturer, thus allowing some degree of user customization. A good image would result, and it would be eminently hand-holdable (certainly with the seated, knee bracing technique.)

#32 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

Glenn:

I like your ideas... I just keep thinking that if one used star diagonals, rather than correct image optics, things could be a lot easier. It would probably be a hard sell to anyone but an experienced amateur and the alignment would be all mechanical but still... I keep thinking of two ST-80s with 2 inch diagonals and 32mm TV Widefields.

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#33 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

But Jon, larger objectives introduce additional mass, complexity and cost due to the folding of the light paths for the narrower IPD. And enter the stout mount to support the thing. Besides, such beasties already exist. I want to see a commercial solution for comfy hand holding...

#34 Mark9473

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

I want to see a commercial solution for comfy hand holding...

Just attach a mirror in front of your binoculars.

#35 ronharper

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Also, your eyes would have to be over 80mm apart.
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#36 daniel_h

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:02 PM

i can get to 80deg ok with my P-mount...who wants to look directly overhead at scorpio/sagittarius in the cool of winter anyway?? ;) :grin:

oops my bad - i forgot they are low down for you guys :(

#37 Mr. Bill

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

i can get to 80deg ok with my P-mount...who wants to look directly overhead at scorpio/sagittarius in the cool of winter anyway?? ;) :grin:

oops my bad - i forgot they are low down for you guys

:(



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#38 Sarkikos

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:17 PM

Well, we have Cygnus, Cassiopeia, Cepheus and Camelopardalis. Eh ... :shrug:

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#39 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:09 PM

But Jon, larger objectives introduce additional mass, complexity and cost due to the folding of the light paths for the narrower IPD. And enter the stout mount to support the thing. Besides, such beasties already exist. I want to see a commercial solution for comfy hand holding...


Glenn:

For comfy hand holding, I lay on my back or lay back in a reclining chair...

I keep thinking about the "over-under/side by side" design with the lower scope being further back and using short draw tube, star diagonals and an extension to accommodate the IPD. No undersized prisms to worry about. With an F/5-F/6 focal ratio, there's a reasonable amount of draw tube length to play with while maintaining a well illuminated field. Edge correction is not the problem it is with fast binocular objectives. None of the typical binocular compromises.

It does take a substantial mount but it's a telescope Alt-Az mount (which I have) and a lot of mechanical design and some machining. Unusual mechanical design is what I do, machinists I know...

I just keep thinking of the low power views through 2 inch eyepieces like the 32mm TV Widefield in an ST-80 or Orion 100mm F/6 but with both eyes.

Jon

#40 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:36 AM

Quite right, Jon. I momentarily lost my mind and forgot about the 'over-under' design, which obviates the extra folding optics. My brain so loves to think in terms of symmetry. :grin:

One aspect of this configuration to bear in mind, particularly if desiring to obtain wide fields with 2" eyepieces, is the need to employ a larger diagonal in the 'under' tube. This might require a 2.6" m.a., certainly not a 'standard' 2" diagonal, for shorter f/ratio objectives.

About lying back and holding a bino... I've done this a great many times over the years. Even with the elbows supported, so that the upper arms are relaxed, there is still the strain on the triceps which is required to support the lower arms and bino. And the elbow joints get stiff, too. After a few hours--actually rather less--this becomes rather tiring. OK for the short-term, but untenable for a dedicated session of prolonged observation.

#41 guangtou

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:23 AM

The hardest part about using a tripod with straight through binoculars to look at the zenith is my neck won't go back 90 degrees. The second hardest part is the tripod gets in the way. One way to overcome the second part is to use a combination of panhead, 410 geared head and ball head to achieve anough distance from the tripod.

As far as overcoming the first part, I suspect that persistence in contorting yourself this way will either break your neck (at which point 90 degrees will be no problem) or convince you that the way to look at the zenith with such binoculars is either lying down on a blanket or sitting in an anti-gravity chair.

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#42 Don M

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

i can get to 80deg ok with my P-mount...who wants to look directly overhead at scorpio/sagittarius in the cool of winter anyway?? ;) :grin:

oops my bad - i forgot they are low down for you guys :(


Remember - with continental drift that is going to change!! :grin: :jump:

#43 Sarkikos

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

I can't wait that long.

:grin:

#44 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

One aspect of this configuration to bear in mind, particularly if desiring to obtain wide fields with 2" eyepieces, is the need to employ a larger diagonal in the 'under' tube. This might require a 2.6" m.a., certainly not a 'standard' 2" diagonal, for shorter f/ratio objectives.



I am thinking if I use a short drawtube, a moderate focal ratio and limit the range of focus, it all should work with 2 inch diagonals which have about 42mm-44mm of clear aperture. The big optical disadvantage of this configuration is that the images are reversed right to left, for commercial use, this is probably unacceptable. For me, I prefer it...

This is a retirement project, probably start with ST-80s, if that works satisfactorily, then move on to the Orion 100mm F/6...

Here is a way out there design... totally asymmetrical.. I wonder if anyone has ever done this.. I am strongly left eye dominant, that is probably one reason I am more interested in mono-vision than bino-vision. How about binoculars with full aperture on one side, reduced aperture on the other side, just to provide that eye with something to look at... Say an 80mm F/6 on one side, a 40mm F/12 on the other...

Jon

#45 Andresin150

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:29 AM

I like the idea of using 90 deg diagonals, but not too much of using 2" size. In my experience, 2" eps are just too fat to accomodate my eyes comfirtably. I remember that the Chinese 150bt was only comfortable when using the 1 1/4" Denkmeier eps. The big Fujis are just on the limit of ep fatness I can take, and also they have acceptable long er (the 40x not so much but acceptable).
Thats why I declined in buying the Ethos at that time... And thats why I've been interested in the Delos and their long ER, (the Naglers have also short ER for bino viewing, of course all are excellent for mono..)
The Docter EPs are incredibly comfortable, thin enough for all users and everyone should be able to see the whole Fov, if I where on a project such as Glen's, thats the eyepieces I'll consider...

#46 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

Aggghh, some of these pics in this thread make my neck ache just looking at them. Realistically speaking for me, if straight through bins, it is max 45 degree and for short runs. Anything higher and I'm reserved to several minutes max. Loungechair almost flat is great. My 90 degree bins are great.

#47 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:17 AM

In my experience, 2" eps are just too fat to accomodate my eyes comfirtably.



I agree most are.. that is why I specified the 32mm TV Widefield. It's not the 35mm Panoptic or the 31mm Nagler but it provides quite pleasing widefield views and is 55mm in diameter which means with careful design, about anyone could use it.

The other reason to use 2 inch diagonals is that they can be further down the optical path because of their greater clear aperture, less vignetting than with 1.25 inch diagonals.

Jon

#48 Mr. Bill

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

A fellow at the Golden State SP last year saw my BinoBox and showed me his over/under design using 5 inch Jeager objectives.

If I hadn't already built my side by side, I would seriously consider this design alternative. The main issue would be an adjustable IPD.

OBTW, my BinoBox is featured in the April S&T Telescope Workshop column....I received a copy of the article from a fellow in Europe. I guess they get early delivery since my issue hasn't shown up yet.

:cool:

#49 hallelujah

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

OBTW, my BinoBox is featured in the April S&T Telescope Workshop column....I received a copy of the article from a fellow in Europe. I guess they get early delivery since my issue hasn't shown up yet.


http://www.garyseronik.com/?q=node/208 :grin:

#50 Special Ed

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:34 PM

I found that viewing objects close to the zenith was more confortable using a p-gram mount. The pic is from Green Bank StarQuest 4 ....


That kind of parallelogram mount helps me not at all. It lets you move your chair back away from the tripod, but you still have to bend your neck exactly the same as if you were sitting under the tripod.

My UniMount is another story. Because that allows viewing at right angles to the p-gram arm, it makes it possible to view from a reclining chair in perfect comfort. The downside is that it's more cumbersome to carry around than a mid-sized telescope.


Tony,

Backing away from the tripod legs is a good thing which makes the p-gram mount part of the solution.

If you want to view near the zenith in comfort, the unimount system is one excellent solution. The amount of gear to deal with is an individual judgement.

My astronomy experience (and I'm sure yours, too) requires a certain amount of contortionism at least some of the time. If you don't want to bend your neck to view near the zenith, the only alternative is to lay on your back.

My most confortable zenith observing (by far) includes an anti-grav chair and image stabilised binoculars.






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