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Astronomy With An Opera-Glass

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#26 bumm

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:44 PM

OH... I recently picked up a copy of Serviss' "Round The Year With The Stars," from 1910. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but according to the preface and a quick skim, the book differs from "Astronomy With The Naked Eye" by having less emphasis on the mythology, etc, with more attention to what one can go out and see. If so, the titles could have been reversed... I'm looking forward to reading it. I've also long had Serviss' book "Curiosities Of The Sky," 1909. A good book, but more geared to the explanations of astronomical phenomena according to the science of the day than to observing. Serviss was a pretty successful popularizer of astronomy in his day.
Still, none of these are as captivating to me as his "Astronomy With An Opera-Glass."
Marty

#27 semiosteve

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:39 AM

Funny, I just dusted off my 1888 copy of Astronomy with An Opera Glass before running across this thread....I had the book out because I had grabbed the Zhumell 3x Ooera Glasses givne to me as a gift for a baseball game. Made me think about that old book.

Zhumell still carries these:

http://www.zhumell.c...-opera-glasses/

Pretty funky optics, but worked for baseball. No idea if these conform to what Serviss's audience would have thought of as opera glasses in 1888. But the fallback will be my 60's Sears traditional 7 x 50's.

Regardless, I love the language of the book. For me, I am more motivated by good descriptive language (whether Garrett Serviss or Sue French) than by dry, terse, scientific sounding "Sergeant Friday" style content found in many atlases and lists.

There is a strong aesthetic experience in viewing the stars, and some authors help activate or add to that experience. Old books seem to do a better job at that.

#28 bumm

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:48 PM

I'M GONNA USE CAPS TO MAKE THE "CONVERSATION" EASIER TO FOLLOW... I'M NOT "YELLING."

Funny, I just dusted off my 1888 copy of Astronomy with An Opera Glass before running across this thread....I had the book out because I had grabbed the Zhumell 3x Ooera Glasses givne to me as a gift for a baseball game. Made me think about that old book.

COOL...

Zhumell still carries these:

http://www.zhumell.c...-opera-glasses/

Pretty funky optics, but worked for baseball. No idea if these conform to what Serviss's audience would have thought of as opera glasses in 1888. But the fallback will be my 60's Sears traditional 7 x 50's.

MODERN BINOCS DEFINITELY BLOW THE OLD ONES AWAY, BUT I'VE BEEN HAVING FUN USING MY OLD ONES TO DUPLICATE WHAT SERVISS' "ORINGINAL" READERS MIGHT HAVE SEEN. I'VE FOUND THERE'S A WIDE RANGE OF QUALITY AND USEFULNESS. YOUR 3X25'S MIGHT WORK FAIRLY WELL DUE TO THE MORE REALISTIC EXIT PUPIL...

Regardless, I love the language of the book. For me, I am more motivated by good descriptive language (whether Garrett Serviss or Sue French) than by dry, terse, scientific sounding "Sergeant Friday" style content found in many atlases and lists.
There is a strong aesthetic experience in viewing the stars, and some authors help activate or add to that experience. Old books seem to do a better job at that.

VERY WELL SAID... :)
Marty

#29 blb

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:06 PM

MODERN BINOCS DEFINITELY BLOW THE OLD ONES AWAY, BUT I'VE BEEN HAVING FUN USING MY OLD ONES TO DUPLICATE WHAT SERVISS' "ORINGINAL" READERS MIGHT HAVE SEEN.

Yep! but the modern ones compensate for today's light pollution by reaching deeper. For example, my Nikon 10x50's can show me all the stars that are shown in S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas on a good night from my home in a white zone. That is about what a good pair of 3x25's would have shown in 1900.

#30 bumm

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:49 AM

Buddy was saying
Yep! but the modern ones compensate for today's light pollution by reaching deeper. For example, my Nikon 10x50's can show me all the stars that are shown in S&T's Pocket Sky Atlas on a good night from my home in a white zone. That is about what a good pair of 3x25's would have shown in 1900.

True. Light pollution wasn't NEARLY as bad then, although people near cities and towns would've had some murk from everyone heating and cooking with coal and wood. If I could get a decent used time machine, I'd use it to have the skies of a century ago. Even 125 years ago, Serviss wrote, "Always avoid the neighborhood of any bright light. Electric lights in particular are an abomination to star-gazers."
Marty

#31 TomCorbett

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 09:05 AM

bumm...

Thank you for your review of Astronoomy with an opera-glass and the photos of the excellent items in your personal collection. I have thought many times of adding an opera glass to my current optics collection--but somehow they always seem to get edged out by other items in the budget. Maybe . . . someday . . .

Thank you again for this thread.

#32 faackanders2

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:15 PM

bumm...

Thank you for your review of Astronoomy with an opera-glass and the photos of the excellent items in your personal collection. I have thought many times of adding an opera glass to my current optics collection--but somehow they always seem to get edged out by other items in the budget. Maybe . . . someday . . .

Thank you again for this thread.


The best is Kasai 2.3x40 24 deg TFOV (formerly made by Blue Planet and before that the Soviet Union). They also make a hands free headset to hold them which I used and like, plus 48mm filter holders which I have used and have seen improvement in just a few nebulaes (M42, M8, M27, North American, but haven't see California yet). M31 looks just like the star charts with all the finder stars. M11 so clear I now know where to look. Coathanger visible, as is double cluster, Perseus A cluster, cluster by triangulum, M44. Able to see M45 and Hyades in same FOV and sometimes throw in the the moon and planets for a great view. Milky way looks great and very easy to sweep across. This is of course new technology for the wide view; unsure of the TFOV when the book was written. :foreheadslap:

#33 TomCorbett

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:31 PM

OK, sounds great. Where and how do we get them?

#34 bumm

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:43 PM

My antiqueish ones in the pictures are all pretty common and of very little value. I picked up most of them in junk and antique stores over the years just because they looked cool, and a bit of searching on eBay will show how common these things are. I've added a couple since I took the pics... A "Reed's Nature Study Glass," which is roughly 3x35mm, and a rather bizarre 2x50 that looks like a big, stubby, opera glass. They all work very differently on the sky. The enormous exit pupils don't give much brightness, but some have very wide fields of view. The 2x50's are about 14 degrees. I'm emotionally attracted to the little Reed's Nature Study Glass, which was sold to bird watchers in 1912 and 13, and it fits Serviss' description of what's needed pretty well, but the star images are a little "soft." I think it's probably French made. My best two as far as astronomy goes are German made... The big Busch Field Glasses in one of the pictures are about 4x55 with a 3.5 degree FOV, but give surprisingly good views of individual DSO's. The little "Yachting Club" ones in one of the pictures are about 3.5x32 with a 6 degree FOV, and work very well. A few others are much better looking on the shelf than under the sky. Of course, modern prismatic binos are much better than any of these... I've just been having fun seeing what the things will show.

#35 faackanders2

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:52 PM

OK, sounds great. Where and how do we get them?


Search "Kasai 2.3x40" it will be in Japanese with images. Internet has a translator which is not that great, but Kasai does have an e-mail address which they will quickly respond in english. They will translate the yen price into current $US (or currency from your country) and after you pay by pay pal they will send it to you.

P.S. You can read up on the russian and blue planet optics ones as well, but those are no longer made. I believe they probably sold the rights to Kasai. For eye glass wearers, please note these are near zero eye relief the closer to your eye the wider the view, so you need to observe w/o glasses!

#36 bumm

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:08 PM

OK, sounds great. Where and how do we get them?


Search "Kasai 2.3x40" it will be in Japanese with images. Internet has a translator which is not that great, but Kasai does have an e-mail address which they will quickly respond in english. They will translate the yen price into current $US (or currency from your country) and after you pay by pay pal they will send it to you.

P.S. You can read up on the russian and blue planet optics ones as well, but those are no longer made. I believe they probably sold the rights to Kasai. For eye glass wearers, please note these are near zero eye relief the closer to your eye the wider the view, so you need to observe w/o glasses!


Those little suckers DO sound like fun... Maybe someday...






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