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Deep Sky observing with small binoculars

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#1 stevecoe

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 06:11 AM

Howdy all;

We have had lots of rain and a little hail in Arizona over the Summer. So, these are the only observations I made during that time. The site is about 40 miles from Flagstaff. The seeing and transparency were 6 out of 10, a rather mediocre night with some clouds around.

Enjoy;
Steve Coe

Scorpius

M 4 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 bright, pretty large, very little elongated and much brighter in the middle. The central bar feature is just seen and is more prominent with averted vision.

M 80 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 faint, pretty small and very little brighter in the middle. The cluster is somewhat difficult on a mediocre night. Averted vision makes it a little more prominent.

M 6 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 Bright, pretty large, pretty compressed, 9 stars resolved in the cluster. M 6 and M 7 fit in the field of view of the small binoculars

M 7 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 Bright, large, pretty compressed, 16 stars resolved with direct vision, another 10 are seen with averted vision. This cluster is on the north side of a prominent dark nebula.

Sagittarius

M 8 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 Bright, large, elongated 1.5X1, 6 stars seen within the nebula. The nebula is larger and more easily seen with averted vision. This nebula is within the dark nebula down the middle of the Milky Way, a fascinating view. It can be seen with no optical aid.

M 23 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 pretty bright, large, round, compressed, 4 stars resolved with direct vision, another 5 seen with averted vision.

M 25 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 bright, large, little compressed, 12 stars resolved, another 5 seen with averted vision.

M 54 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 very faint, pretty small, round, not much.

M 55 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 pretty bright, pretty large, round, much brighter middle, averted vision makes it larger, a nice globular.

M 69 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 very faint, pretty small, not much.

M 70 8X42 binoculars 5 Mile Meadow S=6, T=6 very faint, small, averted vision only.

#2 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:57 PM

Steve - Nice report and thanks for posting. Interesting to see what DSO's are obtainable with binoculars!! :grin:

#3 stevecoe

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:53 AM

Tony;

You are very welcome, that is exactly the reason for the post. I think that there are lots of owners of modest binoculars out there and they rarely use them for viewing the sky. So, pull those binoculars out the closet and step outside.

Lots to see;
Steve Coe

#4 Sasa

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 03:40 PM

Hi Steve,

nice report. I'm also discovering a joy of using small binoculars. I was not bothering to observe with my 8x40 binocular from my backyard. I thought that the sky was too bright to enjoy it. However, during one August night, the sky was too bad to take out my larger telescopes and I went outside only with 8x40. Originally, just to make an estimate of Nova Delphini brightness.

However, the sky was not that bad . At the end and I spent quite some time observing DSO objects. I really liked it. I saw: NGC6940, M31, NGC7000, NGC6709, NGC6633, IC4756, delta12 Lyr + Stephenson1, M15, M27, M71, Cr399, Stock1, M72, M56, and M29.

Today, it was similar situation. It was clear that the clouds will come soon. There was haze, strong cirrus clouds, Moon, yet it was fun to browse with 8x40 around Cassiopeia. I was surprised how clear, bright, and large was open cluster NGC663. NGC7789 was also visible with averted vision as large misty round spot. M52 was also quite distinct haze with one stellar brightening. M103 was very small, just 2 hazy stars, h and chi was of course obvious. I noticed also Stock 2, this is very nice object. It must really shine under dark sky in binocular. I just glimpsed with averted vision large brighter spot where I could feel a presence of many faint stars.

Roughly in between Stock 2 and NGC663 I noticed another misty patch just slightly smaller than NGC663 and slightly less conspicuous. There was nothing plotted in my Pocket Sky Atlas at that position. I'm just looking in Uranometria 2000.0. There is open cluster NGC743 plotted in that position (but also a nearby chain of 5 stars, need to check it again).

Then I saw NGC225, Cr463, Tr2, Stock23 (in fact I first noticed the group in binocular and after while I identified it using the atlas).

The biggest surspise was alpha Per cluster. This was really beautiful and just perfectly framed in the 8x40 binocular.

Finally, I check M34 and M31.

Who knows what the small bino could do under really good skies.

#5 Astrojensen

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 11:17 AM

Who knows what the small bino could do under really good skies.



Amazing things, I tell you. You're just scratching the surface of what's possible. There's an amazing number of galaxies visible in binoculars under truly dark skies.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#6 stevecoe

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:36 AM

Thomas, Sasa, et al;

I agree completely, it is certainly lots of fun with the 8X42 binoculars. They are so easy and fun to use, there is so much to see on a good night and much more than that on a great night. Of course, now that the clouds are going away, the Moon is thick...oh well.

Steve Coe

#7 IVM

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 10:26 AM

Fine observations! I like to take my 8x30 Carl Zeiss Jena to my remote site. When you pick them up, they don't feel much lighter than my 7x50 Geoma, but the difference becomes noticeable soon enough when holding them up. In the long run, what gets seen through an instrument is a function of its ergonomics as much as it is a function of its aperture.

#8 Sasa

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:52 PM

Can't agree more. Five years ago I had binoculars 10x50. I observed through them several galaxies from Messier list for example. But I could hold them only for few minutes and than I got tired. I sold them soon in favor of trying smaller 8x40. I'm more happy with those although I'm wondering if 7x35 would not be even better.

#9 Sasa

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 03:22 PM

I forgot to mention that I was also surprised how colorful was the universe through my 8x40 binocular. For example last time I noted two bright stars just north of NGC7789. One had slightly orange tint (it turned out to be rho Cas), the other was nicely bluish. I was just looking at internet to find more information about those two stars and to my surprise both are very interesting. Rho Cas has even quite a long entry on Wikipedia where they say that this is very rare yellow super-gaint (only 12 are known in our Galaxy) with absolute magnitude of M=-9.5. From time to time it dims to 6th magnitude and it lowers it temperature from 7000K down to 4250K.

The blue star is also interesting. It is known as V373 Cas, it is binary non-eclipsing system of very young (7-8 million years) and massive stars (19 and 14 solar masses). Both are B0.5 bright giants just about to leave the main sequence. There is also an exchange of material between the pair.

I would not have learnt probably about those two interesting stars without noticing their color in binocular. One can definitely learn a lot when observing through them.

#10 gk5481

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 04:09 PM

Hello Steve,
Thanks for the report. It is surprising what can be seen using just binoculars. Any special reason for choosing 8x42's?
Also wanted to mention that I've very much enjoyed reading/using your Deep Sky Observing book. Excellent!


#11 george golitzin

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:08 AM

Nice post, Steve, thanks! I love 8x40s for the occasional low power binocular sweep--their light weight/small size makes them very comfortable for extended viewing. On a couple of trips to Hawaii over the years, that's all the gear I had with me, and they kept me very happy. In fact, I remember one trip several years ago (to Kauai, I think) I spotted NGC 2477 for the first time in those 8x40s. It looked so promising that, as soon as I got home, I dragged my 16-inch to the nearby dark site and found the cluster, low in the sky. It was so beautiful it quickly became one of my favorite open clusters. So you never know what you might come up with in those small binos.

#12 stevecoe

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 05:20 AM

Kosta, et al;

I am always happy to hear from a satisfied "customer". I am glad to hear that you using and enjoying the book.

George, I agree that binoculars in our size range are "just right" for easy observing up and down the Milky Way. I have sold off all my larger binoculars because these are so easy to use.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

#13 curiosidad

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 08:43 AM

Hello,
Thanks Steve, for your report..
PD.: I have reading all your book, and I ike them..

#14 Chris Greene

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 02:21 AM

I wanted to pipe in with agreement to the joys of using smaller bins for observing. It's instant gratification, especially under darker skies.

For a real treat, try one of the Canon IS bins. I've had the 10x30's for some years now and you'd be amazed at how more they can show you than non-stabilized larger objective bins. I'd love to be able to pick up their 10x42 or 15x50 IS bins but am always put off by the price. When I bought the 10x30's they were under $300 with a rebate at the time.

Anyway, thanks for the topic, it's one that's near and dear to me!

#15 REC

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 08:20 AM

The 10x42' IS would be sweet!

There is another solution that is almost as good and let's you use larger power. I use my 8x62's in this method and are rock steady and very comfortable.

The item is called "Sky Window" It allows you to sit and look down at the reflected sky as if you where sitting at a microscope.

#16 Chris Greene

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 09:37 AM

Those guys have been selling those things forever. They don't seem to have really caught on though and for $300+ (with an upgraded mirror), I'd rather put the money into the cost of IS bins. Heck, you're three quarters of the cost of the Canon 10x30's!

#17 REC

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:47 AM

Yeah but, I already had a good 9x63 Bino. I also use the laser in it and it is pretty cool.

The IS are great and I look through a pair at the Solar eclipse and it was great....But, you still have to hold them up and I much prefer sitting at the table looking down and have a glass of wine on the table too:)

#18 Chris Greene

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:53 PM

"glass of wine on the table..."

Now, you're talking!! Very genteel. :bow:

#19 stevecoe

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:38 AM

I know that I am just the original poster here, but can we get back to somewhere near the original subject--viewing the sky with modest binoculars. Many of us just don't have the money for image stabilized binoculars, I would rather eat and put gas in my car. So I can drive out to dark skies and enjoy my 8X42's.

Steve Coe

#20 blb

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:48 AM

...Many of us just don't have the money for image stabilized binoculars, I would rather eat and put gas in my car. So I can drive out to dark skies and enjoy my 8X42's.

Here here Steve. I for one totaly agree with that. My favorite binoculars are my 10x50's though. I have 7x35's, 8x42's, 10x50's, 9.5x63's, and 25x100's in my stable and it is really amazing what can be seen with a good pair of binoculars.

#21 Astrodj

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:48 PM

Hi Steve, all,

I have a pair of 8x42's that I use at home in my red/white zone. I usually take breaks during the night out by just relaxing in a chair and tooling around. It helps me to bring in DSO's I could see naked eye from somewhere dark, but at home, no way. M8, M6 & 7, M22, M13, M17, even M31 and the Double Cluster except on the best nights, and many more are rarely detectable naked eye from my backyard without the binoculars.

I revisit many favorites though that are superb even from my light polluted zone. M45 is spectacular, never gets old. M44 is great too. M42 is really great! The Coathanger is always fun with binoculars. The Alpha Perseus group is beautiful. Scanning the Hyades is always rewarding.

On occasion I go to a dark site without being able to bring a scope and the binoculars are all I have with me. If it is a really good night I at first feel kinda bummed that I don't have a scope. But, once I get started with my PSA and 8x42's I soon forget about that and I'm having a great time seeing things in a whole new way, so to speak. I recall last spring seeing M101 easily in the binoculars while at home I haven't ever seen it in anything! :grin:

#22 stevecoe

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:25 AM

Buddy; binoculars provide such an easy way to view the night sky, I just never go out without them. As DJ said, I can revisit old favorites and enjoy views up and down the Milky Way to find fascinating fields of light and dark. After all this time observing the sky I have yet to get tired of that beautiful view.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe






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