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Giant Binoculars and Suburban Skies

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#1 KarlL

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 06:47 PM

Does it make sense to invest in giant binos living under suburban skies? I can see virtually every star in the Dipper and its handle ( right below a street light). The light pollution is surprisingly mild to moderate. Under good seeing, the sky near the zenith is excellent.

Would screw-in light-pollution filters help in making giants worthwhile?

Regards,

Karl

#2 edwincjones

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 07:55 PM

Does it make sense to invest in giant binos living under suburban skies?

Regards,

Karl



yes

I have a 25x150MT fuji in mag4-4.5 skies.
Wish it were darker, but this is where I live
and this is where I observe the most.

It makes more sense to me than getting big optics
and only using one or two weeks a year
in truly dark sky locations

edj

#3 daniel_h

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:11 PM

re light pollution i prefer to view with a smaler exit pupil, eg 30x100 is preferred over 20x100
visualy the filters i have tried have never really won me over re:light pollution -photographically they are great

#4 Man in a Tub

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:48 PM

A decent 20x80 (or even a 15x70) with a good mount would be just fine.

#5 Ryuno

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

Does it make sense to invest in giant binos living under suburban skies? I can see virtually every star in the Dipper and its handle ( right below a street light).


I would definitely say Yes. Aperture wins always, even in the city. I live in the middle of Tokyo. My Kowa 20/50x82 shows a lot more than the Canon 10x42 e.g.
And my 12.5" Dob shows more again. Recently I had a very nice view of M42, although I could practically see nothing with the naked eye, due to heavy light pollution.

Heinz

#6 hallelujah

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:24 PM

Does it make sense to invest in giant binos living under suburban skies?

Karl


Most definitely!

One of my favorites, under light polluted skies, is the 30x80 giant binocular. :bigshock:

Stan

#7 KarlL

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

I'm really surprised by the responses I've gotten so far. I've thought of binos as "dark skies" instruments.

It's very encouraging.

Regards,

Karl

#8 Mike Lynch

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:44 AM

Karl,

I, too, would say I was surprised at these responses, except that within the last couple of weeks, I took my 15x70 and 20x80 binoculars out into my light-polluted back yard because the October skies had become pretty clear. When I mounted them on a steady tripod with a newly-bought grip-action ballhead, the number of dim deep-sky objects that I could view was a pleasant surprise!

I think the steadiness provided by the tripod set-up made a major difference!

#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:18 PM

I'm really surprised by the responses I've gotten so far. I've thought of binos as "dark skies" instruments.


Of course binoculars do better under dark skies -- just like any other astronomical instrument. And indeed, I would probably argue that low-power views (the kind provided by binoculars) are hurt even more than high-powered views by light pollution.

Nonetheless, binoculars of all sizes do quite well in light-polluted surroundings. For instance, all the winter Messier clusters are readily visible even from a bright city through 15x70 binoculars. Many of them are even partially resolved.

#10 hallelujah

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:20 PM

Karl,

Take a look at this link:

http://saberdoesthes...does-the-stars/

Stan

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:13 AM

I'm really surprised by the responses I've gotten so far. I've thought of binos as "dark skies" instruments.


Of course binoculars do better under dark skies -- just like any other astronomical instrument. And indeed, I would probably argue that low-power views (the kind provided by binoculars) are hurt even more than high-powered views by light pollution.

Nonetheless, binoculars of all sizes do quite well in light-polluted surroundings. For instance, all the winter Messier clusters are readily visible even from a bright city through 15x70 binoculars. Many of them are even partially resolved.


I have to think it all depends on the individual and their own personal preferences. Giant binoculars are quite an investment. When all is said and done, a good tripod, a good mount, the binoculars themselves which hopefully will have angled eyepieces for viewing comfort.. for a good pair of 100s, it's probably the other side of $1000..

What are you going to look at? How often are you going to look, what other scopes and binoculars do you already have???

I have a pair of 20x80s, not really giant binoculars but good sized. There's a lot more to see in a decent 100mm F/6 refractor.

Jon

#12 Eric63

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:46 AM

What there is to see is one thing, but the experience of how we see it is another! I had a 4"F5 refractor that was nice, but if I am going the scan the sky with a small aperture, I much prefer the visual effect of the binoculars.

Eric

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:00 AM

What there is to see is one thing, but the experience of how we see it is another! I had a 4"F5 refractor that was nice, but if I am going the scan the sky with a small aperture, I much prefer the visual effect of the binoculars.

Eric


As I said, it's a very personal choice. But that said, a 4 inch refractor will show a lot more than than a pair of 25x100's because of ability to increase the magnification. And, as the level of light pollution increases, scanning the night sky at low powers less and less interesting.

I can tell you what my own personal preferences are but that's not what this is about. Karl asked a question, everyone seemed to encourage him to go ahead and get the Giant binoculars, I am saying, hey wait a minute... let's back up, find out what sort of equipment Karl already has, what he likes to look at, how much is he willing to spend, is he OK with straight through binoculars etc, etc.

Jon

#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:54 AM

Karl asked a question, everyone seemed to encourage him to go ahead and get the Giant binoculars, I am saying, hey wait a minute... let's back up, find out what sort of equipment Karl already has, what he likes to look at, how much is he willing to spend, is he OK with straight through binoculars etc, etc.


Good point. Especially since his question about screw-in filters indicates a lack of familiarity with the equipment available. I would say the difficulty of fitting conventional binoculars with filters (compared to the extreme ease with telescopes) is one of their biggest drawbacks.

The term "giant binoculars" is also pretty vague. It might mean anything from 15x70s to 40x150s to a binocular telescope.

So the answer is: Yes, if you understand what giant binoculars are, and their good and bad points in general, and have clear reasons for wanting to buy them as opposed to other equipment, then the fact that you're observing from the suburbs shouldn't be an obstacle.

However, somebody genuinely familiar with giant binos probably wouldn't have asked the question in the first place; the answer would have been obvious.

#15 planetmalc

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:13 AM

Does it make sense to invest in giant binos living under suburban skies?


I use giant binoculars - in various sizes from 70mm to 125mm - BECAUSE I live under suburban skies! I can't imagine doing any serious astronomy with less than 50mm aperture except on the very best nights.

#16 Tony Flanders

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:01 AM

I use giant binoculars - in various sizes from 70mm to 125mm - BECAUSE I live under suburban skies! I can't imagine doing any serious astronomy with less than 50mm aperture except on the very best nights.


What counts as "serious astronomy?"

I'm very reluctant to call anything that I do serious, but I've done a great deal of stargazing in cities and suburbs with 7x35 and 10x30 binoculars. And a fair bit with other, much smaller instruments.

#17 planetmalc

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

I use giant binoculars - in various sizes from 70mm to 125mm - BECAUSE I live under suburban skies! I can't imagine doing any serious astronomy with less than 50mm aperture except on the very best nights.


What counts as "serious astronomy?"

I'm very reluctant to call anything that I do serious, but I've done a great deal of stargazing in cities and suburbs with 7x35 and 10x30 binoculars. And a fair bit with other, much smaller instruments.


In this context, 'serious' = 'satisfying'. I've tried these smaller apertures (the 30mm - 42mm of what I call 'daylight glasses') and always felt like I was using the wrong tool for the job because of how little I could see, while my with-me-at-all-times bins - 6 x 18 Minolta UC (when walking) or 9 x 21 Opticron Sequoiah (for cycling) don't seem much of an improvement on naked-eye. I don't even consider 10 x 50 as the 'right' glass for quick backyard astronomy under my skies and use a 12 x 63 (actually 12 x 57) Optolyth roof instead.

#18 saemark30

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:23 AM

There is very investment needed to purchase a pair of 15x70 for suburban skies. It is the fastest grab and go scope for nights when the skies are less than pristine.
The next level is a pair of 25x100 binocs. I find these work even in urban skies for brighter Messier objects such as large open clusters M45, double cluster, M31 etc.
I prefer 25x100 binocs to 4" refractors for wide area sweeping because 2 eyes are better than one.
For smaller targets like M57 or M13 a 4" isn't really big enough anyways and a 10" telescope is much better.
So to summarize for me the 25x100 binocs have replaced my smaller telescopes under 5", at least 90% of the time.

#19 Eric63

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:30 AM

I think the key word here is stargazing. If I'm going to gaze at stars, I much prefer two eyed viewing. I have tried it with a short tube refractor and reflector and in my opinion the wide field stereo correct angle view of binoculars is much more pleasing (again, in my opinion). I often have a telescope on hand too for zooming in on various objects, but my largest aperture is 6” and in a suburban sky, the number of objects that will really stand out is somewhat limited. The Triangulum Galaxy in my 6” scope does not look too much different than in my 70mm binoculars (just a bit brighter). :grin:

Ergonomics is also another factor. If you are going to look high in the sky for any length of time, then a telescope is a better instrument. I like my scopes for closeup views of brights DSO, planets and the moon and my binoculars for stargazing.

Eric

#20 SMark

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:55 AM

I own a few that would be considered "Giant" binoculars. What I have found over-the-years of observing through city lights is that the weight of the binocular in question has a direct correlation on how much I choose to use it. Even a great night sky here in the city isn't all that great, so it sometimes takes extra motivation to get the big ones out to use them. I'm always more likely to take out one of the 5 lb. binoculars than I am to take out one of the 10 lb. binoculars. If I had the night sky of the Australian Outback I'm sure I could get more motivated to set up the biggest of the bunch.

But maybe it's just me. My back sure isn't what it used to be... :ohmy:

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

I prefer 25x100 binocs to 4" refractors for wide area sweeping because 2 eyes are better than one.



I am the other way..

If the quality of the views through the 25x100's were equal to those of the 4 inch refractor and if the binoculars were equally comfortable viewing the majority of the sky, if I could use filters and eyepieces with large eye lenses.

But as it is, with my 4 inch refractor, I can can the skies at 17x with a 4.5 degree TFoV and 5.7mm exit pupil, at 27x with a 3 degree TFoV at a 4mm exit pupil, zoom in and observe a small detail at 200x... or 130x or whatever is most appropriate. The viewing position is comfortable, the setup is easy and the scope and mount fit easily through a narrow door way..

I have seen the Veil in my 4 inch from my red-zone backyard in the middle of 1.3million other good people because I am able to use the right filters and eyepieces.

The things that giant binoculars do best are best done under dark skies.. The majority of things that are doable from urban skies are better done in a telescope...

YMMV

Jon

#22 saemark30

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:21 AM

What telescope/ filter/ eyepiece did you use to see the Veil Jon in the city?
I like to use both types of instruments. I always use binos first.
If the skies look promising and I'm not too tired I bring out my big scopes and mount. Most of the time it isn't worth the effort.

#23 cw00

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 02:44 PM

I think it really depends on what you want to see. If you want to see DSOs using nebula filters, getting a 5" acro like ST120 may be a better choice than getting a pair of 25x100 giant bino. I really enjoy my 20x110 bino at a dark site without filters and using two eyes instead of one is just so relaxing. But in my light polluted backyard, the bino does not work well and the screw-in filters do not help much at all even though many bino sellers advertise the use of nebula filters. The total weight of a ST120 and a sturdy skywatcher az4 mount is about the same as that of a giant bino on a sturdy tripod. You will be able to carry the entire setup out in one trip.

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:08 PM

What telescope/ filter/ eyepiece did you use to see the Veil Jon in the city?
I like to use both types of instruments. I always use binos first.
If the skies look promising and I'm not too tired I bring out my big scopes and mount. Most of the time it isn't worth the effort.


I have observed the Veil, or better said, detected the Veil, from my urban backyard with an TeleVue NP-101, 31mm Nagler and a Celestron O-III. In larger scopes, it's better, it actually surprisingly good in my 13.1 inch F/5.5 Dob.

From my urban backyard, I just about always start out with a scope, I gauge the size of the scope based on on my energy level... Bigger scopes take long to acclimate so I need to get a head start.

Binoculars are companions to the scope...

Jon

#25 saemark30

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:46 AM

I have seen globulars M22, M13 and the ring nebula M57 under full moon conditions in 25x100 binocs. I can't wait to try mine under dark skies. Messier marathons should be a cinch with them.

Jon your 31mm N costs much more than my 25x100s, let alone your 4" setup with mount!

I have seen the Veil in a 13.1" with a Lumicon OIII filter, but not in anything less than a 8" in urban condition.






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