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Falcon Birder
super member


Reged: 04/16/07
Posts: 111
A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42
      #1829553 - 09/09/07 02:23 AM

A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42

It has been a busy summer and I hardly had much time to really go out of city to spend some quality time under a clear dark sky. Last night, I finally decided to get my act together. The condition was perfect: cloudless, decent transparency, and moon didn’t come out until 3 am. I packed myself with a skychart, two reference books “Binocular Highlights” by Gary Seronik and “Skywatching: Revised and Updated’ by David Levy. Of course, never forget warm clothes, some energy bars, water bottles.

I took both zen-ray summit 10x42 and Leica 8x32 Ultravid. I am very comfortable with the extra 2x power that comes with summit 10x42 and its excellent weight balance when holding it aiming upwards. So I pretty much spent most of time using the Zen-ray summit 10x42. It is waterproof/fogproof, which is important since the area was pretty dewy after midnight once temperature dropped below 45 degree. It is a phase coated roof-prism binocular, with both ocular and objective lens cap attached to the binocular body. I found it is a smart design as I never had worry about losing them as I usually did with some binoculars I used to own. I also bring a tripod adapter but I only used it occasionally

While Jupiter was still at southwest sky, I aimed at it to do a quick adjustment on the focus dial using Jupiter as a reference. No starry streaks were observed, focus is clear up to 85% of the edge of the FOV. I was able to do see at least 3 of Jupiter’s moons. The other one to the right is hard to tell due to either the light gathering of the 42mm glass or my eyes are not sensitive enough.

Quickly moved over to M13. It is an easy target, especially during this early Fall season. I still remember what a pain in the neck to watch it two months ago when it was right near the Zenith. Now, It hangs about 30 degree from zenith and makes is more ergonomically accessible: a beautiful faint ball of light. After staring at it for a moment, it started really popping out and became very vivid as the eyes are getting used to the environment.

URSA Major: Mizar and Alcor. I don’t think I have a good eyesight as other people do, as I could not see Alcor with unaided eyes. But it shows up clearly with binoculars. The doublet of Mizar can be unmistakably identified with this 10x42 set up. For that, I had to anchor the binoculars to the tripod to eliminate the handshake. The resolution of binocular is rated at 6.5 arc sec, which performed well for a 14 arc sec doublet. The separation will be truly amazing if same class of glass is engineered for 25x100 or more.

M81 and M82: It is almost effortless to find M81 and M82. In fact, the big dipper of URSA stands out so well, comparing to other constellation and makes it a perfect landmark to locate the deep sky objects around it. M81 shows up as a faint oval light ball. I didn’t see the spiral arms extending out as shown on some of the long exposure CCD images. M82 is a more elongated object with almost the same brightness as M81.

M101:: It has been my biggest challenging for the night. I know it is there. But its brightness is just not high enough for me to pick up until after mid-night when sky gets progressively darker. It feels like look into the dark sky through a fuzzy layer of vinyl window hole. The viewing of it does not provide much visual excitement as other messier objects. But I did feel very happy for being able to observe its existence.

E.T. cluster: following Gary’s excellent navigation guidance, I had no problem finding the E.T. cluster nested among the stars that form the wonderful Cassiopeia. The more I stared at it, the more it looks like the creature in E.T. Sometimes, I felt it looks a little creepy after watching it for too long. 

M103: It feels like a traffic jam around Cassiopeia. So many wonderful objects there. I was able to count about 15 or more bright suns there until my arms started complaining.

M31: I will never leave a night like this without revisiting the glorious M31. I like it because it really reminds us how our Milky Way shall look like from cross-section point of view. The galaxy is bright, very easy to spot with the 10x42 binocular

As I mentioned earlier, it is pretty dewy at the place where I observed. Around 11pm when temperature started to drop, I could feel the dampness of the neckstrap. Pretty soon, there was a watery feeling on the binocular surface. It really put the waterproof/fogproof into test. The viewing got progressively worse until I realized the glasses were covered with a thin layer mist on both ends. I didn’t think about dew until I went back to check the URSA’s Zeta, which appeared with concentric glowing blue rings around it. That’s when I realized it was time to zap the dew. I borrowed my friend’s portable blower to quickly dry out the surface of the glasses. In any case, I am glad the binoculars are waterproof so the dew will never sneak into the internal component to cause internal fog, which will basically ruin the whole unit.

I am very happy with what a Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42 binocular is able to afford me to see last night. Gary’s book is great as it sorted out many interesting objects for binocular users so a beginner won’t waste his time to try to seek out owl Nebula. Clear Nights!

09-07-2007

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Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42 WP
Swaroski 8.5x42 EL
Leica 8x32 Ultravid


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camvan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/02/05
Posts: 2142
Loc: British Columbia
Re: A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x new [Re: Falcon Birder]
      #1829575 - 09/09/07 03:23 AM

I'm glad to hear you're so impressed with your Zen-Ray bino's! how much did they cost? how did you find their mechanical construction? was the it easy to use the focus and diopter adjustment? got lots more questions, but perhaps you have intent to write more later!

you didn't try to find M51, did you?

--------------------
Cameron

"Aperture can only be replaced by even more aperture. Dark transparent skies cannot be replaced by anything else." - Stathis Kafalis

Intes MN66
Meade SN8
handfull of cheap ep's


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novbabies
Postmaster


Reged: 06/05/05
Posts: 15678
Loc: Northern Georgia!
Re: A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x new [Re: camvan]
      #1829663 - 09/09/07 05:36 AM

Low power adventures in bino-vision are just great - you feel like you're really THERE, eh ?

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Good Seeing!

Mark

Orion 12" XTi f/4.9


VERY old Edmund 6" f/8 reflector
Assorted binoculars


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Falcon Birder
super member


Reged: 04/16/07
Posts: 111
Re: A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x new [Re: camvan]
      #1830013 - 09/09/07 11:26 AM

Quote:

I'm glad to hear you're so impressed with your Zen-Ray bino's! how much did they cost? how did you find their mechanical construction? was the it easy to use the focus and diopter adjustment? got lots more questions, but perhaps you have intent to write more later!

you didn't try to find M51, did you?




hi, Camvan, Thanks for the comment. I always enjoyed your posts on the subject of bino-stargazing. I got it for $160 with some freebie come with it, mainly for my bird watching hobby to gain extra 2x power. After being used to expensive euro binoculars, it was surprisingly refreshing to use some inexpensive alternative without sacrificing much of the quality.

The focus is very, very sharp, especially at the center. Then, I do notice slight edge softness starting around 85% toward the outer FOV. I am ok with that since I move the object to center FOV anyway as soon as I spot it. The diopter setting has +/-4 range. I didn't have to adjust the diopter setting on this pair at all as it is perfect right at zero. It does comes with metal alloyed twisted eyecups that I like to play with The diopter ring has right amount of tension so it won't change its position while using the binocular. Focus wheel is smooth with about 2 full turn dial allowing a very fine focus (some binoculars I owned before only have 1 1/4 turn on the focus wheel). I will try to write up a more detailed review on this pair once I cashed out the clear nights for the next few days.

I didn't try M51, guessing M101 got too much of my attention and ego.

On a final note: as I am a convert from a day birder to a night stargazer, I found my happy index finger always tried to mess with the focus wheel when I change objects. I had to consicously tell myself: No, leave the focus wheel alone. The focus wheel will not respond to the 25 light year to 20 million light year difference.

--------------------
Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42 WP
Swaroski 8.5x42 EL
Leica 8x32 Ultravid


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Joad
Wordsmith


Reged: 03/22/05
Posts: 18002
Re: A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x new [Re: Falcon Birder]
      #1831069 - 09/09/07 08:04 PM

Your experience sounds quite similar to my experience with my new 8X42 roofs, though it sounds like that extra 2X helps with Jupiter. I have made out three Jovian moons and am still trying for the fourth, but the disk of the planet is not good.

I am especially impressed by your happy experience with the Zen Ray given your ownership of a Swarovski and a Leica.


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Falcon Birder
super member


Reged: 04/16/07
Posts: 111
Re: A Wonderful Fall Night with Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x new [Re: Joad]
      #1922015 - 10/19/07 01:49 PM

I enjoyed my Swaroski for scanning sky too. Optically, it is better than Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42, especially when it comes to the edge 85%-95% range (well, for 10x price difference, it'd better be ). Within the 85% range, I don't see much difference. It is 4oz heavier, which is fine for birding. But I soon find it too heavy when holding it for a while for stargazing.

--------------------
Zen-Ray SUMMIT 10x42 WP
Swaroski 8.5x42 EL
Leica 8x32 Ultravid

Edited by Falcon Birder (10/19/07 01:50 PM)


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