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Equipment Discussions >> Binoculars

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rdandrea
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Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5690933 - 02/20/13 01:41 PM

My solution to observing objects that are at the zenith is to wait two hours.

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hallelujah
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Reged: 07/14/06

Loc: North Star over Colorado
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5691019 - 02/20/13 02:29 PM

Quote:

My solution to observing objects that are at the zenith is to wait two hours.








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StarStuff1
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Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: hallelujah]
      #5691173 - 02/20/13 03:42 PM

Then there is always the bino mirror mount where one looks down with the bino. I built one once but it did not work out too well. The reversed image was a little awkward getting used to. My brain said I was using a binocular but the field was "wierd". Actually, I probably could have gotten used to it in a while but the heavy dew that falls here very often was a bigger turn off.

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Andresin150
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Reged: 08/14/07

Loc: Bogotá - La Calera / Colombia
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5691219 - 02/20/13 04:03 PM

thats what I do when using the Docters with the 501hdv head, zenith is impossible and really not necessary, just wait a few hours...
The chair is just another thing, but I have not take it to darker skies, too much trouble....


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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Jim Davenport]
      #5691227 - 02/20/13 04:06 PM

Quote:

The marvelous thing about the night sky is that if you wait a while, your object will be away from the zenith. No stiff neck.




You know, it's not really the 10 or 15 degrees around the zenith that's the problem. That's a pretty small chunk of sky.

But I can't view comfortably more than 45 degrees above the horizon through tripod-mounted binoculars -- and even that's pushing it. Sure, I can view higher than that, but only at the risk of being disabled the next few days.

The chunk of sky within 45 degrees from the horizon isn't small at all. And it takes the better part of a night for an object to cross it. And it's the part of the sky with the best viewing conditions.

That's why I usually reserve tripod-mounted binoculars for twilight phenomena like low conjunctions. Where they do indeed work beautifully.

Up to 30 degrees: no problem. 45 degrees: that's pushing it. Above that: it's asking for trouble.


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City Kid
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Reged: 05/06/09

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5691260 - 02/20/13 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.

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eklf
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Reged: 05/12/07

Loc: Carrboro, NC
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5691296 - 02/20/13 04:41 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

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

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REC
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith [Re: eklf]
      #5691396 - 02/20/13 05:38 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

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

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Don M
super member


Reged: 10/12/08

Loc: Roseau, Minnesota
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5691993 - 02/20/13 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!!" 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!! ) (YouTube) Link to another thread (StarRocker - link) There are additional pictures in my gallery. (My Gallery Link)- - - CN Rocks!!





Edited by Don M (02/21/13 12:13 AM)


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Mr. Bill
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Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Don M]
      #5692575 - 02/21/13 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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GlennLeDrew
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Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5693084 - 02/21/13 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.)


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5693105 - 02/21/13 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.

Jon


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GlennLeDrew
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Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5693124 - 02/21/13 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...

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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05

Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5693228 - 02/21/13 05:53 PM

Quote:

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



Just attach a mirror in front of your binoculars.


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ronharper
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/14/06

Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5693231 - 02/21/13 05:54 PM

Also, your eyes would have to be over 80mm apart.
Ron


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daniel_h
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Reged: 03/08/08

Loc: VIC, Australia
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: ronharper]
      #5693557 - 02/21/13 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??

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

Edited by daniel_h (02/21/13 09:03 PM)


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Mr. Bill
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Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: daniel_h]
      #5693640 - 02/21/13 10:00 PM

Quote:

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??

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








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Sarkikos
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5693674 - 02/21/13 10:17 PM

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


Mike


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5693749 - 02/21/13 11:09 PM

Quote:

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


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GlennLeDrew
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Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Stiff Necks and the Zenith new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5694014 - 02/22/13 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.

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.


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