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Tele Vue 85 Down Under

The following is my observing logs from a trip down under (Australia) in Dec 2002. I currently live and observe from just outsideNY city in West New York New Jersey. As you can imagine the skies are somewhat light polluted but you would be surprised at what you can pick up even under these kind of skies. Given NY skies and having only purchased the Televue 85mm refractor in May, 2002 you can imagine that a trip down under for a holiday that would involve some observing was something of a dream. What follows is my observing log and notes from my trip down under.

Prior to my trip down under I did a fair bit of planning to find out what objects are visible in the southern skies that I should definitely observe if I get a chance. I used a number of books and a number of web resources to do this and built up a list of objects.

Where possible I made some notes each night whilst observing and then the following day spent some time compiling these notes into a brief description of my observing sessions. With only 2 weeks I wanted to try and capture something of my experience as I went along rather than try to remember everything when I got back to the US.

What follows is my write up based on these notes and my memory.



Televue 85mm APO Refractor


Televue Telepod with eyepiece caddy attached.


  • 35mm Panoptic
  • 17mm Nagler T4
  • 9mm Nagler T6
  • 7mm Nagler T6
  • 3-6mm Nagler Zoom


Nikon 10x42 Superior E


  • The Cambridge Star Atlas Third Edition by Wil Tirion.
  • The Southern Skies by Wil Tirion. – If you have the above this really isn’t worth buying.


My observing location was Sydney in New South Wales Australia. The exact location was a southern Sydney suburb called Como, which is approximately 40 minutes from city center. I was staying at my girl friends mother’s house and outside the back of the house they had a great big deck facing out onto the Georges River. The deck faces approximately east and gives a nice view of objects rising in the night sky.

Traveling with the TV85

Traveling with the Televue 85mm refractor was quite simple. I packed the main scope and eyepieces into the soft case provided with the TV85 and carried this onto the aircraft as hand luggage, which did not create any problems. When passing through airport security it did raise some suspicion and after passing through the x-ray machines they asked to have a look inside. On going through security I got stopped due to my belt and shoes and whilst they were scanning me one of the security folks was opening my the TV85 case whilst it was still on its side. I was waiting on them unzipping the case and watching the scope roll out onto the table. After shouting at them they stopped and laid the case down before opening…phew!!. I also wrapped the scope in a little bubble wrap in order to give it a little extra padding. I dismantled the Telepod mount and head and put these inside my suitcase to be checked in as luggage. For my return trip I put a small padlock on the TV85 case in order to prevent the security folks from opening the case without me being there. I also detached the Star Beam finder and packed this inside its box and packed this inside my case.

Observing Log

Dec 20th 2002

My first night under the southern skies! Full moon so skies not completely dark. Some light pollution due to Sydney but still amazing skies. What I would give for New York skies to be similar. Looking from the deck I look out over some Palm trees and can see the moon low on the horizon and it’s an amazing orange/red color. Looking across the river I can see the reflection of the moon on the somewhat still water. A truly amazing view and fitting for a post card.

First constellation to be noticed was Orion. Very strange to see this upside down. This was my first night under clear skies to evaluate the Nikon binoculars. Orion is a great view in these little binocs. The three stars of Orion belt easily fit into the field of view and scanning north I can take in the sword and M42. Did not really focus on Orion as this
is a constellation that can be seen from the northern hemisphere. M42 was nice and contrasty and I could easily make out webs of nebular gas flowing out from the trapezium. Betelgeuse is nice orange/red.

My next constellation was Canis Major. Sirius was nice and bright and an easy spot. Scanning around Sirius with the binocs I can easily pick up the open cluster M41. Turned the TV85 onto M41 with the 35mm Pan. Great view. Nice little cluster. Turned up the power with the 17,9 and 7 Naglers and more stars pop into view.

Moving across to delta Canis major I picked out a small ring of stars and the small open cluster NGC 2362.

Scanning south of Canis major and I come across a myriad of open clusters M46/47 and M93. Just panned around this area of the sky south of Canis Major and took in lots of little open clusters. The binocs are great but the 35mm Panoptic in the TV85mm just gives that little more magnification (17x) to really make the view stunning.

The moon at this point was just so Orange that I had to have a look with TV85 and the 35mm Pan. Not your usual lunar eyepiece but that nice wide field and low power enables me to take in the full moon and trees on the horizon some of which are covering parts of the moon. The edge of the moon shows little shimmer from atmospheric turbulence produced by the days heat. The nice orange color of the moon was the highlight of this view.

Continued my scanning of the skies to the south east of Canis Major down into Puppis, Vela and Carina. Just panning around this area I start to see so many open clusters that I was not sure what I should look at first with the 85. Wow. Amazing view.

Identifying the constellations of Puppis, Vela and Carina was not so easy. My reference stars are

  • Canopus
  • Pi Puppis
  • Zeta Puppis
  • Gamma Vela
  • And a diamond of stars formed by delta vela, Epsilon Carina, Iota Carina and Kappa Vela. ( The False Cross )

The eastern part of this diamond ( Delta Vela ) is close to I2391 & NGC 2669. Great view in the 85 with the 35 Pan.

North of epsilon Carina and I come across NGC 2516. Another great little cluster.

I spent the best part 1 hr just panning with the TV85 and 35mm Pan from Canis Major down through Puppis, Vela and Carina. I was constantly switching between the 85 and the binocs and in each field of view taking in many new objects I had never seen.

At this point I am like a kid in toy store….look at this….look at that…what next…

Drop the 35mm Panoptic in the TV85 and turn in onto the Eta Carina nebula and take in the open cluster NGC 3532 and if your not impressed by this view them I am willing to bet that astronomy is not the hobby for you.

After 3 hrs observing from 9pm until midnight and 23 hrs traveling I decided to call it a day and get some kip. What an amazing session.

This is probably not complete as I am sure I picked more than I jotted down as I was to busy enjoying the view to take detailed notes. Quite simple stunning and a memorable first night down under.

List of Objects Observeed

Moon, M41, M46, M47, NGC 2362, M93, Cr135, NGC 2451, NGC2516, I2391, NGC 2808, NGC 2547, NGC 3372 (Eta Carina ), NGC 3294, Mel 101 ( Southen Pleiades ) I2602, Mel 105, I2714, NGC 3590, NGC 3572, NGC 3532.

Dec 21st 2002

As the skies began to darken once again the most noticeable constellation is again Orion and Canis Major.

First object up tonight was M79 a little globular cluster in the constellation Lepus. Draw a line between alpha and beta Lepus and project it in a straight line and around double the distance between alpha and beta lies this nice little globular. In the 35mm Pan its easily observed as being too diffuse to be a star. It’s a nice little cluster and in the 17/9/7 Naglers starts to resolve into a few stars. Not a show stopper but still a nice little globular.

Next I had a quick look at M41 again. I really like this little cluster in the binocs in the same field of view with Sirius. With the TV85 and the 35Pan/17 Nagler it resolves into a nice cluster of stars.

Next up was a few new constellations and the Large & Small Magellanic clouds. Found the little triangle of star just at the bottom of Dorado. With the naked eye I can see what almost looks like a cloud very close by. A quick scan with the binocs and its clear I am spot on the LMC. The most obvious object in the field of view is the Tarantula Nebulae ( NGC 2070 ). The more I look just with the binocs I start to see little clumps of stars all over the LMC. I turn the TV85 on the LMC with the 35 Pan and my view in the binocs is confirmed. Lots of little clusters or brighter patches within the LMC. I needed a detailed map of the LMC at this point as the Cambridge star Atlas just does not cut it at this level of detail ( See later )

Next up was the constellation Hydrus and the small magellanic cloud. Scanning with the binocs I first locate alpha Hydrus, a little across and I find a little triangle of stars formed by alpha, epsilon and delta Hyrus, I scan southwards towards beta gamma hydrus Archenar and there it is, the small megelanic cloud. Once again lots of little clumps of brightness and the mighty 47 Tuc. Just looking with the naked eye I can see 47 Tuc. Turning the TV85 on 47 Tuc with the 35 Pan and 17 Nagler reveals a great diffuse glow with a sprinkling of stars at the edges. It seems much larger than M13. Not far away is another little globular NGC 362.

Again I returned to panning the skies from Canis Major down through Puppis, Vela, Carina and the southern cross. Scanning the skies from Mel 101 across and I pass through Eta Carina ( NGC 3072 ), NGC 3324, NGC 3294, I2581, NGC 3247. It really is hard to describe the quality of this view. This view alone is quite simple enough justification for buying the 35mm Panoptic eyepiece.

Under NY skies I usually use the 35mm Panoptic for scanning and then switch to the 17 Nagler for those slightly darker skies. Under these skies the 35 Panoptic is truly fantastic. Mel 101 ( The Southern Pleides ) is diffuse open cluster I pan across through this and onto Eta Carina. I can easily make out the nebulosity and a nice big dark notch. Panning further and I come across NGC 3324, 3293 and then I2581, NGC 3247. Compared to Mel 101 and Eta Carina this little group of clusters are quite compact. Its great just to pan across the sky and take in all of these little clusters.

Mosquito’s really started to eat me later in this observing session so I called it a day and headed in for some sleep. A great few hours observing.

Dec 22nd 2002

Cloudy and overcast no observing possible.

Was a bit overcast today and I was having a lazy day so I checked the internet and had a surf for some detailed maps of the Large and small magellanic cloud. The best I could find was

htttp://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky/tuc/ Tucana
http://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky/dor/ Dorado

Printed some of the maps out for future nights under the skies.

Dec 23rd 2002

Cloudy and overcast no observing possible.

Dec 24th 2002 ( Christmas Eve )

Christmas eve was cloudy and overcast all day. Rain early morning & later after noon so I did not expect clear skies at all. Around 9.30 the clouds cleared leaving excellent skies. In fact the skies seemed clearer than on any previous night, The moon had not risen so the skies were nice and dark.

Orion again the most noticeable. M42 was easy naked eye. Didn’t really spend time on M42/Orion as I was more for exploring unknown areas of the southern skies. Taurus is also easily visible and Saturn shining bright.

Again I started from Canis Major. Cannot help it but this region of sky from Canis Major down to the southern cross is just so amazing. If you have a copy of Cambridge Star Atlas just turn to page 15,16 and 17 and follow the milkyway south from Canis Major down to the southern cross and you will see what I mean. There is a feast of nebulaes, open clusters etc etc.

I started with M41 in Canis Major. Great in the 17 Nagler. I then move over to delta Canis Major and began scanning south to take many other open clusters NGC 2354, 2362, 2357, M93, 2482, 2467.

There was some clouds starting to come over. I thought this session might be washed out. With a light wind they cleared very quickly.

My quest further south was again guided by “The False Cross”. Started with cr135, NGC 2451, 2477, 2546, 2579, 2547, I2395, 2670, Tr 10, I2391, 2669, 2516, 2910 and 2925

From previous sessions I had pretty much decided that I was going to spend this holiday down under just exploring the skies from Canis Major down through the Southern skies. A quick glance at any star map will reveal just how much there is too see in this region alone.

Panning further south I again come across the might Eta Carinae. I just could not stop panning across from Mel 101, through Eta Carinae, then onto little gems 3524 and 3293 with its nice little sprinkle of different colored stars. Moving further south I come across another little line of clusters with Mel 105 at one end and the spectacular NGC 3532 on the otherside. In the Nikons NGC3532 for me was clearly a cluster of little blue stars. With the 35mm Pan its stunning. Too many stars to count. Drop in the 17 Nagler and I am walking in the middle of this cluster. One thing that struck me with this fantastic cluster was the uniformity of magnitude of the stars. I am sure there are many stars beyond the reach of the 85 but I could see more than I could count. For a few minutes I just sat looking through the 17 Nagler. A little further south and there is a little line of stars with I2944 and NGC3766.

Its great just to use the binoc and take in Mel 101, Eta Carinae, NGC3293 and then south onto NGC3766. The Nikons are just so sharp.

Panning further south and I am into the southern cross. With 35mm Pan I can easily split alpha and gamma crux. The Jewel box ( NGC 4755 ) just off lambda crux was also nice. Great in the binocs. Dam….Centaraus was not up. So I was not going to bag Omega Centauri tonight.

I moved on to Hydrus and the small magellanic cloud. I can easily pick up 47 Tuc and NGC362 with the binocs. Just to the side and a little off center between these two globulars is the small magellanic cloud. A great view in the Nikons. I so wish I had a mount for
the Nikons.

Focusing in on 47 Tuc. I turn up the magnification and use the 17 Nagler and 9 Nagler. This is quite simply the best view I have had of a globular cluster in the TV85. 85mm of aperture is never going to resolve this cluster to the core but I could clearly see stars all the way out from the core to the edges. The center was still a fuzzy ball but almost superimposed on top I could see loads of stars. I spent perhaps 1 hour switching between the 35 Pan and the 19//9/7 and 3-6 Nagler zoom. I can see spokes like a wheel with each spoke being a little line of stars.

Orion was now nice and high in the sky and with the Nikons was simply stunning. I turned the little 85 on M42 and there simply is no comparing this to under NY skies. Trapezium is easy and then two great big arks of gas. I was stunned at how far it extended. Turned up the power with 9/7 Nagler and the little zoom. With higher power I start to see knots and areas of great texture in the nebulae. Simply stunning view.

Started to notice my Cambridge star Atlas was soaking wet. With Jupiter and Saturn both up I couldn’t resist a quick peak. 7 Nagler gave me a nice view. Saturn with nice crisp rings and the cassini division as well as multiple moons. Jupiter showing two clear belts and the red spot easily visible as well as the moons.

Called it a day after this. A truly amazing session.

Dec 25th 2002 ( Christmas Day )

Christmas Day. Cloudy and overcast. No observing possible. The weather has been pretty cool so far with temperatures being fairly moderate i.e mid 20’s. Sat outside on the porch and had cold prawns (shrimps) for Christmas dinner, very different from the usual.

Dec 26th 2002

Boxing Day. Cloudy and overcast. No observing possible. Went out on yacht to see the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. For the first time in 20 years it chucked it down with rain.

Dec 27th 2002

Cloudy and overcast no observing possible.

Dec 28th 2002

Skies are excellent. A few clouds low on the horizon come and go.

Started out this session with a quick look at Saturn and Orion. I am amazed at just how consistently the 9 and 7 Naglers deliver consistently razor views of the planets. I can clearly make out Rings A, B and C. Also noticeable shading on the surface. A few moons visible.

I lost the best part of 3 hours simply revisiting and enjoying many of the objects I had observed on previous nights. Towards the end there was serious cloud cover but with great big gaps in the clouds I just sat in a deck chair with the Nikon binocs and panned the skies. Around midnight it was becoming very cloudy. Packed up and headed in for some sleep.

Woke up at 3am. Jet Lag..! Looking straight out the window and I can see Venus spectacularly bright and low on the horizon. The moon was only just rising but the skies were amazingly black. Unable to sleep….what was I to do. I headed back out again.

Southern cross was quite high in the sky. Alas I may get a chance to take in Omega Centauri. Quick scan south with the naked eye and I pick up alpha and beta centauruas. Project a line from the major axis of the southern cross and about twice the distance and you hit gamma centaraus. South of this is the mighty Omega Centauri. Easily visible with the naked eye.

The skies seemed noticeably darker tonight. Panning down from Canis Major through to the southern cross and in the Nikon’s I think I am seeing another magnitude deeper than previous nights.

I wondered over and picked up a drink I had brought out and there was a bloody big cockroach sitting inside the glass. Yuck Yuck Yuck. Horrible bloody things.

Turned the TV85 on Omega Centauri. Jesus this is one big globular cluster…..check the map am I looking at the andromeda galaxyJ …..its one big globular and quite bright. Note as bright a core as 47 Tuc but truly amazing view. Who said 85mm of aperture is not enough to do deep sky……sure its not resolved to the core but with medium and high power in the TV85 this is still a great view. At medium to high power again I can see loads of stars all across the field. The very core remains a fuzzy ball but with stars clearly noticeable almost superimposed infront.

I then spent a little time panning again around Eta Carinae. Before heading in I had a quick look a venus. Again a nice sharp view in the 9/7 Naglers. Crescent phase easily noticeable. Venus 50% phase. Amazingly bright to the naked eye.

Panning around further south of the Southern Cross and I wonder into Centaruas, Lupus and the tail of scorpius. I take in a few other little clusters, NGC 5006, 5617 and then NGC 6231.

Packed up and headed in again around 5.30am. Can hear the crabs in local river due to the tide being partially out. In the shallow water I can also hear the fish jumping. The kookaburra’s are laughing away and are bloody noisy….sunrise is not far away.

Dec 29th 2002

Went into central Sydney and checked out the Sydney observatory during the day.

Conditions not so good. Some light cloud. I headed out under the skies with only the binocs on this night. Just sat and panned the skies with the binocs revisiting many objects from previous nights. Just love the Nikon 10x42’s.

Mosquito’s started getting at me so I headed in for some kip after only an hour or two observing. Still an amazing session. Boy am I glad I brought the binocs.

Dec 30th 2002

I headed out under the skies around 1am. Decided to let some objects rise and get into ideal observing locations.

First was a naked eye test. I could easily pick up the following

  • Large Magellanic Cloud
  • Small Magellanic Cloud
  • Eta Carinae
  • Omega Centauri
  • 47 Tuc.

Again I am struck by how the LMC is almost like a cloud in the sky. But on this night believe me there are no clouds in the skies.

The milkyway from Canis Major down through the Southern Cross is simply stunning. It’s an arc extending across the sky with the many bright regions around Vela and the southern cross. Scanning with the Nikons and once again I notice that they seem to be pulling out so many more stars than on some of the previous nights. In the same field of view I have Eta Carinae and NGC3532. Without a shadow of a doubt this is simply the best binocular view of the sky I have ever had.

On previous nights I spent so much time panning from Canis Major down through the southern cross and so I decided tonight was
the night for some detailed study of a few objects.

On the hit list tonight was

  • Large Magellanic Cloud
  • NGC 5128 ( Centaurus A )
  • M83 ( NGC 5236 Spiral Galaxy in Hydra )

NGC 5128 was first up.

My starting point for a little star hop was Theta Centauraus and a small triangle of stars just south of this. Midway between this little triangle of stars and Omega Centauri and I can easily make out a small smudge in the Nikon’s. I do the same star hop with the TV85 and the 35mm Pan and I can easily make out NGC5128. With the 35mm Panoptic and the 17 Nagler I cannot see any great detail. I turn up the power and use the 9 & 7 Naglers. This is a little better. I can make out a small grey smudge with a dark lane across the middle. The dark lane is easier to make out on one side. I turn up the power with the 3-6 Nagler zoom but this really didn’t give any better view. Again not a show stopper but still nice to be able to pick up the dark lane.

Next up was LMC.

This is where the maps I printed from the other day really came in handy. The LMC is easy to see with the naked eye. It’s much larger than I expected. Turn the Nikons on this and its another story. I can see lots of little clumps/clusters and of course the most noticeable of these is NGC2070 ( Tarantula Nebulae ). I turn the TV85 on the LMC with the 35mm Panoptic and I can see even more detail than in the Nikons. It’s so big I cannot get it in the field of view of the 35mm Panoptic. Looking at the LMC I can almost see a tail i.e it’s a bit L shaped. I started to use my more detailed printed maps. My reference stars are Epsilon, Delta and Theta Dorado which form a small triangle close to the tarantula nebulae.

Panning down through Epsilon and Theta I come across numerous clusters; NGC 2011, 2014, 2041, 1978, 1974, 1955, 1951 and 1978. Really excellent to see many of these in the same FOV. Once again I am glad that I purchased the 35mm Panoptic.

Panning across and south to the Tarantula nebulae and I pick up loads more; NGC 2100, 1970, 1962, 1983, 1850, 1854, 1856, 1835, 2058, 2065 and 2019.

My orientation relative to the map was spot on. At each location I was expecting to see another cluster there it was. I lost count after a while and stopped ticking off on the map which objects I could see within the LMC. I threw the map aside and just sat there and panned around in awe at all the little clumps of detail. I did not turn up the power more on a few select objects but I think the LMC is by far more spectacular when you try and take in as much as you can in a single field of view. The LMC struck me as a somewhat strange object. It’s not quite as stunning as the mighty Eta Carinae and this area of the milky way. One thing for sure is that it’s certainly unique. I was amazed at how much detail I could pick up within the LMC.

Taking in the LMC in the Nikon is awesome. Would have been really nice to have the Nikons on a nice steady mount. I have not yet purchased a pair of Fuji 16x70’s but from what I have read I can imagine these would give you a very fine view of the LMC.

Next up was M83 in Hydra. My reference stars for this star hop are Gamma and Theta Centaraus. To the south and midway between these is M83. I could easily make it out in the Nikons. In fact a great little pan across the skies is Omega Centauri , NGC 5128 and then onto M83.

I turned the TV85 onto M83 and used various eyepieces. I could make out a bright central core and then a diffuse halo around this.

By this time the moon and Venus had risen. The moon was a little slither and not so bright so it didn’t completely wash out the nice dark skies. Had a quick peak at Venus, and Jupiter. Before heading in I also had a look at the moon in the Nikons. Nice view. I was quite amazed at how contrasty the Lunar maria on the dark side of the moon.

By 5am the skies are getting lighter and so I head in for some sleep. The kookaburras are laughing again.

Dec 31st 2002 ( New Year )

Went to see the fireworks at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and did not get back until 4am in the morning.

Jan 1st 2003

No observing. Cloudy.

Jan 2nd 2003

Just across the river up on the hillside I discovered the local observatory. Prior to arriving in Sydney my girl friend and a friend in Sydney had found out info about this. I headed up to the observatory for the regular Sutherland Astronomy Club meeting. Had a chat with a few of the folks there. Many club members had just returned from trips to see the eclipse. Skies looked good. It was only 8.30pm so the skies were not really dark enough to do any serious observing. I asked if they would be opening up the dome for some observing. I was in luck as they opened it up for about 1 hr. They have a few instruments some modern and an older 16 inch Newtonian reflector. The only scope under the night skies tonight was the 16 inch reflector. First up was the double star Rigel in Orion. Easy split in the 16 inch scope as you would imagine. Big difference in magnitude in this double. Also has a quick peek at Saturn. Saturn showed some nice detail. Cassini divisions was pretty easy at around 190x I think ( not sure what eyepiece was in the scope. ). I could also detect lots of features on the surface as well as lots of divisions with the rings. Image was a little turbulent as the scope was still cooling down. Still a nice image. Being fairly local I decided to go and grab the little 85 and my eyepieces and give some of the locals a view through the 85 with the various eyepieces I have. Skies still not really dark enough to do any serious observing. Started with the Pleiades, Saturn and then a few open clusters. In each case I let the locals have a look through various eyepieces. They seemed quite surprised by the view through the little 85.

Made the mistake on this night of not wearing insect repellent. Not sure if it was ants, sand flies or mosquito’s but I got eaten alive. Next morning I woke up with around 50 bites all over my feet and ankles. Bloody itchy little things.

Jan 3rd 2003

Yip you guessed it I spent the majority of tonight once again just panning the skies down through Vela, Carina, Puppis and the southern cross.

Also checked out the small magellanic cloud with more detailed map. NGC 362 and 47 Tic are easy. Checking my map I can also easily pick out NGC371 and NGC346. Even in the Nikons I can make these out.

Jan 4th 2003

No observing. Needed a solid nights sleep prior to 24 hours of traveling to get back to the US/New York.

Jan 5th 2003

Last day in Sydney. Long flight back to New York.

Some thoughts on the TV85

This was my first chance to travel with any kind of scope. The chance to use the little TV85 under southern skies was truly fantastic. It’s an easy little scope to travel with and airport security should not give you any problems. If your heading down under I strongly recommend taking along an eyepiece that will give you the maximum possible field and at least 2-3 degrees. For the TV85 the 35 panoptic is perfect and well worth that extra 1.6 pounds of weight in hand luggage. The 35 Pan is such a comfortable eyepiece to use and is perfect for scanning the skies. This eyepiece got so much use down under I need to clean it. All of the Naglers were excellent and the 17 Nagler type 4 also got a serious work out. If I headed down under again I would take exactly the same eyepiece collection as it turned out to be ideal.

If your main observing location is in the northern hemisphere then you are in for a real treat. Enjoy. I spent many hours just switching between the Nikons and the TV85. The 85 is a great little scope and ideal for travel. Its certainly my most used scope these days and I highly recommend it.

Some thoughts on the Nikon 10x42 Binoculars

I cannot speak highly enough of these binoculars. I just purchased them a few days before the trip down under. They are quite simply a stunning pair of binoculars that are so easy to hand hold and very light. The build quality is excellent and the eye relief I find is very

If your traveling down under and intending on taking in the southern skies I highly recommend taking along a pair of binoculars along with a small scope. Even with a small wide field scope, binoculars still have their place.

As well as observing the skies down under I used these binoculars to take in lots of wild life down under as well as some great scenic views. When observing with these binoculars they felt so comfortable I didn’t feel like I was looking through binoculars. I picked up a few different birds ( Cockatoos, Parrots, Laughing Kookaburra, Magpie, Ducks, Galah’s and Ibis )

During day time I can notice a little softness in the focus towards the edge but its very slight and does not in anyway detract from the view. I wanted a small pair of hand held binocs that are a good companion to the TV85 and are light and can hang around my neck.

In this regard I cannot complain as the Nikon 10x42 are totally stunning. I was concerned about moving from 10x50s down to 10x42’s but I was surprised at just how good the Nikons are.


I had an amazing trip down under. My observing sessions are amongst the most memorable that I have ever had and I cannot wait to venture down under again sometime in the next few years.

My thanks to my girl friend Joanne for putting up with me crawling around in the night keeping her up. Thanks to Marie and Ken as well for letting us stay in their fantastic house.

If you’re heading down under anytime in the near future I truly envy you. If you have a wide field refractor whether its Televue or not be sure to take it along, but don’t forget a good pair of binoculars because there is much to enjoy in the southern skies.

Local observer’s told me that a good location for very dark skies is towards the south of the Royal National Park.

So there you go I had a blast……its long read and if you made it too the end I hope this gave you a flavor of the southern skies with the TV85.


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