Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Still Having a Ball with My New Binos and Zero Gravity Chair

binoculars dso
  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1 DemosL

DemosL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Dale City, VA, USA

Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:33 PM

Last night I was out from about 11pm to about 1am. I usually sweep the sky looking for DSOs or other interesting objects that pop into view. I pretend like I'm an astronomer hundreds of yeaars ago, before anything was catalogued. I found 6 globulars along with Saturn. The globulars were M4, M5, M13, M92, M10 and M12.

 

I've been using telescopes since 1969 and only strated using binoculars this year because of really bad arthitis in my right hip. I always used to be happy I didn't take out my scopes too much, because astronomy can literally be a pain in the neck, butt, back and maybe knees. You have to be a bit of a contortionist with a hobby like astronomy.

 

I enjoy laying on my zero gravity chair and looking up at the sky with my 15 x 70 binos. I never laid down on the ground as a kid and looked up at the sky. I really missed out on something simple and yet really enjoyable. I can enjoy astronomy again with no pain. I really enjoy low power, wide angle viewing. I used to look for DSOs at 48 to 80x and then would use additional magnification once I found something that could use more magnification. The views at high power with a FOV of 20 or 30' don't compare to the low power wide angle views I'm getting. I can't wait to see the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in a few months. I've viewed it many times in my scopes, but never in my binos. I also have never found M33, which is large and doesn't have much contrast in a scope. I'm hoping to get better views in my binos.

 

Although the Ring Nebula (M57) wasn't too hard to see in my 4.25" reflector and was even easier in my 10", it will be next to impossible to view in my 15 x 70 binos. Although it's bigger than Saturn, it is quite dim at 9+ mag. With the lighting conditions here and the fact that I can only see a full magnitude less than the 4.25", I would be amazed if I can make out M57. That will be tough, but I can't wait to try in about a month. M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula) should be easier at 8th mag and several times larger than M57. 

 


  • jrbarnett, Carl Kolchak, Man in a Tub and 4 others like this

#2 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,585
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Clay County, AL USA

Posted 20 May 2015 - 11:51 PM

I would agree that the zero gravity chair has really added a LOT of enjoyment to my stargazing. In fact just tonight I found one on sale at a store for 50% off and I almost bought it just to have spare... 

 

The Ring Nebula is actually pretty easy in my Nikon 18x70, but I don't typically use it handheld. Though I think I might could still find it while in the zero gravity chair if I tried. Just add the batwings and hold it right against the eyes...



#3 Sonomajfk

Sonomajfk

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 300
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Cloverdale, CA, USA

Posted 21 May 2015 - 12:30 AM

I bought a pair of 15x70's a couple of years ago, and I've had a similar experience... I use them almost as much as my telescopes now, and get out to observe a lot more often. The zero-gravity chair makes it easy to hand-hold them and sweep the sky; I love the freedom of just pointing and looking. It's a completely different perspective, and a great way to spend time out under the stars. Great for comet-hunting, too. I'm working on doing the Messier list with binocs now.
--John.
  • jrbarnett likes this

#4 george golitzin

george golitzin

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,943
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2006

Posted 21 May 2015 - 12:40 AM

Nice posts, thanks.  I think this is something I might try.  So you find, in the zero-gravity chair, that you are able to hand-hold the 15x70s with reasonable steadiness?



#5 John F

John F

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,017
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2004
  • Loc: Pacific Northwest

Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:57 AM

I first tried a LuFuma recliner at a star party back in 2001.  On the drive home from that event I stopped at a sporting goods store and bought one.  Whether using a mount or just hand holding my binoculars this type of "zero gravity chair" was the most comfortable way of observing that I had ever experienced up until then.   In 2003 I acquired a pair of Zeiss 15x60 BGAT binoculars and a Universal Astronomic's  "Unimount Light Deluxe" mount.   That combination plus the zero gravity chair made for an even better viewing experience than I'd ever had before up to that point (i.e., after 15 years of observing) and I have not changed a thing since then.  However, in 2005 I acquired a pair of Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe binoculars to use (with this mount/chair combination) in addition to the 15x60s.  Both binoculars use the same type of tripod adapter (i.e., the Nikon # 7806) so it is easy to switch back and forth between them when using the mount and both provide superb (but different enough that it is well worth the time and effort to use both) views. 

 

This system is easy to transport and setup.  However, I rarely use it except at dark sky sites because the views I can get with it at such sites at so superior to what I can see at mediocre sites that the latter do not satisfy me at all anymore. 

 

On a number of occasions over the years when I've let other (experienced) astronomers try out my either or both my 10x70s and 15x60s at really dark sky sites in conjunction with the Unimount Light Deluxe and the LaFuma Recliner their response has usually been a combination of "shock and awe" because they had never had either a binocular viewing experience in particular or a general stargazing viewing experience anything like it (and so easy and comfortable) before. 

 

So reading your post doesn't surprise me at all with respect to what a great (and eye opening) experience binocular viewing can be when you've got the right gear for it.  And if you don't have a Unimount Light Deluxe yet (or some other type very similar to it) then there are still some other (but accessible) steps you can climb on your quest to reach binocular heaven.

 

John Finnan


  • Stellarfire and Dhellis59 like this

#6 DemosL

DemosL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Dale City, VA, USA

Posted 21 May 2015 - 08:42 AM

Nice posts, thanks.  I think this is something I might try.  So you find, in the zero-gravity chair, that you are able to hand-hold the 15x70s with reasonable steadiness?

The short answer is yes. If you're sweeping, you moving anyway. You can just have your head against the neck pillow and either move your head from sided to side or up and down. When you find an object to look at, you can be fairly steady. My binos are 3 pounds so it take more effort to steady them, but I have strong arms. As long as most of your body is supported, you'll have steady views.



#7 Man in a Tub

Man in a Tub

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16,741
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2008
  • Loc: 802,701½ C.E.

Posted 21 May 2015 - 12:06 PM

You have to be a bit of a contortionist with a hobby like astronomy.

 

...

 

Although the Ring Nebula (M57) wasn't too hard to see in my 4.25" reflector and was even easier in my 10", it will be next to impossible to view in my 15 x 70 binos. Although it's bigger than Saturn, it is quite dim at 9+ mag. With the lighting conditions here and the fact that I can only see a full magnitude less than the 4.25", I would be amazed if I can make out M57. That will be tough, but I can't wait to try in about a month. M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula) should be easier at 8th mag and several times larger than M57. 

 

Very nice report. I agree that you have to be a bit of contortionist with this hobby. For more than a year, the dearth of observing opportunities has made me less limber! 

 

I looked at David Lorenz' North American Light Pollution Map for your location and mine. (I'm in a red zone too.) Assuming that light pollution is roughly similar, on Moonless nights, I can detect M57 quite easily with my 15x binoculars. It will appear non-stellar — a star not in focus. M27 is very easy.

 

Clear skies,


  • Foss likes this

#8 Sonomajfk

Sonomajfk

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 300
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2012
  • Loc: Cloverdale, CA, USA

Posted 21 May 2015 - 02:44 PM

Yes, I can hold the 15x70's with "reasonable steadiness" in the zero-gravity chair;  sometimes I'll pad the armrests with pillows or whatever to get a little more height, so I can form a triangle with my arms... then I can hold them for quite a long time before getting uncomfortable.  The views are definitely worth it.

--John.


  • Foss likes this

#9 Bonco

Bonco

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,008
  • Joined: 17 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 21 May 2015 - 02:55 PM

Is "Zero Gravity Chair", a type of chair (recliner) or a brandname? Where can I buy one?

Thanks, Bill



#10 Rich V.

Rich V.

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,644
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada

Posted 21 May 2015 - 04:32 PM



Is "Zero Gravity Chair", a type of chair (recliner) or a brandname? Where can I buy one?

Thanks, Bill

Hi, Bill, AFAIK, the original "zero gravity" chair was the LaFuma chair.  I bought mine about 15 years ago.   Like everything else these days, the French made originals are expensive compared to the Chinese "clones" that are now available for a very low price nearly everywhere from Wal Mart to Cabelas.

 

These chairs fold and recline to a range of angles; they usually have a mesh fabric cover that is suspended by a lacing of "bungee cords" down each side of the frame that stretch with your weight and make you feel like you are floating, hence the name.

 

My Unimount p-gram and LaFuma chair setup has been giving me nice, comfortable views with my 70mm binos for many years now and I have no regrets.  A couple years ago I bought a re-lacing kit that gave me new "bungee" cords as they can get weak and stretched out over years of use and exposure.  Now it's like new again.

 

Rich


  • jrbarnett and TomCorbett like this

#11 DemosL

DemosL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Dale City, VA, USA

Posted 21 May 2015 - 05:01 PM

Is "Zero Gravity Chair", a type of chair (recliner) or a brandname? Where can I buy one?

Thanks, Bill

I bought mine from amazon.com. It's a black Caravan Sports Infinity zero gravity chair. The black was the lowest priced chair (probably because people don't want black lawn or patio furniture. I keep mine in the basement, when I'm not using it with my binos. The chair was $50, plus shipping. I think the total was $56.

 

I first heard about these chairs from Cloudy Nights, right after I got my binos and mentioned I had neck pain. Other viewers said they got their chairs from Big Lots. I think Target also carries a different brand of zero gravity chair.


  • stacpa17 likes this

#12 DemosL

DemosL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Dale City, VA, USA

Posted 21 May 2015 - 05:50 PM

 

You have to be a bit of a contortionist with a hobby like astronomy.

 

...

 

Although the Ring Nebula (M57) wasn't too hard to see in my 4.25" reflector and was even easier in my 10", it will be next to impossible to view in my 15 x 70 binos. Although it's bigger than Saturn, it is quite dim at 9+ mag. With the lighting conditions here and the fact that I can only see a full magnitude less than the 4.25", I would be amazed if I can make out M57. That will be tough, but I can't wait to try in about a month. M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula) should be easier at 8th mag and several times larger than M57. 

 

Very nice report. I agree that you have to be a bit of contortionist with this hobby. For more than a year, the dearth of observing opportunities has made me less limber! 

 

I looked at David Lorenz' North American Light Pollution Map for your location and mine. (I'm in a red zone too.) Assuming that light pollution is roughly similar, on Moonless nights, I can detect M57 quite easily with my 15x binoculars. It will appear non-stellar — a star not in focus. M27 is very easy.

 

Clear skies,

 

Todd,

 

I just got around to looking at the light pollution map. I right at the boundary of green and yellow. I see you're from Fogpatch. Does that accurately describe most of your seeing conditions?

 

Demos



#13 Man in a Tub

Man in a Tub

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 16,741
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2008
  • Loc: 802,701½ C.E.

Posted 21 May 2015 - 08:09 PM

 

 

You have to be a bit of a contortionist with a hobby like astronomy.

 

...

 

Although the Ring Nebula (M57) wasn't too hard to see in my 4.25" reflector and was even easier in my 10", it will be next to impossible to view in my 15 x 70 binos. Although it's bigger than Saturn, it is quite dim at 9+ mag. With the lighting conditions here and the fact that I can only see a full magnitude less than the 4.25", I would be amazed if I can make out M57. That will be tough, but I can't wait to try in about a month. M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula) should be easier at 8th mag and several times larger than M57. 

 

Very nice report. I agree that you have to be a bit of contortionist with this hobby. For more than a year, the dearth of observing opportunities has made me less limber! 

 

I looked at David Lorenz' North American Light Pollution Map for your location and mine. (I'm in a red zone too.) Assuming that light pollution is roughly similar, on Moonless nights, I can detect M57 quite easily with my 15x binoculars. It will appear non-stellar — a star not in focus. M27 is very easy.

 

Clear skies,

 

Todd,

 

I just got around to looking at the light pollution map. I right at the boundary of green and yellow. I see you're from Fogpatch. Does that accurately describe most of your seeing conditions?

 

Demos

 

 

Your viewing conditions are much better than mine. Very good!

 

Fogpatch is an apt description of the San Francisco/Daly City/Pacifica area. According to a friend, Fogpatch appeared on maps a long time ago. I've never corroborated such cute cartography —  with available maps on the internet.



#14 TomCorbett

TomCorbett

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 700
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2013

Posted 21 May 2015 - 09:51 PM

My Unimount p-gram and LaFuma chair setup has been giving me nice, comfortable views with my 70mm binos for many years now and I have no regrets.  A couple years ago I bought a re-lacing kit that gave me new "bungee" cords as they can get weak and stretched out over years of use and exposure.  Now it's like new again.

 

Rich

 

 

Larry at Universal Astronomics makes good stuff to hold our optics.

 

...Bob


  • Dhellis59 likes this

#15 TomCorbett

TomCorbett

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 700
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2013

Posted 21 May 2015 - 09:59 PM

I pretend like I'm an astronomer hundreds of years ago, before anything was catalogued. 

 

 

I like to use my UA p-gram and zero-gravity chair to pretend I am in ancient Mesopotamia. More than once I have fallen asleep under the stars. 

 

:sleepy:

 

 

...Bob


  • caheaton and pez_espada like this

#16 oktwodogs

oktwodogs

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 106
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Posted 23 May 2015 - 06:11 PM

I just picked up a new zero gravity, heavy duty chair at Gander Mountain for $59.00 on sale.

 

ive owned several over the years and this one is the best so far.

 

raining here, so I put it in my living room until the monsoon season goes away, might put my Universal Astronimics T-

 

mount up also, I'm trying to decide what pair of binoculars to mount......



#17 DemosL

DemosL

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Dale City, VA, USA

Posted 23 May 2015 - 09:12 PM

I just picked up a new zero gravity, heavy duty chair at Gander Mountain for $59.00 on sale.

 

ive owned several over the years and this one is the best so far.

 

raining here, so I put it in my living room until the monsoon season goes away, might put my Universal Astronimics T-

 

mount up also, I'm trying to decide what pair of binoculars to mount......

I hope you get a lot of pain free nights observing from your chair.



#18 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,240
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 24 May 2015 - 06:10 AM

Zero Gravity Chairs are pure fun for binoviewing!

 

For even more comfort I added a Manfrotto Magic Arm to mine which holds my binoculars very well:

 

tordalk1.jpg

 

And if you like to go further you can also add a rotating platform below the chair:

 

chair3.jpg

 

chair4.jpg

 

Best wishes Jochen


Edited by ArsMachina, 24 May 2015 - 06:11 AM.

  • jrbarnett, KeithC, Foss and 5 others like this

#19 Philip Levine

Philip Levine

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 792
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2007
  • Loc: near Boston, MA

Posted 24 May 2015 - 09:50 AM

 

I pretend like I'm an astronomer hundreds of years ago, before anything was catalogued. 

 

 

I like to use my UA p-gram and zero-gravity chair to pretend I am in ancient Mesopotamia. More than once I have fallen asleep under the stars. 

 

:sleepy:

 

 

...Bob

 

And the beauty of falling asleep in a zero gravity chair, is when you wake up, there is a whole different array of objects in the night sky to observe.

Phil


Edited by Philip Levine, 24 May 2015 - 10:00 AM.

  • KeithC, Thaellar, Dhellis59 and 2 others like this

#20 Rich V.

Rich V.

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,644
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada

Posted 24 May 2015 - 10:29 AM

And the beauty of falling asleep in a zero gravity chair, is when you wake up, there is a whole different array of objects in the night sky to observe.

Phil

 

 

Plus you have the satisfaction of knowing that you couldn't get any more comfortable than that...  :sleepy:  

 

Rich



#21 Dom543

Dom543

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,099
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2011

Posted 25 May 2015 - 02:06 AM

And the beauty of falling asleep in a zero gravity chair, is when you wake up, there is a whole different array of objects in the night sky to observe.

Phil

 

And with a zero gravity chair on an equatorial platform you have the sensation that you managed to stop the time. The only other way to achieve this is by travelling at light speed...

 

--Dom



#22 Jeff Morgan

Jeff Morgan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12,961
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2003
  • Loc: Prescott, AZ

Posted 25 May 2015 - 01:37 PM

Zero Gravity Chairs are pure fun for binoviewing!

 

For even more comfort I added a Manfrotto Magic Arm to mine which holds my binoculars very well:

 

tordalk1.jpg

 

How interesting ... I was considering taking the plunge for Canon 10x42 IS binos.

 

Do you think the Magic Arm on a zero gravity chair could give the solid views of an IS system?

 

Astronomy would be 99% of the use of the binos for me. I have always been a bit put-off by the extra components required for a p-gram mount. But the Magic Arm would be simple.

 

And naturally at a lower cost I would go with a somewhat larger binocular - something like a 16x70 class - if it could give a stability similar to IS binos.

 

 


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 25 May 2015 - 01:39 PM.


#23 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,240
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 25 May 2015 - 02:06 PM

Jeff, to be honest I am using a Canon 15x50 IS together with the zero gravity chair and the Magic Arm.
The Tordalk at the picture above was just a test if the Manfrotto can handle that weight.

 

manfrotto4.jpg

 

I have to say that this combination is like made in heaven.
The zero gravity chair is never 100% solid, at least it will shake a little bit by your heartbeat and your breathing.
Also the Canon IS is never 100% solid, holding the binos as stable as possible is the key.
But the combination of the chair with the magic arm and IS is nothing else but perfect, the views are 100% solid.

 

Best wishes Jochen



#24 SMark

SMark

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,585
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Clay County, AL USA

Posted 25 May 2015 - 03:19 PM

Here's another great opportunity for me add that the Canon IS is fantastic on it's own for higher power handheld viewing, but don't just consider the differences between handheld vs. standard tripod observing. I know it's been said before that this appears rather self-defeating, but put the 15x50 or 18x50 IS binoculars on a tripod, or a Magic Arm as Jochen has above, and the combination will be like nothing you have ever experienced. Absolutely rock solid. When I do this, there is the definite impression of "becoming one with the instrument" as if you are locked into it, or as if it has become locked into you. ...You just need to try it!  :flowerred:


  • ArsMachina likes this

#25 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,240
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 25 May 2015 - 03:47 PM

When I do this, there is the definite impression of "becoming one with the instrument" as if you are locked into it, or as if it has become locked into you. ...You just need to try it!  :flowerred:

 

This is so true and I would even go a step further, it is like "becoming one with the heaven"

 

Jochen


  • Rich V. likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: binoculars, dso



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics