Saturn and Jupiter at low magnification.
Posted 13 August 2017 - 10:52 AM
Celestron 25x70 binos, not mounted: Saturn has ears, but it jumps around too much to see more. Same with the mountain range on the moon: creative bracing is needed. Moons of Jupiter are obvious, though the band's looked washed out. Even colored disk, maybe from low quality.
Celestron 80mm f5 refractor, mounted, with 15mm eyepiece, 27x: I did not see bands on Jupiter right away, but other people did and told me to look again. Moons are obvious. The ring around Saturn is clear, showing a shadow, and is very small. 20x had previously fail, though that other day might not have been Saturn. The moon is beautiful and full of craters and detail.
Nikon 16x50 binos, hand held: I had not seen the ring with them previously. Seeing it at 27x trained my eyes. It was an obvious oval with ears, but my 6th sense, the processing of my visual cortex, could detect the ring. I should try again mounted and with glasses. Jupiter is a clear disk. Moons can be seen, but bracing helps a lot: there is some challenge here.
Celestron 10x50: Mine are a tad out of collimation, from early on. I don't know if they arrived that way or got that way on the floor of the car on a few short street drives. Saturn is a dull oval, clearly not a star, and splits in two if I try to look closer. Interesting how I can merge images. Jupiter is a tiny disk, but clearly a disk. Knowing it is only 10x, I feel like I'm looking over at Jehovah in my back yard. The moon's can be seen, but they are in very close to the glare, challenging as such. Of course, the moon looks pretty with craters, which are limited more from being hand held.
7x35 and 5x25: these are good for finding planets in the early evening. They also can distinguish them from stars, since stars have a sharper color. I recall seeing Jupiter's moons once in the 7x35, but was seated and braced. I failed on future attempts. It also depends how far out they are. Craters are quite noticeable at 7x, though 5x shows much fewer, and is better for silencing my astigmatism and seeing the seas.
- jdown likes this
Posted 13 August 2017 - 11:35 AM
If you used a mount with your higher mag binos, you'd see a lot more detail than hand holding them. Hand holding 25x70s sounds to me like setting yourself up for disappointment.
IME, 22x is sufficient with a mounted bino to see the rings of Saturn separated from the disk and not just as "ears". 16x isn't quite enough for my eyes to separate the rings from the disk clearly, though.
- Jon Isaacs and mikenoname like this
Posted 13 August 2017 - 01:32 PM
25x needs to be mounted, and I would say that 16x50 would probably be much better with a mount too. Heck, even putting 10x on a mount improves things, but is not really necessary.
I've got Pentax 20x60 and you can see much more with them mounted than freehand. Just breathing or your heartbeat will cause things to move around a little.
Even my Celestron Eclipsmart 10x42s benefit from bracing against something when trying to see small sunspots.
Posted 13 August 2017 - 02:17 PM
For hand held, I like 50mm of aperture. 10x50 is a good compromise. 5x25 is useful for wide views. For 17x, I have refractor on a tripod.
A wide range of optics are needed to see everything.
Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:40 PM
With my previous 10x50s or my current 12x50s, Jupiter is a ball without surface features, while Saturn looks somewhat oblong in the 12x50s if I recall correctly.
Posted 14 August 2017 - 09:12 AM
Saturn definitely looks oblong at even 8x, but I've found it's much easier to tell when the binos are mounted. Every semi-clear night I take a peek at Saturn with my Fuji 10x50s. Would love to get some more magnification on it but conditions haven't been great recently. I don't think I've managed to see any of Saturn's moons with binos, though. Jupiter is definitely just a bright ball but many of its moons are visible as little pinpoints at 10x. I was stunned the first time I saw its moons through mounted 10x Vanguard Endeavors.