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

binocular astronomy. i'm convinced

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
22 replies to this topic

#1 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:06 AM

Got my tripod adaptor in the mail yesterday, which gave me a chance to mount my new 15x70 Burgess binos for the first time. Last night was clear...

Spent my entire time in the Cancer constellation, mainly because I wanted to look at M44, and also because Cancer was conveniently located from my backyard observing point of view....

Well...I was impressed, and am an overnight convert to the world of tripod-mounted big binos. What I liked:

1. Big FOV...4.4 degs...much wider than I can get in my 80mm scope, but with pretty much identical light grasp. More importantly than the 4.4 TFOV, I think the real benefit was an aesthetic one...66-deg AFOV in binos vs. 52 deg AFOV in my 32mm Plossl. Yes, there was a little astigmatism out toward edge of field in the wide-field binos...like looking through a Konig in my f/5 scope...but the overall effect was still very postive.

2. Comfort. Looking with both eyes open was just so nice. My girlfriend agreed 100%

3. Illusiory 3D effect. I don't suspect you can really have any depth perception looking at stars at infiniti, but using two eyes, your brain still seems to sort of perceive it that way. Stars in M44 just seemed to be floating in space, rather than dotted on a black background.

4. You can really "take in" more of the field with two eyes. With one eye, stars near the very edge of field really seem more peripheral. You notice they're there, but you don't really "see" them unless you move your eyeball to look at them. With two eyes, all the stars in the field are very much "there"...nothing is relegated to peripheral vision anymore...it's all there to be simulataneously enjoyed.

After M44, I went to down to find M67. In my mag 4.0 skies, this was tough. I could sort of detect that it was there with direct vision, but only resolve part of it with averted vision...

Interestingly, I could "detect" M67 more easily with my 8x42 binos than the 15x70s. Maybe by using smaller magnification, the light is more condensed and more point-like so that it appears brighter. But of course, it didn't look like anything at 8x except a little unresolved fuzzy patch.

These 15x70s will be seeing a lot of use I think. And only $65. Now that's value!

#2 Tom L

Tom L

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 31061
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2004

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:17 AM

Great, Jeff!

#3 lighttrap

lighttrap

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3833
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2004

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:24 AM

Welcome to the cult. Somebody teach him the secret handshake. Before long you'll be considering parallelogram mounts and/or angled binoculars, and, and, and, ... <chuckle>

Your comment about your girlfriend enjoying the views gives me another chuckle. Mine has 3 times convinced me not to sell my 16x70s. She doesn't often care much about looking through my scopes, unless it's just for a brief look at the planets. But, if the binoculars are set up on the parallelogram, she always wants to scan around for a bit.
Ditto for the general public at public and semi-public events.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy them.
Mike Swaim

#4 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:43 AM

Your comment about your girlfriend enjoying the views gives me another chuckle. Mine has 3 times convinced me not to sell my 16x70s. She doesn't often care much about looking through my scopes, unless it's just for a brief look at the planets. But, if the binoculars are set up on the parallelogram, she always wants to scan around for a bit.


You'd better never sell those 16x70s then Mike! If these alone allow you to share your hobby with your significant other, then they're worth their weight in gold!
:)

cheers,
jeff

#5 EdZ

EdZ

    Professor EdZ

  • *****
  • Posts: 18849
  • Joined: 15 Feb 2002

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:58 PM

Jeff,

try for this pair if you can see low enough south. center on the triangular head of Canis Major then move two binocular fields east. You will land on a fairly bright scattered cluster, M47. Just 1 to 2° to the southeast of M47 is M46, a much different looking cluster of very faint stars. On a good dark night M46 can be impressive. The pair together always looks good.

edz

#6 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:09 PM

i've looked at this in my 8" scope...and thoroughly enjoyed them. Can't remember if I've ever tried with my 80mm.

I will try with binos. don't think i'll be able to from backyard, but next time I head out to the countryside I'll go for it. thanks for the tip, ed!

#7 EdZ

EdZ

    Professor EdZ

  • *****
  • Posts: 18849
  • Joined: 15 Feb 2002

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:21 PM

If you can see Sirius above the treetops, you can see these. They are just a few degrees higher.

edz

#8 Bill Grass

Bill Grass

    Prince Regent

  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Joined: 07 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:33 PM

Sounds great, Jeff! I've been enjoying my new 15x70s, also. The Beehive was VERY impressive through them. I know what you mean about being a new convert to tripod-mounted big binocs! :jump:

#9 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:57 PM

Bill...what kind did you get? Burgess also?

Ed...I might catch these object early in the night, then. Still...I think I'm more concerned about light pollution than anything. I can't recall how bright M46/47 are, but I know that I have a really hard time with M35-38, and M67 (last night) from my backyard. Totally washed out skies.

#10 Bill Grass

Bill Grass

    Prince Regent

  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Joined: 07 Oct 2003

Posted 09 April 2004 - 07:30 PM

Nope, Jeff, I bought the Oberwerk 15x70. I did consider the Burgess, though.

#11 777Guy

777Guy

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 615
  • Joined: 11 Nov 2003

Posted 12 April 2004 - 11:05 AM

Jeff,
I am glad you enjoy binocular astronomy and I am also glad that your experience with the Burgess 15x70 has been positive. I have mine mounted on a Bogen 3130 microfluid head and a Bogen 3011BN tripod. I use my pair several times a day looking at a Bald Eagle nest about 3/4 of a mile away and a Blue Heron nest about 200 yards. But I have really enjoyed the night views. My wife was never really interested in observing through my telescope but she loves looking through my binoculars now. I think I have her convinced that she would enjoy a larger binocular even more!
Cheers,
Jim

#12 Scott Beith

Scott Beith

    SRF

  • *****
  • Posts: 47412
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Posted 12 April 2004 - 06:03 PM

Jim,
You are a very smart man !!! Getting the wife involved opens up all kinds of astro purchases... :grin:
My wife has 10x50's that she uses for astronomy. I can't get her to use a scope for more than a casual glance. I guess one smudge looks like any other smudge...

Scott

#13 Rusty

Rusty

    ISS

  • *****
  • In Memoriam
  • Posts: 22761
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2003

Posted 12 April 2004 - 10:00 PM

Jim,
You are a very smart man !!! Getting the wife involved opens up all kinds of astro purchases... :grin:
My wife has 10x50's that she uses for astronomy. I can't get her to use a scope for more than a casual glance. I guess one smudge looks like any other smudge...

Scott


....but she can detect tonal differences in another woman's lipstick at 100 yards, unaided? :rainbow:

#14 Scott Beith

Scott Beith

    SRF

  • *****
  • Posts: 47412
  • Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Posted 12 April 2004 - 10:02 PM

:foreheadslap: :grin:

Scott

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*
  • -----

Posted 13 April 2004 - 12:56 PM

:roflmao: Of Course!

#16 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 36428
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003

Posted 13 April 2004 - 04:10 PM

Jeff,

Having been away for the past 5 days I missed your original post regarding this.

For my part , I am both delighted and a little surprised that you are so impressed by your first experiences of binocular astronomy.

The way you entered this topic a few weeks ago I had a hunch that you could be one of those increasingly rare people who for some strange reason feel that the whole experience is "overrated".

My 80 -something father in law tragically lost an eye when he was a teenager and you've no idea what he would have given to have had sight restored to that second eye.

Anyone doubting the advantages of stereo vision over mono vision ought to spend a few hours wearing an eyepatch.

Once again Jeff , I am really pleased that you have become "one of us" :-)

Regards -- Kenny.

#17 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 13 April 2004 - 04:46 PM

Hey Kenny...

I'm as open-minded as I am skeptical. I can be persuaded by a good argument, and I'm not one to deny true evidence. Initially, I couldn't figure why you'd limit yourself to 15x (e.g., 15x70 binos) when you go up to 150x with the same aperture (70-80mm scope). Maybe more pragmatically, I thought to myself...sure, binos might be great (stereo vision, etc.), but if I'm going to take the time and effort to set something up, will I ever set up a pair of big binos INSTEAD of my scope?

But, I figured that with all the interest out there, there must be something to it, so why not...for $65, let's give it a try...

Well, my initial post says it all. I'm convinced. Binos are great. I didn't doubt this, though. I just doubted whether I'd ever choose them over a scope...the latter being more versatile, and more able to show you the things I think many backyard astronomers want to see...planets and DSOs.

I think the trick to enjoying the binos is:
1. Developing an appreciation for stars (vs. just planets, DSOs, etc.)
2. Accepting that binos perform a specialized task. An 80mm scope is a jack of all trades, and I maintain it can do a lot of things better than binos, but for strict wide-angle viewing of star fields, large open clusters, or even whole-moon views, I've learned binos are the way to go!

#18 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 13 April 2004 - 04:46 PM

p.s. nice to have you back, Kenny.
cheers.

#19 lighttrap

lighttrap

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3833
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2004

Posted 14 April 2004 - 05:07 AM

Jeff,
There are several nice asterisms that look better in binos than in scopes. The Coathanger, Kemble's cascade and of course the Pleaides all come to mind. For that matter, the very best view of both the Veil Nebula and the North American Nebula that I've ever seen was with a set of 110mm binos that had been adapted to take 1.25" eyepieces and could use nebula filters. Then there's the whole thrill of doing the Messier list with binos, (or as much of it as you can). I still have trouble believing that you can really do the whole list with 15x70s, but you can definitely do most of them.

Mike Swaim

#20 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*
  • -----

Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:01 AM

The portability of binos is yet another aspect of their overall attractiveness. It is relatively effortless to setup and start viewing...with the exception of the HUGE binos (> 20lbs) perhaps.

Enjoy the binocular universe Jeff!

#21 jmoore

jmoore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1959
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posted 14 April 2004 - 09:43 AM

yep...agree with ya'll. Mike...Apogee has new giant binos, including 20x100s, that have "flip down" nebula filters built in!

NW...true to some point (e.g. handhelds), but I'm not sure that my 15x70 Burgess are any quicker/easier to setup than my 80mm scope. Both weigh under 5 lbs, and both go on the same tripod. Of course, with binos, you don't have to fiddle with changing EPs, etc.

#22 lighttrap

lighttrap

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3833
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2004

Posted 14 April 2004 - 11:18 AM

The whole portability thing depends entirely on what one finds as an acceptable rig. In my opinion, regarding mounted binoculars, portability is one of the key components to arguing for angled binoculars. Here's why I say that: straight through binocs aren't really useable at or near zenith on a standard alt-az tripod. To really enjoy them where the atmosphere is thinest, and the views often best, requires a parallelogram or mirror mount. Whereas, angled binos can be used to good effect with either a good pan tilt head, or with a dedicated, but smaller bino mount such as the Unistar or Giro. Theoretically, the Giro would allow use of straight thru binos if the tripod was tall enough. But, either way, the most portable *mounted* binos are going to be angled. Well, there's the Catch-22. To move up to angled binos, one has essentially moved up into small scope territory, both in terms of portability and price.

Just as one example of how straight through binos can actually be far LESS portable than a telescope, I note that it's FAR easier to carry out and set up my 8" Dob, than it is to carry out my 16x70 binos and Unimount Deluxe and surveyors tripod. And if you go much bigger than those 70mms with binoculars, you're talking about needing a beefier mount setup.

OTOH, contrast all that to a good set of 40-50mm handheld binos that can be worn around the neck and carried virtually anywhere without effort. To me, the real joy of binocular astronomy is always going to be with the smaller, wider FOV, handheld binoculars. There's something magical about laying back on a chaise lounge and just letting your mind escape to the infinity of space while enjoying the magnified view of familiar constellations.

Mike Swaim

#23 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 36428
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003

Posted 14 April 2004 - 03:33 PM

Mike S wrote :

< To me, the real joy of binocular astronomy is always going to be with the smaller, wider FOV, handheld binoculars. There's something magical about laying back on a chaise lounge and just letting your mind escape to the infinity of space while enjoying the magnified view of familiar constellations.>

I had to double check just to make sure that it wasn't ME that had posted that !

It sums my feelings PRECISELY.

Clear skies --Kenny.


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






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics