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bought an Arcturus Binoviewer & couldn’t be happier

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#51 Joe1950

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 02:00 PM

Most of the time, I now use my converted Nikon microscope binoviewer. Reason being it is smaller and lighter than the Astromania/Arctutus. I'll be giving the Arcturus to one of my sons who is interested in Astronomy. The mount I have is good, but not totally devoid of moment-arm swing, so I have to keep the weight at the ends to a minimum.

 

The IPD on the Nikon is 56mm.

 

IMG_6932.JPG

 

The nosepiece is converted to standard 1.25" and accepts filter threads and several barlow attachments directly. I have a Burgess 1.8x and a William Optics 2x. They are close but do give different amplifications.

 

The Nikon, does, however use microscope eyepieces. They work very well though. I have 10x (25mm), 16X (16mm) and 20x (12.5mm). The eyepiece holders are spring loaded to keep the eyepieces in the tubes.

 

And I have the nosepiece from a 3x Shorty Barlow that attaches to the front also. But I think it exceeds 3x.

 

 

Last night I took out the Celestron 100 ED for a look at Jupiter and the moon. I bought it used about a month ago. It is 100mm, f/9 ED glass, though the specs say 102mm, f/8.8.

 

scope 81119 1.jpg

 

I got the handle from Amazon and it fits nicely on the saddle for when I carry the scope around.

 

Seeing was, at times, about 5-6/10. At other times it was boiling all over the place. But when it was good I had great views of Jupiter seeing a wealth of detail. As I was observing it, the GRS swung around the limb and was visible. It was vivid red while the rest of the planet was mostly muted colors and grays.

 

I saw festoons off the NEB and three white oval storms. Really good views.

 

 

Then I went over to the moon. The boiling seemed somewhat worse than on Jupiter, but the detail was very sharp. Seeing craterlets on the floor of Plato is difficult from here. But last night they were there, no doubt. And the images were steady, not popping in and out with seeing. That has to be the most definitive view of the craterlets on Plato's floor I've had. I counted 3 definites and a couple more fleetings.

 

No doubt the binoviewers make a dramatic difference, at least to me. 

 

A few nights ago I took a look as Saturn and had the same great view. There were definite color bands on the disk and the rings were sharp. You could drive a truck through the Cassini division, it was so prominent.

 

So, I'm looking forward to a few years down the road when both Jupiter and Saturn, and Mars, are higher off the horizon. That is going to be something to see with the BVer.

 

 

 

 

 


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#52 erin

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 02:10 PM

I have the standard Orion BV's. They are the older model with the 3 screws for each eyepiece instead of the compression rings.

 

I have seen some reviews on here for the linear ones and they weren't very good, which is too bad. This is a TS brand, but it is the same BV. Here is Denis's:

 

https://www.cloudyni...eier/?p=8697653


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#53 erin

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 02:14 PM

Joe--nice set up! Glad you had some good observing. I'm hoping to get out tonight and try out the Access. It came in today grin.gif


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#54 Joe1950

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 02:45 PM

Oh great to hear, Erin! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! No rush, but pictures!

 

Thanks for the lead on the BVers. Started out good, but didn't end up nicely. That's a shame, but good to know. They aren't cheap for sure.

 

waytogo.gif

 

joe


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#55 erin

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:14 PM

Will do!


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#56 rwiederrich

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:15 AM

I have found that my modified Zeiss microscope binos with the angled head piece are much lighter then the standard bino design.  Plus it too holds microscope EP's.  I have the same sizes as you Joe.

I've never really used them with a star diagonal....because the angled headpiece works so well by itself.   My only real issue is the EP holders do not have spring clips to hold in the EP's.  I'll have to make spring clips to go in and around the recessed valley on each EP...so they are firmly seated in the holders.  I assume they were never needed since the microscope never looked UP...you looked down and you simply placed the EP's into the EP holders and began viewing.

 

I have the Wide view EP's with loads of eye relief.  On my 6"f/6.5 with the 10X(25mm) the moon fits  perfectly in the filed of view. 

 

My son-n-law snapped a smart phone image through one EP....typically I use my camera and appropriate *T* ring for imaging.

 

I love my binoviewers.

 

Rob

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Edited by rwiederrich, 13 August 2019 - 08:16 AM.

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#57 Joe1950

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 09:30 AM

The converted microscope viewers do a great job s you say, Rob. The weight and size being less really helps me with my refractor being long and tending to have that swinging effect with extra weight. 

 

I do find the spring loading of the eyepiece, simple as it is, keeps them centered and aligned very well.

 

So, there are a lot of ways to get a good binoviewer and try things out, without spending a ton of money.

 

Thanks, Rob!

 

Great moon image!!!


Edited by Joe1950, 13 August 2019 - 09:30 AM.

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#58 Larrythebrewer

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:18 PM

So, I wouldn’t think of sending back an SCT or newt arriving out of collimation. Collimating is just part of ownership. Is that the case with binoviewers? Does this model provide accessible alignment screws or are things glued in place?

 

Here is the view down the common barrel when the angle is at max and min:

Life & weather have kept me from posting or viewing since i started this thread.
So i’m catching up.
Glenn, I don’t know if collimating a binoviewer is like a telescope. That i can do, binoviewer who knows, but if buying new & the prisms are glued in place (mine are I checked), I myself wouldn’t try.
If new I would have contacted where you bought them from, i’m assuming it’s same place bought mine, That’s the reason i purchased mine from ccts, one if the selling points is “every unit is checked for collimation prior to shipping”
Someone else had trouble with their unit’s barlows & they made it right.
anyway here are photos looking down the barrel of mine to show how they look.

 

Larry

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#59 REC

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:56 AM

Most of the time, I now use my converted Nikon microscope binoviewer. Reason being it is smaller and lighter than the Astromania/Arctutus. I'll be giving the Arcturus to one of my sons who is interested in Astronomy. The mount I have is good, but not totally devoid of moment-arm swing, so I have to keep the weight at the ends to a minimum.

 

The IPD on the Nikon is 56mm.

 

attachicon.gif IMG_6932.JPG

 

The nosepiece is converted to standard 1.25" and accepts filter threads and several barlow attachments directly. I have a Burgess 1.8x and a William Optics 2x. They are close but do give different amplifications.

 

The Nikon, does, however use microscope eyepieces. They work very well though. I have 10x (25mm), 16X (16mm) and 20x (12.5mm). The eyepiece holders are spring loaded to keep the eyepieces in the tubes.

 

And I have the nosepiece from a 3x Shorty Barlow that attaches to the front also. But I think it exceeds 3x.

 

 

Last night I took out the Celestron 100 ED for a look at Jupiter and the moon. I bought it used about a month ago. It is 100mm, f/9 ED glass, though the specs say 102mm, f/8.8.

 

attachicon.gif scope 81119 1.jpg

 

I got the handle from Amazon and it fits nicely on the saddle for when I carry the scope around.

 

Seeing was, at times, about 5-6/10. At other times it was boiling all over the place. But when it was good I had great views of Jupiter seeing a wealth of detail. As I was observing it, the GRS swung around the limb and was visible. It was vivid red while the rest of the planet was mostly muted colors and grays.

 

I saw festoons off the NEB and three white oval storms. Really good views.

 

 

Then I went over to the moon. The boiling seemed somewhat worse than on Jupiter, but the detail was very sharp. Seeing craterlets on the floor of Plato is difficult from here. But last night they were there, no doubt. And the images were steady, not popping in and out with seeing. That has to be the most definitive view of the craterlets on Plato's floor I've had. I counted 3 definites and a couple more fleetings.

 

No doubt the binoviewers make a dramatic difference, at least to me. 

 

A few nights ago I took a look as Saturn and had the same great view. There were definite color bands on the disk and the rings were sharp. You could drive a truck through the Cassini division, it was so prominent.

 

So, I'm looking forward to a few years down the road when both Jupiter and Saturn, and Mars, are higher off the horizon. That is going to be something to see with the BVer.

What power did you use on Saturn? I would love the see Cassini that sharp.


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#60 Joe1950

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:48 PM

What power did you use on Saturn? I would love the see Cassini that sharp.

 

It was about 180x. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t calculated the magnification of the front-piece Barlow’s I use. But it’s close to that.

 

The couple times I’ve observed Saturn, seeing was fairly good. 

 

I can easily see the Cassini Division with my C80ED. It’s definite and with good seeing I can see it in front of the planet, not only on the sides. With the 100mm, it is just more prominent, as you would expect. This using the binoviewer.

 

Keep checking. It needs good conditions, being so low in altitude. I know good seeing days here have been rare with the jet stream overhead.



#61 Glenn Graham

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:02 PM

Thanks Larry, for providing the photos of the view your binoviewer. It confirms that I do have an issue. Here is a clip of one I posted earlier with arrows pointing out what I see when I collapse mine to the minimum separation. You can see the fields are offset. When I expand them to maximum, the offset shrinks until they appear concentric (but too wide for my eyes). Yours appear concentric at both max and min separation angles.

 

I will contact the vendor and see what my options are. I was able to view the Moon yesterday and trying to conpensate did interfere with getting a steady, sharp view.

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Edited by Glenn Graham, 15 August 2019 - 09:05 PM.

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#62 Joe1950

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:49 PM

I have an ETX 90. One of the very early models without the go-to base. It, as others of its time, has very good optics. I have the OTA off the mount and put it on an alt-az mount for a gaze at Jupiter with the binoviewers. 

 

With 1200mm focal length, magnification is no problem. It’s said that these little MAKs run out of light before running out of detail. In fact, the last time I tried it on Jupiter, a couple years ago, I was very disappointed at how dim it looked. And I thought I’d see a similar view tonight.

 

I was rather very surprised at what I saw through the ETX and binoviewer. At about 110x, the planet had some size to it and was bright! I then tried 150x and still plenty bright, though seeing was poor and the image was rippling.

 

I then took the nosepiece/Barlow off, bringing me to 75x and it was very bright with plenty of detail at the belt edges. I was also able to see the whitish belt in the SEB area, the same where the GRS rides. The GRS was not on this side of the disk. I checked earlier with an app. I’m sure it would have not been a problem to see.

 

Also when taking the nosepiece off, the focus has to be adjusted a lot and sometimes only MAKs and SCTs with their movable mirrors can reach it.

 

So, with the binoviewer, good brightness and good detail with the ETX 90.

 

But, what really surprised me was the contrast on the planet. MAKs and SCT are supposed to be limited in contrast due to the relatively large secondary obstruction. But the contrast between the main belts and the lighter areas was rather amazing. That I really did not expect to see.

 

If seeing had been better (there was rippling from the jet stream and high clouds adding their influence) I’m sure even more detail would have been seen.

 

Binoviewing continues to impress.

 

 

ADDED: I have several different nosepieces in addition to the stock ones. I have a Burgess 1.8x and a William Optics 2x. Regardless of what is etched on the Barlow, the actual amplification can vary significantly. My good friend Eddgie taught me a way to figure out the actual amplification.

 

You use medium power eyepieces. Keep the same ones in the BVer for the entire test.

 

To set a baseline, pick a bright star, or planet, near the ecliptic. With a watch, having a stopwatch function, or even just a regular watch, you time how long it takes for the star to cross the entire FOV, without any nosepiece in the binoviewer.

This is recorded as your Baseline Time.

 

Unfortunately not all scopes can reach focus without the Barlow.

 

You have to be careful that the star crosses the center of the FOV or very close to it. Say for ease of example, it takes 60 seconds to go from one side to the other. 

 

Next, you put your first nosepiece in the BVer, and do the same thing; timing it from one side to the other. Do this for all nosepieces/Barlows and record the time corresponding for each.

 

Now it’s just simple math. For each nosepiece, divide the Baseline time, 60s, by the nosepiece time, and you will get the amplification factor.

 

Nosepiece 1,   35 seconds,   60/35 = 1.7X 

Nosepiece 2,   25 seconds,   60/25 = 2.4X

Nosepiece 3,   19 seconds,   60/19 = 3.2x

 

So, why go through this trouble. It’s a way, due to spacing and other variables, to find the actual (or close to it) magnification factor of a particular nosepiece/Barlow. It may be quite different than what is written on it.

 

Knowing that, and the scopes focal length and each eyepieces focal length, you can determine the actual (or close to it) magnification you are using. And that is something I like knowing for many reasons.

 

Thanks,

joe


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#63 Joe1950

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:53 PM

Thanks Larry, for providing the photos of the view your binoviewer. It confirms that I do have an issue. Here is a clip of one I posted earlier with arrows pointing out what I see when I collapse mine to the minimum separation. You can see the fields are offset. When I expand them to maximum, the offset shrinks until they appear concentric (but too wide for my eyes). Yours appear concentric at both max and min separation angles.

 

I will contact the vendor and see what my options are. I was able to view the Moon yesterday and trying to conpensate did interfere with getting a steady, sharp view.

I think you should do just that, Glenn. Especially since that offset changes as you move the sides.

Larry, good idea and photos to show the difference. 



#64 REC

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:53 PM

It was about 180x. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t calculated the magnification of the front-piece Barlow’s I use. But it’s close to that.

 

The couple times I’ve observed Saturn, seeing was fairly good. 

 

I can easily see the Cassini Division with my C80ED. It’s definite and with good seeing I can see it in front of the planet, not only on the sides. With the 100mm, it is just more prominent, as you would expect. This using the binoviewer.

 

Keep checking. It needs good conditions, being so low in altitude. I know good seeing days here have been rare with the jet stream overhead.

Thanks, I can get to 160-180 with my BV, so give it a try!


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#65 Cali

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:09 AM

Recently, I was considering selling my Mak. You know the story. You sell everything you own so you can buy it all back again.

 

All I can say is that running into this product was like finding a $100 bill on the street. Everything just looks better. 

 

The Mak stays.

 

- Cal


Edited by Cali, 17 August 2019 - 11:55 AM.

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#66 B 26354

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:09 PM

....running into this product was like finding a $100 bill on the street. Everything just looks better. 

 

The Mak stays.

 

- Cal

woot.gif


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#67 Mike McShan

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 11:31 AM

After reading this thread, I took the plunge and bought a pair of Arcturus BVs.  So far, I have tried them out on my Sky-Watcher 127mm Mak and my PST solar telescope.  Using the Mak, the views of Jupiter and Saturn have been really pleasant - I can see why people are enthusiastic about these for planetary viewing.  Can't wait to try them on the Moon.  As others had noticed, the views on deep sky objects was not as good as a single eyepiece. 

 

The PST was a bit finicky about the BV (no surprise, really).  With the default nosepiece, the PST couldn't be brought into focus, but adding the 1.8X Barlow element gave really nice full disk views of the Sun (about 24X).  The 3X didn't work for me -- again, the scope couldn't be brought into focus.  I think that the BV plus the 1.8X element combination is going to be my default for solar viewing.  Should be great for sidewalk astronomy, too...

 

Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase and would like to thank everyone for their helpful comments on this thread.

 

Clear skies, Mike


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#68 Joe1950

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 11:31 PM

Good to hear, Mike! I don’t have any deep sky objects around here to look at, but I’ve heard from others they fall short there.

 

The planets are great and you’ll love the moon! It’s just a fantastic view!

 

A couple nights ago, the sky had good transparency and seeing was actually decent; a rare treat. I took out the 6” f/8 DOB. The mirror was refigured to a very good quality.

 

I decided to look at Jupiter and Saturn with both the binoviewer and with individual eyepieces. I have a nice set of medium quality eyepieces most of which are Astro Tech Paradigms/Agena Skywatcher ED.

 

For about the 5th time, I wanted to really compare the bino views with the mono views, just to make sure the bino advantage is real.

 

For the 5th time it was just no contest. The bino images had more detail, more subtle contrast and were immensely more comfortable. I really don’t think I could return to monoviewing. 

 

True, the planets were brighter with mono. But in the case of Jupiter it appeared the extra brightness was overwhelming some of the detail. The brightness in the binos is always at a comfortable level and there is always plenty of brightness to see.

 

And all of this with the planets down in the weeds at 25 degrees or less!  Just can’t fight it.


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#69 REC

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:46 AM

With a bigger scope, say 6" and larger, some DSO's look ok in a BV. Bright clusters and nebula. M42 looks great in my 8"&10" scope at low power.


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#70 Joe1950

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 11:09 AM

I’m going to give M42 a try when it swings around, REC, just to see what I can see. Maybe M57 and M13 also with my 6” dob. Thing is the sky is so bad here, any DSO is very disappointing. The other night I was out just looking around and couldn’t see a 3.3 magnitude star in the Big Dipper. 

 

I’m really limited to the moon, planets and some doubles.



#71 RP Masciarelli

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 02:06 PM

After I started binoviewing, never went back. I started selling all my orphaned eyepieces, and buying pairs. I use a Intes M603, and a Surplus Shed 127/F7, which I made especially for it, with a shortened tube. I use a Denk First Gen, and an Orion. I was lucky to buy a pair of TV click stop back seven years ago, and use some other cheap Plossls as well. My dream is buying a Dennis Zeiss bino, which is in my humble opinion one of the biggest authority in the bino world. But the price ends up prohibitive in my country, due to stiff import taxes.

I recently bought a Zeiss Microscope Head on Ebay, I just couldn’t let it pass, since it was brand new, old stock.

Now I’m buying the other stuff, eyepiece holders, m42 male couplers, and the 1,25” nose, but all budget oriented, not baader clicklock and T2, but cheap svbony chinese stuff. The nose It will be a pain, since I want to remove the 45 degrees prism in the end, but it will involve some serious hack to be done, some sawing and grinding, which I didn’t completely figured out how to do it. I will document it, and then post a thread here in the near future, in case I succeed. Best regards


Edited by RP Masciarelli, 31 August 2019 - 03:43 PM.

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#72 Joe1950

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 02:23 PM

Sounds very good, RP! 

 

I primarily use a Nikon binoviewer converted from a microscope. It works really well and is lighter in weight than most of the standard 1.25” models. I have to use 23mm diameter microscope eyepieces but they work nicely also. With the couple Barlow/nosepiece, I get a good range of magnifications.

 

The best to you and yours, RP!


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#73 jr_missouri

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:53 PM

EyepiecesWithParfocalRings

 

I have the Arcturus type binoviewer and I also have noticed the inability to get the eyepiece compression rings tight enough to grip eyepieces with undercuts.  The solution I use is to slide a eyepiece parfocal ring to the top of all my eyepieces (with undercuts) to be used with my binoviewer.  This now allows the eyepiece compression ring of the binoviewer to get a firm grip of the eyepiece so it will not fall out and also keeps it nice and centered.  Currently a set of 3 eyepiece parfocal rings can be purchased on eBay for $4.99.


Edited by jr_missouri, 31 August 2019 - 08:54 PM.

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#74 johnpeter2

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 03:57 PM

As for good DSOs to binoview, I would suggest M11.  That got a "wow" out of me the other night.

 

John


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#75 MalVeauX

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 08:05 AM

I too started with the Arcturus and haven't bothered going beyond that. I bought mine used even. Excellent device. I was going to get a used W.O. but the differences looking at entry binos was the eyepiece holders and how they functioned from the twist lock versions compared to the brass compression rings, etc. I mainly got mine for visuals of the solar system. I'm not so keen on using them for deep space because it darkens the view (physics). I think if I wanted a bino experience with deep space, I would have to do the two-scope method. But as it is, I don't care for binos for deep space in smaller apertures. Probably makes more sense with larger apertures where its much brighter. But they're awesome for solar system. The moon and planets are much easier to study with two eyes. And the view is more 3D like and comfortable not squinting. And I mainly use them for solar viewing, in narrownband HA with a Quark. I really love HA solar with binos, what a crazy experience to see so much activity of a star so close!

 

Highly recommended!

 

BinoViewing_HA_C8Edge.jpg

 

Solar_150mm_Visual_Quark_Bino.jpg

 

ST120_TwilightII_QuarkBino_08232019.jpg

 

Very best,


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