Let me preface this by qualifying that I am by no means an experienced binocular user. I don’t get out to decent skies often enough, but opportunity knocked last weekend and I took a short trip out to Joshua tree with the C11 & CGEM to check out Mars. Kind of disappointed. The seeing was below my expectations, the views were not great. Perhaps too much aperture/magnification for the target. After a few frustrating hours with, not only the sky, but my poorly executed mount alignment, I shut down the scope and set up my newly acquired Orion 16x80 ED w/paragon plus mount. It was getting late but the sky seemed like it was improving. I was very tired but determined to give these a chance. My previous binocular use was with an old Bushnell 10x50 which are badly misaligned. I must say that I was taken aback by the views through these Orions. Not bothering to target anything specific, I scanned the Milky Way. Found 2 or 3 little condensations in Auriga that revealed themselves as clusters. Breathtaking. The night wore on into morning and finished up with a look at a very low M42. Magnificent. I’ve always leaned towards low power/wide field views. Never expected what was delivered. I’m a very happy camper with this new toy.
First Outing, amazed.
Posted 18 October 2020 - 02:31 PM
Nice report, Paul! Thank you for sharing your experience.
I was once at Joshua Tree and enjoyed it very much - I imagine you get nice dark skies there when conditions are right.
- nightspark likes this
Posted 18 October 2020 - 04:26 PM
Dark skies with nice 16x80 ED binoculars will immerse the observe in a grand and quite deep perspective of our (place in the) universe. And be quite overwhelming. Thanks for sharing your experience here Paul
Posted 18 October 2020 - 08:18 PM
Binoculars do trick in 90% of the time. I use binoculars first before even getting out the heavy stuff!
Posted 19 October 2020 - 01:01 PM
I live just a hop-skip-and jump on the 91 fwy from you!
Many years ago, before wife/kids/etc, I use to haul my telescope and associated equipment out to various dark (well - darker than LA) locations around us and I never had good luck out in Joshua Tree/Twentynine Palms area. It never failed to have poor seeing conditions which I chalked up to the dry, warm/hot desert air meeting the moist/colder ocean air over that general area. Still enjoyed camping and BSing with friends, etc.
My favorite spot was Mt. Pinos which is closer and at about 8300 ft (at least the parking lot where folks set up there scopes, etc) and with the treeline blocking the lower horizon and light pollution - very enjoyable indeed. If you haven't gone you should give it a try during a new moon and enjoy. Death Valley and Red Rock Canyon are other areas we tried a few times - better than Joshua Tree/Twentynine Palms but not as good as Mt. Pinos.