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

Best Binocular Choice For Observing The Andromeda Galaxy?

  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 Alnitak2009

Alnitak2009

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 449
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2009
  • Loc: New York

Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:23 PM

Hi all,

 

I was wondering which binoculars would be the best at displaying the Andromeda galaxy in its entirety with some room to spare? I was leaning towards the APM 25x100 MS ED APO binoculars. I've read some good reviews on these for brightness, edge of field sharpness, color correction etc. 

 

I'd like to read from users what you are using and prefer. While telescope views are nice, they tend to be too "zoomed in" even at lower power.

 

regards,

Don



#2 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 13 November 2020 - 09:15 PM

I had a very memorable view in Bortle 2 skies (California Sierra Nevada backpacking) with the Kowa 6.5x32 BD II XD. I think Andromeda benefits a lot from dark skies, large exit pupil, good microcontrast and having a stable mount. A lot of extra sky for context made the difference. Hand held 8x56 and 11x70 were less memorable.

 

I don't think APM MS 25x100 ED (FOV 2.7') can show all of Andromeda (3'). I think you need to go down at least to APM MS 80x100 (3.3'). One reason I picked the 20x100, but I have not tried it on Andromeda yet.


Edited by ihf, 13 November 2020 - 09:16 PM.

  • ShaulaB and M&P805 like this

#3 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 13 November 2020 - 09:28 PM

On the relative size of Andromeda.


  • brentwood and Thomas Marshall like this

#4 Astroman007

Astroman007

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,695
  • Joined: 27 Oct 2017
  • Loc: Northern Ontario, Canada

Posted 13 November 2020 - 10:10 PM

Some of *my* most memorable views of the Great Galaxy came to me through my 25x100s or mounted 28x110s, though neither will show "room and to spare" without a little sweeping. But really Andromeda is a great target well worth a look through whatever binoculars you may have on hand.


  • j.gardavsky likes this

#5 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,556
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 13 November 2020 - 11:56 PM

You've not made any reference to the darkness or brightness of the sky you intend to be observing from.  What you'll see will depend more on the darkness of your sky than it will on the binoculars.  If you don't have a dark sky (and most people don't), you'll likely be disappointed in your views -- regardless of the binoculars.

 

Furthermore, there are plenty of telescopes around that can also show M31 and its companions in just as wide of a true field as an "ideal" pair of binoculars.

 

Here's a sketch of M31 (and M32, and M110) as observed visually -- from a dark sky -- with a mere 1-inch aperture at 20x with a true field of view of about 3.3 degrees:

 

M31 32 110  1 inch aperture 5 Dec 2018 20x Sketcher   text 1
 
"Things" were not as bright nor as easy to see in the eyepiece as they appear in the sketch; but all that appears in the sketch was, nevertheless, seen.
 
Any pair of binoculars (or telescope) that can provide a similar true field of view at a similar magnification will be able to show a similar view -- if used beneath a dark enough sky by an experienced enough observer.
 
In other words, getting the "best" view  will require more than just having the right equipment -- something that most people tend to ignore -- until they attempt that first view and are rewarded with disappointment.
 
On the other hand, perhaps you have a dark enough sky and enough experience . . .
 
With all that being said, under a dark enough sky, any pair of binoculars will provide a very nice view of M31 and family.  I like the view with my 8x42 binoculars; but my view with 20x80s (3-degree field of view) is preferred.  While my 25x100s (with their 2.33-degree true field of view) is even more awe-inspiring and impressive, even though M31 extends beyond the field edges.
 
I have three different telescopes that can provide true fields of view of 2.6 degrees or wider -- with apertures ranging from 80mm (true field up to 4-degrees), to 130mm (true field up to 3.1 degrees) to 152mm (true field up to 2.6 degrees) -- all can provide some very nice views of M31-32-110 -- from a dark enough sky.
 
From a dark enough sky, the binocular (or telescope) hardly seems to matter.  On the other hand, if the sky is too bright, the view is likely to disappoint -- again, regardless of the binocular (or telescope).

  • Jawaid I. Abbasi, Pinac, ihf and 1 other like this

#6 Traveler

Traveler

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,652
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 14 November 2020 - 01:06 AM

To me it is not the instrument but the sky darkness is important for M31 also. When really dark, M31 is a smashing object with naked eyes as well...



#7 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 14 November 2020 - 01:33 AM

I think what made my view in #2 so memorable was that I woke up in my tent at night. My eyes were perfectly adjusted as I need (and used) no light under the stars. The galaxy was just not far over the dark mountains adding to the framing. (Just like a full moon is more impressive in relation to the ground than high up.) Still slightly averted vision provided best results. I have been in darker places in Utah where Andromeda was less impressive. I assume my eye receptors were less well adjusted then, even if the usable bino exit pupil was larger, 



#8 edwincjones

edwincjones

    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,562
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 14 November 2020 - 09:51 AM

my most memorable view of Andromeda was with with a fujinon 10x70

a well framed view of the galaxy and its two  local galaxies 

then one needs a scope

 

edj


  • Jon Isaacs and daniel_h like this

#9 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,067
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 14 November 2020 - 10:11 AM

I had really great Andromeda views with my former APM 25x100 MS ED

But I believe, the views with the new 150mm SD APM will be even better

 

But a dark sky will help a lot with any instrument.

When you can see M31 with naked eyes you are at the right pace :-)

 

Jochen


  • j.gardavsky likes this

#10 Binojunky

Binojunky

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,854
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2010

Posted 14 November 2020 - 10:52 AM

Had great views with a low cost 12x50, bought from a dealer after my scope packed up at Starfest, it saved the day,that and dark skies ,Dave.


  • Jon Isaacs, John Gauvreau and Voyager 3 like this

#11 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 14 November 2020 - 12:11 PM

But I believe, the views with the new 150mm SD APM will be even better

It needs some wide open eyepieces to fit Andromeda. Do you have any plans for that? Is there anything besides Vixen LVW 42 and maybe Masuyama 32?



#12 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,067
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 14 November 2020 - 12:35 PM

It needs some wide open eyepieces to fit Andromeda. Do you have any plans for that? Is there anything besides Vixen LVW 42 and maybe Masuyama 32?

I have a pair of 32mm Kasai, they will show 3.2°

 

Jochen



#13 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 14 November 2020 - 02:17 PM

You are right that the eyepieces should present a 3.2 degrees view for 840mm/150mm instrument. APM lists a maximum of 2.7' degrees though for the 150mm. Curious how this works out.

 

This is the 3.2 degree framed view as computed by Astronomy Tools.

 

Andromeda - 3.2' FOV

  • edwincjones, sonny.barile, ArsMachina and 1 other like this

#14 ArsMachina

ArsMachina

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,067
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 14 November 2020 - 03:30 PM

Probably APM is calculating with the APM 30mm 75° eyepieces, which are delivered together with the 150mm bino

 

Jochen


  • ihf likes this

#15 Mark9473

Mark9473

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,884
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2005
  • Loc: 51°N 4°E

Posted 14 November 2020 - 07:50 PM

Going back to the original question, to see "the Andromeda galaxy in its entirety with some room to spare", you need at least 5° FOV.

That rules out most of what has been mentioned so far.


  • daniel_h likes this

#16 Alnitak2009

Alnitak2009

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 449
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2009
  • Loc: New York

Posted 14 November 2020 - 08:06 PM

I had a very memorable view in Bortle 2 skies (California Sierra Nevada backpacking) with the Kowa 6.5x32 BD II XD. I think Andromeda benefits a lot from dark skies, large exit pupil, good microcontrast and having a stable mount. A lot of extra sky for context made the difference. Hand held 8x56 and 11x70 were less memorable.

 

I don't think APM MS 25x100 ED (FOV 2.7') can show all of Andromeda (3'). I think you need to go down at least to APM MS 80x100 (3.3'). One reason I picked the 20x100, but I have not tried it on Andromeda yet.

Hi ihf,

 

I was considering the 20x100's for their slightly wider fov but most reviewers said that the 25x100 are a better choice. Something to consider. Dark skies are a must to allow for better contrast ratio. I think Andromeda is 3 or more degrees in length but it would be photographic. Not sure how much length can be seen in the visual? Perhaps someone can provide the data.

 

I agree that the framing makes for a better viewing experience.

 

Things to ponder.

Don


  • j.gardavsky likes this

#17 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 89,193
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 14 November 2020 - 08:07 PM

Going back to the original question, to see "the Andromeda galaxy in its entirety with some room to spare", you need at least 5° FOV.

That rules out most of what has been mentioned so far.

 

Room to spare is a judgment call.  It's visible size does depend on how dark the skies are.

 

I like my 15x70 Resolux's which provide a 4.4 degree field. I don't own any binos with a narrower field.

 

And then as Edwin says, one needs a telescope too.

 

Jon


  • Scott Beith, daniel_h, sonny.barile and 3 others like this

#18 Alnitak2009

Alnitak2009

    Messenger

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 449
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2009
  • Loc: New York

Posted 14 November 2020 - 08:19 PM

 

You've not made any reference to the darkness or brightness of the sky you intend to be observing from.  What you'll see will depend more on the darkness of your sky than it will on the binoculars.  If you don't have a dark sky (and most people don't), you'll likely be disappointed in your views -- regardless of the binoculars.

 

Furthermore, there are plenty of telescopes around that can also show M31 and its companions in just as wide of a true field as an "ideal" pair of binoculars.

 

Here's a sketch of M31 (and M32, and M110) as observed visually -- from a dark sky -- with a mere 1-inch aperture at 20x with a true field of view of about 3.3 degrees:

 

 
 
"Things" were not as bright nor as easy to see in the eyepiece as they appear in the sketch; but all that appears in the sketch was, nevertheless, seen.
 
Any pair of binoculars (or telescope) that can provide a similar true field of view at a similar magnification will be able to show a similar view -- if used beneath a dark enough sky by an experienced enough observer.
 
In other words, getting the "best" view  will require more than just having the right equipment -- something that most people tend to ignore -- until they attempt that first view and are rewarded with disappointment.
 
On the other hand, perhaps you have a dark enough sky and enough experience . . .
 
With all that being said, under a dark enough sky, any pair of binoculars will provide a very nice view of M31 and family.  I like the view with my 8x42 binoculars; but my view with 20x80s (3-degree field of view) is preferred.  While my 25x100s (with their 2.33-degree true field of view) is even more awe-inspiring and impressive, even though M31 extends beyond the field edges.
 
I have three different telescopes that can provide true fields of view of 2.6 degrees or wider -- with apertures ranging from 80mm (true field up to 4-degrees), to 130mm (true field up to 3.1 degrees) to 152mm (true field up to 2.6 degrees) -- all can provide some very nice views of M31-32-110 -- from a dark enough sky.
 
From a dark enough sky, the binocular (or telescope) hardly seems to matter.  On the other hand, if the sky is too bright, the view is likely to disappoint -- again, regardless of the binocular (or telescope).

 

Hi Sketcher,

 

I agree that the darker the skies the better. I can sometimes head up to the Adirondack mountain area which has Bortle 2 skies or darker. The contrast ratio is amazing!

I have a zero gravity chair and like the idea of setting up a good pair of binocs on a parallelogram mount and scan the skies. I would observe from home mostly. Bortle 4 or darker.

 

Don


  • sonny.barile likes this

#19 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 14 November 2020 - 10:11 PM

I was considering the 20x100's for their slightly wider fov but most reviewers said that the 25x100 are a better choice. Something to consider. Dark skies are a must to allow for better contrast ratio.

I agree. If one does not need glasses and if one does not plan to travel to dark skies then the 25x100 are the more interesting choice, as it sort of maxes out the fixed eypiece format in terms of magnification. I do need glasses and I do travel. Unlike many I don't like the artificial black background created by small exit pupils. If not for weight I want my binoculars to magnify as little as possible and keep exit pupils above 5mm in size. (It is pretty difficult to find binos with 7mm exit pupils, but 5mm is widely available.) A 10x42 or 12x50 will present the image and background similarly to the 25x100. If you like 8x42 or 10x50 more, then 20x100 might be the more obvious choice. I will be around the Death Valley in a week and take the 20x100. Unfortunately the moon will be half full already and the Las Vegas light dome is brutal. Maybe Bortle 3? Still beats the San Francisco area.


  • Jon Isaacs, sonny.barile and j.gardavsky like this

#20 photiost

photiost

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,958
  • Joined: 14 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Montreal, Canada

Posted 15 November 2020 - 08:01 PM

In a dark sky the 7x50 Zeiss Jenoptem perform very well on Andromeda.



#21 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 542
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:35 AM

I took a look at Andromeda this evening. It was straight overhead. This is from a Bortle 3 site, which due to the half moon not far away showed like Bortle 5. Andromeda was not visible to my naked eye. Maybe if I would have found a completely dark spot, but several houses were in the neighborhood so I did not adjust my eyes too long. Bino Bandits were used. I was standing pushing my body, arm and head against my car. In all three binos Andromeda was mostly the kernel with barely noticable elongation surrounding it. One could just about feel the direction and a 2 degree extent. Canon 15x50 IS looked the most engaging. The elongation appeared to be about half the FOV, or good 2 degrees. The second best was Kowa 6.5x32 BD II XD. There was a lot of context and the image was stable. Third best was Nikon 8x30 EII. It shows higher magnification, but the image in my hands is too shaky. Otherwise the images between it and the Kowa seem close, but I use glasses. Mounted or seated and with perfect eyes the Nikon might do better. All in all this short session and medium quality sky favored higher magnification.

 

I ended up not bringing my 20x100.


  • Jon Isaacs and sonny.barile like this

#22 gwlee

gwlee

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,409
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 23 November 2020 - 10:18 AM

The apparent size of Andromeda increases as the sky grows darker. At the very darkest sites, I like the view through a 7x50.

At my fairly dark, rural, mountain home I like the view through a 10x50 better.

In a brightly lighted metro area, I like the view with a small dob at low power, but only the central core will be visible and the FOV shrinks to 1.8*.
  • sonny.barile likes this

#23 duck2k

duck2k

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,412
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2015
  • Loc: Fountain Hills, AZ

Posted 23 November 2020 - 02:07 PM

10 x 50, or the IS 15 x 50 are my go to’s for Andromeda, and M33.:)



#24 barbie

barbie

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,407
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Northeast Ohio

Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:04 PM

I really like how Andromeda is presented in my 12x60 binoculars. It's framed just right and its companions are nicely viewed from an extremely dark sky. By far my favorite binocular galaxy!!


  • WALL.E likes this

#25 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 89,193
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 24 November 2020 - 01:14 AM

The great galaxy in Andomeda has many facets, it has many secret treasures to reveal. With its extent of several degrees and large dust lanes and companion galaxies as along with faint globulars and nebulae, no one instrument is sufficient for enjoying good old M31..

 

It's always surprised me how close it's satellite galaxies NGC 147 and 185 are to M31. 147 is about 330,000 light years, that's only about twice as far as M110 is from M31. 

 

The great galaxy has something for every instrument.

 

Jon


  • Rich V., sonny.barile, WALL.E and 2 others like 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






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics