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Are BVs mainly for planets?

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#1 Kim2010

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 10:18 AM

So I am planning to get a Baader Mark II BV, but due to shipping, planet season will probably be over when it gets here if I buy now. So from your experience, do BVs also enhance and "wow" views of other objects like doubles and DSOs? Or maybe I should just postpone my purchase and wait when planet season again gets near and use them on the "Big 3" of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter-- and the Moon of course :)



#2 NinePlanets

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 10:20 AM

Binoviewers are awesome to use on globular clusters!


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#3 ziggeman

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 10:25 AM

I dont have a binoviewer..But I bet they work very well for Mercury and Venus too. Having the brain processing two images, one from each eye, must be optimal and is natural. Producing close to 3D views :)


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#4 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 10:39 AM

Solar observing benefits the most from binoviewing, either Ha or white light. 


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#5 betacygni

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 12:56 PM

Depends. Many people (myself included) find them better for all objects. As long as you’re willing to accept a bit of brightness loss, there aren’t many negatives to be had, and some definite benefits in comfort and visual acuity using both eyes. It comes down to personal preference, but I dare say solar/lunar/planetary is near universal in people experiencing benefit, everything else will be very subjective.
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#6 RAKing

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 02:32 PM

I know why a lot of people use binoviewers for planets.  The views are more relaxing with two eyes, and you can sit and study the planets a lot longer when you are comfortable. 

 

But binoviewers are not just for planets!  That same "Comfort Factor" applies to all of my observing and my binoviewers work just as well on DSO and double stars - plus I use them to estimate my variable stars.  I have never really noticed any brightness loss in all the years I used the BV.  If there is any, having the ability to use both eyes has more than made up for it.

 

Cheers,

 

Ron


Edited by RAKing, 13 January 2024 - 02:34 PM.

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#7 Takuan

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 03:54 PM

I have a 10" DOB and a linear BV. It gives me a 0.8⁰ FOV and about the light of 6-7" in each eyepiece. I'm sure 12, 16" would be better, but I really enjoy my rig in deep sky. Of course, especially under moderately dark skies.

Edited by Takuan, 13 January 2024 - 03:54 PM.

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#8 briansalomon1

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 07:40 PM

I've used binoviewers for many years. They work well on planets but it's difficult to push power much over 200X and hold just the right angle with both eyes while viewing. They work better on brighter objects - or with larger aperture. With binoviewers, you generally give up FOV as well as the ability to move your eyes around in the FOV. I use mine now mainly for Hydrogen alpha.


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#9 cahanc

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 07:42 PM

Once I got my binoviewers going I use them for everything.  I use them so much when I think about eyepieces I find myself instantly calculating the cost of 2 vs 1, which can get painful on the wallet very quickly. They are so much more comfortable to me than going cyclops.  For whatever reason I feel the strain of mono viewing within minutes, with the bino's I can go all night!!


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#10 havasman

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Posted 13 January 2024 - 07:42 PM

+1 for solar!


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#11 ABQJeff

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Posted 14 January 2024 - 02:50 AM

I definitely use binoviewers for solar, planets, Moon. I have no trouble using binoviewers at 475x in my C11 (seeing limits me more than the binoviewers).

I will lean to binoviewers if just doing bright doubles, open clusters, bright DSOs. But if there are not so bright DSO on the menu…

I avoid binoviewers for dim DSO (almost all galaxies, faint nebula, faint OC, etc.)
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#12 R Botero

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Posted 15 January 2024 - 07:15 AM

And for double stars!  


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#13 Eddgie

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Posted 15 January 2024 - 08:11 AM

While I use an image intensifier for most DSO these days, in the past I used binoviewers for everything brighter than about 1 mag above my sky limiting magnitude. 

 

While the binoviewer does slightly dim the image, contrary to popular belief, just dimming the image does not affect the contrast of the object against the background and this is as important as how bright something is.

 

 

For the dim subjects though, I use my image intensifier, but for several years, I did all my viewing only with binoviewers. 

 

 

And for double stars!  

 And shout out to R Botero for this one. While I do use the image intensifier for most DSOs these days, doubles are outstanding subjects for binoviewers and while I do view planets, lunar, and solar, I probably do  more doubles because there are always doubles


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#14 CrazyPanda

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 03:28 PM



So I am planning to get a Baader Mark II BV, but due to shipping, planet season will probably be over when it gets here if I buy now. So from your experience, do BVs also enhance and "wow" views of other objects like doubles and DSOs? Or maybe I should just postpone my purchase and wait when planet season again gets near and use them on the "Big 3" of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter-- and the Moon of course smile.gif


I've found that binoviewing is net worse for all DSOs. Each eye only gets 50% of the light, and when the brain merges the images, the full brightness of monoviewing is not recovered, and the contrast benefits of a binoviewer do not overcome the loss of signal to each eye. It feels like you downgrade to a much smaller aperture.

 

For star clusters, binoviewing doesn't quite render the same perfect pinpoints of light that monoviewing does under steady conditions. It's hard getting exact focus right in both eyes, so stars in globular clusters don't seem to be quite as tight as normal.

 

I do not get the "3D" sense that other people seem to get with binoviewing, so that might be a factor.

 

For planets, the contrast gains make it easier to see subtle tonal difference on planets and the view is generally more comfortable. However, I've found that binoviewing is more sensitive to bad seeing. I have learned to "see through" turbulent air when monoviewing by actively focusing my eye. I'm able to pick up on smaller, finer details in modest turbulence when monoviewing than when binoviewing. When seeing is very steady, binoviewing's contrast advantage is readily noticed, with no loss to detail visible.

 

When using both eyes, your brain picks up on the motion of the air more easily and it's much harder to ignore it. You also can't really actively focus your eyes without going cross-eyed, so that can hurt your ability to accommodate focus. Basically the issue is that binoviewing makes it hard to get perfect focus in each eye when there's moderate turbulence, and this hampers the ability to see fine details.


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#15 kroum

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 03:51 PM

I've found that binoviewing is net worse for all DSOs. Each eye only gets 50% of the light, and when the brain merges the images, the full brightness of monoviewing is not recovered, and the contrast benefits of a binoviewer do not overcome the loss of signal to each eye. It feels like you downgrade to a much smaller aperture.

 

For star clusters, binoviewing doesn't quite render the same perfect pinpoints of light that monoviewing does under steady conditions. It's hard getting exact focus right in both eyes, so stars in globular clusters don't seem to be quite as tight as normal.

 

I do not get the "3D" sense that other people seem to get with binoviewing, so that might be a factor.

 

For planets, the contrast gains make it easier to see subtle tonal difference on planets and the view is generally more comfortable. However, I've found that binoviewing is more sensitive to bad seeing. I have learned to "see through" turbulent air when monoviewing by actively focusing my eye. I'm able to pick up on smaller, finer details in modest turbulence when monoviewing than when binoviewing. When seeing is very steady, binoviewing's contrast advantage is readily noticed, with no loss to detail visible.

 

When using both eyes, your brain picks up on the motion of the air more easily and it's much harder to ignore it. You also can't really actively focus your eyes without going cross-eyed, so that can hurt your ability to accommodate focus. Basically the issue is that binoviewing makes it hard to get perfect focus in each eye when there's moderate turbulence, and this hampers the ability to see fine details.

It is very interesting how differently we all process visual information.

 

For me, the noise that having one eye closed adds to the visual signal my brain generates an image out of far outweighs any negatives of using a binoviewer like decreased brightness to each eye.

 

I have not had much experience at dark sky sites due to where I am in life right now and my priorities, but from my heavily light polluted home, the few DSOs that ARE visible are universally vastly improved when binoviewing vs. mono-views and planets even more so.



#16 CrazyPanda

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 03:56 PM

For me, the noise that having one eye closed adds to the visual signal my brain generates an image out of far outweighs any negatives of using a binoviewer like decreased brightness to each eye.

 

It's interesting that you mention this and I wonder if it has something to do how the brain learns to ignore certain things.

 

If I use my observing eye (right eye) to observe a faint target like M33 or M1, the view is smooth. But I've been using that eye for observing for years.

 

If I use my left eye, the view is literally noisy - as if I'm looking through static. The difference between my left eye and right eye is quite strong in this regard. It may be physiological differences between my eyes, but I'm betting it's because my visual system has been trained to look for faint light through my right eye, but not my left.

 

So if monoviewing does indeed seem noisy to you, I can understand why binoviewing would be better.


Edited by CrazyPanda, 16 January 2024 - 04:03 PM.

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#17 denis0007dl

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 04:01 PM

I personally using binoviewer for absolutely every daytime and night objects, even on Galaxies, Nebulaes, globulars...

 

Binoviewer offer relaxing observing which can last whole night, which is priceless.

 

When I observe with 1 eye, I can not concentrate observibg to any object more than few minutes, so 1 eye observing is tottaly useless for me.

 

Denis


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#18 cahanc

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 04:31 PM

 When I use binoviewer I seem to be able to sit still, get comfortable and concentrate much harder on the object and what's around it. With one eye seeing I can and do get quickly agitated and I find myself having to adjust my body, head and back to keep a steady comfortable view, I just get fidgety. It is strange how we are all different, no one thing is better, its wether you can find a way to rid yourself of the distractions while viewing so you can soak up what the sky offers.


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#19 kroum

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Posted 16 January 2024 - 06:34 PM

It's interesting that you mention this and I wonder if it has something to do how the brain learns to ignore certain things.

 

If I use my observing eye (right eye) to observe a faint target like M33 or M1, the view is smooth. But I've been using that eye for observing for years.

 

If I use my left eye, the view is literally noisy - as if I'm looking through static. The difference between my left eye and right eye is quite strong in this regard. It may be physiological differences between my eyes, but I'm betting it's because my visual system has been trained to look for faint light through my right eye, but not my left.

 

So if monoviewing does indeed seem noisy to you, I can understand why binoviewing would be better.

Yes, I think for me it comes down to my brain not being able to ignore the signal from the closed eye, which is just random noise.


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#20 RAKing

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Posted 17 January 2024 - 02:34 PM

I've found that binoviewing is net worse for all DSOs. Each eye only gets 50% of the light, and when the brain merges the images, the full brightness of monoviewing is not recovered, and the contrast benefits of a binoviewer do not overcome the loss of signal to each eye. It feels like you downgrade to a much smaller aperture.

 

For star clusters, binoviewing doesn't quite render the same perfect pinpoints of light that monoviewing does under steady conditions. It's hard getting exact focus right in both eyes, so stars in globular clusters don't seem to be quite as tight as normal.

 

I do not get the "3D" sense that other people seem to get with binoviewing, so that might be a factor.

 

For planets, the contrast gains make it easier to see subtle tonal difference on planets and the view is generally more comfortable. However, I've found that binoviewing is more sensitive to bad seeing. I have learned to "see through" turbulent air when monoviewing by actively focusing my eye. I'm able to pick up on smaller, finer details in modest turbulence when monoviewing than when binoviewing. When seeing is very steady, binoviewing's contrast advantage is readily noticed, with no loss to detail visible.

 

When using both eyes, your brain picks up on the motion of the air more easily and it's much harder to ignore it. You also can't really actively focus your eyes without going cross-eyed, so that can hurt your ability to accommodate focus. Basically the issue is that binoviewing makes it hard to get perfect focus in each eye when there's moderate turbulence, and this hampers the ability to see fine details.

 

Everything you just mentioned reminds me that we are all different - and our eyes are very different.

 

I love my binoviewers and have no problems focusing or merging at any power on any object.  My limitations are primarily caused by atmosphere and aperture.  I also feel like I am not suffering from any light-loss from the BV unit, and I have also noticed the 3D effect on brighter DSO (M31, M13, M27 to name a few).

 

I wonder if it has something to do with the differences between our own eyes.  Both of my eyes are still very close to 20/20 uncorrected, so if I blink each eye open and closed, I don't see any real differences - except for the extra floaters in my left eye.  If someone's eyes are not equal, maybe they will notice a difference in brightness - especially if they are nearing the age where they might need cataract surgery, or etc.

 

Anyway, I am not arguing with anyone, but since we visual astronomers are relying on our own pair of eyes for everything we perceive, then everything will be subject to how well our own eyes work.  There will never be any right or wrong answer.

 

My .02,

 

Ron


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#21 Sebastian_Sajaroff

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 06:23 AM

IMHO, our personal experience with binoculars tells us how much we enjoy binoviewers.

Do you use binoculars a lot ? How do you find them ?



#22 noisejammer

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 07:14 AM

I had a scope for about 35 years before purchasing my Denk II's. At the time, I experienced no difficulty with using  one eye. I had used binoculars for years and was curious.

 

I suspect CrazyPanda is correct in that more glass elements must degrade the image arriving at the eye(s) but my metric is what I perceive not the intrinsic optical quality. I've compared the view a few times. Put simply, I perceive more when using both eyes.

 

I still use my glass grenades on some targets (NGC 7000 being one of them). This is because I can't get the entire structure into the field of my binoviewers. Wikipedia claims it is 1.7° x 2.0°; at 25x, it fills the 3° field of my 31mm ultrawide. If anything, this is a case for a binoscope.

 

So, to answer the OP's question, I would say binoviewers work on most objects. If you are careful with the choice of scope, binoviewers and eyepieces, a field of 2.1° - 2.2° is possible. This includes almost all objects.

 

The deep space compromise is that you need to limit the scope's focal length to around 800 mm and slower than ~ f/7. You need to select large aperture binoviewers - the bigger, the better and you need to accept some edge vigneting. On the other hand, shallow space is easy with any scope, any binoviewer and any eyepiece provided you can achieve focus.


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#23 kroum

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 02:45 PM

I had a scope for about 35 years before purchasing my Denk II's. At the time, I experienced no difficulty with using  one eye. I had used binoculars for years and was curious.

 

I suspect CrazyPanda is correct in that more glass elements must degrade the image arriving at the eye(s) but my metric is what I perceive not the intrinsic optical quality. I've compared the view a few times. Put simply, I perceive more when using both eyes.

 

I still use my glass grenades on some targets (NGC 7000 being one of them). This is because I can't get the entire structure into the field of my binoviewers. Wikipedia claims it is 1.7° x 2.0°; at 25x, it fills the 3° field of my 31mm ultrawide. If anything, this is a case for a binoscope.

 

So, to answer the OP's question, I would say binoviewers work on most objects. If you are careful with the choice of scope, binoviewers and eyepieces, a field of 2.1° - 2.2° is possible. This includes almost all objects.

 

The deep space compromise is that you need to limit the scope's focal length to around 800 mm and slower than ~ f/7. You need to select large aperture binoviewers - the bigger, the better and you need to accept some edge vigneting. On the other hand, shallow space is easy with any scope, any binoviewer and any eyepiece provided you can achieve focus.

I’m curious, why do you say that you need to limit the focal ratio to f7 or slower?

 

I get just around a 2 degree FOV in my 6” f5 reflector with my denk binoviewer (older 37mm 1.5x OCS + focal reducer power switch yields ~ 1x magnification factor).



#24 noisejammer

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 05:51 AM

I’m curious, why do you say that you need to limit the focal ratio to f7 or slower?

 

I get just around a 2 degree FOV in my 6” f5 reflector with my denk binoviewer (older 37mm 1.5x OCS + focal reducer power switch yields ~ 1x magnification factor).

I don't like chromatic aberration - I supposed I'm spoiled that way.

 

I use Baader Mk V binoviewers. These have large prisms (Baader says 30 mm). My 805/7 mm scope achieves 2.1° with slight vignetting.

 

The problem is that the binoviewer  prisms start to show spherochromatism at about f/7 but you can't install a GPC because it costs you field of view. It's not too obvious at the lowest possible power (I can do 23x with some vignetting and 27x without.)

 

I suspect Russ built something equivalent to the GPC into his OCS. I once tried to discuss it with him but he wasn't willing to share.


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#25 George Blahun Jr

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 05:57 PM

I've used binoviewers on every telescope I've owned over the last 20+ years and on every object I have viewed.  I prefer them to monocular vision in every case.


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