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Why not big astronomy binoculars?

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Frank Binder

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I am a star gazers. I want to suggest all my star gazers friend that they should do star gazing with big astronomy binoculars instead of a telescope because telescopes are complicated.
 

greenrocketfish

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In a way you are right. If you are a novice stargazer or like to walk out in the yard for a few minutes and look, binoculars are great. The only problem is that you will need a tripod for any power over 10 or 12 or you will have a hard time looking because of shaking. If you have a place to set up and plan to watch alot get in touch with a local club and go to one of there meetings. Like rocketeers they will be happy to show you whats available and if it's easy or complicated to use.
Lee;)
 

WillMarchant

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FYI, I moved this to "the watering hole" since it is not rocketry related.

Yes, I agree, that a good pair of binoculars is essential for maintaining interest in amateur astronomy. Frankly, I don't drag my 8" SCT out very often because setup is a drag.

Having said that, there are often good reasons to use a telescope over binoculars. Some targets require the light collection area that is uncommon in "plain vanilla" binoculars. Another issue is where a lot of magnification is necessary you'll need the aperture and mount steadiness that comes from a regular telescope. And binoculars are not very friendly for imaging and spectroscopy devices.

Still, I really like the Canon image-stabilizer 15x45 that I got for half price off of the Internet...
 

MarkII

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Frank Binder is right, though. Astronomical binoculars give you a much wider field of view, allowing you to take in much more of the night sky. To get superior light collection, though, you will probably want some with larger objectives than you would normally use for daytime field glasses. But all that big glass will get quite heavy, so they need to be mounted on a sturdy tripod to hold them steady enough for quality observing. Sad to say, but I even have trouble holding simple field glasses steady enough! But speaking from personal experience, when the ISS comes streaking across the sky straight through the zenith, binoculars are what you will want to have to track it and keep it in view as it goes from horizon to horizon. :D

MarkII
 

EgbrtV

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Got heavy into star gazing a few years ago, just for a season ... now it's more of a fair-weather adjunct to camping and vacations. Started out with 7x50 binocs and then bought an inexpensive but reasonable-quality refector. The most enjoyable recollections I have of the many nights I spent under the stars was simply laying back on a reclining lawn chair with those 7x50s and scanning through the consellations. By comparison, (although some of the views were awesome) the telescope was cumbersome and required a lot of patience and skill in handling and maintaining. And I never pursued high-powered binocs (although I was tempted) because of the incredible difficulties and expense of supporting them while maintaining a comfortable body position. In short, $ and gadgetry killed it for me, and I gladly retreated to those mid-powered binocs.
 

MarkII

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Actually, I do much more of my observing with the naked eye. What I lose in detail, I gain in field of view! Also I don't have to worry about focal length, eye relief, collimation, etc. ;) My eyes don't weigh much, but the mount that they are attached to is a bit on the heavy side. :eek: But I can still fit all of the equipment into my car without too much trouble and drive it out to a dark location. Set up time is a bit quicker because my retinas don't need to be collimated, just dark-adapted. Also, aligning them with the North Star is pretty much intuitive now. They don't use a worm gear-driven equatorial or German mount though; instead, they have a vestibular mount and a muscle-powered tracking drive. I have had this system for quite a long time, and it has served me well. I do need to upgrade the optics about every ten years or so in order to maintain quality, though. My system has a very stripped-down and simplified "astronomer inside" software program that will be gradually upgraded as time goes by (I hope). Pivoting my lenses across the sky to observe various phenomena is a breeze - even easier than using a Dobsonian. But it takes my software program awhile sometimes to pinpoint the desired object and get it centered in my FOV.

MarkII
 
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mkadams001

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I also enjoy using binoculars for stargazing. Even when I set up my telescope I have the bino's handy for searching the sky. I look for that little ball of fuzz in the bino's and then point the scope there to see what I found. Binoculars are a great way to start stargazing without a ton of expense and equipment.
 

MarkII

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The apertures of my naked eye 'scopes are the major limitation, though. They just don't collect that much light, so observing deep-sky objects, splitting binary star systems, observing comets and asteroids, etc. are all a real problem for them. On the upside, though, the image post-processing software that is built into the equipment can't be beat, and it is upgradable. And the system comes with an enormous amount of storage pre-installed. :D

Finally, it has very advanced networking capabilities built into it, and it can automatically establish a wireless connection and share information with other similarly-equipped systems in its immediate vicinity. :D
 
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JonathanDunbar

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The apertures of my naked eye 'scopes are the major limitation, though. They just don't collect that much light, so observing deep-sky objects, splitting binary star systems, observing comets and asteroids, etc. are all a real problem for them. On the upside, though, the image post-processing software that is built into the equipment can't be beat, and it is upgradable. And the system comes with an enormous amount of storage pre-installed. :D

Finally, it has very advanced networking capabilities built into it, and it can automatically establish a wireless connection and share information with other similarly-equipped systems in its immediate vicinity. :D
Mark,

May I recommend a pair of binoculars to you and the forum:

http://tinyurl.com/yc5nlp5


I use these and they are FANTASTIC!!! They bring the surface of the Moon to you as if it were located the next city over. And the price! You think you get what you pay for right? Well in this case, WRONG! You get MUCH more than you pay for!

The optics are coated and crisp. Very little aberration or distortion. I was skeptical a few years back when I get my first pair, and it was worth every cent!

Why are these so great for the price? Well they are made in China (cheap labor, not a cheap product) and they don't have the name, 'Celestron' or 'Meade' on them :D

I am in no way affilatied with telescopes.com, but I AM affilated with the Universe and you will enjoy viewing it with this pair of binoculars!

Good luck,

Jonathan

P.s. I just saw those 25x100 binoculars ... I am paying my way out of debt not into it, but if you can afford them, they sure look nice!
 
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MarkII

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Thanks for the link, Jon. From what I have read, that is a pretty typical price for binoculars of that size. You don't have to go deep into debt to get a decent pair of binocs for stargazing.

MarkII
 

bobkrech

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We had this post on the support and recovery forum a while ago.

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?t=7189&highlight=binoculars

The eye has ~7 mm aperture in the dark. in order to gather the most light that you can use, the objective diameter of a binocular or telescope should be equal to the magnification multiplied by 7 mm. For a magnification of 7, 7x7=49, and this is why a 7 x 50 pair of binoculars is probably the most common binoculars used for star gazing. Maximum light gathering capacity, reasonable magnification, wide field of view, and light weight obviating the need for a tripod.

The 20x80 binoculars are reasonably priced, but the light gathering power is about the same as a 7x35 and not as good as a 7x50. They are about 3 times heavier than a 7x35 and more than twice as 2 heavy as 7x50s. They have a narrow 3.2 degree FOV (excellent for a 20 power binocular however) but due to the weight you really need a tripod for extended viewing. If you don't mind carrying a tripod, it's a good deal.

Bob
 

Symbiosis

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I am a star gazers. I want to suggest all my star gazers friend that they should do star gazing with big astronomy binoculars instead of a telescope because telescopes are complicated.

I too am an amateur astronomer and built my own 8" f/7 Newtonian reflector (a "Dobsonian"). I disagree. First, telescopes are not complicated, especially if you avoid the "go to" variety. Second, in my opinion, big binocs are difficult to use and need an extremely steady mount -- although there is much debate on that.
 

JonathanDunbar

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We had this post on the support and recovery forum a while ago.

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?t=7189&highlight=binoculars

The eye has ~7 mm aperture in the dark. in order to gather the most light that you can use, the objective diameter of a binocular or telescope should be equal to the magnification multiplied by 7 mm. For a magnification of 7, 7x7=49, and this is why a 7 x 50 pair of binoculars is probably the most common binoculars used for star gazing. Maximum light gathering capacity, reasonable magnification, wide field of view, and light weight obviating the need for a tripod.

The 20x80 binoculars are reasonably priced, but the light gathering power is about the same as a 7x35 and not as good as a 7x50. They are about 3 times heavier than a 7x35 and more than twice as 2 heavy as 7x50s. They have a narrow 3.2 degree FOV (excellent for a 20 power binocular however) but due to the weight you really need a tripod for extended viewing. If you don't mind carrying a tripod, it's a good deal.

Bob
Hey Bob,

I use them for daytime terrestrial viewing as well, and yes I use a tripod because of the weight.

At night, if I am just looking at a planet or the Moon, I will rest against the side of the house for support and to 'steady' myself.

I have also learned to be careful when using them around other people, houses, buildings: people think you are spying or being a 'peeping Tom'.

Jonathan
 

JonathanDunbar

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I too am an amateur astronomer and built my own 8" f/7 Newtonian reflector (a "Dobsonian"). I disagree. First, telescopes are not complicated, especially if you avoid the "go to" variety. Second, in my opinion, big binocs are difficult to use and need an extremely steady mount -- although there is much debate on that.
Alas, I like it old school:



and



This is my Unitron 3 Inch Photo-Equitorial Model 145-C. I have the Astrocam, no not the Estes version, but the Unitiron Camera with the glass plates somewhere in storage along with a 4 inch Unitron Eq.

The 3 inch is the limit of what I will do, as it is very LARGE and very HEAVY. The 4 inch only comes out for SPECIAL OCCASSIONS like a passing comet or something like that.

Next, I was thinking of buying a 12 inch cassegrain, but a) I know people who have them and I can borrow them at any time so no need to spend the money; nice having 'rich' friends and b) I love refractors as they are the 'classic' scopes ... first scopes too!

I just love looking at etchings of Tyco Brahe and Gallileo sitting behind their refractors and pearing into the heavens.

Correction: Tycho Brahe never used a scope. He was nearly blind, and just used his eyes and astrolabe type devices to measure movement and to catalog the stars.

Had a friend with a Dobsonian; big, bulky, awkward, but hey when you are after light gathering for deep space photography or resolving stars in Star Clusters, bigger is better.

I think I will maybe get into renting those Scope Pads and purchasing viewing time. That seems to be practicle and beats buying a $3000+ scope that just sits in the garage most of the year :y:

Jonathan
 
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MarkII

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My equipment is even more old school...











MarkII
 

o1d_dude

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Nice Unitron you've got there, Jonathan. I'm assuming you've had that one for a while.
 

JonathanDunbar

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Nice Unitron you've got there, Jonathan. I'm assuming you've had that one for a while.
Old Dude,

Interesting story behind this Unitron:

The latitude screw on it is for higher latitudes, like for Seattle, Minn, Chicago, New York. I will get around to replacing it for Arizona one of these days. The scope ended up at a Goodwill in midland California. The previous owner had moved to California after retiring. I was told that the owner had died, and the family was cleaning out his items... well I got a good deal on this unit and was very happy. Everything works, and it came with all the wood boxes.

I since added a couple UniHex prisms, a Unitron Barrow Lens, and a few more oculars. It is a beast to setup, but once the Polaris and Mizar have been found, its drive keeps amazing time and tracking. There is a guy on the yahoo unitron groups who sells battery powered drives for Unitrons... I may buy one and save the power outlet drive for nostalgia.

Here is a photo:



The unit dates back to the late 1950s.



Very nice instruments!!!

Jonathan
 
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o1d_dude

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Sadly, that's the way most of these older telescopes come on the market.

In this case, the scope went to someone who appreciates the mystique of this classic.

BTW, on the Cloudy Nights Forums there is forum dedicated to classic telescopes. You should pay a visit and see what other collectors have found.
 
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