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Recommended binoculars for skywatching?

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CX

posted on May, 6 2006 @ 06:15 AM
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As a total skywatching beginner, i was wondering how many of you here use binoculars for exploring the night sky? I'm getting a set of 20x60 for basic observation, what would people recommend for seeing the juicy stuff?

CX.




posted on May, 6 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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Binoculars is the perfect way to start sky viewing with. Although I think for
wide field use 20 power binoculars is too much. I prefer 7 power binos like
7x50's, this too me is the perfect bino for star gazing.

20's are a bit too much and require a very steady hand, if you are going to use
them invest in a viewing stand or the shaking will become annoying after time.

If you want more aperature such as 80's, or 100's, it would be cheaper to buy a
6 or 8" Dobsonian telescope. More bang for the buck if you ask me.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 11:45 AM
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Binoc's... I've found over the years that I like different one's for different things. I started collecting them at thrift shops and I like my crappy old Tasco 4X for finding things and then switching to my giant Bushnell Safaris once finding the target.

Please be careful! You can seriously injure your eyes both from just switching binoc's and the light they concentrate... don't drop one on your foot, they're heavy.

Get out of urban lit areas, get a tripod and a telescope too - watch the moon near the circumference at the one o'clock position - twice (years apart) I could swear I saw flashes of light. Happy viewing.

Victor K.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 12:24 PM
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I've been using an Opticron HR66 scope for the last few years, mainly with a Zoom eyepiece (18X - 54X). It's great for stargazing and wildlife too, which is the main reason I bought it. Going to get an adaptor soon so I can attach one of my digital cameras.
I love looking at the detail on the moon on a clear night, it's fantastic

Binoculars don't suit me as I always close my left eye anyway as it's useless due to a skull fracture years ago. The scope is great though

A good tripod is a must have item, I use a nice lightweight one as it's handy for carrying around strapped to a small backpack when I'm out in the wilds.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 12:35 PM
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As was said earlier, the less power the better if you dont plan to use a tripod or a mount of some sort. i have a pair of 10x50's and i find that i cant really hold them steady enough at 10x to enjoy them. A pair of 7x42's would have been a better fit for me. There are numerous astro companies that make nice little mounts specifically for binos that give you 360 degrees of motion and hold the binos steady for higher power observing. Canon makes special binoculars with image stabilizing technology that are supposed to work well but they are very pricey at upwards of $500 or more.

I was reading this months astronomy magazine a few days ago and there is a new company that is making a chaise lounge type chair that has motors on it and a joystick and comes with a pair of canon IS binos and you can basically lay in the chair and observe the night sky while moving yourself around with the joystick...looks pretty cool and isnt that expensive at around $1600 i believe. The binos alone are probably 40% of that cost....depends on how serious you are and how much money you have.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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Go with 7X50 binocs for general night sky viewing (certainly no more than 10X) and shop around until you can get lightweight binoculars with good optics and a relatively large field of view. It does not take long for heavy binoculars to become a drag and get relegated to the seldom used pile. Stabilized optics or a tripod will certainly encourage you to do more viewing and make it more enjoyable as well. BTW if you will be doing most of your sky watching from in or around a city then I strongly reccomend you get binocs with extensible tubes around the objective lens to block stray light.

[edit on 6-5-2006 by Astronomer70]


CX

posted on May, 6 2006 @ 03:25 PM
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Ok then i'm confused agian now lol!

The only binoculars i've ever personally owned have been a little pair of 8x12's, which are ok for general viewing things around the forest here but thats it. Last week i bought a pair of 10x50's, much better and last night i was gazing at te moon through them, it was good but i would'nt say amazing. A huge difference though nethertheless. So with my very little knowledge of magnification and aperture sizes, i just thought bigger will be better and found a bargain on ebay. A pair of 20x60's, only cost me £5.50 on auction


So i was looking forward to veiwing a lot more with these, 20x compared to 10x had to be much better i thought? Yet here people are saying that i should'nt go higher than 10x? I want to get as much detail as i can whilst still being able to hold them by hand or if i have to, get a tripod.

Can anyone confirm these sizes for me please. Whats more important, magnification or aperture size when trying to gain as much detail as the heavens as possible?

Thanks in advance,

CX.


CX

posted on May, 6 2006 @ 03:30 PM
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By the way, these are the same as the ones i bought last night for £5.50 on ebay, hopefully they'll be ok, either way i can't go wrong for that price can i?

ebay

Any advice, pro's/cons to these?

Also, as i was totaly on one last night, i had these bigger ones in mind too, mainly becasue they were cheap for the size.

ebay

I'm wondering if they would be far too big now? What could i expect to see with a pair of 50x70's in the night sky? Should i not bother with anything bigger than the 20x60's i've just bought? Surely the bigger the bino, the more you'll see?

If ET's up there, i wanna see him if you get my drift!


CX.

[edit on 6/5/06 by CX]

[edit on 6/5/06 by CX]

MOD EDIT: Broken/long links.

[edit on 5/8/2006 by cmdrkeenkid]



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 04:11 PM
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Well the bigger the aperture the more light gathering, thus the more you can see.

Aperture is far more important then magnification, 7x is more than satisfactory
for most bino viewing. Again if it is aperture your after instead of opting for
large and bulky bino's over 60mm is too cumbersome for most viewing (and also
expensive) opt for a 6" dob for starts you will be surprised at the excellent viewing
that can be had.

I get alot of satisfaction from my 7x50's bino's, even though I have 2 much bigger
scopes. Excellent for just lying on the grass on a warm summer night for a couple
hours of star gazing!

[edit on 6-5-2006 by TheHorseChestnut]



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 08:50 PM
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I use Vanguard 10X50 binoculars for stargazing. They have a red tint filter on them, which helps filter background lights. They are great for looking at things like the Milky Way and the Pleiades and other constellations. Binoculars are a must have even if you own a telescope. I have a tripod, but prefer to be able to move them around a lot, so I usually sit in a lawn chair and support my arms with the chair rails.

Be careful if you use them to look at the moon, as they can damage your eyes. Use sunglasses or some other light filter with binoculars if you are looking at the moon.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 10:18 PM
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Somebody should have told me that before. I've looked at the moon with Bino's
16" and 30" telescopes for over 20 years and still have 20/20 vision.

Actually this is an urban legend, viewing the moon will have no ill effects.

The only advice I can give is not to view the moon at full phase, not because
of your eyes but because it flattens out all the features and makes for uninteresting
viewing.

Of course never view the moon using any direct optics during Solar Eclipses.



posted on May, 6 2006 @ 10:37 PM
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CX, you will find that as the power goes up the field of view goes down and the harder it becomes to point accurately at a specific target. Further, if you take any pair of binocs and divide the magnification into the objective lens diameter you will get a number that tells you about the diameter of the exit pupil and if you square that number you get a figure for relative brightness of the binocs. For example, 20X60 binocs have an exit pupil 3mm in diameter and a relative brightness of 9. Whereas 7X50's have an exit pupil just over 7mm and a relative brightness of 50. So what do those numbers mean? Well, the pupil of your eye has a diameter of around 7mm and if the exit pupil is only 3mm then only a small portion of your eye actually gets to see the image coming through the binocs. Further, your eye will perceive that image as relatively dim simply because your entire eye doesn't get to be used to look at it and because the image is dim (remember it only had a relative brightness of 9 to begin with).

7X50 binocs on the other hand are often called night viewing binocs because they have a high relative brightness (50) that just so happens to match the pupil diameter of most peoples eyes and thus allows them to make full use of the entire eye. You will find the larger exit pupil diameter much more comfortable to look at as well. What you want is an exit pupil diameter that matches you pupil size and has the largest objective lens that you can comfortably hold & carry around (glass lenses are heavy).

Stated another way, if you take the square root of the objective lens diameter, that number should normally be the highest magnification you would want for that particular pair of binocs (for hand held viewing). With a steady mount of some sort you can increase the magnification somewhat, but remember, the brightness of the image will decrease as you do so and so will the field of view.

Looking at the night sky is fun and rewarding, but not if you have a hard time holding the binocs steady and not if they are heavy. I will also say that you will actually see less stars with 7X50 binocs than with 20X60's, but they will be much easier to look at. Stars are very dim objects to begin with and your naked eye can see stars to an approximate magnitude of 6 to 6.2 (if you are out in the country away from city lights). With a pair of good 7X50 binocs you can see much fainter stars (to around magnitude 10.5 or so). As the objective lens diameter goes up the more light they can capture and thus the dimmer the objects you can see; however, as you begin to magnify the image remember that you are also spreading what light is available over a larger & larger surface area and as you do that the dimmer any particular portion of it will become.

60mm objective lenses will capture 44% more light than 50mm objective lenses and you can thus see objects that are dimmer. 80mm objective lenses can capture 256% more light than 50mm objective lenses and thus you can see even fainter objects. A good telescope--say with an objective mirror 8 inches in diameter--can capture still fainter objects yet, since an objective that size can capture around 900 times more light than your naked eye and about 1600% more light than a 50mm objective lens. BTW that would only let you see objects with a relative magnitude of around 13.5 to 14.0. However, the number of stars you can see with your naked eyes is about 4000, but the number you could see at the above magnitude is around 2,000,000.

I hope that has helped answer some of your questions. There are a lot of books available on the subject of optics and astronomy and if you are really serious about looking at the night sky then I suggest you get a couple.

[edit on 6-5-2006 by Astronomer70]



posted on May, 7 2006 @ 01:15 AM
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Originally posted by TheHorseChestnut
Somebody should have told me that before. I've looked at the moon with Bino's
16" and 30" telescopes for over 20 years and still have 20/20 vision.

Actually this is an urban legend, viewing the moon will have no ill effects.

Ahoy, to you in Montana, that's good to know. Thanks for the info.

Most telescopes come with a lunar filter just to be safe, I guess.

BTW, so you use a 30" telescope, huh? Something like this one...



Or this one...



Are you serious or just pulling my leg?

I get access to a respectable 12" and consider myself lucky.



posted on May, 7 2006 @ 01:49 AM
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More like the first one, I made it myself (The mirror is commerical though)

The second I've seen in JMI catalogs. too pricey for me though.

I use my large scope for deep sky viewing which is my main passion nowadays.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 10:42 PM
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More important than anything else mentioned is the glass. Just because your binocs may be bigger they may not be better. Good lenses trump everything when it comes to scopes of any kind. I use Pentax DCF's for my hunting binocs and Zeiss scopes on my rifles. It makes all the difference in the world. Btw Chestnut, another Montanan here, not too many of us around these parts I'd imagine.



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