Author Topic: The Joy of Binoculars  (Read 166 times)

Tom Durham

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Activity:
    12%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
The Joy of Binoculars
« on: December 26, 2017, 07:53:40 PM »
Beginners may be so annoying.  I should know as I'm one of those people who, if he discovers a fresh interest, becomes obsessed with this and talks about it with friends.  Excellent method to chase people out you don't enjoy.

However I have been surprised by how many people are interested.  It seems many have attempted astronomy but backed off because they had no help or advice.  A lot of these have telescopes of one type or another sitting in a closet.

I had a modest personal Star Party for a friend about a month ago.  I had 3 scopes as well as 10X50 and 15X70 binoculars out for use.  We talked about his interest in my getting back into it 8 weeks ago.  Between an 8" Dob, an 80 mm refractor and a 76 millimeter reflector we looked in the Orion Nebulae as our sample to your day.  I enjoy this one since it can only barely be seen naked eye where I live so I can point it out with my green laser.

This was something that he had never taken notice of before.  When we place the flashes and then the telescopes on it that he was fascinated, never seen this before.

We also looked in the Pleiades.  This is likely my favourite binocular target and he was impressed.  In my opinion the Pleiades look best in flashes.

I tell this story because of all of the glass I had out, it was that the 10X50 binoculars that held his attention.  Realize that this is all about a Bortel 7 mild polluted area so there are not many stars in the skies.  Gemini is all but devoid of stars unless it is extremely apparent.  I've got parts of the Southern skies that are blank.  I have done a survey one night and the dimmest stars I could see were about mag 3.5, so I say my visual limitation is about mag 4.

Therefore, when he put the 10X50s as much as his eyes that he could not believe how many more stars he would see in my $25 Gordon 10X50s I purchased at Harbor Freight.I understood because I had the exact same reaction only a few months ago.We looked from the scopes at different magnifications and we shifted to different targets but he would not put down the 10X50s.

I told him to take them home, together with my own planisphere.  A few weeks later I offered to sell him the set for$10 for him started.  For $10 we secured the deal and he's currently into into astronomy.  I have a star friend.

So, we are both in a dinner together Friday night.  My wife's Rotary club, about 15 couples.  He starts to discuss the stars and the star party and the binoculars.  There were several people who were curious but among those girls was really into it.  And she was surprised you could begin with flashes.  Others commented they had binoculars rather than thought of turning them skyward.

Saturday night I ordered a Star Party and encouraged 6 individuals to join me.  I had a dentist appointment Saturday morning, and so I told my dentist about my new hobby.  He wanted to hear more.  I inquired if he had binoculars and pulled out some really nice Nikon 8X40s and asked if those are good enough.  Sure!  He was intending to join us this night.  His helper has two boys and she was thinking of coming too.  (I'm the pied piper of principles   )

Saturday night 9pm was the gathering period in a darker area.  About 8:30 I was packing the car to go to a darker website for the gathering.  Sky was predicted to be apparent till midnight but the clouds rolled in about 8:30.  We'll reschedule.

Regardless of the clouds I slid in some 10 minute binocular viewings from the skies rivers that came and moved together with my 15X70s on the monopod.  I really like them but was really missing my 10X50s, my are weapon of choice for these quick opinions.  I needed to replace them.

Oberwerk had a closeout on Garrett Gemini 10X50s so I picked up a pair.  They arrived today.  In daylight they look REALLY nice.  Crisp and bright and feel great in the hand.  Hopefully I can come across a sky river among the clouds tonight to provide them a skies test.

The point is, I really like flashes.  Considering all the additional glass I have, the 10X50s have so much use and provide me much enjoyment.  I will likely take them with me on my next business trip too.

And when I have people over for my small sky gazing parties they love the 10X50s.  I'm considering incorporating some 7X35s for children and those who might feel the 10X50s are too difficult to hold.

Beginners, buy your telescopes but don't forget the binoculars.  They're so wonderful for quick opinions and for traveling.  They're a joy!



dustsungline

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Activity:
    12%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 03:05:25 PM »
I've had similar experiences with others intrigued by astronomy but not really knowing they could do anything worthwhile with the binoculars they already had. One in particular has become quite interested and gets out with the binoculars when possible and is learning the sky. I've since given them a planisphere and a copy of Gary Seronik's Binocular Highlights as these are what got me started in astronomy.

Zac Johnson

  • Jr. Astronomer
  • **
  • Posts: 96
  • Activity:
    10.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 02:12:31 PM »
Ed,
Let us know how the Garret Gemini 10X50 work out for astronomy. Are they brighter then the Harbor Freight and the Celestrons? What is the field of view, and how far out are the stars sharp?

I also got one of my wife's friend hooked. I gave her my Harbor Freight 10x50. They are not the greatest but they are better than eyes only. The price for the Garret Gemini 10X50 is very good at $50, and could be an option for her to move up in quality

russnappditcva

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Activity:
    12%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 06:42:26 PM »
Binoculars are great. Binoviewers will never leave my possession.
Glad to hear you are turning new people on to astronomy.

hanatuaser

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
  • Activity:
    10%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 08:51:21 AM »
Quote
Ed,
Let us know how the Garret Gemini 10X50 work out for astronomy. Are they brighter then the Harbor Freight and the Celestrons? What is the field of view, and how far out are the stars sharp?

I also got one of my wife's friend hooked. I gave her my Harbor Freight 10x50. They are not the greatest but they are better than eyes only. The price for the Garret Gemini 10X50 is very good at $50, and could be an option for her to move up in quality


I was pretty pleased with the Harbor Freight binoculars but they did lose sharpness at the edge. Didn't really bother me but that is where the cost savings are.

I can't check the Garretts yet as it is raining out tonight but based on the daytime test I would label these as keepers. They sold normally for $90. I got them for $50. I am sure they will be great for astronomy.

I just got a HF 20% off cupon. Imay get another set of Gordon's too, as loaners or I can sell them for what they cost me to get someone else going while they are standing there with me,looking at the sky.

Chad Fithian

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Activity:
    12.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 05:47:31 AM »
Reading this reminded me of my grandfather, who was the one who turned me on to binoculars as a child. He had them every where. Used both for teresteral and astronomy. He loved nature.  My binos and 80mm have gotten the most use this winter.

inovilmei

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Activity:
    14.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 12:44:21 AM »
I have a spread already. I have
8X20 - ( I think ) No brand
7X28 Rainbow(need some work)
10X50Garrett Gemini
15X70 Celestrons
May pick up some 7X35s. They have a kid's pair of 7X35s that get 4.5 stars from those who bought them. Could be good for when people bring over young children to look at the stars with me. Small and light. If they get dropped or damaged, who cares?

nostcharmacon

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
  • Activity:
    16.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 05:47:50 AM »
I have a nice telescope and access to fairly decent skies. Still, I run out with binoculars MUCH more than my scope. You can roll around the sky and see so much even when you have only a few minutes.
 Marty

Nick Nisianakis

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • Activity:
    14%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 04:20:29 PM »
I totally concur with Ed; binoculars are just a fantastic instrument for the beginner, and an essential accessory for the more experienced telescope owner.I, like Ed, started out with some 10x50s (William Optics), which are of great quality for the price (c. $300), but a bit heavy (1.6kg) to hand-hold. I bought a solid photo tripod with a lot of height & angle adjustment (Vanguard Abeo Pro), and this makes them a lot more comfortable.I recently bought some Lunt 16x70s (c. $420)- this is a big step up in performance from the 10x50s - and I would not hesitate to use these as a my sole instrument for looking at open clusters, astermisms and large nebualae (in a dark site). They are just wonderful - the 3D effect can be breathtaking.I typically have the binos set up with one or more telescopes, and use them as sort of "super finder" that allows me easily locate objects when not using GoTo mounts or DSCs. It's also a great way to discover new things by slowly scanning the sky.One hint that transformed the quality of the images was to sort out my eye astigmatism with toric contact lenses. The large exit pupils of binoculars compared to most telescopes meant that I wasn't getting very sharp star images, particularly on the brighter objects. Even slight astigmatism (0.25-0.5 diopter) becomes apparent at exit pupils of larger than 3mm. If you wear glasses, then astigmatism will probably be already corrected for, but ordinary spherical contact lenses won't correct for this.

olexecin

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Activity:
    15.33%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 08:20:59 PM »
Ed - I totally agree that binoculars are a great way for people to get started. My cousin picked up a decent pair of Bushnell binos for my dad when he was rotating back home from Vietnam back in the late 60's. I remember laying in the grass on humid western Pennsylvania nights and looking at the moon with them. I remember being amazed at how many stars there were as well as the other odd objects I managed to find. I never worried about transparency, seeing, or light pollution. I hadn't heard of sky charts and never even imagined having a telescope. But I loved looking at the night sky!

My dad still has those binoculars. He bought a small telescope several years ago and a few years back he got a pair of 15x70s. When he was out for a visit this summer, we spent a lot of hours with my APO and he really enjoyed it. I asked when he last used his telescope and he said he doesn't use it...too much work to set up and align. It's nothing but the 15x70s and every once in a while he gets out his 50 year old Bushnells just to make sure they still work as well as they used to.

Bill Pham

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    16.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 01:14:35 AM »
Ed,
Getting a second pair of HF is a good idea for spare/loaner. Make sure if you do get another pair to try them before you buy them. I had to test 5 pairs before I found one that was collimated

Also for the 7x35 you might want to try these. They are very good. Perfect for kids or adults who have a hard time hold larger/heavier binos

http://www.amazon.co...7x35 binoculars

ciomasbure

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
  • Activity:
    15.33%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 08:27:41 AM »
Marty, John and Jim,

Looks like we have a lot in common.Tony.

I was wondering if the Bushnell Falcons were any good. Thanks for the recommendation.

I was actually thinking about giving these a try for kids. If they are at all serviceable I could hand them to a 5 year old and not be concerned about them breaking them. If they get damaged, well, they were cheap.
http://www.amazon.co...Z03IQOI3H&psc=1
or these
http://www.amazon.co...en's binoculars

Mike Meckler

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Activity:
    14%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 09:06:30 AM »
Ed,
Hard to tell the quality on the two kids binos you linked to. Not enough reviews. The good news the are very inexpensive you can't go wrong

Jeff Swan

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
  • Activity:
    12.67%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 07:15:53 AM »
I have been living on a heavy diet of binos for the past year. The scopes haven't seen much use. Cloudy weather and a different life schedule have limited my scope observing opportunities. But, I carry binos with me whenever I can and have been enjoying them tremendously. My favorites for hand held viewing are 8x42 and for mounted viewing are 10x50. I have especially enjoyed tracking down Uranus and Neptune. Hard to believe you can see those outer planets with a simple handglass!

Lawrence Paez

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Activity:
    13.33%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Joy of Binoculars
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 11:14:38 AM »
Love my newer Orion 8x42 for hand held, I have the 9x63, they can be hand held but usually will mount them.
Still love and recommend 7x50 just a nice comfy set up