Originally Posted by Antarius
Originally Posted by Inchindown
Originally Posted by Antarius
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.
Hi Inchindown, you have peaked my interest with your remark about using binoculars to scour the skies.
I have never understood what determines a good set of binoculars from a poorer binocular, probably not helped by all the information provided with the coding that explains things like the magnification and lens diameters etc etc, which is great to those in the "know" but a real problem to the layperson like me.
Since a telescope is a virtual none starter for me, what type of binocular should I be looking for if I wanted to view the heavens. I appreciate that binoculars don't work as well as a telescope but if I were to go down that route in the future, what make and/or model or what dimensional sets of figures should I be looking out for.
Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?
Many thanks again
The mistake most people make is to think the more powerful the binoculars the better. For the most part that simply isn't the case. The reason being is the more powerful the binoculars the heavier they will be. This makes them very difficult to hold steady in your hands and usually mean you need some sort of tripod to support them
Binoculars are normally described as 8x25 or 10x50 etc.
The first number indicates the magnification factor and the second number gives the diameter of the front glass lens of the bins.
For hand held observing I would not want to go above 10x50, but even those can be heavy and lead to a shaky view of the sky. I would say 7x50 are the best for unaided hand held observing. You can go more powerful than this if you go for image stabilised bins. I use a pair of 18x50 Canon image stabilised bins. They are expensive though. The pair I've got would cost around £800 on eBay or even £1k on Amazon, although they were cheaper than that when I bought mine.
It's hard to say what makes a good pair of bins. My view is you get what you pay for with optics. Buying really cheap will just be a false economy. There are thousands of brands about, but if you try looking at those made by well known optical firms such as Canon, Nikon, Meade, Olympus, etc. you wont go far wrong. Check out the astronomy retailer websites as they will sell all the main brands. If you can, make sure you can get to try them out before you buy. Even if it is just going outside the shop and looking up and down the street. Make sure they fit your eyes and that the dioptre adjustment can be set for you quality of sight.
As for what you can see. To some extent that depends on where you stay. If you have lots of light pollution it will be more difficult to see some of the fainter object.
If you have dark skies, you will have no problem with the moon. It looks great in the bins, and it's surprising how much detail you can see. You will see most details when the moon is not full as that is the time when the shadows on the moon are longer, and this helps to throw the surface details into relief.
You will also be able to see most of the planets, although they are not all visible in the sky all the time. You can see Venus as a very bright ball of light, and you will see it also appears with phases like the moon. Mercury will only appear as a very small dot of light.
Mars will be seen a small red ball,
You should also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn. You wont see any detail on the these planets, but you will see 4 of Jupiter's moons in orbit around the plant. You might just be able to make out that Saturn has a couple of ears either side of the central ball, but you wont be able to resolve the rings. You might see some colour in Saturn.
As for things farther afield, you will be able to see some galaxies, although not very much detail. Andromeda is the easiest to see. In fact you can see Andromeda with the naked eye from a dark site. Not far from Andromeda is the Pinwheel Galaxy.
A little bit of trivia here. The Andromeda Galaxy is the farthest thing you can see from earth with the naked eye. It is about 2 million light years away and wee will crash into it in a few billion years time.
You can see star clusters like the one I showed above.
There are some nebulae like the Great Orion Nebula.
Then there are always the unexpected things like comets, asteroids and satellites.
If you really want to take this subject a little more seriously, then you should get hold of a book on star gazing with binoculars.
Hope this helped.Edited by: Inchindown