James Paulson's roll off roof observatory at the Sunridge Observatory site, taken in the summer of 1986, housing a 10 inch f/5 Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Binocular Heaven

I never thought I would see the day when I could enjoy smaller aperture instruments again, but I am really loving my new binoculars.

I ordered my 15x70 Garretts earlier this month and Zach assured me that these are suitable astronomical instruments. First off, I'd like to thank him and will highly recommend Garrett Optical for any purchases. I would definitely purchase from them again and I really loved being able to speak to them in person even though it was a small order.

Every object that I have targeted this month, and that has not been many because the weather has been less than co-operative has been seen. Some of the objects that I have had little or no trouble with are M65, M66, M13,M92, and M3. Two galaxies and three globular clusters is not a bad start. I am really looking forward to enjoying open clusters like M45 and M44 but that will have to wait a bit for now. Summer brings a whole new enjoyment in star fields in the Sagittarius region, nebula, more globular clusters, and even for the challenge, a planetary like M57. Yep I fully intend to knock this one out soon.

This evening I purchased the FarSight binocular mount and a Multiple Reticle Red Dot finder to mount on top to allow me to more accurately point at these fine objects. Tapered binoculars do not allow one to sight, and trying to sight down the focusing wheel in the dark is hard for an old guy like me, so I will take all the help I can get, especially from a 1x finder, and a decent bino-bracket that allows me to remove them without having to re-tighten the center shafts every time I set them up.

I think the real joy of binoculars is that they demonstrate how little you can use and still see so much, and they are a perfect compliment to any telescope for introducing the general public as to the expectations of binoculars, small, and large aperture telescopes. They can see with their own eyes, nobody has to say a word.

If you don't have binoculars, try them out for yourself at a star party. When you consider how small your investment will be, and how much you can actually see, you might consider ordering some to take along when you are out camping this summer under the blackest skies you have ever seen, wishing for something to use just to do more.

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