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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Trek in Sagittarius

My binoculars have sat alone in a corner for a couple of months now ever since I got the scope. But last Friday night, and again Saturday I went out with them not wanting to pack the scope out in sub-seeing conditions and have been rewarded with some spectacular views in Sagittarius, including at least M25, M24, M7, the wild duck cluster and the butterfly cluster. It is very relaxing to take the tripod mounted 15x70's out and pan the lower portions of the milky way without having to crane my neck, seated in a chair with a comfortable height. I have the red dot finder spot on, so I turn it on dim and pan, and after finding something I can correlate it with my planetarium software and confirm what I am looking at with the reticle on the starfield. I am going to coin this as non-targeted astronomy, as opposed to doing deliberate targeted astronomy.

I was honestly wondering if I would use my binoculars much after getting the scope. But nights like these have reminded me that if I treat it as a specialty instrument and use it the way it was intended, it can be an excellent addition to doing GoTo/Telescope viewing and imaging. 15x70's are spectacular for browsing the milky way but I wouldn't want to hold them in my hand.

An earlier post alluded to using binoculars to view the Milky Way's finest objects and I have not been disappointed. This is really the first time I have experienced Sagittarius at latitude 36 degrees, the last time having optical assistance I was at latitude of 50 degrees, and the 14 degree difference is stunning.

Use everything you have....just enjoy astronomy.

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