View Full Version : Anyone use the big "Astronomy Binoculars"?

Lee Owens
2005-Jun-21, 04:17 AM
I'd love to get some 20x80s...or bigger. I wonder about the quality though. Can I get a good view of the stars and planets in Celestron, Orion, or any of the other binos sold in the magazine ads? I know they're not in the same league as Steiner, Leica, Swarovski, etc, but do I need that quality to see Saturns rings? Jupiters bands and moons?

Thanks, Lee

2005-Jun-21, 04:34 AM
I actually do have a pair of Orion astronomy binoculars. They actually do work really well, and I like to use them to supplement my main telescope action (which is also an orion, maksutov cassegrain). I think if you want a fairly good pair of binoculars, and don't want to empty your entire wallet, the orion is a good choice. :D

Lee Owens
2005-Jun-21, 04:41 AM
OK Cool. I saw a 22x100 for sale. Sounds pretty good.

Thanks again, Lee

Lee Owens
2005-Jun-21, 04:47 AM
oh yeah- the 22x100s are Oberwerk. Can anyone comment on that brand?

2005-Jun-21, 04:52 AM
All I know is that the bigger the aperture, the better, but in the case of magnification, anything over 10X is not really great for a handheld pair unless it has some image stabilization. Otherwise, it would need some sort of tripod like a telescope would use.

I honestly don't know what Saturn would look like at that magnification, but I'm sure however it looks it will be bright. It's already bright to the naked eye. An 80mm aperture collects what, like 130 times that? Sure, it gets thinned out a bit as the image is magnified but not that much at 20X (you could theoretically go up to 160X before the image is too dim to see, am I right?).

But yeah, from what I've heard, I don't see a need for more tham 80mm in a pair of binoculars unless you're going to increase the magnification, and if you're going to increase the magnification above 20X then you'll need to mount it on something even if you have image stabilization built in. At that point, why not get a telescope? Heh. I've heard that magnifications of 300X or so are ideal for viewing planets, but a 10X pair of binoculars should be excellent for nebulea and galaxies and stuff.

2005-Jun-21, 06:22 AM
Tripod-mounted Orion Megaview (http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=357&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCa t=5&iSubCat=18&iProductID=357) 15x80s have been in my stable for a while. They're quite nice quality, but the most reach they offer consists of the Galilean moons. Not nearly enough to see banding on Jupiter, Saturn looks like a bright beige football at best (rings not discernible). If you're after those sorts of details, you can pick up a small Dobsonian for about the same money as a moderate new pair of binocs. I find myself using them most on open clusters, Moon & comets, with occasional terrestrial targets.

2005-Jun-21, 03:10 PM
Remember that your fully-dilated (night vision) pupil is about 7 mm in diameter. This means that if the exit pupil of the binoculars is less than 7 mm, you are not making full use of the magnification, and things will look darker.

Because of this, you should look for binoculars with an exit pupil close to 7 mm. To find the exit pupil of a given set of binoculars, divide the aperature by the magnification. Good choices are 7x50s and 8x60s. If you go with any larger magnification than this without a sturdy tripod, you will probably not be able to hold the binoculars steady enough to see anything clearly.

2005-Jun-21, 03:56 PM
Remember that your fully-dilated (night vision) pupil is about 7 mm in diameter.only if you're in your teens. Older people tend to have pupils that only expand to about 5mm when fully dark-adapted. I would not recommend anything smaller than 10x50 binoculars.

2005-Jun-21, 04:21 PM
About 7 years ago I contemplated purchasing some Celestron 20x80 binoculars. Extremely well balanced such that holding for some time was not overly tiring. I would dtill recommend a tripod mount though for longer viewing time.

2005-Jun-21, 04:42 PM
I have an Oberwerk binocular 20x100 that I will be happy to give you product review.

They are very big and heavy. That, IMHO, is good. If you want to see anything more than 100 yards away, you must have a tripod. The weight is just too much to hold them steady by hand but, mounted on a tripod, the weight keeps them from shaking so badly.

The optics are very good and provide bright images in all viewing modes. I used them last Christmas in Texas for both terrestrial and astronomical viewing. The tremendous light gathering ability of these binoc's is most evident at dusk. When it has become too dark to really see well, you put your eyes to this baby and it seems like daylight again.

I highly reccomend them. :D

2005-Jun-22, 07:33 AM
You want BIG bino's? Have a look at these made by members of our club.

Lee Owens
2005-Jun-22, 01:41 PM
I'm a soldier deployed to Afghanistan. For me, binoculars are much less hassle. The dust and lack of personal space over here make binos a more attractive option for now. I'd love to have a dob...in fact, I just received a book from Sky & Telescope on making them. I want to do that when I go home.

I got more info on the Oberwerk 22x100s. They're center-focus. I don't really care for that. I found some 25x100s that are individual focus. IIRC they're Celestrons. I'm going to call the mail-order shop tonight and get more info.

Not-so-amusing anecdote: When we're in the guard towers on the perimeter, Afghan kids come up and want to sell us stuff. I told one that I want some old Russian binos with big lenses. After a few days he comes back and says one shop in town has some. After lots of negotiation, I give him 40 bucks as a deposit. My relief shows up before he comes back so I give a buddy 40 more bucks as further payment. I tell him don't hand over the money unless the binos are huge. He tosses down my money and the kid throws some binos that looks like something you'd find in Toys 'r' Us. They had ammo and "CCCP" molded into the rubber armor. Hehe. Guess I learned my lesson.

This computer is too slow to open your link. I only got 2 partial pics. Is it 12-inch dobs joined together? Man I'd love to see those pics. It sounds fascinating. I'll try from a better computer later on tonight.

Thanks all, Lee

2005-Jun-22, 02:52 PM
I'm a soldier deployed to Afghanistan.

Please let me thank you for doing a hard and thankless job. May God be on your side and the angels at your elbow.

Make the bad guys pay!

2005-Jun-22, 03:08 PM
This computer is too slow to open your link. I only got 2 partial pics. Is it 12-inch dobs joined together? Man I'd love to see those pics. It sounds fascinating. I'll try from a better computer later on tonight.

It's basicaly two 12 inch reflectors mounted together, it uses crayford focusers, everything is made by club members. (Gerald - the one with the dark glasses in the bottom picture made most of the metalwork, and Brian - the other one, made the mirrors and assorted optics)

The whole thing comes apart for easy transport -- nice!

(Don't you just hate people who can do things like that!! :D :D )

The images seem easier to view, you are using both eyes so you get less eye strain. The image may not be true 3D but it somehow looks more real than the same image in a conventional 'scope.

Lee Owens
2005-Jun-22, 05:12 PM
I made it to a better computer. I'm stunned. :o Those huge binos are a work of art. All that...and engine-turned, too. All I can say is WOW!

2005-Jun-22, 05:16 PM
I made it to a better computer. I'm stunned. :o Those huge binos are a work of art. All that...and engine-turned, too. All I can say is WOW!

Gerald is self taught and makes that stuff in his garden shed! (smart-***! :D )

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Jun-22, 10:52 PM
Regarding that 12" set of reverse binos...as someone with some experience in metalwork and machining, all I can say is ***drool***...

For a little assistance in keeping things steady, might I suggest Helix Mfg's Bino-Rest (http://www.helix-mfg.com/bino-acc.htm)? I have one of these, and it works like a charm...and the sticks it mounts on are industtry-standard-thread utility sticks. I've seen this thread configuration on paint roller extension handles, brooms -- recently saw a set of 3 16" sticks in a pack threaded this way with plastic connectors, so you can make a stick as long as you need -- the pack was in a dollar store. I did the same thing with a pack I bought in a hardware store, and stuck a crutch tip on the end for non-skid. 1 stick to brace on the top of a picnic table, 2 to brace on the picnic table seat, 3 to brace on the ground when seated, 4 to brace on the ground standing, and 5 to let things lean back so I can look straight up. Neat, to say the least.

2005-Jun-26, 09:58 PM
zebo-the-fat, that club of yours is unbelievable. I've found my new hobby. Now I just need a whole lot of cash and time.

2005-Jun-26, 10:05 PM
Did you look at the rest of the site? http://www.deep-sky.co.uk/

Some interesting bits on using a cheap webcam with a 'scope

(That isn't the club web site just the personal site of our glorious leader! :D )

2005-Jun-27, 12:01 AM
:o :o :o :o GIMMI!!

I've wanted a big pair of binoculars for a while now:). But wow, nothing like that LOL :). Very cool.

Lee Owens
2005-Jul-03, 04:25 AM
Hey I ordered Celestron 25x100s. They arrived yesterday and I tried them out last night. I saw Jupiter and 3 of her moons. I was hoping to see Saturn but apparently it's not visible for a while.

I can't wait to get a tripod! My brother back home is looking for a surveyor's tripos for me. I can have a machinist friend make any parts necessary to make it hold the binos.

I'm excited. I gotta get a book about binocular astronomy. :D

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Jul-03, 09:16 AM
Apogee Inc (http://www.apogeeinc.com/) has lotsa different sizes and styles of big binos -- right-angle-view 88mm and 70mm objectives, and binos with built in nebula filters in five different sizes, from 7x50 to 20x100. I have a set of the 12x60's. Not too shabby.

2005-Jul-03, 09:31 AM
A quick tip for bino users, a wooden frame holding a mirror mounted at an angle - the bino's mount on the frame facing down into the mirror. This means that you stand (or sit) looking down at a more comfotable angle. Looking "down" at the sky - no more neck strain! (you see things as a mirror image of course, thut thar rarely matters.

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Jul-04, 03:48 AM
Ol' zeeb's thinking of the Sky Window (http://www.backyard-astro.com/equipment/skywindow.html), from Trico Machine Products (http://www.tricomachine.com/skywindow/).

The Sky Window is built with a first surface mirror, so care must be taken in the cleaning (as seldom as possible) and storage of the unit. I've used one once or twice for a very short time, and with the right binos, this is a neat item that will save the neck.

What's a first surface mirror? Simply, one that has the reflective material applied to the first surface the light encounters. Most mirrors are second surface, with the reflective material on the back, protecting it. 'Course, that means the light has to go through the glass twice (once inbound, once outbound), with the attendant problems of reflraction etc. But that's not really a concern when the sole purpose of the mirror is to assist in the tracking of the wily zit...

Second surface mirrors would cause problems with color reproduction etc of stars, though. If you want to give it a try, there's no law against it -- let us know how it turns out.

Wanna build your own bino-mirror setup? Here ya go (http://www.craigcolvin.com/Astronomy/BinocularMirror.html)...lots of designs and the plans...some of these look easy enough I could try 'em...

2005-Jul-04, 06:11 AM
I didn't realise that it was available as a comercial product, the ones I saw were home-made :D