Podcaster: Shane and Chris
Title: All About Binocular Astronomy
Organization: Actual Astronomy
Description: The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents All About Binocular Astronomy and places a focus on this fundamental tool for astronomy. From large to small and how to mount them all we discuss the ins and outs of using binoculars for stargazing and why everyone should dust off those binoculars on the shelf and take them out under the stars.
Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.
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There we go. Live transcription is running.
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Welcome to Episode 223 of the actual astronomy Podcast. I am Chris enjoying the machine we are amateur astronomers beloved looking up at the night sky and this podcast is for anybody else likes going out under the stairs binoculars family she we talked
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Yeah, yeah and binoculars are sort of, you know, we use them almost every session so they’re the perfect companion to any telescope, I think, how many binoculars do you currently own.
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I think about six parents think, Oh, you know what, I have some vintage like miniature binoculars as well.
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So I think maybe seven or eight if I count those ones. Yeah, I think I’ve got nine. Okay.
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Yeah nine or 10, and it still doesn’t seem like enough out somehow I think what I really need is another pair of binoculars, that fits in between, I don’t know.
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So, how useful are there.
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And how much do you use your binoculars, how useful are your binoculars How much do you use.
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Well they’re extremely useful like one of the things I love about binoculars, is the portability, so you know you and I fret an awful lot over travel telescopes Well, almost the better alternative in some cases is just putting a pair of binoculars in
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your suitcase or your carry on luggage. Yeah. So they’re super portable.
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And then the other thing I love about them is there, especially when you travel there the multi use like they’re awesome at night but you know you can go whale watching during the day or, you know, wherever you’re sightseeing they can become a real benefit
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and even when we do our astronomy trips down to the grasslands.
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During the daytime sometimes we do some scenic drives in the park, and we get out and it’s nice to have binoculars with us to, to us so you know i i would say i use my binoculars, quite a bit, but I would say the majority is not even for astronomy, although
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there are some nights where just the the convenience and the ease of binoculars are just so nice for for looking at the stars.
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So, They do get out quite a bit with me.
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Yeah, I always like to tell people that my visual astronomy it’s all broke down and pretty much just a visual astronomer, and it’s a third, a third, a third, a third naked eye.
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And people are often really surprised at that but the fact that plays in is that binoculars are are really not much more of a time investment or a challenge to us than just going out and and looking naked eyes so binoculars really bring a lot to the table,
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that get you really more than halfway to the views that you’re going to have through a telescope anyway, especially the small ones like that we use and yeah i mean you just carry them in your hand and, you know, for the most part though we’ll talk about
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some some bigger wins here but before four o’clock and too many tangents feeling just, like, too many tangents today. But how did you get introduced to binoculars for astronomy scene.
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Um, I think it was the book titled the backyard observers guide turns Dickinson and Alan dire.
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That was my, my real like kind of astronomy one on one, when I got into the hobby, or like seriously in 2003. I purchased that book, maybe even before I purchased a telescope, I think, And I think I’ve probably read that entire book 20 times at least
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in my lifetime.
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Yeah, especially early on, like it was just such a valuable resource for me. And one of the things that both parents and Alan talked about was, you know, binoculars there’s, there’s an entire chapter devoted to it.
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And I think, I think on a pretty regular basis Terrence Dickinson sort of has his recommended binoculars for amateur astronomy and it’s a blend of performance in sort of price you know and value that you’re getting and I don’t know what the current recommendation
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is but I think at the time.
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The recommendation was seven by 50 Bosch and long legacies. Yeah,
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yeah, yeah. Or maybe it was even 10 by 15 so I can’t remember, but I ended up purchasing them and, and they worked quite well but you know now that I know a little bit more.
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They were a little heavy, and I think I you know what I think I had the 10 times version and, and I just I don’t hold 10 times very well, like it’s just too unsteady so I’m more of a seven or eight times kind of guy but you know everybody’s a little different
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Well for me.
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I was really disappointed.
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Well, why is that well i I had really wanted a telescope. And I had gone to.
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I was studying archaeology in England, and, and, and my partner very gone with, you know, had recognized that I very quickly developed a deep interest in Australia, always kind of had an interest in astronomy, had a little telescope when I was younger
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and then when we were in.
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In the UK, I gone to the British Museum and the, I think it was like the British astronomical Association and had a thing set up and you could look through a Galileo.
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I got a bird here.
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Anyway, I had a, they had a gal they were telescope set up you could look through and some other materials and it was, it was really really neat really sparked my enthusiasm to actually do it for myself not just sort of keep thinking about doing it.
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And so for Christmas she bought me.
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The symbol because you backer astronomers got it was just a previous edition. This was the white edition, and a pair of binoculars, and I was so disappointed because I had never heard of using binoculars to do astronomy before and figured, the only way
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to do it was, was with the telescopes I was, you know, it’s probably one of those things where just classic like out of a movie or something somebody opening the gift and they think that’s because I opened the astronomy book, you know, and I’m thinking,
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the next thing is like keys to the telescope kind of thing and you open up and it’s a pair of binoculars, it’s like, what’s this.
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So anyway, they were 10 by 15 made for glasses where’s the predecessor to. I think the version that you had had, and they were okay. And, but yeah i was really really disappointed, but pretty quickly I learned a couple things one I, and she said like,
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I was worried you’d be disappointed but she had checked with a local amateur astronomer who eventually got to know and observed his observatory sometimes in my hometown, and had checked with him and had checked with some other people and they had said
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no, this is this is the way to do it kind of thing. And just read that section in the book like you did and, and go out and try it and so I read it with a buddy of mine, and we thought this is ridiculous.
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And we went out and found like the Orion Nebula like in like five seconds and, you know, we had the binoculars, read the chapter, walked around and went tonight and we found the right data like in five seconds and yeah I was hooked ever since because
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I realized, well, this is just so easy to use. It was really fun and, you know, yeah it was, it was just a really really neat experience. So, yeah, really, really turned around for being like honestly when I got those I considered it to be the worst Christmas
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present I had ever received.
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Five days later I considered it to be the best Christmas present I’d ever received just about so pretty big turnaround there. Wow, that’s a neat story.
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Yeah, so, so why are they so why are binoculars so good like in your opinion chain. What really makes them what are the some of the attributes in binoculars that just makes makes them really a must have for somebody who’s doing astronomy.
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Um, I, again, I think it’s their versatility.
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The. In general, now I guess specifically for astronomy, what what I used to use them for and I found it exceptionally helpful.
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Now this is what I had a Newtonian so the reason I mentioning that is keep in mind that a Newtonian typically has a field of view that isn’t that big, you know like, if you get to two degrees in a field of view on a Newtonian that’s pretty decent actually,
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and in most cases you’re below that.
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So what I struggled with particularly early on when I had my Newtonian was just making sure I was in the right part of the sky, so like you know I would use teller ads and seven by 50 finder on the telescope, but sometimes just grabbing the binoculars
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and panning around the sky, to get the field I needed was way faster, and it just helped me get oriented. And then the other thing that the Bible is really nice.
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Everything is upside down and left right is reversed. So the sky looks very different, through the IPS than it does on your star chart.
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So using the binary, it’s everything’s correct image, you know, so there’s no flip flopping or mental gymnastics required. So I found it pretty easy to pan through a constellation with by knows you know match what I’m seeing there to the star chart and
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then knowing where I should be looking for, you know, whatever object that I was interested in. So they’re great for that.
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And then there’s been, you know, other nights where we’ve gone out to dark sky sites like grasslands, with telescopes, but sometimes they don’t even come out of the vehicle, or we set them up and we don’t actually look through them because we’re just
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enamored by the button. The binocular views that we have. Yeah, we’re soon as like I remember when a particular we had tons of rain, and then it totally cleared off, and numbers like ground fog, and we got to it, but it wasn’t everywhere.
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It was just like in little spots and you kind of walk okay walk up to this hill and observe and down over to this hollow and observe like anywhere the ground fog was, we kind of moved around in ways that you just couldn’t do with a telescope, and I think
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we spent like three hours just just observing like that as a small group. Yeah, Yeah, which, if you if we wouldn’t have had binoculars. You know, we probably just would have gone to bed.
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It really increases the amount of observing that we’ve done in the past for sure.
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Yeah. So for me, like that portability and like you were saying, the ability to pretty much take them on any trip it’s pretty easy to get a pair of binoculars.
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In the suitcase, and I always take a pair when I’m when I’m traveling now, and it just, it just really really nice to nice to have and you can get some really decent astronomy in.
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And then, like for newcomers, this is, this is the huge part of the part that I didn’t get in I received mine is just that, ease of use, and familiar to us, like most people are familiar with how to use a pair of binoculars, most people are not familiar
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with how to operate a telescope. I think that’s a fair assessment, for sure, for sure it is the, the other thing though that I’ll mention about binoculars and maybe, I don’t know if I’m jumping too far but is the doctor adjustment, and I don’t know if
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everybody knows about that on binoculars and this, this can really impact your enjoyment of them and I’ll give you a real world example, my brother, never liked binoculars hated them, because they just never worked for him properly.
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So one time, we were out he had just bought a new pair of binoculars buddy give it one more try.
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And he said, Nope, same issue it’s just it’s not a very clear image I you know I’m not happy.
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And I asked him if he adjusted the doctor and he said well what do you mean, it was like I was speaking a different language. So I explained to him.
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You know what you do so, one of the I pieces on your binoculars will have like a little adjustment ring which is the day after adjustment. So, what you do.
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First of all, identify which I piece that is then with the other I focus the other IPS using like the binocular focus wheel so that it’s perfectly clear, and then go over to your eyepiece with the doctor look through that, and then adjust the diopters
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so it’s clear for that I, because our eyes are often not exactly the same in terms of their, you know, prescriptions, so to speak. So, anyway, he did this and the binoculars worked really well for him afterwards.
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You know I think now he’s, he’s an avid binocular user and, you know, it was one little adjustment that really helped them with the enjoyment factor. Yes, it just like and how to focus them yeah there is sort of that nuanced ability to just tune in for
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each eye by using that little focus wheel on, on one of the IP sands and then the primary focus will on the other. Yeah, been playing back and forth really can get you some nice sharp views of the sky and end of the daytime, as well, yeah that that’s
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a really good point ahead and put that in here. So, and then kind of like you I’d also mentioned. Wide field.
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Other binoculars binocular helps finding stuff like you said a really wide field on telescope is anything that’s part of the two degrees but often that’s still pretty small.
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Whereas with binoculars, and they pretty much started around five or six degrees even and, and, you know, some of our binoculars even just make common sense by 35 that I mostly use is is a 90 degree field of view binocular which is fair wider than virtually
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any telescope so really facilitates the finding of things combined with the correct orientation that you’ve said, combined with the portability is it just makes it just a really great instrument for using for astronomy.
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Mm hmm. Absolutely. Yeah. So let’s talk about some of the specifications, and maybe a little bit of information about picking a pair of binoculars. So, this is just about the numbers that are on the binocular and seeing if I said we had an eight by 40
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with a 60 degree, parent field of view are so many meters at so many yards or feet and 20 millimeters of VR, what does all this stuff mean exactly like people are seeing these numbers.
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I really think that the numbers then binoculars make it sound like they’re a lot more complicated than they actually are but but what do these numbers me.
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So the first number is always the magnification. So if it’s eight by 42. You have an eight times magnification. And then the 42 in that example is the diameter of the objectives of the IP so kind of the pieces of glass at the end like the big pieces,
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that’s the diameter there. Yeah, and why that’s important is, it will tell you a couple of, well, mostly it tells you about it’s late gathering capability and just like telescopes binoculars purpose is to gather more light and focus it into your eye,
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or one of its primary purposes. So, the larger the second number, the more aperture you have, and the deeper you can you know go in terms of seeing at night with astronomy.
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Now, the bigger the bigger that number is also the heavier It is so there’s other factors at play, but essentially it’s the the aperture of your binoculars.
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Yeah. And so let’s talk about you talked about the focusing of the, the, the singular IPS by using the adapter which is, which is a feature on most binoculars and, like you were saying a lot of people aren’t aren’t aware of this, and I think you made
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a really good point with that. But also, one of the things you have to watch out for is er I release, and in particular for persons like myself anyway I wear glasses and I’d like to wear glasses when I do astronomy.
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And so I need like a set of eyepieces on those binoculars, that have long I relief of around like 15 to 20 millimeters seems to work pretty well for me I don’t know what your thoughts are on longer I really doctors but that’s how I observed.
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Yeah, yeah I wear glasses as well so I relief is quite important to me. And for some reason, and I’m not sure why.
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I’m with like telescope observing I can usually get away with 17 to 18 millimeters of I relief and yet feel like I’m still getting the full field of view.
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But with binoculars, I’m more of a 20 millimeter kind of guy, like, two to three millimeters doesn’t sound like very much but it can really impact your enjoyment because too much I relief and you start to get what’s referred to as like blackouts or kidney
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being, which means like your I placement has to be just perfect or else you know you’re going to see block.
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But yeah, with binoculars I typically need 20 millimeters.
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Yeah, yeah so so do I. And it just something to be aware of that. Not all binoculars are designed for people to wear glasses in us. So if you are an individual like like Shane I who wears glasses to, to farsightedness or whatever, then you should look
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at getting a pair that will work with your classes like if you’re actually in the market to buy a pair of.
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The other thing I put in here is the business of field of view, it can be a little bit confusing with binoculars because sometimes bookmark the field of view in feed at 1000 yards not sure if you’ve seen this as well.
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Yeah, it’s confusing to me.
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I just would like to know the degrees but, you know, I think that’s largely because I’m used to that with with telescopes and you know astronomical observing, but uh yeah I’ve gotten a little bit used to the either the meters per or what does it eat.
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Eat eight yards I think it is confusing but you know that the one thing that, that I think I would recommend is like now if somebody just looking for a really inexpensive bear and they don’t need long I relief, or if you already own a pair, and it has
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that you can just look up the formula for calculating degrees based on the numbers on the binocular that you have you can probably just put it into Google as it’s on the binoculars will give you the answer.
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But why degrees are important is that when we look at the night sky we’re kind of always sort of measuring it off a bit and like trying to find a field that contains.
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You know what we’re looking at. We want to have a decently wide field of view your fist at arm’s length is about 10 degrees in your I will see.
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I think like what 90 or 120 degrees in any, any given time without, without any optics so you want to have your binocular covering like around five to seven degrees somewhere in that neighborhood.
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So that’s what we’re looking for it but most of the ass astronomy specific binoculars will have those numbers like I know like a binocular from Silva Strawn or a binocular from Nikon or binocular from Pentax and the list goes on on.
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I know that those binoculars will typically eat the degrees.
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Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah. And again, there’s this wide field of view is, is what we’re going for with Dr because it makes locating things really easy to find.
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Now, the one thing that’s a little bit confusing with binoculars is like at least, this is my opinion maybe jury as well but you were talking about that 15 millimeter being a little bit hard to hold right you mentioned that earlier on when you get your,
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your 10 by 15, that was a little bit difficult for you to hold. Yeah, well, it was just, I couldn’t hold it steady enough so all of the stars are sort of, you know, it looks to me like they’re jumping around, and it was almost useless hand holding so
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I ended up having to mount them on a tripod. Yeah. And so for me it was, it was the same thing, like I was a young very fit healthy person, and my 10 by 15, just like you, I just couldn’t hold them still enough so end up marrying them to a tripod, which
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kind of negates some of that portability, that we’re talking about and all this doesn’t.
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Yeah, yeah, for sure.
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So, aperture with binoculars sort of oddly doesn’t really rule the roost doesn’t like you can get binoculars, that are pretty big like I had some 60 and 70 millimeters I even have 100 millimeter pair of 22 by hundreds.
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And then we have like there was more common sizes in like the 30 to 56 millimeter range, then we have like almost an opera type glasses that can be. They might be 40 or 50 millimeters but they’re only like two or three power like the ones that that you
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and I cobbled together once but with those bigger binoculars though.
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You’re really limiting yourself in some of the prime benefits of of the binocular and it’s kind of a point I kind of want to drive home when people don’t go and buy the biggest binoculars.
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You find, I think that’s pretty good device isn’t.
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For sure, for sure it is a you know and another thing would be the same recommendation that we often give out about considering different telescopes is just, if you can go like go to like an astronomy club meeting or an observing session and just see
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if you can borrow other people’s binoculars and see what what you like as well because there’s an awful lot of choices out there yet so common sizes that you’ll see.
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And the recommendation by Terrence Dickinson and Alan dire back in those days was the 10 by 50, and subsequently, they may have changed a little, I certainly have changed that and I make the recommendation.
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any by 42 or something very close to those numbers, I’m not sure what your thoughts are shame but let’s dive into this a little bit, yeah yeah I’m, I’m 100% the same like I have a pair of eight by 40 tues which I really enjoy.
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I’m not, I’m not 100% stable when I’m holding them, but I’m pretty decent, and they, they certainly work well for me for astronomical purposes.
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And, you know, one of these things about me just being stable, some of this to just takes you a little bit of time I think to find the best way to use your binoculars so they are a little more stable.
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So, the reason I mentioning that is if you, you know, go out today and buy a pair of binoculars use them tonight and if you’re disappointed because of the shakes, just kind of keep practicing, you’ll get better over time, you’ll find different ways to
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hold them, you know to push them into your like your eye sockets basically to help stabilize like there’s little tips and tricks that you’ll learn that just help the overall performance.
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Yeah. So what happens if you have a heavy binocular that’s just larger and with a little bit more powered like a 10 by 50 over and he by 40 or something like that.
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Is that the stars will just dance a little bit more and you have to concentrate a little bit harder on holding them steady, and because of that it can be difficult to hold them up for long periods of time.
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So I had these 10 by 15. And then I eventually moved to a seven by 50. And when I did that like I found with the 10 by 15, my views were pretty short quick like pulled them up kind of find something like just really helped me locate something and then
00:24:27.000 –> 00:24:32.000
go and put the telescope on and have a view and that’s kind of how I use those.
00:24:32.000 –> 00:24:45.000
But when I moved to the seven by 50. You know I broke out a lounger and I could just sit there and use binoculars all night it was very comfortable, the images weren’t dancing around and and to be honest I was actually surprised that while the 10 by 50
00:24:45.000 –> 00:24:48.000
certainly would show a little bit more.
00:24:48.000 –> 00:25:02.000
The the amount of fatigue that I had and holding them limited me to how long August, I was using them for so my sessions were much much shorter so the I’m not sure if you had a similar experience when you went down to like an eight power from their shame.
00:25:02.000 –> 00:25:18.000
Yeah, yeah, pretty pretty similar to what you just said for sure. Yeah. So you’ll see that there’s lots of 70 millimeter binoculars out there for not bad pricing, I think, like 100 hundred $50 Canadian anyway.
00:25:18.000 –> 00:25:25.000
And those binoculars are you know they’re they’re good binoculars I think I’ve, I’ve owned some pairs in the past.
00:25:25.000 –> 00:25:43.000
But I think the challenge there Is that really you really need to to tripod mount those in order to get that use my setup whether they’re a 10 by 70 or or 12 by 60, or whatever they are, that they end up needing to be tripod manage don’t they.
00:25:43.000 –> 00:25:56.000
Yeah, for sure something that large would be pretty hard to hand hold and. And even if you could, and and you know you were fairly stable, I think, I think your duration would be compromised.
00:25:56.000 –> 00:26:09.000
You know your your muscles will just get fatigued holding something that large up for a period of time. Yeah, so that that’s why I recommend staying in like that really like that 30 to 40, odd.
00:26:09.000 –> 00:26:21.000
millimeter size and so I actually went down eventually to a seven by 35, which I think is is really really nice but then Mike bought, and this is a Nikon actually extreme seven by 35.
00:26:21.000 –> 00:26:37.000
I still have them I really liked them, Mike went out and bought the eight by 40 or eight by 42 or whatever it is. And I think that kind of thought that one might have the edge because that extra one x and power seem to take it just that much closer to
00:26:37.000 –> 00:26:39.000
the 10, x.
00:26:39.000 –> 00:26:55.000
Well, at the same time, it didn’t really seem to introduce significant shaking, and then the extra five or so millimeters and aperture really seem to pull in a significant amount more light again without adding significant more more weight I think mine
00:26:55.000 –> 00:27:00.000
or, or, you know, three ounces lighter than then Mike’s.
00:27:00.000 –> 00:27:11.000
So it wasn’t really that big a deal to go to the 10 power by 50 added in like, I think, eight or 10 ounces so think about that it’s more than holding up a pop or soda can.
00:27:11.000 –> 00:27:25.000
In addition to to what you have already in in the seven by 35 So, so to me that’s a lot more weight very quick view versus like a seven by 35 and eight by 40, which I can hold up for two or three minutes and get lots of observing and and if I’m sitting
00:27:25.000 –> 00:27:35.000
in a chair I can almost get it set up so I can observe for for for lots, lots longer and do a long session, during the course the evening. Yeah, exactly.
00:27:35.000 –> 00:27:38.000
Cool. Alright so we covered aperture.
00:27:38.000 –> 00:27:54.000
Yeah, and people shouldn’t get too too hung up on getting really big binoculars because I think once you cross that that threshold at 50 millimeters anyway, you’re really getting a binocular that needs to be mad at once you start mounting things at least
00:27:54.000 –> 00:28:12.000
in my opinion, you might as well start looking at some of the smaller Ed telescopes, because between the price of the binocular and the hassle of getting it mounted, and the difficulties in us, you’re introducing some challenges there, that the little
00:28:12.000 –> 00:28:17.000
telescope is is going to overcome pretty quickly and, at least in my opinion.
00:28:17.000 –> 00:28:19.000
Hmm, know for sure.
00:28:19.000 –> 00:28:31.000
So, with the smaller binoculars you can handle them but if you are going to get a 10 power or larger see like a 10 or 12 x something in the, maybe 5060 to 70 millimeter sighs I think probably the best way to mount those is to get one of those old $25
00:28:31.000 –> 00:28:44.000
I think probably the best way to mount those is to get one of those old $25 tripod adapter brackets and, and just pretty common good steady little camera tripod.
00:28:44.000 –> 00:28:58.000
What are your thoughts on it. Yeah, that’s exactly what I used a long time ago like you can get these el brackets that most binoculars can accept, and it works fairly well.
00:28:58.000 –> 00:29:05.000
Now you need some sort of like, like photographic ball head or something like that to mount them on.
00:29:05.000 –> 00:29:17.000
But if you, if you do that, some other things that are kind of beneficial would be a tripod with like a geared column so that you can raise or lower the binoculars depending on the angle that you’re viewing.
00:29:17.000 –> 00:29:22.000
And if you have like a panning video ahead for your tripod.
00:29:22.000 –> 00:29:26.000
you know, that’s awesome for binoculars as well.
00:29:26.000 –> 00:29:41.000
But ideally, there’s the, and you have one of these is parallelogram mount, which, you know, I think is just amazing for binoculars, why don’t why don’t you describe what that thing is like, yeah, so it is a little bit difficult to describe but what it
00:29:41.000 –> 00:29:42.000
what it is, basically, is that it’s like a hinge bracket with too long.
00:29:42.000 –> 00:30:01.000
what it is, basically, is that it’s like a hinge bracket with two long square tubes of metal, and it is a butterfly here, and it allows you to kind of move an angle and that another quick mind think through the, the metal is about four feet long, maybe
00:30:01.000 –> 00:30:14.000
a little bit longer, and you put a weight at one on one side, and then on the other side that sticks up a little bit further there’s a little platform that you bet your tripod adapter or binoculars to one way or another and the way that it works is you
00:30:14.000 –> 00:30:27.000
can just put your hand raise or lower them so it’s kind of like the best of all worlds where you’re able to have the ability of kind of free wheeling around the sky like you do normally when your hand holding binoculars.
00:30:27.000 –> 00:30:40.000
But, but without actually having to to hold them so you just kind of look and then you just have the binoculars sitting there and you can just with your with your hand very lightly move them around the sky and then as you might walk around, instead of
00:30:40.000 –> 00:30:43.000
just turning around and going after walk around the tripod.
00:30:43.000 –> 00:30:54.000
But it but it actually is a really nice experience, I think in, especially in that 70, maybe to 80 millimeter size class works really well in a parallel the ground mount.
00:30:54.000 –> 00:31:11.000
Yeah, the, the other thing that I like, excuse me the parallelogram mount is if you’re observing with somebody else that is a different height, you know, you can find the object in the binoculars, and then you just move, you know, upper move the parallelogram
00:31:11.000 –> 00:31:22.000
mount up or down. And the the binoculars will still be on the exact same part of the sky, so it’s really great if you’re, you know again observing with kids or people of different height.
00:31:22.000 –> 00:31:29.000
Yeah, and I’ve used them for public observing and it’s it’s a lot of fun.
00:31:29.000 –> 00:31:40.000
And it really isn’t easy way to observe and you have but if you have a high quality kind of one of these mid sizes, kind of in that sort of 70 to 80 millimeter size range like like I have prototype in the 70s.
00:31:40.000 –> 00:31:57.000
And, yeah, it really really is a neat experience for people. And yet, get a lot of positive comments, you will see that people will put even larger instruments on even larger pillow parallelogram mounts, but I think there’s an easier way to mount those
00:31:57.000 –> 00:32:01.000
kind of binoculars to mind if I kind of go down that rabbit hole briefly. Yeah, go for it.
00:32:01.000 –> 00:32:21.000
Yeah, so I have a pair of 22 by hundreds and so this is like a nine or a 10 pound binocular, and there’s lots of ones out there in the size class like 25 by 100 and other ones have similar size in like this sort of more or less hundred millimeter class
00:32:21.000 –> 00:32:38.000
and lots of hundred meters so your binocular objectives are four inches, and then the BI pieces in these binoculars really they’re like two telescopes minutes by beside typically give between 20 and and say 25 or so power plus or minus a little bit.
00:32:38.000 –> 00:32:51.000
So what I what I end up doing is a parallelogram now for for such a heavy instrument is pretty expensive, a lot of the time you’ll see people get a heavy like video tripod head.
00:32:51.000 –> 00:33:08.000
Those can be pretty expensive too, but I had just a regular Elbaz mount my was made by it’s called a Microsoft, because it’s what it’s called by Universal astronomic but they don’t make them anymore but there’s lots of little out as tripod heads that
00:33:08.000 –> 00:33:19.000
are around double handle 10 to 12 pounds fairly easily. And telescope service will will give you some pretty good options for this over in Germany for not a whole lot of money.
00:33:19.000 –> 00:33:33.000
And what you can get as a large really huge L bracket and mine just looks like an L bracket just like my original bracket for my 10 by 15. It’s just about maybe 10 times larger it’s huge and the binoculars.
00:33:33.000 –> 00:33:50.000
Don’t sit with the, the bed of the breastbone between the objectives that kind of sit sidesaddle and then I just found that on to the elders head and screw it down, and then I put it on my gear tripod make your tone tripod.
00:33:50.000 –> 00:34:06.000
And then I can raise and lower it. And so, those that that allows it to the swivel around and go up and down, and then I can raise and lower the height with the geared column and I think that that’s a pretty good experience for such a large aperture because
00:34:06.000 –> 00:34:14.000
once you get into those larger apertures they’re they’re heavy and, and the mechanics required to put on a pillow the ground mount start to get a bit cumbersome.
00:34:14.000 –> 00:34:23.000
Yeah, yeah no good advice for sure.
00:34:23.000 –> 00:34:31.000
In fact, I think the largest pair I’ve ever owned is like 50 millimeter. So, yeah, this is, this is all new ground for me.
00:34:31.000 –> 00:34:42.000
Yeah, I had to know one night, and I think you look through them, at least on one occasion, there’s a couple downsides with really big binoculars that you don’t realize until you’re the owner of repair.
00:34:42.000 –> 00:34:57.000
One is that when you get into these higher powers like our eyes aren’t all lined up the same and you do have to optically align them before your eyes, and then you kind of have to get the distance just right now with a handheld probe and if there’s that’s
00:34:57.000 –> 00:35:11.000
really easy to do a little bit of focus and a little bit of a moving of the hinge, and you’re, you’re good to go. It’s not really a big deal. And, but once you get into the doctors that are, you know, you got to put some forced to kind of get them manipulated
00:35:11.000 –> 00:35:23.000
to do all this and maybe you’re using a screwdriver to change the prisms a little bit. Well, it’s not as easy to go from like criticized machines eyes as easy as you think it’s going to be.
00:35:23.000 –> 00:35:37.000
I was really surprised it back seven serving partner and his eyes were actually fairly similar to mine, but he was a very different bill than I was so we were always fussing with them to get them to work, and we were both pretty dedicated amateurs so
00:35:37.000 –> 00:35:50.000
we were doing this in the field that we had a little screw that we would actually are a little screwdriver head that we would like basically stick into the prism objective and human up he would give it a little turn, he would have his look and then turn
00:35:50.000 –> 00:36:04.000
it back, because he was getting double images where I was getting perfect images, and I was getting double images where he was getting perfect images so you run into those kind of things with, with the size of binoculars there, and that’s something a
00:36:04.000 –> 00:36:17.000
lot of people don’t don’t consider, and then again like the sheer size like it’s a lot of fun to use really small binoculars you’re going to these really big ones, it’s just going to amplify that fun and it doesn’t amplify it like the ways that you want
00:36:17.000 –> 00:36:19.000
it to me.
00:36:19.000 –> 00:36:22.000
Yeah, that’s a great point.
00:36:22.000 –> 00:36:38.000
You know, it kind of aligns to our love of smaller telescopes to, you know, they’re just easier to use in some regards. Yeah. And in fact, I, one of the, one of the reasons why I want to get like a, like a darker site to get out to is to maybe permanently
00:36:38.000 –> 00:36:50.000
mount those binoculars but Karen getting into my second year and I don’t even have them out here, and I always want to have. I’ll just bring them oh and blah blah and all this stuff and I just haven’t done it right and it’s just not that easy and convenient
00:36:50.000 –> 00:37:08.000
to use those really big binoculars, and you know all the time, like you would want but there is there is some magic out there for binoculars, and that is the image stabilized binocular Shane and tell us what the heck is an image stable stabilized binocular
00:37:08.000 –> 00:37:19.000
How does this work, what’s the magic here. Yeah, so there’s a, there’s electronics in these binoculars and they require batteries, and when you turn on the image stabilization.
00:37:19.000 –> 00:37:34.000
It counteracts all of those shapes. So, something that may be listeners might be more familiar with is a lot of cameras will have like a vibration suppression or, you know, it goes by different names but it’s basically the same idea that you know you
00:37:34.000 –> 00:37:47.000
can handheld, your camera using high power and the camera sort of compensates for any shakes you might have and you get a nice clear picture. So the image stabilized binoculars, do the same thing.
00:37:47.000 –> 00:37:50.000
and I can’t understate this enough.
00:37:50.000 –> 00:38:10.000
It really makes handheld binocular function like it’s on a tripod, it is like you said it is really almost magic. It’s incredible how it transforms your binocular observing and I need to, I need to put one giant warning out there that if you ever use
00:38:10.000 –> 00:38:19.000
image stabilized binoculars, you will never want to not use them, so you will become addicted almost immediately going to well that’s a pair.
00:38:19.000 –> 00:38:30.000
Yeah, and yeah I agree, I’m really fortunate because both you and Mike have them and you each have a different one other, they’re both my favorites.
00:38:30.000 –> 00:38:48.000
So what happens is that an image stabilized binoculars, a take, they take out the shake. And they just make it sort of this very smooth and steady experience so you can have a much higher power binocular, and maybe even a little bit more aperture, that
00:38:48.000 –> 00:38:58.000
you can with a regular handheld binocular, but without the downside of having to think about tripod mounting and I think like in a nutshell that’s it isn’t it. Yeah it is.
00:38:58.000 –> 00:39:20.000
And they’re phenomenal. I only like I have the one pair there the cannon is 12 by 30 sixes. And while I own, I forget what I said seven pairs of binoculars, the cannons get 98% of my use just because of that stabilization feature they’re just so wonderful.
00:39:20.000 –> 00:39:25.000
I’m, I’m addicted. I love the stabilization it works really really well.
00:39:25.000 –> 00:39:41.000
Yeah. So, the Canon is, is the one that seems to make the best by all accounts, I’ve never looked through any of the other ones, other than the cannons I’ve looked through most of the cannons cannon is is as a camera manufacturer and but they also make
00:39:41.000 –> 00:39:58.000
these, these specialized binoculars, and they have a few lines. They have the smaller ones that are all like 32 millimeters and aperture and you can get them in 1012 and 14 or something but I think the field of view is kind of small those ones don’t seem
00:39:58.000 –> 00:40:15.000
to get the same review as the as the other line, and the other line has like an eight by 20 which from all accounts seems to be kind of small inexpensive for image stabilization but then they make a 10 by 30, which I’ve used and it’s really cool but it
00:40:15.000 –> 00:40:31.000
kind of is just on the cusp of where that image stabilizing effect really gets pronounced. And then you have the 12 by 36, which I love because they’re very small and lightweight, but it has a 12 magnification and 36 millimeters in aperture it’s pretty
00:40:31.000 –> 00:40:33.000
decent but I do it for producing astronomy.
00:40:33.000 –> 00:40:38.000
Throw in the image stabilization and it’s it’s unbelievable and.
00:40:38.000 –> 00:40:50.000
It absolutely is and, and these binoculars have traveled the world with me, and they’re phenomenal during daytime to again I mentioned you know whale watching or sightseeing.
00:40:50.000 –> 00:41:07.000
They’re great for that, and they’re, they’re not too large and their weight is fairly decent too. Now they are, they are certainly heavier than a 12 by 36 binocular that would not have image stabilization but you know it’s a bit of a trade off, I suppose.
00:41:07.000 –> 00:41:24.000
Yeah. The one thing I like about the 36 is is they are among the lighter of the image stabilized binoculars, they’re they’re among the among the least expensive and, and I feel like you get with the 12 power you really get that benefit of the image stabilization
00:41:24.000 –> 00:41:38.000
and in a decent aperture canon also makes to 15 by 15, which is what Mike has he’s had that for a number of years. And the only thing I’ll say about that one that’s different is with the 12 by 36.
00:41:38.000 –> 00:41:48.000
I find like I can really use it like standing, walking around that because I’ve been fortunate to be linked years on a number of occasions when road at night, and with the 15 by 15.
00:41:48.000 –> 00:42:03.000
I find it a bit heavy to hand hold well standing, however using one road at these dark sky sites we have our reclining chairs, and I find the view through the 15 by 50 seated is probably just about the best you’ve ever had seated hand holding a pair of
00:42:03.000 –> 00:42:17.000
Seated hand holding a pair of binoculars it’s just simply astounding with those binoculars can reveal it in the night sky when you’re just sitting in and hand holding them kind of have your hands on the rest of the recliner just astounding how those things
00:42:17.000 –> 00:42:18.000
00:42:18.000 –> 00:42:21.000
Yeah, Yeah they they’re so good.
00:42:21.000 –> 00:42:23.000
They’re my favorite binocular.
00:42:23.000 –> 00:42:39.000
If they ever stopped working, I would replace it in a heartbeat. It’s just they’re that good. Yeah. Now I can also make a 10 by 42 astronomical image stabilized binocular, and I’ve tried this Have you tried these ones, I have not.
00:42:39.000 –> 00:42:53.000
So, they are they’re, they’re sort of like in a way they kind of sit in between the 15 by 15, and the 12 by 36, like in a way because they, they only have 10 magnification.
00:42:53.000 –> 00:43:03.000
And then they have 42 million aperture so 10 magnification sits between or sits below the 12 x but the aperture six sort of in the middle of those two.
00:43:03.000 –> 00:43:18.000
And they have the widest field of view, they’re very flat field of view and really expensive glass and coatings. Very good. But my, I guess, I guess my concern about those ones when I’ve used I’ve used two or three different ones just for like, you know,
00:43:18.000 –> 00:43:40.000
15 minutes each kind of thing is that they’re almost as heavy as the 15 by 15. Without the power, and slightly less aperture and. And then, let’s see yes so they’re, they’re getting to be on the, on the heavier side.
00:43:40.000 –> 00:43:59.000
But they’re a little bit closer to the 12 a 36 is, but the added weight, and then they have a wide field of view it’s about a degree or a degree and a half larger than 12 by 36 is, I didn’t find to be as significantly larger, as the 12 by 36 as was that
00:43:59.000 –> 00:44:02.000
really made me want to take the leap.
00:44:02.000 –> 00:44:16.000
Actually I thought a bench than my going by apparent maybe I will at some point in time, but they didn’t quite do it for me the way, the way that I thought, so I still really like the 12 by 36 is in the sort of light portable walk around in us.
00:44:16.000 –> 00:44:32.000
And then I really think the 15 by 15. If you’re going to sit down, whereas the 10 by 42 is I felt a little heavy to stand and walk around with. And really not quite the power that I’m that I’m looking for if I’m going to sit down and do binocular astronomy,
00:44:32.000 –> 00:44:46.000
it’s just not that much power because they are they’re almost as heavy as the 15 by 50 so to me I really just wanted to still sit down and use them. But that was just my experience and if you read reviews, and get some recommendations here.
00:44:46.000 –> 00:44:55.000
People have the exact opposite experience it’s very personal when you get to this stuff, and these aren’t inexpensive are they they’re they’re a little bit on the more expensive end of binoculars.
00:44:55.000 –> 00:45:12.000
Yeah, yeah. The, the tall by 36 is or, you know, it’s all relative. So you know, in the world of image stabilization 12 by 30 sixes are not nearly as expensive as the 15 by 50s and then, you know, the 10 by 40 tues or even more expensive like I think
00:45:12.000 –> 00:45:20.000
the 10 by 42 is around 1700 Canadian dollars, which is a lot of money for anything.
00:45:20.000 –> 00:45:34.000
Now, if you get into high end binoculars like you know Swarovski or like or Zeiss. You know $2,000 for a pair of binoculars is almost entry level I think in some regards so yeah so like any hobby.
00:45:34.000 –> 00:45:37.000
There’s no real ceiling on how much you can spend.
00:45:37.000 –> 00:45:44.000
Yeah. And have you ever had the opportunity to look through any of those sort of alpha binoculars.
00:45:44.000 –> 00:45:58.000
Not, not in the large apertures or their high end flagship models, I do have a pair of the heck are they know there’s ice Tara, but it’s the.
00:45:58.000 –> 00:46:03.000
She the small ones like eight by 25, or something like that or seven by 25.
00:46:03.000 –> 00:46:07.000
Yeah, and they’re, they’re wonderful, I really do like them.
00:46:07.000 –> 00:46:13.000
But, you know, I think their flagship models or maybe the victory line or something like that and I’ve never looked through them.
00:46:13.000 –> 00:46:29.000
Yeah, I’ve had the opportunity and personally used to observe with Rudolph Dorner and unfortunately passed away recently was very generous person and he also was somebody that that really enjoyed getting some pretty unique and some it’s very expensive
00:46:29.000 –> 00:46:38.000
optics and actually has has created the funding and foundation for the Canadian telescope museum.
00:46:38.000 –> 00:46:53.000
But I used to live near him and we went out a bunch of times with his binocular collection including like the cow Highlander 82 millimeter prominent fluoride crystal magic in the glass and some swear ob skis and different optics like that.
00:46:53.000 –> 00:47:10.000
And boy, I gotta say like those handheld and they’re like an 8.5 x by 40 or 45 millimeter Swarovski had to just give the best view of the night sky that I’ve had in any size instrument that I’ve ever looked through but it was a two or $3,000 handheld
00:47:10.000 –> 00:47:23.000
pair of binoculars that honestly if if someone didn’t know what what they were looking at with just, it was sitting on a candidate we think oh yeah just some crappy per binoculars like everybody has in their house doesn’t look any different when you look
00:47:23.000 –> 00:47:26.000
at it, but when you look through it.
00:47:26.000 –> 00:47:46.000
It just I couldn’t believe how good the abuse for through, through optics like that, you know, yeah, there’s like a rereleased there seven by 35 titles, it’s a classic design and I would love to look through a pair and maybe one day purchase but you know
00:47:46.000 –> 00:47:55.000
this is getting into that $2,000 range but seven by 35 I think are just the ideal binocular easy to hand hold their light.
00:47:55.000 –> 00:48:11.000
They often have a, you know, pretty decent field of view and these like as I think are about eight degrees which isn’t gigantic but it’s it’s pretty darn good so that’s a, that’s a bit of a dream wish list item for me I doubt I’ll ever make the plunge
00:48:11.000 –> 00:48:13.000
but you never know.
00:48:13.000 –> 00:48:22.000
Oh, we’re starting to dream here hopefully we haven’t but the listeners to sleep. And maybe we should just give some resources and recommendations and wrap up How does that sound.
00:48:22.000 –> 00:48:31.000
Yep. That sounds good. So I’ve got a few online resources people, people can hit if they’re looking for more information on binocular observing and I think that if.
00:48:31.000 –> 00:48:43.000
And I think this one goes out on the, on the 365 days, astronomy, and maybe motivate people to go and take their binoculars so if they have a pair in the house or going by an inexpensive period of thrift shop or something won’t take a look at the moon
00:48:43.000 –> 00:48:52.000
next time it’s up. If the moon is able to see craters are running down the, the line that separates the dark portion of the moon from the bright portion of the moon.
00:48:52.000 –> 00:49:01.000
If you can see the Milky Way You don’t need to know anything but astronomy, just scroll and scan, up and down the milky way you’ll see all kinds of Nebula star clusters and different structure in our own home galaxy.
00:49:01.000 –> 00:49:12.000
You don’t even need to know what any of that stuff is, it’s just all right there for you to see with that pair of hundred dollar binoculars and you got them all right so some resources, probably one of the best resources to hit is the cloudy nights binocular
00:49:12.000 –> 00:49:14.000
form comment on that chain.
00:49:14.000 –> 00:49:30.000
Yeah, well you know you’re, if you go there, you’re going to get feedback from real world users of these things you know amateurs like us. And, you know, you can interact with them you can ask questions, there’s just a ton of great information there.
00:49:30.000 –> 00:49:46.000
Another great resource is Gary sonic, sonic anyway he’s communist for us, sky and telescope magazine and Canadian amateur astronomer, and on Gary Saranac ser n ik.com.
00:49:46.000 –> 00:49:49.000
He’s got a whole section on binocular stargazing.
00:49:49.000 –> 00:49:52.000
There’s also binocular sky.com.
00:49:52.000 –> 00:50:00.000
You can go there there’s some pretty good resources, and I’ve got some book recommendations here unless you have another web resource for binocular observers.
00:50:00.000 –> 00:50:14.000
Oh no, why don’t you jump into the box. Let’s go to the books love the books. My favorite book on binocular astronomy and perhaps one of my all time favorite books on astronomy is called binocular astronomy strange enough, and it’s by Craig cross and
00:50:14.000 –> 00:50:30.000
CROSSEN. If you are interested in doing astronomy and like me if you kind of like to know a little bit about the history of astronomy, combined with what you can see in the night sky through a small portable handheld instrument that book.
00:50:30.000 –> 00:50:39.000
Yeah, boy, I think I bought it. 15 years ago I wish it was the second astronomy book. Once I get interested in astronomy I really wish I’d had that book.
00:50:39.000 –> 00:50:45.000
I didn’t buy it for a while because the older version anyway in the version that I have.
00:50:45.000 –> 00:50:57.000
I didn’t like the cover, and this is the classic case of judging a book by its cover. I didn’t care for the cover that much I thought it looked like a book maybe that was appealing for younger people maybe not as appealing for me.
00:50:57.000 –> 00:51:08.000
And when there were so many recommendations on Friday nights for that book I’ve actually bought it, and soon as you start reading you’re like whoa this this isn’t a book, I guess, well it would be very approachable for younger person because it’s well
00:51:08.000 –> 00:51:19.000
written. However, I think it’s a book that that anybody that likes to do astronomy, and then has an interest in using binoculars on the night sky really should own.
00:51:19.000 –> 00:51:31.000
Okay. Another one is, and this is a very different book by Gary sternick, and it’s called binocular highlights and it’s a it’s an excerpt of different things that you can see in the night sky, through binoculars.
00:51:31.000 –> 00:51:42.000
It includes charts, a little bit of both binoculars, very brief overview binoculars, and then it has like a selection of charts throughout the year that you can use to get going for finding stuff with binoculars.
00:51:42.000 –> 00:51:55.000
I just like it it’s one of you know you don’t often see these, it’s, it’s a book that, that I think a beginner can enjoin us, I think it’s a book that someone who’s been doing astronomy for a while can use, it’s not really heavy on language, it’s not
00:51:55.000 –> 00:52:05.000
really heavy on tech stuff. It’s just a really nice book I just wish there was more books like this, because it’s designed to be taken out and used under the stars.
00:52:05.000 –> 00:52:15.000
It four to five. It’s kind of like a really neat companion to the packet Atlas it’s sort of like its own thing, but my only my only fault with that book is, I wish he made it longer.
00:52:15.000 –> 00:52:23.000
And I wish we had more sections, I’d like it that that’s how much I like it, I wish there was more of it, or I wish he would make more versions of it.
00:52:23.000 –> 00:52:33.000
I think it’s a really great concept. I think he hit it out of the park with the concept, maybe even more so than, then he was intending to her realize that I wish it was a bigger book.
00:52:33.000 –> 00:52:41.000
Okay. Let’s see what else we got, oh, touring the universe through binoculars, otherwise known as tuba by Phil Harrington.
00:52:41.000 –> 00:52:46.000
Do you have that book. I do yeah I love that book I love the layouts and facts.
00:52:46.000 –> 00:52:54.000
What while it’s a binocular guide it also serves as like a really good excuse me, small telescope guide, kind of goes hand in hand.
00:52:54.000 –> 00:52:58.000
Yeah, he Harrington puts a lot of objects in there.
00:52:58.000 –> 00:53:12.000
And I think if I was recommending these books, it’s almost in that order. But accurate astronomy I think has huge appeal there is a lot of objects but he creates it and approachable way and crafts and does, you kind of breaks it down by season, and it’s
00:53:12.000 –> 00:53:23.000
it’s more approachable handful of objects and very general introduction to sort of the seasons of astronomy and then he sort of dives into to the seasons little bit deeper.
00:53:23.000 –> 00:53:34.000
But ocular astronomy by Gary Sarah Nick is a brief overview with some really easy to use star charts, and then turn the universe through binoculars I think it’s a little bit more challenging but I think people that are looking to have binoculars and actually
00:53:34.000 –> 00:53:44.000
get the most out of them. If you have those three books, you’re going to do pretty good then there’s also been accurate astronomy by Steve content, and I have this I think it’s a pretty good book.
00:53:44.000 –> 00:53:49.000
I think it covers a lot of ground at these other books, sort of covered together.
00:53:49.000 –> 00:54:00.000
A little bit thicker, it’s not really meant to be used in the field and kind of dives into a lot of the technical stuff, and the different mounts that are available maybe a little bit better than what the other books go into.
00:54:00.000 –> 00:54:09.000
And so I think kind of with these four i think that that that is really the core binocular stargazing library at least in my bookshelf anyway.
00:54:09.000 –> 00:54:27.000
Yeah. Oh really good recommendation recommendations. Stephen James Almera has one or two guides, as well which are pretty good. And I think relatively inexpensive so I add those to the list as well but you cannot go wrong with any of those suggestions.
00:54:27.000 –> 00:54:57.000
Yeah, any other suggestions that you might have seen before we wrap up. No that’s everything for me, Chris, thank well thanks, thanks everybody for listening, and we always appreciate people’s observing reports, and you’re observing emails to actual astronomy
End of podcast:
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