The Binoculars that saved astronomy for me

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  • Member since
    July, 2013
The Binoculars that saved astronomy for me
Posted by SWA Pilot on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 8:45 AM

First, this post is not a product endorsement.  Second, it is also not a product slam.  It is just the truthful musings of a newbie astronomer. 

As some of you may know, I started back into astronomy this July.  After a lot of research I decided to start by using binoculars to do a little star gazing.  So out came a pair of old Bushnell 7x35s and I started having fun.  Soon I realized the limitations of 7x35, so I ordered a pair of Steiner 10x50s.  What an improvement and more fun.  Celestron 15x70s later followed and even more enjoyment.

So I bought myself a telescope, a Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ.  Great reviews, nice sale price.  First night outside I found M42 and made out four stars in the Trap, victory dance.  After that, frustrating night after frustrating night and all the reasons that I left astronomy over 15 years ago come flooding back.  In my opinion, the included finderscope is almost worthless and finding anything to view is almost shear luck.  Again, that is only my opinion and not a slam.

Earlier this fall, on an impulse, I put my name on the backorder list for a Oberwerk 45* 70mm Binocular Telescope.  It arrived and I wondered what to do.  I was so frustrated with AstroMaster that I figured maybe the Oberwerk's should go back since they were not cheap and I was not sure if I would be doing much more in the way astronomy.  I didn't send them back, I just let them sit for a while.  Last night I finally took them outside, victory dance extreme.  Within 30 minutes, at 47x, I found six DSOs while with the AstroMaster I had only found 1 (M42 again) of the 6 in an hour.  The Oberwerk Binos really have saved astronomy for me!!!!

I am sorry for the rambling, but I just felt like sharing my story.

 

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by leo731 on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:32 PM

No need to feel sorry!  While aperture fever is very real sometimes it is best to let it be. 

One of the sad things about astronomy is that perfectly adequate main optics are compromised by shoddy tripods and narrow view finderscopes.  I have two very good telescopes.  One is 8" and was bought back in 1976 the other is 6" and was purchased four or five years ago. The very first thing I had to do to both of them, even with the passage of some thirty years, was get rid of the original finder scope.  Either a red-dot finder or a 7x50 right angle finder is all that I use. 

One would think manufacturers would have learned but a cheap finder is just that, cheap.

I am glad that you have discovered your niche in this great avocation.  Not everyone has to own a massive scope or advanced optics.  A great pair of binoculars, or in your case a binocular telescope, seems to be a match made in heaven.

Enjoy!

L

A nebula in the eyepiece is worth two in the Atlas.

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 1:53 PM

"Not everyone has to own a massive scope or advanced optics."

  The more I think about it, the more I see the wisdom of your statement.  I guess when you come down to it, what a person has to ask themselves is what do they really want out of an obsession, I mean hobby?  Is a $1200 12 inch dobsonian with a computerized object locater really what you want or need?  Sure it will look impressive wherever you find to store it, the light grasp is huge and the useful magnification is up there.  Or is a $850 45* 70mm binocular telescope what you want or need.  Sure the light grasp and useful magnification are much lower then the dobsonian's, but the ease of use is up there.  Everything is a trade off.  What it comes down to is, do I really want to break out all 6 stars in the M42 Trapezium or is 4 stars and an awe inspiring view of the nebula good enough?  I always thought to be a good astronomer you needed a big telescope.  Folks, I was wrong.  You have helped me see that what I really need is something that works for me and allows me to do my victory dance.

Again, sorry about the rambling.

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    March, 2008
Posted by Antitax on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:43 PM

   Wide fields are a must. Every newcomer should be convinced of this; there's a preconceived idea that stargazing is done with a telescope, but when you realize a four-degree-wide field shows sixteen times more sky than a one-degree-wide field, the case is settled.

   Just once, just once, trying to target a deep-sky object with a narrow field, then with a wide one, is enough to restore some order in the beginner's mind. When you're not happy, don't blame your gear or the endeavor, that's jumping to conclusions. Instead, ask yourself if you have missed a step; when you return there and correct the mistake, discouragement goes away.

Tags: step by step

TS 8x40 Wildlife, 10x50 Marine/Fujinon 16x70/TS 80mm triplet, 6x30 finder, EQ-3 mount, TS 2" 99% diagonal/Celestron C5+ and 6x30 finder, DIY tripod/5" Bahtinov/12" GSO dob, 8x50 finder/Meade 2" 24mm 82°/Hyperion 24,13,10mm 68°/TS Expanse 17mm 70°/SW 7mm Panorama 82°/Ultima 2x barlow/Astronomik UHC-E filter/Baader O-III/Astro Solar 5" & 80mm filters/Sky Atlas 2000/Rükl's Moon Atlas/Canon 400D/5mW green laser

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 4:56 PM

Antitax

Like I said, I wasn't slamming the equipment and you are absolutely correct and spot on in your assesment.  I think I made too big of a step for me in the telescope.  I just needed to realize that the joy I get from astronomy is best served by binoculars and binocular telescopes.  Now that I realize that I can be an astronomer without a having a telescope, I can't wait to get outside tonight with my Oberwerk's and do another victory dance.

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    November, 2006
Posted by Genesis 1:1 on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:57 PM

SWA,

Oberwerk (Bigbinoculars.com) has some of the very best binoculars & BT's, coming out of China, for stargazing.

 

Regarding the worthless finderscope that you mentioned.

I have a Celestron C5 spotting scope and tried using a couple of

finder-scopes on it that had inverted images.

Talk about worthless & totally frustrating for my brain & my viewing experiences. 

I now only use finder-scopes with upright images and I am quite relieved & satisfied with the results.

You might consider replacing yours if it gives you inverted images.

Hang in there, it gets better as time goes by.

Nikon7x35GoldSentinel 9.3*+Pentax8x40PCFWPII+MinoxBD10x44BP

FujinonFMTRSX7x50+Nikon10x50GoldSentinel+Pentax12x50PCFWPII

Vixen8x56Geoma+Fujinon12x60HB+Pentax16x60PCFWP

Pentax20x60PCFWP+Pentax20x60PCFWPII+Tento20x60USSR

Orion12x63MiniGiant+Spectrum I 20x65+Orion15x70LittleGiant II

Orion20x70LittleGiant II+Orion16x80Giant+Orion30x80MEGAView

Barska30x80X-Trail+BurgessOptical20x90Series II

Stan~Rocky Mountain High ColoradoGeeked

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:56 PM

Genesis,

 

  Calling it a finderscope is a stretch, in my opinion only, by Celestron.  The thing is 1-1/2, maybe 2 at most, inches long.  No magnification at all, what you see through the finder is what you see with naked eye.  It has two pieces of glass that are separated with space between them.  Each piece of glass has a circle etched in the middle of it that turns red when you turn on the power.  With the power on both circles turn red and fill in to make tow red disks that are fuzzy and hard to see through.  No intensity control, either on or off.

  When one gets right down to it, the problem is really not the finderscope.  Antitax was spot on.  I was convinced I needed a telescope to be an astronomer when what I really needed is what works for me, my large binoculars.  I really enjoy the view that they provide.  So instead of saving up for that big dob, I am going to save up for something that will bring me hours of fun and fits my astronomy needs and interests best, an Oberwerk 45* 100mm binocular telescope.

Thanks for listening and the honest help.  They really help!!!Big Smile

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

Moderator
  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:27 PM

Manual observing is a learned skill like any other.  Having a good finderscope and a Telrad and being able to use a star chart properly can make star-hopping relatively easy.  Being patient and having a dark site to observe from are also very important.  

After putting in enough observing time, many amateur astronomers can find dozens or even hundreds of deep-sky objects by memory alone. 

I've located hundreds of DSOs using a 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain that has a maximum true field of view with a 2" 55mm Plössl or a 2" 40mm 70 degree widefield eyepiece of only 26 arc minutes, less than one half of a degree. At the other extreme, my 101mm f/5.4 Tele Vue TV-101 apochromat produces a true field of view of 4.4 degrees with a 35mm Tele Vue Panoptic.

I had the opportunity to use the king of the binocular telescopes, the mighty 25x150 Fujinons on a couple of occasions.  The widefield views through these very expensive twin 6-inchers are incredible.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=198

By the way, there are actually 9 stars that are potentially visible in the Trapezium, which is in actuality an open cluster consisting of hundreds of stars, most of which are visible only in the infrared.  A good 5" scope can reveal the A through F stars, given good seeing.  Seeing the G, H, and I stars is very difficult.

http://www.astropix.com/AGDS/SAMPLE/SAMPLE.HTM

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo9545n/

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    November, 2006
Posted by Genesis 1:1 on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:50 PM

Genesis,

Calling it a finderscope is a stretch, in my opinion only....

Thanks for listening and the honest help. 

 

SWA,

Sounds like I was a little more fortunate than you in regards to the finder-scope that came with my Celestron C5 spotting scope.

Mine is an 8x20 erect image & is just under 3 1/4" in length.  Even at that length it is still too short and difficult to reach.

I replaced it with a used Celestron 6x30 erect image finder-scope which is approx. 6 1/2" in length and much easier to reach. Makes all the difference in the world for comfortable viewing.

Any way, since this is the "Binoculars" Forum, it won't come as any surprise to you when I say that I would much rather do all of my viewing using both of my eyes.

Please keep us posted as you continue to use your new Oberwerk BT's & make discoveries in the night sky.

Clear Skies! 

Nikon7x35GoldSentinel 9.3*+Pentax8x40PCFWPII+MinoxBD10x44BP

FujinonFMTRSX7x50+Nikon10x50GoldSentinel+Pentax12x50PCFWPII

Vixen8x56Geoma+Fujinon12x60HB+Pentax16x60PCFWP

Pentax20x60PCFWP+Pentax20x60PCFWPII+Tento20x60USSR

Orion12x63MiniGiant+Spectrum I 20x65+Orion15x70LittleGiant II

Orion20x70LittleGiant II+Orion16x80Giant+Orion30x80MEGAView

Barska30x80X-Trail+BurgessOptical20x90Series II

Stan~Rocky Mountain High ColoradoGeeked

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Saturday, January 25, 2014 7:44 PM

I would much rather do all of my viewing using both of my eyes.

 

That is exactly what I plan on doing tonight, sky willing. 

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Saturday, January 25, 2014 7:48 PM

Dave,

  Thanks for the inputs.  I can say I am very jealous about the Fujinon experience.  Hard for me to justify that kind of money though.  Still, one can dream.

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by leo731 on Monday, January 27, 2014 3:38 PM

Binoculars are often overlooked when people new to observing ask what would make a good first scope.   A great many of us started out using whatever was at hand and usually that was sporting or ex-military binoculars. Later on we bought better binoculars and then small telescopes.  Summer is my favorite time for binocular viewing when the Milky Way is stunning in the apparant 3D binoculars provide.  If a lot of us could afford a big binocular telescope I think most of us would buy one too. 

Wide fields are awesome.  What surprises many when starting out is that high magnifications are rarely used and having the ability to see things like the entire Double Cluster in Perseus in the same field of view is what it is really all about.  I imagine when you turn your binocular telescope with its wide FOV on this object you will be totally amazed.

Keep us updated on what you are able to see when you can.  We sure enjoy when you get to do a vistory dance!

L

A nebula in the eyepiece is worth two in the Atlas.

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