View Full Version here: : Binoculars and cordinates
07-10-2008, 07:49 PM
Does anyone know if there is a way to determine what the RA and Dec are for an object observed through binoculars on a tripod?
I realise you could compare its location with surrounding stars and just plot its approximate location on a chart, but I wondered if there was some kind of instrument for this.
I don't have a particular purpose in mind, just thinking ...
07-10-2008, 08:05 PM
I'm a Star Wars generation,
always wanted a bino what Skywalker used...
07-10-2008, 08:08 PM
Binos (or telescope) has to have setting circles... to measure those coordinates.
Otherwise, you have only charts, as you suggested..
07-10-2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks Bojan ... I'm not that familiar with setting circles - I'll look into it. Are they something you can just buy and use with any tripod?
Miklos, your Skywalker binos might not be too far off:
Although, I don't think this "Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System" will be much use for astronomy.
07-10-2008, 08:34 PM
I read somewhere(CN) someone was fitting mysky/skyscout to their binos for such a convenience
07-10-2008, 09:30 PM
This is possible to do... however, you have to be aware that the accuracy of those gadgets are ~1° or worse... not very accurate. It is also relatively expensive, compared to mechanical setting circles (they can be made of plastic - for example simple school protractor will do nicely here. They have to be suitably attached to mount of course and calibrated - adjusted).
You will also need calculator (or computer), and accurate watch (to be able to do necessary coordinate conversions - they are just couple of trigonometric formulas in case of alt-azimuthal mount... If you have equatorial mount, then you just need adding couple of numbers to calculate AR from hour angle and local sideral time.
Gary Kopff here from Wildcard Innovations.
Some of our customers install a pair of optical encoders to their binocular
mounts. They then interface one of our Argo Navis Digital Telescope
Computers to the encoders to provide them with a pointing system,
including the ability to determine the RA/Dec position one is pointing at,
but more commonly to simply locate or identify objects using the in-built database.
There are many types of mounts to which binoculars can be attached, but as
far as encoder installation is concerned, some lend themselves better to
the task than others.
For example, a simple camera tripod would require more improvisation
in order to install a pair of encoders compared to some of the purpose
built binocular mounts such as the Vixen BTM80-A.
You can see a picture of the encoder installation on one of these mounts here -
One of the more fun examples are motorized binocular chairs which some users
own. The user rides in the chair and the binoculars are also mounted to
the chair. Once again, a pair of encoders is mounted on each of the two
major axes of the chair. The chairs themselves are a really relaxing way to
observe, especially when observing at small zenith distances, so that the operator
is then laying back like an astronaut in a capsule at liftoff. I've known some
people to actually fall asleep in them. :)
Wildcard Innovations Pty. Ltd.
20 Kilmory Place, Mount Kuring-Gai
NSW. 2080. Australia
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