View Full Version here: : The joy of downsizing - an experience, not-so-much a report
27-06-2012, 08:50 PM
Family business pulled me away from my long awaited dark site visit. Duty saw me 4 hours drive from home, an hour's north of Bathurst. Knowing the one evening I had there would be my own I at least managed to pack my lightly used 11X70 binos and a tripod. A far cry from the 17.5" I had been expecting to pack, but we do what we can, eh!
I managed to get out doors around 8pm. What a sky greeted me! Glorious east to west, horizon to horizon band of the Milky Way blazed overhead. Dark patches of the Coal Sack, the Emu, the Dark Horse, all easily recognisable and menecing with their inky darkness.
<sigh> "What the heck! :shrug:" was my first thought as I pulled up the binos to the sky, Omega Centauri my first port of call.
"HOLY HECK!!!!" was my very next thought!
Omega was not only astonishing, it was resolved into millions of tiny pinpoints of stars, squished tightly together. What a beautiful sight. Surrounding Omega was awash with a glowing Milky Way, riddled with strings of stars, mottling of invisible clusters, and chased with cords of dark nebulae.
What a spectacular and glorious universe had been hidden from my eyes due to aperture fever! :eyepop:
Centaurus A was nearly as big as Omega too. Its soft halo of light fading into the surrounding blaze of "Milky Way Glow".
A few months ago I did a sketch of the area around Eta Carina from home with these same binoculars. This night I could bearly recognise the same features there was so much light coming through the eyepieces without the hinderance of Sydney's light pollution.
The rest of the hour I had before the clouds rolled in (REALLY! you've got to be kidding me!!! 9 bloody months straight!) was a pure joy of wonder, excitement, discovery, and astonishment. I went in without ANY expectations and received a whole new universe to explore.
What a delight it was to downsize. Not once did I miss my big dobbie. My only regret was not to be able to get one sketch done. Probably for the best tonight as I would have struggled to decide what to sketch first, or how to go about it. I'm not disappointed though. The hidden blessing for my sketching persuit has been to think about how to tackle such a subject, and it's got the juices flowing and fresh ideas screaming to be materialised.
What a wonderful evening it turned out to be. Only one hour long too!
Mental (for sure, ;))
27-06-2012, 10:27 PM
:) Binocular astronomy is a delightful pastime isn't it. So simple, no stress.
It's a shame about those damn clouds, but I'm happy you got some time in.
28-06-2012, 11:11 AM
Awesome Alex, :thumbsup:
I had a similar experience when we went down to Napier and stayed out at Craggy Range Vineyards amongst the grapevines up the Tukituki Valley. No LP and I took the wee 80mm Achro. One look through the EP and I got lost completely.
I have to give my wife big credit though, it was our 10th anniversary and she let me have a half hour or so after our dinner at the restaurant. Mind you, she did have an awesome bottle of Craggy Range Syrah to keep her happy. Needed assistance to finish it off though ... ;) :D
28-06-2012, 05:07 PM
The weather and every else has been so bad this year I can't remember the last time I had a good night out with my Dob. I did go outside a week or so ago with my binos for a quick look before the next lot of cloud came in. That night and your post makes me think I should get a much better set of binos with tripod as the ultimate grab and go combination.
28-06-2012, 10:36 PM
Must be great binos to get so much resolution in Omega Centauri. Sounds spectacular Alex. I do love a bit of a browse with binoculars and nowt like a dark sky for it!
30-06-2012, 05:20 PM
I thought I'd put some of the ideas I've been thinking about into practice with a sketch of the area around M8 & M20.
This area was astounding. The extent of the nebulosity around M8 was as extensive as I've seen in photographs. Not just the Hour Glass, but the massive extensions all around it. It was amazing to see the bright nebulosity that surrounds the two Hour Glass lobes, seen on the left half of M8 in the sketch. Then there is the fainter expanse on the right of the Hour Glass. I had only caught a glimpse of the massive extensions in my 17.5" from home. This night I've seen the whole massive structure with only a 70mm aperture.
I had always thought that Dark Nebulae mentioned in descriptions of these structures, to be only visible with very large apertures. How wrong was I! Here I've laid down the most striking dark nebulosity that stuck in my mind. The dark finger to the left of M8 was most striking.
This sketch is an impression of what I saw that night. I used the wide field sketch I did a month or so ago of this same area to lay down the position of the component stars. I have attempted to lay down the features as I best remember them. As such, this sketch is more an exercise in technique, but the essential elements are there. I've also wanted to convey the brilliance of what was in the field of view compared to the dark enclosure of the instrument.
Again, this is approximately a 4.5 degree FOV through my 11X70 binos.
02-07-2012, 12:50 PM
Beaut stuff Alexander! Binos are just the thing sometimes. Went for a weeks holiday at Robe in SA late January this year. As it was the first time there I had no idea of weather and packed my ancient 7x 50's. What a great week it was too. No moon clear as anything skies and windy enough to keep the mozzies from landing just great! Faint fuzzies everywhere, so to get ready for the next time i went out and slowly through classifides assembled my grab and go scope(s). 4" ED and 4' f5 achro on EQ5 manual mount.:D
02-07-2012, 07:13 PM
:D You cant get much more down sized than this ,, my 60mm TAK Flourite refractor with 355mm 's of focal length , but man what a scope ! :thumbsup:, just awsome .
I love her so much .
On the Cloudy Nights forum I replied to your questions on small achros, along with some links. I also noted I have an AT72ED that I love for wide-field, especially for the Southern skies. However, I also like observing with binoculars and have been using my recently acquired 8x56 a lot. I have noticed a distinct difference between binoculars and RFTs, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. This morning I found an article by Tony Flanders (Sky&Telescope) that I found to be good, explaining some of the differences I see.
I especially found the parts about image brightness and color perception interesting, as I have noticed it. Also, the moon has a '3-D' feel that I don't get when observing cyclops, as well as with other objects. I'm not trying to talk you out of a small achro, as I really like small scopes. I'm just giving you an option to consider for wide-field. As I mentioned, I have an 8x56 bino, and I'm currently looking for something with higher magnification in the 15x to 20x range for lunar and DSO, which will be mounted on a photo tripod.
No matter if you use binos or RFT, low power observing is awesome.
04-07-2012, 10:05 AM
:D You are right there , Ed , the 3D effect on the moon is readily seen in my 25x100 mounted binos , it looks like a globe , not a flat picture .
04-07-2012, 11:39 AM
Ed, read the article, binoviewer maybe? I know nothing about them though :shrug:
04-07-2012, 06:03 PM
I agree with you Alex. Looking through a 16" Dob and looking through 20x80 binos are equally rewarding.
Alex, I don't have a binoviewer but I have researched it as an option to my RFT. I can't find an article I recently read, but I do remember the article explained that in a binoviewer the light is being split, as opposed to two similar sized optical tubes in a bino, so the image is not as bright. The author wrote that in small scopes the splitting of the available light to each eye dims the image compared to the same small scope being used with one eyepiece of same magnification. Also, with binoviewers the point at which the image comes to focus changes, and a barlow is needed to bring the image to focus, usually around 1.5x and normally included with the binoviewers. The conclusion was that binoviewers are great for large scopes with their increased light gathering to observe at higher magnifications, not so ideal for wide-field use in small RFTs.
Found this one on CN: 'Do BVs Match Binoculars for Wide Angle Views?' http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5285382/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1
I hope this helps.
05-07-2012, 07:51 PM
Alex check out reply #11 on wide fields and 2" diagonals in smaller refractors.
might be of some interest.
Yes Alexander, the views through a good pair of bino's are just splendid, wonderful interpret of a great night,
06-07-2012, 06:16 AM
Although the binoviewers split the light, the advantage of the light going to both eyes, and the processing then done by our brain, should not be underestimated.
I loved the difference that binoviewers made so much that I upgraded from my original WO ones to a better set. I use them mostly on the 4" F5 refractor and find them plenty bright enough.
As for the focus issue, I do what I have done with nearly every refractor I own, shorten the tube and get a longer focuser fitted, that way I get the in-travel required for things like binos and get plenty of room on the back for all the photographic gear when not going visual. That way I can get away without using the barlow.
( I still don't know why scopes are always just that bit too long, I wish the tubes were shorter by default)
I find I hate using a single eyepiece these days, I much prefer bino-viewing or using the mallincam and looking on the screen in realtime.
I'd love a true bino scope, but I imagine that is difficult and expensive though if I could find a way to do it with a pair of C8s I'd grab another one...
That sketch is wonderful Alex, it inspired me to dig out the binoculars and take a look at the same target, and your image really captures very much the feel of what I saw.
09-07-2012, 12:28 PM
I wonder if there's suck a thing as a Bino-piggyback for a mounted scope? I have a pair of 20 x 90's from Andrew's which started me off on my (incredibly expensive, time consuming and very cold :D) journey, still go back to them every now and then.
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