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Old 15-02-2008, 11:52 AM
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goober (Doug)
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Observation Report (binocular) - 15 February, 2008

Binocular Observation Report: 15 February 2008

Time: 12:15am - 1:15am
Location: Melbourne

My wife and I had invested in a pair of "birding" binoculars - we'd selected a set of lightweight Nikon 8x42 "roof prism" binoculars. I don't know much about binocular theory, but had understood that roof prisms were not recommended for binocular astronomy. That didn't stop me testing them out.

I set up on my observing stool, and reclined back to tour the Vela-Crux milky way. I can hunker down behind my house to get out of the streetlights. Omega Centauri was just naked eye - seen better conditions, seen worse. A bit of Sab's southerly sea fog cloud occasionally wafted across.

The binoculars seemed to be good performers. Quite shock proof too, as my observing stool collapsed under me about 2 minutes in. Images seemed to be as sharp as my main pair – Vixen 10x50’s – on axis, but definitely got softer towards the edge. I didn’t notice the aperture difference, but wasn't doing a side by side. The combination of being lighter (600 grams against 925 grams) and only 8x made it easier to hold the image steadier for longer.

I picked out the following objects…

NGC’s 4755, 4833 (just, no sign of 4372), 3766 (nice), 3532 (large), 3293 (tight), Eta Carinae of course, 3114. IC 2391 and 2602 were both visited.

Bagged NGC 5139 of course. Couldn’t spot 5128 in the 8x42’s, but it was still a bit low.

Acrux was nicely split, too. Star images seemed very sharp, which is where I though roof prism binoculars broke down. Now to test it on some birds (feathered).

I'll try and get the scope out somewhere dark tonight for some galaxies.
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Old 16-02-2008, 02:25 PM
Rob_K
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Good report Doug! Something magical about binocular tours of the sky that you don't get with a telescope - they're the next best thing to naked eye, gazing up at the stars and watching the Milky Way arch overhead....

Anyway, you inspired me to go out late last night with 12x50 binocs, and I had a great time touring the southern skies. So much to see, not just open clusters but rich starfields, nebulae, galaxies, globular clusters etc. All at a wonderful scale that gives so much context. Thanks!

And good luck with the "birding" - one of my interests too, not that I've done much in recent years!

Cheers -
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