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  1. Hi all, Been a while since I have been on the site – work has been really busy these last 18 months, and although it’s still manic, things are slowing down a bit!! Viewing my previous posts, you will see that I was in the market for a new scope to adorn my EQ3-2 mount that I had purchased ages ago now!! Well, things didn’t turn out as expected, and while I am still hoping to get a scope, hopefully at Christmas if Santa is kind to me (I have been a good boy lol!!) I decided to get a pair of Binoculars to fill the gap! Budget was tight, and I did want a pair of larger aperture bins. A lot of reading up on the internet, and I settled on the Celestron Skymaster 20x80’s. I already have a pair of 10x50’s so was after something with a bit more power, and larger objective’s. The skymasters seemed to fit the bill, and the price was right as well! I dropped into Rother Valley Optics with my cash on the off chance they would have a pair in stock – they didn’t, so I left my details, and less than 24 hours later, Adam from the shop called me to say they had a pair in! I drove over to their shop, tried them out outside the shop, as I had read that some pairs are known to have collimation issues. These where perfect, so I parted with my £99 cash and went home with them! First class service from RVO, and I will be using them again when it comes to getting my scope – thanks guys! So, onto the bin’s. They came double boxed up, and within the branded box inside the plain box, the bin’s were securely packed in foam and wrapped in plastic. They come with a basic carry case, which won’t protect them from hard knocks, but will keep the dust off them while not in use. The eye pieces are protected by a one piece cover, while each large objective is covered by its own, separate cover. There is also a basic neck strap, but it appears quite flimsy, and I won’t be using it. The bins have a built in tripod adaptor, on an adjustable slider, meaning they can be securely attached to a tripod and balanced up. Weight wise, they tip the scales at just over 2.6kg. This isn’t hugely heavy, and while I did use a tripod for some observing, when I wanted to look at things nearer the zenith, I hand held them, and did so for quite some time. I didn’t feel they were overly heavy, even after prolonged use. It seems that new scope curse also affects owners of new binoculars, as I had to wait 5 days for clear skies!! I went out at about 10:30pm into the back garden, and while the side of house has a street lamp directly over the hedge, round the back its cut off, and quite dark. I began by finding M31, which at is currently nearly at the Zenith. I could see the central core clearly, and with some averted vision, make out some finer details in the disk. Moving on to M45, the Pleiades, that was just rising over my neighbours fence – what a sight!! Even though it was quite low down, the cluster filled the view, and I could see loads of fainter stars within it. Moving through the Milkyway, the view was filled with thousands of stars and star clusters!! I was really impressed. I intend to go to a dark sky site up in the Peak District, just north of Ashbourne when time and the weather permit, to get some proper dark sky viewing in! I have not yet been able to look at the Moon or any planets through them – the Moon hadn’t risen by the time I turned in, and is now a very small waning crescent. I will have to wait a bit longer, and will update the review once done. Mars was up, but low in the sky, and due to the street lights, swamped with LP. With terrestrial viewing, they provide bright and crisp views. While there is some CA when looking at things with bright edges, general viewing wasn’t affected in any way. I plan to take them to my local nature reserve to test them out on some wild life as well. I am also a bit of a plane fan, and when time permits I park up near East Midlands Airport to watch the aircraft coming and going – these will be great for that, set up on my tripod for easy viewing! Conclusion – the Skymaster 20x80’s are a decent pair of binoculars. While they don’t have the build quality of more expensive ones, treated well I can see no reason why they won’t last for years. They actually come with a 5 year Celestron guarantee anyway! For causal use when you don’t want to set up the main scope I think these fit the bill nicely, and I would recommend them to anyone. Cheers all Nige
  2. Hi. Was up at dawn observing Mercury rising in the southeast and slowly swept my binoculars left. I was able to vaguely see a small triangle formed by Upsilon Ophiuchi, HR 6128 and HR 6137. That was the limit of view as sunlight was washing out anything else to the left of that. But I clicked on the adjacent HR6144 star in my Sky Guide app and it lists as being 6,900 light years away. When I checked the Ski Safari app, the same star is listed as 1,900 light years. I went online and found little info but, “In the Sky” web page it’s HR 6144 at 9 kilo years / 9,000 light years. Does anyone have any info as to why the huge discrepancies? https://in-the-sky.org/data/object.php?id=TYC5627-1490-1 Thanks in advance for your help.
  3. I just wanted to ask y'all about the digital binoculars, my mate has one and it looks like i need one as well. The one he has is very expensive but im looking for something cheap to start off with. Something from about 100-200 bux, i was looking through some sites and found these https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HD-Digital-Binoculars-Telescope-12x32-Folding-with-Built-in-Digital-Camera-DV/163251640671?epid=27018286369&hash=item26028e595f:g:3poAAOSw83dblzhN:rk:3:pf:0 https://www.amazon.com.au/Digital-Camera-Binoculars-Recorder-Camcorder/dp/B01N5LW543/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1544653243&sr=8-7&keywords=digital+binoculars but then i found a site with a nice digital binocular which looks alright but I want to ask you guys if i should buy this one, https://www.gadgetcity.com.au/digital-telescope-binoculars-camera-2"-screen-1.3mp-p-3262.html
  4. Anyone here familiar with this Vixen binoculars, Vixen Binoculars Ascot ZR 8 x 42WP I can't seem to find any reviews on the net. It costs around £140, about the same as many other low-mid range porro models from top tier brands such as Nikon Action EX. While Vixen refractors (Made in Japan models e.g. ED81S) are known for quality, their binos seem to be very inconsistent according to many reviews (other models). I'd be glad to hear some personal experiences with Vixen binos even if it isn't the model I listed. Many thanks.
  5. Hi all, Although I've owned a pair of Celestron Skymaster 20x80s for over six years now, but because they went badly out of collimation, I haven't used them for ages. I sent them back to Celestron, but, apparently, they couldn't be repaired. Amazingly, though, they gave me a brand new pair (!), and these arrived yesterday. Once mounted on the tripod I took a look at the 69% waxing Moon. Absolutely incredible view! Sharp, bright, big, three-dimensional, and only the very slightest hint of chromatic aberration. Kept coming back to this over the course of the evening. Next up M31 and M33. Although quite washed out by the moonlight (as was everything I looked at), I was amazed at the brightness, the size, and the hint of detail in M31. Again, the three-dimensionality was obvious. M33 was only just visible. Open clusters: Double cluster, Owl cluster, Coathanger – all were fantastic, with a variety of star colours obvious, and only a hint of distortion around the edge of the fov (really had to drag my eyes away from the objects in the middle of the fov to experience it). The Coathanger pretty much filled the fov, and was pin sharp and bright. Double stars: Epsilon Lyrae, a very easy split, as was Albireo (again, the different colours were obvious). Mesarthim was just too tight to split. In passing, one of the things that amazed me the most last night was star colour. Mirach, Algol, Vega and many others were all pin sharp, bright, and their colours were very obvious. Globulars: M15 and 92 were small and dense fuzzy balls, M13 bigger, brighter, and with just a hint of granulation to it (like the Moon, I kept coming back to M13). Ring nebula: The ring shape was obvious, even at x20, though small. Being a work night, I was back indoors by about 10, but although just a brief session, it was hugely enjoyable, and a real buzz to be using 20x80 bins again. Cheers, Kev.
  6. I had a quick session with my new to me 20x80 Opticron, Japanese made binos tonight. I have them tripod mounted using a trigger grip ball head which works very well. Lovely views of M42, trapezium split nicely and surprisingly a gentle green tint to the nebula. Anyway, the crescent moon was also looking lovely with prominent earthshine. There was a fair amount of CA as is to be expected, but still a nice sharp view along the terminator. Three shots here, all hand held at the binos. I made sure I focused the binos using my glasses first, otherwise the images are obviously out of focus! First one was exposed for the earthshine, the second is converted to mono to get rid of the CA and the third is exposed for the terminator. All tweaked on the phone using PS Express. Quite pleased with the results, given the inappropriateness for imaging of the kit used ?
  7. All Just had an hour with the 12x50 bins following AN magazines November binocular sky feature. Basicly a hunt for M's 36, 37 and 38. Found them fairly quickly Starting from Alnath to HIP25291. Just on the edge of the fov was M36 a sharpish fuzzie. Once located both M37 and M38 could both be located on the edge of fov above and below M36, both appearing as less distinct faint fuzzies. For all 3 M's i had to use averted vision Pleased as punch with that hour and 3 more M's chalked off and my first chance to scan Auriga. I also passed many rich star fields that i havent identified due to the initial hunt for M's
  8. The Binocular Sky Newsletter for December 2013 is now available. Things have been a tad hectic recently at "BinoSky Central" , so this is a tad shorter than usual but, I hope, will still be useful. What I try to pass off as "normal service" will be resumed as soon as possible... In addition to the usual selection of good DSOs and Solar System objects to observe, in this month's issue we also have: * Comet Lovejoy * Many lunar occultations * A selection of variable stars To grab your (free!) copy, go to http://binocularsky.com/ and click on the Newsletter tab. I hope you find it useful.
  9. Picked up some great Pentax 12x50 PCF WP II binoculars off Dobbie today (thanks for meeting up at the services), and unbelievably managed to get some first light with them tonight too! Great view through them as is to be expected from Pentax, but I was pleasantly surprised on how good the views where. The moon looked great with the earthshine, and I even managed to see M81 & M82 with them (with the help of my Orion P binocular mount). M42 was very pleasing, and the open clusters in Auriga where easy (if with a stiff neck at zenith) to spot. All in all very pleased with these binos, and look forward (when clouds allow) to use them to tease out other Messier objects etc!
  10. Well, miracles do happen, just spent an evening with the bins under my first half decent local clear skies of 2017. Bagged the following objects in two stints M81, M82, M92, M13, M3, M42, M45, M31, then later on between 23:00 and 00:30, Jupiter, M44, M51, Leo triplet (very faint with averted vision), M53, NGC5053 and a whole host of very faint unidentifiable smudges in the coma and Virgo regions. Most pleased about M51 and the Leo triplet, first time I've managed to see these with the 15x85 binoculars?
  11. Needed a tripod so have gone for the sturdy horizon 8115 ,takes my 20x80 binos a treat extends a good length no stooping required , has a quick release plate so can leave set up to the binos will get another plate for my camera,legs are lock and twist type, overall quality look good for price coming in at £80
  12. Hi there, can anyone recommend the optimum length for a pair of dew shields for my 15x85 binoculars. Kind Rebards Paul J.
  13. Hi all, I've just joined SGL and have a few queries about buying some equipment. I've had a look through quite a few posts but not found completely relevant information, but do point me in the right direction, as I'm sure these are very common queries! So I'm getting into astronomy, although I did own a Celestron First Scope a few years back. Although this was ok, I'm not keen on a table top scope anymore. To put things in context, I live on the outskirts of London, so still a fair amount of light pollution, but not terrible. I have a garden but pretty small (appprox 7x8 metres), with houses on two sides. However, I can get good views of Orion Nebula etc Having read around, I thought it best to get some binoculars i) because they are relatively lightweight (so I can take them to other parts of the country with better visibility) ii) as starting out, seems to make sense rather than having a large telescope I may use less Having tried a few binoculars I'm having slight difficulty telling much difference between them and wondering if this is a common problem?! I've tried the following: Olympus DPS I (10x50 & 8x40); Nikon Actions Ex (10x50 & 12x50); Nikon Aculon 7x50; Pentax SP WP 10x50; Celestron Skymaster 9x63. I really wanted to like the Action EX, Pentax and Skymaster, as prefer waterproof elements. Apart from magnification I've struggled to see much difference at night between all of these. I had big hopes for the Skymaster as it had noticeably richer colours during the day with large aperture, but comparing to others by picking out faint stars at night, they all seemed equally good/bad. In addition, I tried to see a difference in the contrast, but not much difference here either (maybe there would be no difference with light pollution). Unfortunately I sent the lower magnification back before testing some of the other and they did seem brighter from what I recall, but at the expense of detail. As you probably know, the variety in cost for these is large (£50-£200). I'm now wondering if my best bet is to just get a cheaper and lower magnification binocluar (Olympus 8x40) which I can hold by hand and a cheapish telescope (Celestron 130EQ) for the amount I could spend on the most expensive bins on the list? I've been a bit resistant to getting large bins, as was trying to avoid a tripod, but maybe I need to take the plunge, so any suggestions on these appreciated. Ideally I'd still have a slightly better binoculars if there are any recommendations out there, however I feel like I've pretty much exhausted the main options. I may still try the Skymaster 8x56. Any advice or suggestions appreciated on bins, telescopes, and also if there's a better way to test difference between products. Thanks and apologies for the long essay!
  14. I was observing Jupiter tonight and I saw what appeared to be 3 moons on the left side and 2 on the right side. Is it possible to see 5 moons with 15 x 70 bins? Or, are one of the "moons" a dim star abut the same magnitude as one of the moons?
  15. I only bought these recently, and was very pleased with them but I got the big bino bug and bought a pair of Apollo 22x85's so these are surplus to requirements. Very good condition, collimation is spot on, Japanese optics. Tripod and trigger grip not included in the sale, but there is a case included which is in good condition. Looking for £130 posted or £120 collected at SGL11. Cheers, Stu
  16. I just came in from a quick and cold viewing. As I was sweeping the sky east of Pollux and Castor, I came across a large open cluster that I estimated to be a bout 2 degrees across. I just looked up large open clusters near Gemini and found out I viewed the Beehive Cluster or M44. It's also known as Praesepe. In all my years of viewing DSOs with my scopes I never saw this. Possibly because it's so large that only about a quarter of it would have fit into my eyepiece FOV.
  17. Hi, does anybody know if stars differ in color when viewed through different sets of binoculars (ex. 7x35, 10x50, 11x80, 20x80)?
  18. Hi there, I’ve decided that I want to add a finder capability to my 15x85 Binoculars so I’ve been searching the web for a suitable mechanism to mount something to the central shaft of the bins. Difficult to believe that there isn’t something out there already designed for this purpose. My preference is for using a laser pointer rather than an RDF. Hoping you guys can provide some inspiration? Paul.
  19. For sale my William Optics 10x50 ED for £160 plus £12.98 UK delivery. (Parcel Force signed for 48 hours covered for £100). They are in excellent condition.
  20. Hi all , i currently have an old pair of 7x50 Chinon binoculars and I’m looking to up grade them, I’ve been looking around and have found some 15x70 binos which look good value. How much of a difference will I notice with these is it a big difference? If you could recommend me some binos in this price range (<£100) I’d be much appreciated. As I don’t really have a clue what to look for in binos. Mainly used for star gazing of course Thanks for the help
  21. Hi all, I have been gifted a pair of Arena Observation 25x100 binoculars and a Slik Pro 700DX tripod. I have trawled the internet, but have been unable to find any information on the binoculars. Could someone kindly provide me with any info on them, they seem pretty damn good. TIA
  22. Happy New Year! The latest edition of the Binocular Sky Newsletter is ready. As well as the usual overview of DSOs, variable and double stars, this month we have: * Several lunar occultations * Neptune easy to find near Mars * A remarkably difficult comet to challenge your skills To grab your (free!) copy, or to subscribe (also free) and receive it monthly, please go to http://binocularsky.com and click on the 'Newsletter' tab. I hope you find it useful.
  23. For sale my canon IS bins. Excellent condition, comes with eye guards, bag instructions, original box, and case. Requires 2 x AA batterys, push button on the top to stabilize your view, I have had some great times observing with these, but have decided to sell them to fund my imaging side of astronomy. Id prefer if someone collected them, but I can post at the risk of the buyer (would be sent special delivery). Im asking for £180.
  24. It was another clear night so I went out after 11pm for a fairly quick observing session with my 15x70 bins. Scanning the northern skies I found a faint smudge (which was actually M81). It was sort of between Polaris and the nearest pointer star of the Big Dipper. In the southern part of my sky, I saw the icing on the cake, Jupiter. I could see a pretty good, very bright disc and 2 of its moons. This was a good, quick session.
  25. Until recently Amazon allowed sellers to give free or discounted stuff in exchange for reviews, which led to some pretty bad reviewing (if you don't do 4-5 stars you won't get more free stuff), which really shows on sophisticated products like binoculars. There are binoculars listed as "30x60", at the same time can fit in your palm (60mm objectives? magic!), and they are even night vision for £4.84!! Naturally, I bought them to review them. They are really 8x21 as you could already imagine from the pics, but the worst thing about them is that "red membrane" (in other clone listings it is listed as "ruby lens"), instead of being an ANTI-reflection coating, it is like the reflective sunglasses and reflects most of red and yellow light! You get a dark blue image! Then I signed up on the aforementioned review club so that I can get a discount on one of the best seller binoculars, a "SkyGenius 10x50" at £34. At that price you can get decent binoculars, but this 5-star reviewed best seller can't give a crisp image (frustrating, you try to approach the focus point and always pass without reaching it), can't even meet its own specs - I calculated the power at about 7.5x and the effective aperture is 43mm, with a noticeably undersized prism. I added a review to warn people that it is not a "fantastic value" as the serial reviewers claim, but strangely (or suspiciously) it was down-voted out of the front page (well, if you have an Amazon.co.uk account, why not upvote this review or the other 1-2 sane ones so that they appear above the paid for reviews and help some people). At least its small prisms were collimated and there was no ruby coating... I didn't stop there, I got another popular model at £12 (marked "hobby store uk 10x50"), which was the worst of the bunch. Red reflective "coatings", plus about 7x actual magnification, plus not more than 45 degrees apparent FOV and, the tour de force, just 19mm effective aperture... on a physically 10x50 binocular! You are lugging along a huge 800g 7x19 binocular that only shows blues and greens... Attaching a photo of the binoculars, as well as a comparison of the images VS a set of affordable 10x42 roof prisms (£32 new from Astroboot - so cheaper than at least one set compared), the brightness is the comparative and so are the colors (kept same exposure/iso/white balance and raw conversion). It is a shame people buying their first set of binoculars will end up with such garbage, but there's very few legitimate reviewers it seems...
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