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In Praise of Low Power Binoculars


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Although most guides suggest that 10x50 is about right for using binoculars for observation, I've found that my preference is something much smaller, namely 6.5x21 Pentax Papilios. My preference is to carry out detailed observations with a telescope, but before doing this, I need to orientate myself for which I find these binoculars invaluable. They have a 7.5 degree field of view and the relatively small objective lenses mean that the sky is not confusingly full of stars like it often is through my telescope.

A typical session starts with me using the binoculars to do a relatively fast search of the sky and getting re-acquainted with the constellations. I can have a reasonably good look at my area of interest that night and, even when I can't see the specific object I'm after, I can easily identify closely stars etc. Having said that, I picked up the Panstarrs comet with these bins before aligning my scope on it. I should mention that they are very light indeed.

i wonder if others use low power binoculars to advantage?


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Low powers are ideal if you are using a binocular as a sort of "pre-finder" for a telescope (largely for trhe same reasons that low power finderscopes are ideal), but 6.5x21 is a tad tiny if the binocular is a main observing instrument. (That said, Lucien Kemble discovered his eponymous "Cascade" with a 7x35)

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I agree David, before and during a scope session, low power bins are

helpful, but if like me you live in an area with LP it's better with 10x50s

I always have my trusty bins to give me an idea what to observe, plus

they come in handy if clouds obscure where your scope is pointing, I

have a scan round until its clear enough to use the scope again.

Clear Sky's

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