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Craig_

Expecting too much ?

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Hi all, first off I hope this is in the correct forum.

I was out tonight with my binoculars trying to find M31, which I eventually found, however I have to say that I was rather underwhelmed. I drove out to some darker skies but this didn't seem to make any difference.

The binoculars in question are 15x70 apollos and all I could see was a tiny smudge. Is this as good as views get with binoculars of this price range or am I expecting too much ?

Thanks.

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It will be a lot better when the moon isn't (nearly full), but in all honesty most DSOs are just faint smudges in binos.

The exception IMO are the open clusters. They should look real nice :)

Ant

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The brightness from the Moon wont help tonight. That will wash out much chance of seeing much of M31.

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In my celestron 15x70 it looks like a small grey smudge in the sky, I wasnt sure I'd actually found it at first til I located the same faint cloud like area on the sky on several other occasions.

I understand the underwhelming feeling, but just think that's another galaxy your looking into! Im looking forward to getting the scope on it to see of the view is more impressive

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So im going struggle viewing this with any binocular that has less magnification than 15x ?

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The darkest sky will give you the best reward. I see M31 as a pathetic smudge, but as you suggest. Thats another Galaxy were looking at, on its way to meet the Milky Way. Shame I wont be around to experience the event. I can assure you, a very dark sky, no light pollution will give you spectacular views from a Telescope or Binoculars.

back in a mo, gonna check the 15x70 and 8x40 under the present moonlight ?

I'm seeing M31 with the 7x50, 8x40 & 15x70  The contrast of the 15x70 is showing a bit more, due to the narrower field of view but its still a grey patch, but easier to find with the 8x40's

last time I did a proper study of M31, my 25mm couldn't fit the galaxy inside  the field of view, hence my reason to buy the 32mm 2" Panaview. I've only had a brief view since from a dark site, but planning a proper session soon. It will be awesome.

Edited by Charic

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Did you give your eyes a decent chance to adapt? Andromeda is pretty huge, and under a dark sky you can begin to appreciate the size of it, but the outer part are very faint and easily washed out by light pollution or poor dark adaptation.

In my 4" widefield scope which gives a 5 degree field ie a little bigger than you binos, it looks wonderful under the right conditions.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I went out with my 10x50's for a short time this evening and took in M31 as a starting point, I am lucky enough to have dark skies here, but its already been said, the moon is bright tonight and the view was really quite poor It does get better with less moonlight. I have no problem viewing M31 with 10x50's and on moonless nights its an easy naked eye object.

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I've seen it in my 10x50s too. . though obviously smaller/fainter.

Did wonder about a 32mm ep for the scope in order to see the whole of m31, but gonna try with the 25mm first

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Did you give your eyes a decent chance to adapt? Andromeda is pretty huge, and under a dark sky you can begin to appreciate the size of it, but the outer part are very faint and easily washed out by light pollution or poor dark adaptation.

In my 4" widefield scope which gives a 5 degree field ie a little bigger than you binos, it looks wonderful under the right conditions.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I was out in a the garden for about 20 minutes. Is this considered long enough for my eyes to adapt ?

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It is a smudge, and a pretty faint overall smudge.

Before you run off and spend money on a scope the bad news is it will remain a smudge.

More magnification usually means less brightness and also less of M31, people then end up seeing just the central bulge of the galaxy, and of all M31 that is likely the most boring bit.

Binoculars are great for general viewing of the sky and are good on open and globular clusters, as long as you just want to work out where they are and get a general idea of them, but for detail beyond that you need a scope. Usually I use binoculars for this then I point a scope at whatever.

The birdwatching world does the same, binoculars are used to locate a feathered fiend, then they point a £500+ spotting scope at it to see exactly what it is.

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So im going struggle viewing this with any binocular that has less magnification than 15x ?

You don't need high magnification for M31...it is so big.

What you need is aperture to gather light.

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You don't need high magnification for M31...it is so big.

What you need is aperture to gather light.

So 70 mm won't cut it then ?

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your 70 mm binos will cut it Craig. its the Moon (what i love to observe) is washing out the views of faint nebulaes and galaxies.I can see andromeda with my 8x50 finder! it is a smudge but as mentioned earlier,moon is not helping,you need to wait when there is no moon for these targets and obviously no light polluted skies.

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Craig, sorry to hear you were disappointed. I think what folk say on here about moonlight interference is very true. However your bins will be fantastic for certain sorts of observing; I've recently sold my 8" reflector to spend some time focussing on binocular observing (20x80s, so not significantly different to yours) and so far I have been impressed with every session. I also looked at the Andromeda galaxy the other night, with a first quarter moon interfering, and it was a weaker sight than 2 weeks earlier when it looked lovely, albeit still a grey smudge.

I've found open clusters to be very well suited to binoculars and the Moon is also stunning. You won't get detailed views of sweeping dust lanes in far off galaxies, but if you choose your targets well you won't be disappointed. Keep trying - you'll learn to love them.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I was out in a the garden for about 20 minutes. Is this considered long enough for my eyes to adapt ?

To a degree that depends upon how dark your garden is. At a very dark site, your eyes can take 45 mins or so to fully adapt. Your pupils dilate very quickly so that part of the adaptation happens within a few minutes, but the rods in your eyes are the ones most sensitive to low light conditions and they take far longer to adjust as this is a chemical process.

In a light polluted back garden, you just never fully dark adapt so 15 to 20 mins will probably be as good as it gets.

Andromeda is a relatively unusual object in that it is huge, six times the diameter of the moon along its longest axis. It is visible to the naked eye under dark skies, and in binoculars and scopes even under quite heavy LP, but in these cases you only really see the central core.

a7835aa9b62b35b169a989d4400c8552.jpg

To get the best out of seeing the whole object, binoculars or a widefield scope giving a four or five degree field of view are needed, as are a very dark sky with no moon and fully dark adapted eyes. In these conditions M31 will fill much of the field of view with subtle light coming from the galaxy spiral arms. You still won't see much detail, but will see most of the galaxy including the two satellite galaxies m32 and m110.

So, is it also worth viewing in larger instruments? These answer is a definite yes. You won't fit the whole galaxy into the smaller field of view and still need dark skies, but now you will be able to pull detail out including the dust lanes and even globular clusters orbiting it (not that I have ever seen these).

You should still fit in the satellite galaxies, but will have to pan a bit to cover the whole galaxy. Two very different views but each having their merits. In each case though dark skies are key to seeing the detail.

a0f6864f990bbea0dd6113907b40582e.jpg

Stu

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The field of view circles are from SkySafari on iOS. It's a very good app, not the cheapest but very capable.

There are others out there including Stellarium on PC and as an app.

The M31/moon one is just a random picture from a google images search :-)

Stu

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I had a week of excellent skies... and then the moon came out a few nights ago and washed away everything.  It was like I lost 90% of my view. :embarassed:

I was able to get a good look at Andromeda with my new 15x70, but it was still a smudge, though a nicer smudge than with my 12x50.

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As others have said, the Moon is currently unhelpful. With my 15x70s, from a suburban location on a transparent night (and, along with darkness, transparency is the key to DSOs) M31 extends across about the central half of the FoV (with AV), the light cut-off of one long edge of the oval is much more abrupt than at the other, indicating the presence of a dust lane. But most of all what hits me is that Homo Sapiens has only been around for about 200,000 years; those photons that are hitting my retina left M31 2.5 Million years ago.

Frankly, galaxies, globulars and planetaries will, except for the big ones mostly be a disappointment if you expect detail; they require more magnification. Binoculars excel at open clusters, asterisms and som eof the big diffuse nebulae (e.g. M42). However, learning to see is something you will develop and, with more experience, you will find that you start to tease out more detail.

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Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and reply to this post. I guess I will need to find some darker skies to get the best out of the binoculars.

In fact im quite tempted to buy a pair of 7x50 binoculars that came highly recommended by the sky at night to compare them with the Apollos.

If the views are comparable I may sell the bigger ones on.

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Younger eyes  will fare well  with 7x50. I've used them for Years, but  I'm much older now, and  I recently bought some helios 8x40. The optics, although a slightly narrower field of view, seem much brighter. Whether this is down to the glass being better quality or  the exit pupil being the right size for me, who knows. But I do like the 8x40s. Shame that FLO!  has put their prices back up. Their great for me when just sitting back with my Skyliner.

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 I guess I will need to find some darker skies to get the best out of the binoculars.

In fact im quite tempted to buy a pair of 7x50 binoculars

7x50 are only likely to perform betterfor astronomy than your 15x70 in either of the following conditions:

* A very dark sky AND your eye pupils open to more than about 5mm.

* The moving deck of a boat/ship.

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7x50 are only likely to perform betterfor astronomy than your 15x70 in either of the following conditions:

* A very dark sky AND your eye pupils open to more than about 5mm.

* The moving deck of a boat/ship.

I don't expect them to out perform the apollos but if I can still spot galaxies etc with a pair of 7x or 10x without the need for a tripod then I really don't see the advantages of lugging around a tripod and heavy binoculars.

Most of the members who have replied to this post have told me that a small smudge is as good as im going to get, so maybe I'll get more enjoyment from a wider view of the heavens with a lesser powered instrument .

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Craig......even 8x40's can benefit from a tripod?  but the weight of the larger optics can be a burden.

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