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Hi am almost brand new to star gazing, bar a brief flirtation in my early teens sitting in our back garden with a star chart way back in their 80's. Now mid 40's and looking to pick up astronomy again after reading Brian Cox for the last couple of years and last months BBC Star Gazing which totally blew me away!! 

Am torn between starting out with a pair of Binoculars or go for an entry level telescope? 

My question is this. My eye sight has always been 19-21, never had any need for glasses yet, however I was looking at the moon last night with a x 10 pair of Binoculars and I couldn't focus them with out one eye blurring the image, ie 19-21 vision I had to close one eye to see clearly. Is this normal ?

If this is there case maybe I should skip looking at Binoculars and plumb straight away on a travel telescope. Have a caravan outside of Paignton and live in Bristol (loads of light pollution.) So am looking for something portable hence why I was first attracted to Binoculars.  

Apologies if this has been covered recently and really enjoy what I have read so far from members on previous threads. 

Cheers Sonny 

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Welcome to the forum, Sonny.

I'm sure others with more expertise and experience regarding optics will have some helpful advice. My personal preference would be for a scope - 'cos without a support for the bins I can never hold them steady enough!

Have fun.

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When you used the binoculars did you adjust the diopter ? You will find a ring round the right eyepiece which can be adjusted to separately focus that eyepiece. Close your right eye and focus the left eyepiece as normal. Close the left eye and see if the right eyepiece is in focus i.e. Gives a crisp image. If not adjust the diopter until the image is in focus for the right eyepiece. Look with both eyes and the focus should be spot on. If not your bins may need collimating and that is much more difficult.

As to the question of bins or scope, see what you can find using the bins. It is a good way to learn your way round the night sky but in the end you will probably want a scope to continue your journey.

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Good explanation on individual focus from Laudropb above. If you follow this advice and still find the double-eye viewing to be unsatisfactory it is quite possible that the two parts of the instrument are not aligned. This does happen. I'm not sure that there is much you can do about that.

Olly

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I would say go for a scope, binoculars are fine for looking around the sky but for looking at anything you need the additional magnification that a scope will provide. Not sure how good/bad the travel scopes are, so a bit of a grey area to me. The one I would suggest simply appears to be unavailable here in the UK.

How about one of the Celestron Astromaster scopes either 70mm or 90mm?

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I have over 40 years experience as an amateur astronomer. Without question, start with binoculars. If you have any intention to be serious about the hobby, you will take the time necessary to learn the sky *first* before attempting to delve into its depths. There is so much to learn and to see, that it is hugely preferable to get a wide overview first, both of the subject and of the sky itself.

An 'entry-level' telescope is bound to disappoint. Your expectations will be too high. No, really, they will.

Buy a planisphere from a bookshop - they should have one in the astronomy section. Learn the sky, and get a feel for it with a pair of binoculars. 10x50s are about ideal, but not absolutely the only ones that will be any good. Don't be in a rush to see everything. Learn what to expect before you get to the point where you consider buying a telescope. Spend a good year with binoculars.

Far too many beginners buy a telescope without knowing a thing about the sky, and then expect to see Hubble-quality views on their first night out. They get frustrated and give up.

It's like if you decided to take up golf. You've never been on a golf course, but you have watched the Open. You buy a set of top-quality professional clubs. On your first day out, you fail to get a hole in one and give up, consigning the clubs to the attic.

I've seen it so often in astronomy. Take it   s l o w l y .

Binoculars should always be an amateur astronomer's first optical aid.

I wish you the best of luck.

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Many thanks for all of your replies.

I have been eyeing up the Olympics 10×50 DPS-1 binoculars. The ones I have recently tried are a very cheap mates binoculars without the option of further adjustment around the eye piece, literally the focusing dial in the middle and that's it. I currently don't have a great deal of money and am looking to just gaze at our solar system and make sense of what is out there, basically find my way around the night sky before delving further. I guess that comes with time and and more than happy to walk before I can run. This for me is all part of the enjoyment of learning. 

In terms of the golfing analogy I agree.

Thanks again and I'm sure I will meet you all again on the forum as I have a lot of questions, feel like a kid at Christmas again !!

 

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28 minutes ago, Sonny Boy Baker said:

I'm sure I will meet you all again on the forum as I have a lot of questions

Ask away, there is an amazing amount of knowledge here and members are only to happy to share.

Good luck and enjoy.

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2 hours ago, Sonny Boy Baker said:

Many thanks for all of your replies.

I have been eyeing up the Olympics 10×50 DPS-1 binoculars. The ones I have recently tried are a very cheap mates binoculars without the option of further adjustment around the eye piece, literally the focusing dial in the middle and that's it. I currently don't have a great deal of money and am looking to just gaze at our solar system and make sense of what is out there, basically find my way around the night sky before delving further. I guess that comes with time and and more than happy to walk before I can run. This for me is all part of the enjoyment of learning. 

In terms of the golfing analogy I agree.

Thanks again and I'm sure I will meet you all again on the forum as I have a lot of questions, feel like a kid at Christmas again !!

 

The very best of luck to you. If I may offer one more piece of advice - visit Steve Tonkin's website, www.binocularsky.com. The whole site is dedicated to binocular astronomy. I'm sure you'll find much there to inspire you, and don't forget - there are plenty people here who can help you out with any queries you have.

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Quick update have bought the Olmpus DPS 1 10x50 binoculars, with a Opticron binocular tripod mount and a tripod. In total just under £100 ponuds for the lot. Previously on Kindle purchased the Philips Month by Month Stargazing 2017 book. 

Can't wait now as I have been trying to navigate my way around the north and eastern sky predominantly just due to the location of our caravan.

Thanks again, 

Sonny

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Well, Sonny Boy, Laudroph did a good job of explaining how to adjust the binocs to suit each eye. I would add only that it may be the other ep that has the separate focus. I've just bought a pair of Nikon Aculons, now the best binocs I have ever owned, and the most expensive at $CDN170. My previous ones were a pair I bought for $US30 at a drug store in Wall, SD. They had all the hallmarks of cheap binoculars, but still served me well for almost 10 years, until a prism fell out of place. Generally, the best equipment for you is the best you can afford, given a bare minimum quality. If you can't afford a Nagler, you can probably afford a Meade Plossl that will do yeoman service for you until you win the lotto.

As for an 'entry level' telescope, don't buy one. Most low priced department store scopes will give you poor service on almost all fronts, and are a major cause of newbies giving up on the hobby. I would suggest a reflector of at least 150mm diameter on either a Dobsonian mount or an equatorial mount. Or a catadioptric of the same diameter. If you are going for a refractor, I would suggest a 100mm scope or slightly larger, depending on your budget. There is a bit of a learning curve with good scopes, but  they will richly reward the effort to learn them. If you can't afford a scope in this range, keep the binocs for now, and save a little longer. The same stars will be there once you have saved the money.

Best of luck with your decision. Hope this helps.

 

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It seems the definition of entry level scope shifts about. I know what's meant by department store scopes, but they seem pretty rare these days and people who buy them probably aren't using this site. (massive guess there). Entry level now seems to be the 200 quid reflectors from Skywatcher and Celestron, and are pretty good scopes! Even so, as someone who has bought a 200 quid reflector, I'd definitely advise getting bins first (which you did! yay!). They'll always be useful, even when you get your big light bucket. 

Enjoy your new bins, they look a beauty.

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True enough, Elliot. I shoulld say that I bought both my scopes on the used market, in good nick, for about half the new price.  It's a good way to cut the price of entry into any hobby. I believe there is an Astro Buy and Sell in the UK. That's where I've bought a fair amount of stuff, and sold some, too.

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Hi

Now back in Bristol and the weather has been useless, the binoculars arrived yesterday and we are currently enjoying permanent cloudy sky's.

I have a lot to learn ;-)

As for telescopes I have plenty of time to enjoy my binoculars bar the weather.................... 

Could make for an interesting Xmas present and will give me plenty of time to read and peruse around refactors, reflectors & all kinds of what nots.

When ever we do get a break here want to look at Jupiter first.................of course along with the moon!!

 

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