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ED80 Binoscope Kelling 2019 Workout

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This year I was going to take loads of astro gear to Kelling but when I saw the weather forecast I decided to simplify and take only my ED80 binoscope with Giro11 mount, thus if it was a wash out I wouldnt have wasted time and space on carting and storing gear which wouldnt get any use. Also this gave me some room for my bike 😀

Here is a link to the binoscope project thread to give you an idea of when and how I built it.



Apart from a couple of outings earlier in the year at the East Midlands Stargazers dark site I havent really been able to put these through their paces under a good dark sky so the choice to only take these was an easy one. As it happened Kelling sprung a surprise and I had 3 good observing sessions in the week in which to  fully shake down my binoscope and modified mount, so here is a brief account

Kit - ED80 Binoscope,

Celestron Ultima 30mm x2

Vixen 8-24mm LV Zoom x 2

Giro2 Altaz Mount with new azimuth setting circle and wixey for push to location of objects

Skysafari app on my mobile

September 25th - Kelling

Despite the weather forecast the skies surprised us with a couple of hours usable clear spell.

This was my chance to try the ED80 binoscope under a Kelling sky and also try the new push-to system I have fitted to the Giro mount.

I had prepped the scope for interpupiliary distance (IPD) and aligned the finder earlier in the day plus I had set the Wixey zero with a spirit level on the scope and mount back home so set up time was very quick,just fit scope to mount, plug in dew bands and slot in eyepieces.

I chose Vega and centered this in the scope manually and then looked up the coordinates in Skysafari search and set the Az circle to match and checked the Wixey was reading correctly. The push to was now calibrated, dead easy 😎

M13 was nice and high so with 15x in the scope I set the mount to the Skysafari co ordinates and looked through the bino scope, yup there was M13 nicely centered. Success, the pushto was working nicely. I swapped to the Vixens and cranked the mag up to 75x and was rewarded with a nice sight but strangeley the right hand scope view seemed dimmer. Hmm, a bit of investigation showed all was well on the objective and the IPD hadnt shifted so I then removed the rubber eyecups from the Vixens. Much better. The eyecups were forcing me to get too close in to the eyepiece which was causing this effect. Now I could have a relaxed view through both eyepieces without constantly shifting my head to accommodate the eyecups.


So the next 2 hours or so were spent on the following objects, sometimes going back a few times to drink in the views.

M13, M11, M57, M31, M110, M32, M27, Double Cluster, Owl Cluster, Caldwell 1,

M81/82, M52, M51, M39, M15, M76, M92, M33, M45, M56.


I can now see the advantages of the push to system, quick, easy, convenient and doesnt rely on a computer. Thanks to Graham on EMS for manufacturing the az circle.


26th September

The sky was showing promise by 19:00 so I started setting up, (which didnt take long at all). By the time it started to get usably dark I was up and running and viewing stuff.

 Last night was spent getting used to finding stuff with the setting circle and Wixey combination so tonight was going to be using the binoscope at 75x. The collimation must be spot on with the higher magnifications so I spent a few minutes ensuring all was working fine.

Albireo was the first object and what a jewel it was, even with the higher mag of 75x the pointing accuracy put Albireo at the edge of the FOV, nice one.

Saturn was just above the trees at the far end of the field so I went for that and it was nice to see but it wasnt the best view I have had because of atmospherics and altitude. Still, there was Titan evidence of banding on the planet and just a hint of Cassini division.

Epsilon Lyra, this was nice, at 75x the 2 component systems were just showing dark sky between the companions. A good split for 80mm.

So a few more doubles now:

51 Bootes, Xi Cephei, Almaac, Beta Cephei, Psi Draconis, Epsilon Persei all splitting well at 75x. What I like about doubles in this set up is the 3d effect one gets when there are mag differences between the companions, the fainter companion appears set back from the brighter star.


I now revisited some of the objects from last night but at 75x this time

M13, resolving nicely into stars. M26 Scutum cluster, M57 lovely detail coming through in the ring with averted vision, M81/82, Blue Snowball, Cats Eye, Uranus, Neptune, M45, Double Cluster was just simply WOW!!.

27th September

 A clear night again. However I was rather tired (Biking on the coast path during the day) so I was only going to go out for an hour, it turned out to be 2 1/2.

I had a few things go wrong resulting in my push to accuracy suffering, I put this down to my tiredness. I viewed a few of the well known objects M11, M31, 27 and 57 to name a few and just lingered on them drinking in the details.

Then I decided to go with 15x and wander along the milky way, following its lanes and branches seeing what objects I could identify.

The views were memorable especially Cygnus and Perseus/ Cassiopea regions. I lingered for some time here noticing just how extensive some of the clusters were,  Stock 2 etc and of course the Double, which was spectacular.

 I am well pleased with this rig now all the bugs have been ironed out, it is easy to use and gives relaxed views that are far superior to a single ED80 and one eye. I reckon the views are on a par with my 5" ED Triplet but in a more compact package. The Wixey and setting circle push to system is a doddle to use and I now see why this method is so popular with the Dob brigade.


I did take my single 18.2mm Televue Delite with me as I intended to purchase a companion for it on saturday which I duly did, only to be greeted with leaden skies for the rest of the stay so I never got to try the Delites in the binoscope under a Kelling night sky.


However, I did try them briefly from my now light polluted back yard on the 2nd of October on a crescent moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Double Cluster, M57, M27 and I have to say these quality eyepieces transform the binoscope. The Vixens are good but the combination of quality views and wide (true FOV) that the Delites give make for excellent views. Will I take them again to Kelling?

Oh yes  😀

Heres a couple of shots of the scope in field regalia when testing the Delites on trees across the blue field between torrential downpours Saturday afternoon.









Edited by philj
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Excellent setup Phil, and working beautifully by the sounds of it. The Double Double at x75 must mean your collimation is spot on 👍👍

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17 hours ago, Alan White said:

Love the setting circle Phil, looks wonderful.
Where was this made?

Thanks Alan, theres a guy on our local forum has a water jet cnc machine he did the circle on that.


17 hours ago, Stu said:

Excellent setup Phil, and working beautifully by the sounds of it. The Double Double at x75 must mean your collimation is spot on 👍👍

I was pleasantly surprised at the split at 75x I think this may be the lowest with ed80, having 80mm for each eye helps, also dark skies. The orientation of the components was obvious and a very small piece of dark sky  could be seen relatively easily.

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