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cloudsweeper

Moon In OVL Binoviewers - First Light

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Posted (edited)

Friday - between about 8.00 and 8.40pm - Moon high, east of south, just past first quarter.

So why BVs?  I had two stock 26mm Super Plossls which came with 'scopes, so used that as an excuse to experiment with BVs.  It took a bit of fiddling with daytime targets to be able to reach focus, but I finally did it using the 2" diagonal in the AR 102S, removing the 'scope's extension tube, and using the x2 Barlow that came with the BVs. 

I started with single EPs giving x50 and x55, then switched to the BVs (giving a similar mag, x46).  And Wow!! - what a difference.  Not 3D of course, but I really don't think I've seen such clarity and contrast, with detail jumping out everywhere:

Clavius in south near terminator with four craters in its floor (one, Rutherford, with specks of light from its peaks) and other craterlets, Alpine Valley, Rupes Recta (Straight Wall), Apennine Mountains alive with fine detail and with shadows to their north-east, crater wall terraces, ghostly Cassini (being well lit), Plato looking beautifully defined and flat and smooth.

I kept returning to a single EP (holding it just in the diagonal to avoid having to keep replacing the extension tube), and am convinced the BV view is noticeably superior.  It's down to having relaxed eyes, plus the way the brain processes the info. 

Conditions were very good - the sky was not very dark, nor the Moon too bright.

A delightful experience, highly recommended.  Now, I'll have to consider doubling up on some more EPs.......

Doug.

 

 

AR102S With BVs May2020 #1.JPG

AR102S With BVs May2020 #2.JPG

Edited by cloudsweeper
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Great stuff Doug :thumbright:

I do wish that I could get on with binoviewers. I've tried a few and even owned a set for a while but just couldn't take to them :rolleyes2:

 

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2 minutes ago, John said:

Great stuff Doug :thumbright:

I do wish that I could get on with binoviewers. I've tried a few and even owned a set for a while but just couldn't take to them :rolleyes2:

 

Thanks John.  As I say, it was tricky finding a working combo of diagonal, tube/no tube, Barlow/no Barlow, but I got there thanks to a church tower (which needs its boards painting) and am very pleased after this first outing.  I have to take my specs off, but that's no big deal.  I'm looking forward to using the BVs in 'scopes with longer focus now.

Doug.

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Welcome to the club Doug. If you can get along with Binoviewers I think they are probably the best accessory a visual observer can buy, and have a greater impact on the viewing experience than any high end eyepice purchase. Good quality plossl's or orthoscopics are all you'll need to get jaw dropping views of the Moon & planets. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars take on a whole new persona, and you could easily convince yourself you're looking through a much larger telescope.

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3 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Welcome to the club Doug. If you can get along with Binoviewers I think they are probably the best accessory a visual observer can buy, and have a greater impact on the viewing experience than any high end eyepice purchase. Good quality plossl's or orthoscopics are all you'll need to get jaw dropping views of the Moon & planets. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars take on a whole new persona, and you could easily convince yourself you're looking through a much larger telescope.

Thanks Mike - I'm well and truly converted.  And only 'cos of a couple of matching Plossls from buying Bresser 'scopes!

Doug.

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BVs are great, aren't they? My best lunar views hands down are through my second hand WO binoviewers. They're not generally well regarded for DSOs, but I viewed M51 with them a few days ago under moderate light pollution and even saw the horse head nebula with them through a large scope under very dark skies late last year. I started with the 20mm 66deg WO eyepieces and later added 25/32/40mm pairs of Revelation plossls. 

Enjoy!

 

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Hello. I’m in the same club. Love BV’s. No need for the green and black glass. Views as good in standard eyepieces. 
Maybe looking at a new pair - Baader Max bright mark 2’s or maybe TS BIG Binoviewers. 
I know not all get on with them but if you can it’s a whole new world 

John 

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Posted (edited)

All my binoviewer pairs, are 5 element japanese super plossl's (with the exception of a pair of "cheap" 16.8mm Kson Super Abbe Orthoscopic's), are relatively cheap to buy, yet their performance in the binoviewer is truly top end. And i can use longer focal length eyepieces that are more comfortable to view through for high power observations of the Moon & planets. 

Observing the Moon last night at 32X and seeing its entire globe hanging in 3D and with razor sharp detail, leaves me almost speechless. While simply adding a 2X barlow,  turning 32X to 128X, and seeing the spectacular Appenine mountain range with its sheer cliff faces standing out from the lunar surface is something I never cease being amazed by. Changing to 10mm eyepieces in my scope gives 320X, and those cliff faces become terrifying!

Below is my cheap Revelation binoviewer that's served up jaw dropping views since I bought it in 2008. 😊

20200427_144606.thumb.jpg.1f926c2828d9445d5b5744e9b9d84675.jpg

 

20200427_144347.thumb.jpg.d578bdae58c0776e3398d19cd9b4ef32.jpg

Edited by mikeDnight
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This thread makes me want to have another go with BV's but this will be the 4th or 5th try. I'm in 2 minds to be honest :undecided:

Just to prove that I have really tried - this ought to be a good setup:

 

tmbbino01.JPG

tmbbino02.JPG

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16 minutes ago, John said:

This thread makes me want to have another go with BV's but this will be the 4th or 5th try. I'm in 2 minds to be honest :undecided:

Just to prove that I have really tried

I'm of the mind that you really know pretty quickly when using astro equipment whether you like it or not. I remember when I bought my TV 3-6mm zoom that I just couldn't get on with it. The fairly small eye lens and relatively short eye relief were not to my liking even though the quality of the views were without fault, it just didn't feel comfortable to use.

A bit like trying on a new pair of shoes or trousers, you know pretty quickly if you like them or not, even if they are good quality, if they don't feel good they are not for you.  :) 

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25 minutes ago, John said:

This thread makes me want to have another go with BV's but this will be the 4th or 5th try. I'm in 2 minds to be honest :undecided:

Just to prove that I have really tried - this ought to be a good setup:

 

tmbbino01.JPG

tmbbino02.JPG

John. 
Try, try, try again ??  Where’s the harm apart from the wallet, maybe. 
Good luck. John 

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@John said:

This thread makes me want to have another go with BV's but this will be the 4th or 5th try. I'm in 2 minds to be honest :undecided:

 I have really tried.

 

Go for it John!  I took to them straight away, after experimenting to find which configuration worked in each 'scope.  Then - as others have confirmed - the view of the Moon was stunning.  I'm now thinking about doubling up on some of my Celestron XCel LX EPs so I can raise the mag and enjoy the experience even more!

Doug.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Geoff Barnes said:

I'm of the mind that you really know pretty quickly when using astro equipment whether you like it or not. I remember when I bought my TV 3-6mm zoom that I just couldn't get on with it. The fairly small eye lens and relatively short eye relief were not to my liking even though the quality of the views were without fault, it just didn't feel comfortable to use.

A bit like trying on a new pair of shoes or trousers, you know pretty quickly if you like them or not, even if they are good quality, if they don't feel good they are not for you.  :) 

Strangely, I've owned a couple of the TV 3-6 zooms in the past and felt the same but I now have the 2-4mm which is just the same ergonomically of course and I love it !.

 

 

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The TMB/LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet I picture above is BV friendly - it has a section of the focuser that slides in about 13cm so you can get to focus without the need for a barlow or other optical adapter.

FLO kindly loaned me the above WO BV's for a few months so I had ample opportunity to try them at no cost.

Sorry Doug - I didn't want to hijack your thread about your very nice new setup.

 

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35 minutes ago, John said:

The TMB/LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet I picture above is BV friendly - it has a section of the focuser that slides in about 13cm so you can get to focus without the need for a barlow or other optical adapter.

FLO kindly loaned me the above WO BV's for a few months so I had ample opportunity to try them at no cost.

Sorry Doug - I didn't want to hijack your thread about your very nice new setup.

 

No problem John - it's good to expand a little on a theme, hear of others' experiences, and continue to learn!

Doug.

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2 hours ago, Telescope40 said:

Hello. I’m in the same club. Love BV’s. No need for the green and black glass. Views as good in standard eyepieces. 
 

John 

 

 I love using my Green and Black glass in my Binoviewers. I am talking about the late and great BGO 's . Just a lovely eyepiece in Cyclops and ever better doubled up for stunning Binoviewing on Luna .

 

 

 

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Thought I'd change from the 102 frac to the 8SE for aperture, tracking, and more mag - x156 compared with x46.  (Only got one matching pair of 26mm EPs.)

7.25 Saturday - sky quite light, clear - Moon waxing gibbous, high, SE.  Aligned on it with x56 (single EP). then put the BVs in.  On finding focus, the view filled the FOV, but a darker sky was needed.

An hour later, detail was better.  Still getting used to using BVs, I tried removing the x2 Barlow - it not only worked, but the x78 view was splendid - less is more?  Copernicus was wonderful - floor/peaks, terraces, features/rays beyond its rim.

A little later the light was dead right - detail without glare - beautiful.  I noticed a faint series of sinuous crater chains between Copernicus and Eratosthenes.  The cliffs where the Apennine Mountains meet Mare Imbrium, commented on by Mike @mikeDnight , appeared as narrow shadows of mountains Bradley, Huygens, and Ampere.

Another enjoyable BV session.

Doug.

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On 02/05/2020 at 10:23, John said:

This thread makes me want to have another go with BV's but this will be the 4th or 5th try. I'm in 2 minds to be honest :undecided:

I'd heard that they'd brought out the Baader MaxBright II Binoviewer just for you John 🙂

And having just read William Paolini's review, they could be just the thing... 🙂

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Excellent Doug !

There just is no comparison observing the Moon with a binoviewer compared to single eyepiece.  

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30 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

I'd heard that they'd brought out the Baader MaxBright II Binoviewer just for you John 🙂

And having just read William Paolini's review, they could be just the thing... 🙂

I've resolved to never again read any review by Bill P, because whenever I do it causes great pain to my wallet!

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Very encouraging report @cloudsweeper. Will give my binoviewers another go.

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1 hour ago, JeremyS said:

I'd heard that they'd brought out the Baader MaxBright II Binoviewer just for you John 🙂

And having just read William Paolini's review, they could be just the thing... 🙂

Yes I saw that.

I've learned a few things in my years in this hobby and one of them is to trust my feelings on equipment. I have given binoviewers enough tries over the last few years to know that they are not my "cup of tea".

But at least I have tried them and more than once.

Good luck to all those who find that they enjoy using them :smiley:

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Lovely report Doug, glad you are getting on with the binoviewers. I’m one who does now, but took a long time to get there. I think I’m on my 6th and 7th pair now (yes I have two pairs).

I genuinely think I had to retrain my brain over a long period in order to get the best out of them. For me they are a benefit for Lunar and Solar observing and we’re largely driven from a necessity to reduce floater visibility at high powers, or more specifically small exit pupils. This they do very effectively and the views are excellent. I don’t totally gel either for planetary and actively prefer cyclops for DSO viewing. They are definitely a very personal choice and preference. 

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Posted (edited)

I have been in both camps..waxing lyrical about jaw dropping views and almost giving up on them. I therefore can identify with both Doug's and Mike's infectious enthusiasm (thanks, Doug and Mike!), and John's genuine desire to like them but just not quite "getting them"..(I have felt that more than once, John).

I've thought a lot about this, and here are a few conclusions that might just be helpful. Bear with me...

1. I like viewing to be simple (whether cyclops or with both eyes). I've spent far too much time (and money!) in the past, buying and trying umpteen eyepieces, often based on other, respected observers' reviews and opinions. But often, if I'm honest, I have struggled to see ANY meaningful difference or benefit between my then existing eyepieces, and newer and/or "better" ones. But I used to feel that because all these other people were raving about eyepiece "a" as compared to eyepiece "b", then I needed to try them out to improve my views. All too often I ended up disappointed, frustrated and, often, a good deal poorer! And so, observing sessions of 2 hours ended up with me only really observing (ie really studying) objects for maybe 20 minutes - the rest of the time faffing about swapping out eyepieces, ruining my night vision with a torch in the process, and generally getting more and more frustrated.

So nowadays I have far fewer eyepieces, of very modest cash value, but I am enjoying my observing more, and getting more proper viewing done, for longer, in each session.

2. With binoviewing, much of the above is also true. However, I believe that the mechanicals are also a big factor. First among these is correct collimation: two eyes are only better than one if the binoviewer can show properly aligned images. Some people have genuine problems merging images, but I believe that in many cases this is made worse by poorly adjusted equipment. Maybe this isn't too surprising, given that most of us use binoviewers that cost us between £100 and £200: compare the complexity of such a binoviewer with a single eyepiece of a similar cost, which is usually so much simpler in terms of components.

Most of the entry level bvs in use come from a very few factories with the same basic design, and are "built to a budget". I would dare to guess, with the benefit of hindsight, that probably 5 of the 7 or so pairs of bvs I have owned were not perfectly collimated: useable (especially at lower powers), but not so at higher powers. Ironically, I think my current, later model Revelation set, are one of the two sets I have owned that seem pretty much spot on.

But I feel it's very common for people's expectations to be disappointed when they first try binoviewing.

3. Too much "faffing about". I have always found the sheer number of adjustments that seem to be needed when using bvs to be really off-putting. Eg Tiny screws on each eyepiece holder, different types, most scopes needing an OCS/ Barlow lens to bring them to focus, too high magnification by using a Barlow, too narrow a field of view compared to a single wide angle eyepiece, etc. And on top of that, you can end up with a large, weighty, complicated assembly of component parts hanging out of your eyepiece tube or focuser, with the real likelihood of inadvertently unscrewing or adjusting the wrong screw in the dark and then getting that sickening  pit-of-the-stomach feeling as your big stack of parts including a pair of costly eyepieces almost fall the the ground as they unthread themselves!😱..

...and then, when you want to change the magnification up or down, it can seem as though you have to spend ages disassembling and reassembling the whole wretched edifice, making doubly sure this time that everything is secure (cos your poor old ticker can't take another fright like that, can it?!!).

And then, when you want to view something else in a different part of the sky, you have to move the scope and then realise that now this heavy edifice hanging off the back end of the scope is upside down, so you'd better rotate to scope in it's rings "PDQ," or the whole lot might fall out on the the concrete slabbing that you decided to set your rig up on tonight because "the grass was wet"!!

4. In the light of all the above, I now only view a few objects in a session when binoviewing. I have simple, cheap pairs of eyepieces which I don't need to fret about if there's a mishap, and I only view objects which are bright enough..eg, no DSOs, nebulae or tight doubles (as I personally feel a single eyepiece resolves a stellar point better). But the Moon, planets and some clusters, including globulars, can present really well in binoviewers. And I use absolutely the minimum number of components in the optical train that I have to.

5. Finally, having read  Bill Paolini's review of the new Baader Maxbrights, I really feel that at long last, a manufacturer has tried seriously to take on board the weaknesses of traditional bvs, and made some very worthwhile design changes which should enable binoviewing to be MUCH simpler, and therefore more satisfying.

If any of our friends from FLO read this, I would love it if they could commission two reviews of the new Maxbrights..one by our resident King of binoviewing, MikeDnight, a fully paid up fan of binoviewing, and the other by John, our resident King of single eyepiece reviewing, but a much more sceptical bv user based on previous experiences. 

We might then find out whether binoviewing is about to become much more attractive an observing option to many...or not?? Either way two such reviews would make fascinating reading!

Thanks for bearing with me thinking out loud😊

Dave

Edited by F15Rules
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^^^^^Thanks, Dave @F15Rules- a very good overview of BV usage.  

Maybe I've been fortunate to take to BVs so readily - no hint of maladjustment, or inability to merge images.

You're dead right about faffing, although since I found the BVs were OK with my standard 2" diagonals, and the Barlow is needed for fracs, the only thing I need to do before a session is remove an extension tube.  The EPs fit in nicely with a twist grip mechanism.

It's even easier with the 8SE - no tubes to bother with, and the Barlow isn't necessary.  If I want more mag of course, it's to easy to attach - not much different to adding a filter, say.

I've drawn up a table for how each 'scope (excluding the Dob) performs (mag, FOV) with the BVs, and I reckon two Cel XCel LX 12mm EPs (already got one!) will go nicely with the pair of Bresser 26mm SPLs to give me another choice for viewing.  

Doug.

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