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Binoculars


flake
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I reckon you need at least 25x magnification to see the rings of Saturn at all, and binoculars that powerful are a handful, so best tripod mounted. Personally though, I would say that you would be far better off getting a small telescope plus a suitable eyepiece that will give you 30 or 40x magnification at least. Depending on the aperture, you can then look to increase the usable magnification (work on the basis of aperture in mm = typical max magnification - you may do better, but it'll be very dependent on the atmospherics)

I have seen the rings using a not very good spotting scope, so that might be an option if you want something that would have daytime/terrestrial use as well.   

Edited by Gfamily
addition of 'at least' & the following sentence
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I agree with Gfamily you would be better off getting a small telescope.

The first time I viewed Saturn was through my first scope a Celestron NexStar 90 SLT Mak, and I could clearly see the rings and Cassini Division.

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Although for Saturn, I think a telescope would be better, I wouldn't rule out getting binoculars, there is so much that is really accessible with a simple pair of 10x50s or 8x40s, and these can give you a lifetime of great observing. 

A member here ( @BinocularSky ) writes a monthly newsletter specifically for binocular observers, and that will give you enough to enjoy each month.  It can be found at www.binocularsky.com. 

With binoculars there are lovely asterisms, open clusters and nebulae to look out for - and they are ideal for observing the moons of Jupiter and the changing face of the Moon from night to night. It's just that their magnification is limited, and Saturn is one of the targets that are just too small to be really impressive.  

@Binocularsky writes regularly for magazines about what to look for in the night sky with binoculars, as well as binocular reviews. He knows his stuff.  

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My 28x110 bins pick Saturn out nicely they are sharp enough to see the gap between the disc and the rings, they do not seperate any ring divisions. They can also pick out Jupiter & Mars nicely too. The only drawback is they need a very big heavy duty mount, if you want to see Saturn and other planets sharply and in colour I would look at a Maksutov 102 or 127 and bigger. A Maksutov 102 will sit nicely onto of a strurdy camera tripod with fluid head.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 04/10/2022 at 16:33, Gfamily said:

Although for Saturn, I think a telescope would be better, I wouldn't rule out getting binoculars, there is so much that is really accessible with a simple pair of 10x50s or 8x40s, and these can give you a lifetime of great observing. 

A member here ( @BinocularSky ) writes a monthly newsletter specifically for binocular observers, and that will give you enough to enjoy each month.  It can be found at www.binocularsky.com. 

With binoculars there are lovely asterisms, open clusters and nebulae to look out for - and they are ideal for observing the moons of Jupiter and the changing face of the Moon from night to night. It's just that their magnification is limited, and Saturn is one of the targets that are just too small to be really impressive.  

@Binocularsky writes regularly for magazines about what to look for in the night sky with binoculars, as well as binocular reviews. He knows his stuff.  

Late to the party 🙂 

Hand-held binos are really not the weapon of choice for solar system objects unless you just want to detect (say) Neptune, Uranus or one of the brighter asteroids. On Saturn, at 10x, you might just make out that it's an odd shape. I have once managed to see dark space between the planet and the ansae at 15x (mounted, and fleetingly visible in moments of steady seeing, Saturn's rings wide open); detecting the rings is easy at 25x, but I need at least 35x with the rings wide open and steady seeing to be able to make out the Cassini division. Frankly, it's not worth the faff.

The strength of binos is the brighter "faint fuzzies", where a £75 bino can reveal more than a £75 telescope.

Edited by BinocularSky
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