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TRL Helpdesk: Binoculars for astronomy


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Mrs Ginger has a request for her birthday. She'd like a pair of astronomy binoculars.

She will be a very casual user and anything requiring tripods or faff will not really be appreciated.

Basically, good old stare at the moon, bit of spotting of the planets and the occasional wave to the international space station. Given our location, I suspect they will also get an outing to spot some of the more outlandish shipping that we see on the horizon from the seafront.

Right now, my mind is leaning towards something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-71008-SkyMaster-25-Binocular/dp/B003AM87Q4

But if anyone out there is able to offer any advice then it would be massively appreciated.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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I am disappointed with the pair i bought from a guy on gumtree last year plus i paid over the odds - he must have seen me coming!

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did the bloke who invented the phrase "one hit wonder" invent anything else?

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Hmmm..  I think she might find it a problem getting a stable image with such a high magnification without some sort of binocular support.

From an Amazon review: One final note for newcomers - the 20x80s really are heavy - you will need a strong and tall tripod for astronomy use - and make sure the clamp is sturdy enough - you do not want these falling back into your eyes when you are observing close to the zenith. I honestly wonder now if at 20x80 field of view, with the weight etc., a telescope might not be the better option, and perhaps 15x70, or some good quality zoom bins, might not be more useful alongside a scope.

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People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Isaac Asimov

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7 minutes ago, JohnM said:

Hmmm..  I think she might find it a problem getting a stable image with such a high magnification without some sort of binocular support.

 

agreed - women should always have sturdy support for their binoculars - theres nothing worse than a heavy pair loosely hanging down and swinging all over the place 

did the bloke who invented the phrase "one hit wonder" invent anything else?

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Mrs Ginger has a request for her birthday. She'd like a pair of astronomy binoculars.

She will be a very casual user and anything requiring tripods or faff will not really be appreciated.

Basically, good old stare at the moon, bit of spotting of the planets and the occasional wave to the international space station. Given our location, I suspect they will also get an outing to spot some of the more outlandish shipping that we see on the horizon from the seafront.

Right now, my mind is leaning towards something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-71008-SkyMaster-25-Binocular/dp/B003AM87Q4

But if anyone out there is able to offer any advice then it would be massively appreciated.

I use a pair of 8 X 42 binoculars for stargazing. They're very good for the kind of usage you describe. The 8 times magnification lets you see so much more of the night sky. It's remarkable how many more objects you can see with just that level of magnification. The 42 lenses let plenty of light in too which is important. They're also light enough to hold without being unwieldy.

Finally, go for the highest quality optics you can afford within your budget. It really makes a difference.

Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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1 hour ago, JohnM said:

and perhaps 15x70

I had the celestron 15 x 20s and they were quite heavy and a bit wobbly.  Good though, perfect for pretending to be a destroyer captain...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00008Y0VN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

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With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

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1 hour ago, graveyard johnny said:

agreed - women should always have sturdy support for their binoculars - theres nothing worse than a heavy pair loosely hanging down and swinging all over the place 

That NOT what I meant!🤬

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People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Isaac Asimov

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11 hours ago, Ullman said:

I use a pair of 8 X 42 binoculars for stargazing. They're very good for the kind of usage you describe. The 8 times magnification lets you see so much more of the night sky. It's remarkable how many more objects you can see with just that level of magnification. The 42 lenses let plenty of light in too which is important. They're also light enough to hold without being unwieldy.

Finally, go for the highest quality optics you can afford within your budget. It really makes a difference.

Thanks. I'll follow up on this - and the other links.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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9 hours ago, DavidM said:

Astronomy binoculars is it ? Are you sure there isnt just some handsome dude living across the street 

We've lived here long enough, if she was using binoculars to spy on our cross the street neighbours I'd be somewhat worried for her sanity.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Modern telescopes that quickly scan the sky, work out where they are and where all the stars are using software and then point themselves at the thing you want to look at are getting to be really affordable. Once you get into the world of taking photos - even a phone camera can do a very good long exposure, you can get pretty impressive amounts of detail.

I use an old pair of 10x50 binoculars which are probably on a par with the telescope Galileo found the moons of Jupiter with and let you see Saturn's ring etc. Dark skies make more of a difference than exactly what equipment you have.

In Cambridge, the university puts on a free astronomy lecture every week, followed by a public observing session using the university telescopes. The massive Victorian era telescopes in the observatory domes aren't as good as the modern telescopes with cameras that the slightly odd blokes from the local astronomy society turn up with in the boots of their cars.  

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1 hour ago, JonM said:

In Cambridge, the university puts on a free astronomy lecture every week, followed by a public observing session using the university telescopes. The massive Victorian era telescopes in the observatory domes aren't as good as the modern telescopes with cameras that the slightly odd blokes from the local astronomy society turn up with in the boots of their cars.  

Mrs Ginger's present from Tiny and Little Ginger will be an evening of stargazing courtesy of the good folk of the Observatory at Herstmonceux.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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