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A Few
Amateur Words
about
Binoculars


My limited experience with binoculars

You will be surprised and pleased at what you can learn looking at the heavens with a pair of 10x50 binoculars, especially if you live in or can go to a dark site where the sky is not polluted by street lights, advertising signs, mercury vapor security lamps, and the like.  You will see the Orion Nebula immediately and without a problem.  If your sky is really dark, you can make out one of the moons of Jupiter from time to time.   Most importantly, though, with the help of Turn Left at Orion, you will learn where to find that stars and other objects and you will learn how to navigate among the stars.

When you look at binos, especially if you search for binos on the WWW, you will find that you can spend between $29.95 and $5,000.00 or more for a pair of binos.  My $129.95 Nikons and did fine for me.  Most recommendations I have read say that a pair of 10x50 binos is the minimum for celestial observation.

Go to your favorite search engine and search for binoculars, astronomical binoculars, binocular recommendations, buying binoculars -- you will find more advice than you can use.   For that reason, I will not get into descriptions of prism, proto-prisms, eye-relief, and the like -- there are lots of people out there who know what they are talking about who share their knowledge.  You will also find several web sites selling binoculars at serious discounts.

When you go shopping for binos, look at the front, where the binos swivel.  You will see a small cap -- unscrew that cap -- this may take some doing as the cap is small and many of them are not knurled and aren't easy to grip -- but it will unscrew.   When the cap comes off, you will see a threaded hole that the cap screwed into -- that's where you mount an adapter that mounts the binos to a camera tripod.

bino-trpd.jpg (119956 bytes)

 

As you see in the photo, my adapter is a Quantaray brand -- you can find this adapter at any well-stocked camera store.  You will be hand-holding your binos most of the time but, from time to time, you may want to mount them on your camera tripod -- for example, when you are showing other people celestial objects, you can mount the binos on a tripod, get the object in focus, the step aside so your guest can see the object.

 

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