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 Post subject: Telescope or Binoculars?
PostPosted: June 17th, 2011, 2:33 am 
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Joined: May 20th, 2011, 1:49 pm
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Which do you enjoy more? Observing through a telescope, or a pair of binoculars?


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2011, 1:28 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 10:35 pm
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Location: Baton Rouge
It depends on what you're looking at. If I'm looking at planets, nebulae or globular clusters...definitely telescope. I like binoculars for some of the larger open clusters, Omega Centauri, and sometimes the Moon.


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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2012, 6:35 pm 
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Binoculars definitely have an advantage when it comes to viewing large-angular fields, say to ½º to 2º. Any hand-held binoculars should be no more than 10x--12x if you really want a challenge. After that, I'd use a tool like the Sky Window.

Binoculars are wonderful for such lunar features as the Bay of Rainbows and rays.


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PostPosted: February 24th, 2012, 1:51 am 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 10:35 pm
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After receiving a pair of 20x80 binos for Christmas, I have new perspective.

I still prefer the scope for planets, nebulae, and some clusters; but I can't begin to describe what a difference it was looking at some of the familiar (to me) clusters like M41, M35, M36, 37 and 38 through the binos from a dark sky. The wide field of view coupled with a dark sky allowing me to see so many stars in the clusters was just amazing.

Being 20x80's they are a bit big and cumbersome. As Chris mentioned, they pose a challenge as hand-held binos. However, I have found that holding them closer to the objective lenses while I lie back in my observing chair I am able to keep them relatively steady. (More than steady enough to pick out the clusters I've been targeting.) It's nice to have them unfettered so you can easily pan around the sky. If I land on an object I want to look at for a longer length of time, or in more detail than my slightly shaking hands can manage, I have a good tripod mount nearby.

Short story...if you don't have a pair of binos, get a pair. You won't be disappointed. (Plus, they come in almost any price range. Normally I would advise against cheap stuff like you might find at your local big-box store, but sometimes they can actually be OK. They aren't going to rival a nice pair by a well known and respected company, but you'll probably get a decent amount of enjoyment out of them. The Astronomical League even has a statement in their Binocular Messier Club observing page stating that to prove that anyone could do the club, they completed their list with a pair of binos they picked up at Walmart for $19.99. (I'm sure they were viewing from a decent dark sky, though, although I don't remember if that was mentioned.) The saying is, "You get what you pay for." But I guess if you have NO binos and $20 lying around, that MAY be enough for some decent views of the Moon and some clusters :)

Also, I wouldn't go for anything less than 10x50's, probably. At least on the "x50" side. You want those objective lenses to be big enough to let in enough light to see stuff in the night sky.


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PostPosted: November 11th, 2013, 10:57 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Two upcoming HRPO lectures should help those who are asking this question right now.

This Friday 15 November at 7:30pm, BRAS VP Merrill Hess will present "Buying Your First Telescope". A good purchase means getting a scope with the right light-collecting ability--not to mention taking into account where it will be used and how often. Merrill will outline the basics of good telescope shopping. HRPO has hosted this lecture in one incarnation or another since at least 2003.

On Friday 23 November at 7:30pm, the lecture "Buying Your First Binocular" will take place. This is the very first HRPO talk devoted exclusively to search for a good astronomy binocular.

Both talks have free admission and are meant for an adult audience.


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PostPosted: October 29th, 2014, 4:29 pm 
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Location: Baton Rouge, LA
On Friday 21 November at 7:30pm, BRAS President Merrill Hess will present "Buying Your First Telescope" at the Highland Road Park Observatory. A good purchase means getting a scope with the right light-collecting ability--not to mention taking into account where it will be used and how often. Hess will outline the basics of good telescope shopping. HRPO has hosted this lecture in one incarnation or another since at least 2003.

On Friday 5 December at 7:30pm, the lecture "Buying Your First Binocular" will take place. This is only the second HRPO talk devoted exclusively to search for a good astronomy binocular.

Both talks are aimed at a general adult audience and have free admission.


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PostPosted: November 12th, 2015, 3:45 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Location: Baton Rouge, LA
On Friday 13 November at 7:30pm there will be a special program at the Highland Road Park Observatory called "Buying a First Telescope". Whether purchasing a scope for the first time (for yourself or a friend or family member), I highly recommend this program. Purchasing a telescope requires knowing who will use it, where it will be used and what the main celestial targets will be. Participants in this program will learn tips and tricks to increase the likelihood of a good buy. Participants will also be introduced to a variety of telescopes firsthand. The event is free admission and is meant for a general adult audience.

On Friday 4 December, same time and location, BRAS President and asteroid discoverer Merrill Hess will highlight the most important aspects of a good binocular. Whether gift-hunting or searching for oneself, acquiring the right binocular will yield a plethora of celestial beauty. This event is also free admission and is meant for a general adult audience.


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PostPosted: November 29th, 2016, 5:01 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Location: Baton Rouge, LA
On Friday 2 December at 7:30pm there will be a special program at the Highland Road Park Observatory called "Buying a First Telescope"; the presenter will be BRAS member and asteroid discoverer Merrill Hess. Whether purchasing a scope for the first time (for yourself or a friend or family member), I highly recommend this program. Purchasing a telescope requires knowing the age who will use it, where it will be used and what the main celestial targets will be. Participants in this program will learn tips and tricks to increase the likelihood of a good buy and increase the chances of the device being used on a regular basis. Participants will also be introduced to a variety of telescopes firsthand. The event is free admission and is meant for a general adult audience.

On Friday 16 December, same time and location, the talk "Skygazing Binoculars" will highlight the most important aspects of a good binocular. Whether gift-hunting or searching for oneself, acquiring the right binocular will yield a plethora of celestial beauty. The Earth's Moon alone has at least two dozen features easily accessible with a good binocular. This event is also free admission and is meant for a general adult audience.


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