If you have a decent pair of binoculars ...

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
... there is a superb view of Jupiter and three of its moons in a row visible at the moment. You need clear skies, of course, but in our neck of the woods (SE England) it's brilliant just now.

Look at the bright 'star' a few degrees to the right of the Moon.

A pair of 10 x 50s should do it
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
Hmm - have been thinking of getting a pair of 'bins'. Got any recommendations? I was looking at a pair if Nikkon 10 or 12x50s. Would mostly be for observing the larger sky objects, and the odd bit of surface observation.

My AV-gear eye wandered to the Canon image-stabilised 10x40s for a moment, but even I think that is probably excessive :D
 

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
Hmm - have been thinking of getting a pair of 'bins'. Got any recommendations? I was looking at a pair if Nikkon 10 or 12x50s. Would mostly be for observing the larger sky objects, and the odd bit of surface observation.

My AV-gear eye wandered to the Canon image-stabilised 10x40s for a moment, but even I think that is probably excessive :D
Actually, I used a telescope to look tonight. I have a pair of Omicron pocket bins for general use.

So I can't really recommend a good pair of high quality high power binoculars for your use, but for skygazing I do suggest you make sure you get a pair which have tripod attachment capability (though for all I know they all do).
 

Dave Weystoner

Active Member
DPinBucks, many thanks for pointing it out - just had a look through my 8x25's from my home DPinDorset. It's little hazy down here, but I can certainly see Jupiter as a planet. My bins aren't powerful enough to see the moons.

Dave
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Got a pretty good view through a small handheld telescope I got given a while back, cheers!
 

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
DPinBucks, many thanks for pointing it out - just had a look through my 8x25's from my home DPinDorset. It's little hazy down here, but I can certainly see Jupiter as a planet. My bins aren't powerful enough to see the moons.

Dave
Yes, 25s are pushing it a bit. 40mm or bigger is usually necessary. Despite what I said before, 8x is a perfectly good magnification; it's clarity and light gathering power which count.
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
I use a small pair of 10x25 opticrons for general use and I also had a gander at Jupiter the other night. The sky is clear tonight so I might have another look after the dismal football. I had never looked at the night sky and it was fascinating, esp. once you know what you're looking at!

7dayshop do a pair of 10x50 that aren't bad. I bought my brother a set for wildlife and they had a lovely, bright view.

Opticron do a nice cheap set of 8x40 that might be worth a look if you don't want to spend £100+

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/porroprism/opticron-aspheric-wa-zwcf-ga-8x40.html
 

Fozzybear

Novice Member
I could just make out the moons with my 8x42 bins but has been really clear through my spotting scope (36x). When I first looked last month I had a go at photographing the planet and managed to get four of the moons:



and had a go more recently at recording some detail of Jupiter and managed to see the bands a bit:



very cool to be able to see Jupiter and especially to be able to see its moons without using proper astronomy kit. :smashin:
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
Wow. I've got an amazingly sore neck now.

Actually this is the first astronomy outing of a pair of bins I bought for a song seven years ago. They are Bushnell 11x60. How do they rank? Matsui or Krell? I could see three moons for sure.

I have very shakey hands. Any top tips for steadying the bins? I have a decent Manfrotto tripod but the Bushnells don't seem to have any fixing points. Any other solutions for beer-money budget?
 

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
I could just make out the moons with my 8x42 bins but has been really clear through my spotting scope (36x). When I first looked last month I had a go at photographing the planet and managed to get four of the moons:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulforsdick/6332311083/" target="_blank">image

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6218/6332311083_b35323710d_z.jpg



and had a go more recently at recording some detail of Jupiter and managed to see the bands a bit:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulforsdick/6413587333/" target="_blank">image

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7028/6413587333_034d733a3f_z.jpg



very cool to be able to see Jupiter and especially to be able to see its moons without using proper astronomy kit. :smashin:
Those are great pictures, especially the second. :thumbsup:

There are only three moons visible at present: Callisto, Ganymede and Europa.

Io, which is, I think, the nearest to Jupiter on the right in your photo, is transiting (passing in front of) Jupiter tonight, so isn't visible except as a black dot in good 'scopes.
 

SyStemDeMoN

Well-known Member
I've been watching Jupiter for a month now through my 6 inch reflector and its nice. It is amazing though what you can see through a nice pair of bins. Also look for mars which is the red dot that is about, and look at the two fuzzy objects half way down from orion's belt !
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
So if I was to pick up these

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/28561/show.html

or these

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/28800/show.html

what would that give me? Jupiter moons? Saturn rings? Lunar lander? Nebulae?

Or man I would really like these:

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/10892/show.html

:D

Edit: seems cheap here: http://www.uttingsoutdoors.co.uk/Ca...=48&sort=Sequence&price_min=Any&price_max=Any

How much extra would you get with a 16x50? Always have a tripod handy.
 
Last edited:

Fozzybear

Novice Member
Those are great pictures, especially the second. :thumbsup:

There are only three moons visible at present: Callisto, Ganymede and Europa.

Io, which is, I think, the nearest to Jupiter on the right in your photo, is transiting (passing in front of) Jupiter tonight, so isn't visible except as a black dot in good 'scopes.

Cheers - according to info on t'internet at the time I took it from left to right it was: Europa, Io, Jupiter, Ganymede, Callisto. Took those on my D300 with a 300mm prime and 1.4x teleconverter for the first and Sigma 150-500mm lens for the second.

The view through my 8x42 bins was a bit strained, I could only 'just' make out the moons. It was far, far better through a spotting scope (birdwatching telescope) and easier to mount on a tripod so a steadier view. An angled spotting scope isn't easy to aim though, especially at night with a pretty much plain black view so few visual references!

Keep in mind with high mag. bins that they aren't easy to get onto a subject - the best technique is to hold your sight onto the subject and then bring up the bins to your eyes without moving the direction you're looking in. You can't really do that with them on a tripod and a big heavy pair are not going to be very handholdable as you'll be shaking somewhat as you support them, especially aiming high into the sky.

If you were going as far as 16x50 I would imagine you'd get better results with a straight spotting scope or a telescope - you can get a 60mm scope with a 20-60x eyepiece quite cheap (£100-150) though it would be pretty poor at the top end of the magnification range. Not really being very knowledgeable about astronomy equipment I can't really comment too much though!
 

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
So if I was to pick up these

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/28561/show.html

or these

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/28800/show.html

what would that give me? Jupiter moons? Saturn rings? Lunar lander? Nebulae?

Or man I would really like these:

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/products/10892/show.html

:D

Edit: seems cheap here: http://www.uttingsoutdoors.co.uk/Ca...=48&sort=Sequence&price_min=Any&price_max=Any

How much extra would you get with a 16x50? Always have a tripod handy.
If it were me, I'd go for the 10x50s.

I'm no great expert, but I've had a few pairs of (relatively inexpensive) bins over the years, and I'm certain that quality glass and objective size are far more important than magnifying power. IMO you get better overall performance and hence value by spending your money on higher quality models with less power.

Also, though, as others have pointed out, weight is an issue, and bigger lenses are heavier. The bigger the magnification, the more sensitive it is to hand shake. I think 10x unstabilized is about the practical limit.

If you think that you might be prepared to spend the money on an OS model if necessary, then you must try them out first hand to see if they really show you more than the cheaper ones.

Nikon are not necessarily the best at binoculars, though they make good telescopes. Try Opticron, Bushnell or Pentax as well
 

rickinyorkshire

Distinguished Member
If you have a smart phone download the 'Google Sky Map' app. :smashin:
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member

NewMan

Well-known Member
If you have a smart phone download the 'Google Sky Map' app. :smashin:

I have it, and it's great. I've probably seen that bright, shiny star-looking thing a bazillion times, but never realised I was looking at an actual planet... Having seen Fozzybear's photos, it's made me want to get into this sort of thing even more. Dammit!
 

Ultima

Well-known Member
10x50 is the standard size binocular for stargazing. You don't have to spend a fortune to get some great views, I think my Olivon QB's i picked up for £50 and are superb. Just watch the size of the exit pupil. 10x50 offer an exit pupil of 5mm (50/10). The smaller the exit pupil the darker the image.....not good when looking into the blackness of space. 16x50's would offer great magnification but the image would be too dim to see many deep sky objects....ok for the moon though.

My binocular of choice for having a quick browse of the night sky are my cheap Celestron 15x70's. I've picked out many Messier Objects and I prefer the views to my telescope. For £50 ish these are a no brainer to me. You do need to tripod mount them for extended viewing, I can hand hold them for around 15 minutes before they become unsteady.
 

oakie

Active Member
Wow. I've got an amazingly sore neck now.

Actually this is the first astronomy outing of a pair of bins I bought for a song seven years ago. They are Bushnell 11x60. How do they rank? Matsui or Krell? I could see three moons for sure.

I have very shakey hands. Any top tips for steadying the bins? I have a decent Manfrotto tripod but the Bushnells don't seem to have any fixing points. Any other solutions for beer-money budget?

No plastic cap in the middle hinge bit that pops off ?
You could always steady your elbows on a fence or wall - or use an upside down broom and rest your elbows on the bush head. :smashin:
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
Okay well thanks all - I have just dipped in and done a bit of a blind purchase based on your suggestions - got the Celestron 15x70s and some Opticron 10x50s. Will have a play with them, maybe return one via DSR. Hopefully that gives me a good balance of something light/small/holdable for longer viewing, of darker objects and for taking on trips, and another for shorter viewing of brighter objects with high magnification. Total spend was £225 with delivery.

Now just need some clear skies :)
 
Last edited:

oakie

Active Member
nice one imightbewrong - a couple of things you may find useful.

Stellarium - for real time view of the skies great for tracking down what you are looking at / or want to look at.
http://www.stellarium.org/

Heavens-above - you will see a number of Satellites and rockets when observing with binos, if you note the times you can cross reference on the heavens above website to see what they are.
http://www.heavens-above.com/

:thumbsup:
 

Toasty

Distinguished Member
I love being able to see the planets, my kids didn't believe me at first when I pointed out Jupiter, they thought it must be a star. Some great clear skies recently :smashin:
 

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
nice one imightbewrong - a couple of things you may find useful.

Stellarium - for real time view of the skies great for tracking down what you are looking at / or want to look at.
http://www.stellarium.org/

Heavens-above - you will see a number of Satellites and rockets when observing with binos, if you note the times you can cross reference on the heavens above website to see what they are.
http://www.heavens-above.com/

:thumbsup:
Most useful stargazing tool: a garden recliner (plus arctic underwear).
 

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