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Mobile Stargazing: Binocular Astronomy Tips and Targets for Summer

In comparison to cheaper glass, ED crystal transmits more light and prevents that light from splitting widely apart into its constituent colors. When light passes through a lens, it bends. The shorter the wavelength more towards blue and violet , the steeper the bending. As the colors are split out of white light, they "land" in different places. Your eye can only be in one place along the path.

The result: you see blurry colored edges on objects. ED glass better-aligns the colors together. Your eye and brain resolve these properties into sharper, brighter, higher-contrast and more richly colored images. It's a common — but questionable — belief that binoculars for astronomy must employ the blocky, angular "porro" prism design. Being larger, "porros" can concentrate more photons for greater illumination. If the goal is to look primarily at day-lit objects, most buyers will go for "roofers. But if the targets are mostly dim dots in the dark astronomy , the porro geometry can deliver more light to users' eyes.

So, "porros" for skywatching and "roofers" for everything else, right? Well, the truth is much more complicated. If observing only with binoculars, many astronomers prefer a pair of identical refractor telescopes fused together, side by side. Not to be snooty, but this is the only time the word "pair" is technically correct when referring to a binocular device. This third type of rig is called a Galilean binocular.

They are very large and heavy, so must be mounted on a tripod or counterweighted arm. Among smaller and handheld astronomy binoculars, porro prism designs are most common. But a few optical engineers have found ways to select materials for — then cast, coat and install — roof prisms that can rival and surpass many porros under the night sky. Oberwerk has done exactly this with its model 8x42 ED. Typical of Oberwerk, there's a certain rugged, "mil-spec" good enough for military battle conditions feeling to these binoculars: a hardy hunk of instrument, but not too heavy.

They balance nicely; the center of mass sits right in the palm s of your hand s. Oberwerks are generally built to last, and this model shows no deviation from genotype. They can take a shock. Parts that would be plastic on comparable brands are old-school metal.

The oversized that's a feature, not a bug focus knob is a prime example: It's aircraft-grade aluminum, deeply knurled for fingertip traction. Its glide is sweet, not varying much in feel between Arizona daytime heat and New Hampshire nighttime chill. The right-eye diopter adjustment-ring is similarly robust. There's a tiny tick mark, indicting the neutral-focus position, dug into the ring. For those among us who are farsighted me , it's difficult to see this little incision without eyeglasses.

Stargazing Essential Kit – Binoculars

As a practical matter, you won't often need to reference any of this; you'll just intuitively focus. But if two or more of you are passing one binocular back and forth, it can be nice to know one's own precise correction admittedly, a rare case. Both "twirly parts" are anodized in fire-ember red, a striking and beautiful contrast against the deep-woods-at-night, green rubberized "waterproof" body.

That choice is not driven solely by style; the red rings are Oberwerk's way of declaring that extra-dispersion "ED" glass lives inside. Adventure travelers need a binocular small enough to tuck away and lightweight enough to hold up to the eyes without shake. Gyro-stabilized binoculars from other manufacturers can eliminate the "wigglies. And they are bulky, because they have to house motors and mechanisms. In contrast, Oberwerk's solution is a meticulous blend of low-mass chassis material, quality component selection and exquisite design.

If you're a seat-of-the-pants amateur astronomer like me , you enjoy scanning across the sky for many minutes, letting your eye catch on some enticing ensemble of stars worthy of probing more deeply with your telescope. Oberwerk's magnesium-alloy construction lets these "bins" weigh in at less than a pound and a half [1. You can hold them for many minutes without quivering views due to twitchy muscles.

For sustained wide-field viewing, you can easily put them on a tripod. You'll need an adapter stalk, available from third-party sellers.

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In the daylight, the undesirable phenomenon of "chromatic aberration" can darken your mood when you're trying to appreciate the intricate patterns of a colorful bird's feathers. Or to see if that young deer, yards away, has lost its fawn spots. Or to enjoy the textures of the brickwork on that Chinese architectural roofline. But the Oberwerks are free of color smear, can handle all of these situations well and can pass on undistorted edges to your eye. Under the stars, the ED glass shows its stuff: The Oberwerks gather a lot of light for their small-ish 42mm 1.

If there's any chromatic irregularity at all, I couldn't detect it. In other binoculars, that issue pops up when a lens or multilens system can't bring all colors to converge at the same point.

Freelance Astronomer & Mathematician Stephen Mackintosh

You see it as blurred fringes at the edges of objects; a reddish ring around the moon is a typically unwelcome case. You'd need truly huge binoculars for that, at least four times more powerful. But you can easily detect the subtle color differences between the butterscotch of planet Mars and its redder rival star Antares whose name, in Greek, means "opposite of Mars".

The 8.

Best Binoculars for Astronomy

Orion the Hunter 's belt, dagger and sword neatly fill your oculars, with the well-known Orion Nebula occupying about one-sixth of the scene. Castor and Pollux, the two stars of the Gemini twins , cover exactly half the cone of sky funneled to your eyes. If you crave a slightly tighter view, Oberwerk offers a 10x42 ED variant with a 6. With the proper mount, there is no limit to magnification, objective size, and binocular weight. Be aware that some of these binoculars will require a mount that costs as much or more than the binocular. Some models, such as the BT , come complete with mount. Search Products Search for: Search.

Dayton, OH Questions? Any binocular over 12x that is used for astronomy really should be mounted in order to obtain a steady view. Business Products Business Products. Find The Perfect Camera. View All Video Cameras.

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