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Monthly Archives: January 2008

31 Jan

The traditional opera glass binocular is almost always 3x, which, back in the days of small opera houses and venues, plenty of magnification. By today’s standards for concerts and theatres, however, 3x in a binocular is not nearly enough to provide a close up look at performers. A friend of mine recently used took an excellent Zeiss Victory 8×20 compact binocular to the opera and fell in love with it. Optics were great, of course, but more importantly, from his position in the “nosebleed” section, the 8x magnification was perfect. About the only advantage a traditional opera glass has going …

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30 Jan

I was saddened to hear the Nikon will be dropping the Nikon Premier LX binocular (except for the compacts) and also the Nikon Premier SE binocular (my own birding binocular), but, at the same time, I am quite excited about reports of a new supergrade Nikon binocular, the Nikon EDG, that Nikon will be announcing, shortly. I have very little in the way of info right now, but their new premium grade roof prism will have the Swarovski EL body style and ED objective lenses. Probably won’t see on until summer, but this may be the ultimate Nikon binocular, yet.…

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29 Jan

No, you can’t see detail on Mars when using a binocular, but that is no reason not to take a look at the red planet. With a good binocular, Mars will reveal itself as a tiny reddish or orange disc, shining with a steady glow – my Nikon 10×70 binocular resolves Mars perfectly and the color is stunning. Right now, Mars is high overhead, just after sunset and very easy to find in the constellation Taurus. It is easily the brightest object in the evening sky, other than the moon. If Mars isn’t enough to whet your appetite, get up …

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28 Jan

I love to observe the sword in the constellation Orion with my binoculars. Of course, this is the home to the famous Orion nebula, but, for a binocular astronomer, it is also a great area for binocular double stars. I especially enjoy splitting the stars Theta 1 and Theta 2 with my Nikon 10×70 and, on a good night, Theta 1 hints at being more than a single star. This brilliant white pair of stars appear all the more spectacular for being framed by the mighty M42, the Orion nebula, which, even in my severely light polluted skies, still shows …

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25 Jan

Caught the full moon the other night under ideal skies, so put the Nikon 10×70 Astroluxe on the tripod for a closer look. Still amazes me what a difference a tripod can make when observing very fine detail. When tripod mounted, even a 10x binocular, such as the Nikon will show that the floor of the various lunar maria are covered with fine feathery rays and even a 7x binocular will show color variations in these craterless areas. Both binocular magnifications are also enough to show many, many craters and some of the larger mountain ranges. In other words, there …

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24 Jan

I do appreciate good equipment. Case in point is the arrival of the long awaited tripod adapter, Nikon 7806, for my Nikon astronomy binoculars (it was delivered by Tom Hadt, our super Nikon sales rep, personally). The machining on this simple piece of equipment is in keeping with the quality of the Nikon 10×70 Astroluxe it will soon meet. After all, a good astronomy binocular deserves a good tripod and a tripod adapter. I had simply been resting my Nikon binoculars on the tripod with my hands, but now I will do it right. Look out double stars, here comes …

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17 Jan

One of the (many) reasons I love binocular astronomy is convenience. When I get home from work and the skies are clear (a rare thing this month), it’s always nice to grab my astronomy binocular and step out on the patio for some instant astronomy – no telescope setup and assembly time, no waiting for a telescope to cool down, no time spent on telescope take down. With a binocular, you just point and look. Got a half hour for some quick astronomy before going to bed? Grab that binocular and have a look. Could the crescent moon ever look …

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16 Jan

Yesterday’s forecast for clear skies overnight came up empty, so no astronomy binoculars last night. Still, there is hope for this weekend for my Nikon astronomy binoculars, which, by now, may be feeling a bit neglected. Looks like we may get another chance to do some astronomy, this weekend, though temps are supposed to be around zero. To a gal who rides a bike in Chicago in the winter, that’s mostly an issue of having plenty of hot chocolate on hand.

Joanie’s tip for cold weather binocular astronomy: just make sure you use that binocular strap – it’s too easy …

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15 Jan

The weather forecast is calling for clear skies, tonight and I must say, I am more than ready. My astronomy binoculars have been in their binocular cases for far too long and my star maps are beginning to collect dust. In other words, we have had a long spell of the Chicago drearies – cloudy skies, day after day, without a break. It’s part of the winter landscape for Chicago and I accept it, but, oh, how my heart longs for the sight of an open cluster or two in my Nikon Astroluxe 10×70 binocular. “May it be an evening …

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14 Jan

What’s in a name? Carson Optics is a name usually associated with budget grade optics, but does that mean that Carson does not make a serious binocular? If you’ve ever had a chance to look through the Carson XM HD binocular, as I have, then you know that Carson makes a binocular that will compete very nicely with any binocular in its price range and that includes the world’s best selling $300 binocular, the Nikon Monarch. In fact, in my tests, it rated a bit sharper. Let me also mention that the folks at Carson are also great when it …

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