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Monthly Archives: May 2008

29 May

One of the things I have noticed between two of my astronomy binoculars, both of equal quality, but different size, is the intensity of color on stars. In this regard, my Nikon 10X70 definitely outdoes the very similar, but smaller Nikon 7×50 Prostar. Star colors in the 10×70, by virtue of its larger objective, are definitely more intense. In fact, despite the smaller and more manageable size of the 7×50, I find myself grabbing the 10×70 more often. Guess I am as addicted to color in stars as I am in color on birds.…

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28 May

Looking for a tripod head that will support even a jumbo 25×100 binocular? If I had one of those beasts, I would go straight for the Bogen 229 Super Pro head, then add a basic leg set, such as the Bogen 055XDB. A tripod head this large will prevent that dreaded mount sag – when you center an object in the field of view, then lock the head, it will stay put, instead of dropping out of view as the tripod head flexes. Makes life much easier when using giant binoculars. A light tripod and a 25×100 binocular is a …

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27 May

Last Friday night, I woke up about 1:00 in the morning, so peeked outside and saw the sky was clear. Couldn’t help myself. I put on my robe and grabbed my astronomy binocular. Ophiuchus was perfectly placed for observing, so I thought I would try my hand at some globular clusters from my patio, light pollution and all. (Hey, I’m not about to walk over to the park in my bathrobe!) By very careful navigating and using all my best deep-sky techniques, I picked up M10 and even M12 in my Nikon 10×70, though both were a challenge, even for …

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26 May

One of our employees tried an 8x compact binocular for a concert and found that 8x was just too much magnification from his seat. All he wanted to do was to take a peek, now and then, but still see as much of the show as possible in one glance. Problem in low magnification compact binoculars is selection – really very little in the way of a low magnification compact binocular, these days and he wanted something of good quality. I suggested a 5x monocular as a quick peek, wide-angle alternative and, for quality, nothing beats a Nikon 5x15HG monocular. …

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22 May

The warbler action has been very slow, the last couple of evenings, but I did pick up a couple of thrushes with the Zeiss 8×20. Got both a Veery and a Swainon’s and, even in the low light of the forest under story on a cloudy day, the Veery’s reddish brown was distinctive in the little compact binocular. That leaves several thrush species to go for my spring list, but that’s part of the fun. With birding, there is always something else to see. My binocular and I will be ready.…

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21 May

Lots of reasons to put a binocular on a tripod and lots of reasons not to put a binocular on a tripod. One of the reasons to put a binocular on a tripod is one that I used to advantage, years ago, when I worked as an astronomy tour guide at a small, rural, amateur observatory built by our astronomy club. Putting the bino on a tripod meant you could share the view with visitors and thereby introduce them to the wonders of binocular astronomy. The tripod used was a custom built parallelogram and was a superb piece of machining. …

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20 May

I get a lot of questions on which binocular for which application, but relatively few on how to actually use a binocular to get an object in the field of view on the first try. Guess folks take this for granted, but there is a proper technique for finding an object with a binocular. This skill is especially critical in birding if you want to spot a bird before it flies away or hops to the next branch.

Joanie’s rule number one to get on target, quickly, is to NOT move you head when you spot a bird and I …

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19 May

The sky cleared, the other night, around midnight. Since I couldn’t seem to fall asleep, anyway, I grabbed my Nikon Astroluxe 10×70 and did some exploring. Ophiuchus was up high enough, at last, to do some observing, so I started, there. This constellation, of course, is known to binocular astronomers for its abundance of globular clusters, most of which are visible under a good sky with any average astronomy binocular. On the other hand, when you have only a mag 3 sky, on a good night, most of those stellar treasures are a real challenge, even in a giant binocular. …

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15 May

Added an Eastern Bluebird and a Least Flycatcher to my spring list, last night. Okay, I was about as certain on the Flycatcher as I could be without hearing its song. Through my Zeiss compact binocular, the prominent eye ring and large head pretty much cinched it and I have seen this bird many times. As always, I will added an asterisk behind this one, as I do for all Flycatchers.

The Bluebird was just where you would expect a Bluebird to be – on a wire, next to an open field and it was truly dazzling in the binocular. …

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14 May

Watched a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher last night, along the bike trail. Though not as spectacularly colorful as the Yellow Warbler I had seen minutes, earlier, the little Gnatcatcher was still quite handsome in the Zeiss 8×20 compact. Through the binocular, the distinctive white-edged tail and white eye ring were clearly visible, even in the tree cover. Since the temp was hovering at about 50 degrees, I’m not sure the little guy was finding many gnats or other insects, but I enjoyed watching. Seems like each evening is bring me more delights, so a birding binocular is my constant companion, these days.…

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