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Monthly Archives: February 2011

28 Feb

Bill got up to let the puppy out and throw a few more logs into the wood burning stove about 5:30, this morning, and managed to wake me in the process. I wasn’t sleeping all that well, anyway, and, out of habit, I stumbled to the sliding doors on our deck to check for clear skies and some stars.

In the small window of sky above our house I could see Lyra and its showpiece star, Vega, burning brightly. In a telescopes, this constellation is known as the home of M57, the Ring Nebula which I have seen, even in…

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25 Feb

On paper, the performance gap between compact binoculars and full size binoculars would seem to make an airtight case in favor of larger binoculars. In terms of image exit pupil and twilight factor and all the other numbers that you see listed in the specs for a binocular, the numbers favor larger binoculars. It is not even close. Why would anyone buy compact binoculars, then?

Funny thing about those numbers, they really don’t carry over into real world use. How much resolution do you really need? How much image brightness do you really need? Is there that much difference between …

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24 Feb

There was a time when I kept multiple birdwatching and birding lists. My life list of all the birds I have seen in my forty plus years of birding has always been kind of my data base, but after forty years, there are not too many more birds for me to add to that list. My yearly list of all the birds I have seen for a given year has typically been my most active and used list. Then there have been state lists, municipal lists, regional lists, monthly lists and so on. Yes, there was a time when I…

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23 Feb

How often do you clean your binoculars? With most equipment, it usually pays dividends to clean a bit more than necessary for the sake of functioning and performance and, besides, who likes dirty equipment? To that end, you will never find me with a dirty bike, a dirty fishing reel or, in days past, a dirty gun. With binoculars, spotting scopes, digital cameras, telescopes and just about anything that uses lenses, though, I tend to clean sparingly and will usually wait until enough dirt, dust and smudging collects on a given lens surface to seriously reduce performance before I clean.…

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22 Feb

What’s your favorite pet peeve about binoculars? Which specific binocular feature upsets you the most when it is not to your liking? When it comes time to buy binoculars, which binocular feature is the deal breaker even when everything else about the binocular is to your liking? Let’s face it: we tend to be much fussier about some binocular features than others. Some binocular features are always more important to us than others. In fact, the way we prioritize these features can change from one type of binocular to another. We may value and prize different features in our astronomy…

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21 Feb

You can go birdwatching in just about any weather, assuming, of course, that you would want to go bird watching in blizzards, hurricanes and so on. Most birders, do not, obviously, but the option is there, all the same. To be sure, the potential of bird watching and birding as all weather and all season pursuits puts most other outdoor activities to shame.

It is a rare instance, then, when I have not been able to grab the birding binoculars or spotting scope and head out to woods and field and, yes, I’ve done some birding under pretty severe weather…

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18 Feb

It’s sometimes the little things that make such a big difference, even when trying to decide whether to use astronomy binoculars or telescopes for your evening of astronomy. Which of these two instruments, specifically, is least affected by marginal observing conditions? The lower magnification offered by binoculars may limit an observer for doing some types of astronomy, no doubt, but that same lower magnification makes astronomy binoculars less affected by marginal conditions than telescopes.

Last night, was a good example. The moon was full and I opted to setup & use a telescope to just have some fun. As soon…

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17 Feb

I am both a bird watcher – someone who enjoys observing birds for a wide variety of reasons – and a birder – someone who focuses on spotting and identifying as many birds as possible. When looking at my bird feeders though binoculars or spotting scopes, I am both, of course, but since the number of bird species at the feeder on any given day is fairly constant, I am mostly a birdwatcher with regard to my feeders. That explains why I spend so much time with binoculars in hand as I watch activity at the feeders.

One of my …

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16 Feb

My new prescription eyeglasses arrived, yesterday, and I am pleased. Nothing like seeing things a little sharper and even a little brighter, since I opted not to go with photochromic lenses. I’ve always believed that the photochromic coating robs me of a little image brightness when using my glasses with my astronomy binoculars and I’ve often wondered if it affected the color rendition in my birding binoculars. I’ll find out soon enough.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that these new eyeglass lenses are just a shade thicker than my old lenses, so I have lost just a…

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15 Feb

I read in the Times that resource and labor prices around the world are rising sharply, and in some cases, at record levels, meaning, of course, that prices for everything, down the road, are potentially on the way up. How about binoculars and other optics, such as telescopes, microscopes, spotting scopes and so on? Are those expensive birding binoculars you’ve been wanting going to get even more expensive? Good chance, I would say, though it will take a more potent crystal ball than mine to say how much and when the prices will go up.

If this increase in the…

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