Binoculars

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martymonsta
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Binoculars

Postby martymonsta » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:48 pm

I recently started thinking about getting a pair of Binoculars to aid in visually tracking flights and checking for apogee deployment etc. and was a bit surprised to find that the forum had very little info, so turned to stargazing info to see what I should look for in a pair of Binoculars. A few things I learnt.

1) Power isn't everything, actually to much magnifying power can work against you giving you less field of view and making the binoculars harder to hold steady.

2) There are two types of prisms, roof prisms, these are in compacts binoculars that have a straight through design and are commonly used by bird watches. Using Roof prism binoculars for star gazing they tend to exhibit spikes of light on bright stars. Porro-prism binoculars have a zig-zag shape to them. Porro-prism are made from either BK7 or BAK4 glass. BK7 is cheaper then BAK4 and you do get what you pay for.

3) Lens coatings improve image brightness and contrast without effecting the colour. Low quality binoculars are generally only coated on the outside lens however the best models have multi layered coatings on all air to glass surfaces. You can tell the quality of the optics by looking backward into the main lens, white reflections indicate poor quality coating, while dark lens with a few purple or green reflections indicate multi-coated optics.

After test driving a few pairs of Binoculars I settled for a pair of Nikon 10x50 Aculon A211
Image
I haven't tested them in relation to Rocket tracking yet, however I can see the 1-1.25" dia. TV antenna mast on a distinctive building 1.75km (5740ft) across the valley. I was also able to see the Crab Nebular in Orion with ease despite moderate light polution. They are a little fuzzy at the peripheral however they are much better then some of the others that I tried and from the reviews that I read this is quite normal unless you go to the next level of optics and price. They only cost $129 So all in all I'm happy I'll let everyone know how they go when I get to try them out on a rocket at 10k'
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it

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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:19 am

$129? Nice.
I've been meaning to find a replacement for my old 7x50's for years, might give these a go.

PS, did you mean the Orion Nebula? Kinda looks like a crab I guess.
The Crab nebula is in Taurus (and looks nothing like a crab!)
Simon
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martymonsta
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Re: Binoculars

Postby martymonsta » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:37 am

Viking wrote:PS, did you mean the Orion Nebula? Kinda looks like a crab I guess.


Opps. Yes M42 or NGC 1976
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it

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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:34 pm

Where did you find it for that price?
I found Teds, but they seem to have a pretty high percentage of disgruntled customers :?
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Re: Binoculars

Postby martymonsta » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:55 pm

I got them at Teds. They were actually $129.95. I went into the store and tried them out along with a few other pairs. I actually went in on 2 separate days, the first day I got a staff member that knew his stuff and was really helpful, which was great as he taught me how to adjust them for my left eye being shortsighted. Then when I went to pick them up the staff member had less clue what was going on but I had already decided on what I wanted. I've never dealt with Teds online but I'm a bit suspect on trusting a courier with precision optics.
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it

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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:42 pm

Cheers, yeah that's the price I saw at Ted's online.
I had the same concerns regarding freight, but the best price locally is $169 though they do have a price match policy, will see how successful that is :wink:
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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:37 pm

Price match win!
CameraHouse have one pair in stock that they have put on hold for me.
They added Ted's postage cost even though I'm picking-up, so $139, but that's fair enough.

Cheers for the heads-up!
Simon
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Re: Binoculars

Postby martymonsta » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:57 pm

If they only have one pair there is a very high chance that they might have been on display. This shouldn't be an issue, mine were the last in the store, however request to try then out and look through them backward because any damage to the lens will be far more obvious.
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it

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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:19 pm

Yeah good point.
They'd still be better that my old 60's or 70's vintage Hanimex 7x50's. They're built like a tank but have copped a few hard knocks over the years. I suspect either a prism or objective has shifted very slightly as now they are very slighly misaligned, brain compensates for it pretty quickly, but the eyestrain can't be good.
They also have decent coma and chromatic aberation at the edge of the FOV when used for astro, but I've seen worse from cheap modern bino's.
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Re: Binoculars

Postby jase » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:24 pm

Nice pick up Marty.

Field of View (FoV) is better at lower magnifications so a pair of 10 x should be ok, the 7x would be better.

I've been into astronomy since, well, forever - my 20 x 80s are great for wide field high magnification work and my 12 x 60s are great for rich field work...

Both pairs WAY too big for tracking rockets.

Hey Viking, have you tried adjusting the diopter? Get the left side focused with the central focal control, then close the left eye and use the diopter focus to clear up the right hand side.

Another quick tip, if I may - don't hold them where the hand grips are (LOL) you'll get a much more stable view if you hold them as far forward (close to the main lenses) as you can...
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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:44 pm

Cheers Jase, yeah familiar with diopter adjustment, it's definitely an internal issue.
I discovered the front holding technique quite by accident back when Halley's comet was here last, which sparked my interest in astronomy. Can't believe it was 30 years ago already!

These Nikons are a lot lighter than my old Hanimex 7x50's! Don't have that nice oldskool build quality though.
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Re: Binoculars

Postby jase » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:11 pm

No worries :)

Might be a wonky prism then, don't be scared to open them up and try to fix it yourself - mechanically, they are very basic :wink:

Halley was disappointing, there have been many more spectacular ones since...McNaught, Hale-Bopp etc...

FWIW - I recall Perry Vlahos used to do a binocular tour at star parties, his "20 best objects through binoculars" tours were always highlights. We've (Southern Hemisphere) got two of the best globular clusters the night sky has to offer; NGC 5139 and 104 - both stunning...47 Tuc would be my favorite though - you get to cruise around the Magellanic Clouds 8)

*sigh* need to dust off my stuff :|
Me and my rockets run on Moonshine.

martymonsta
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Re: Binoculars

Postby martymonsta » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:09 pm

Just a quick update, I gave my binoculars a good work out over the weekend at WWW2016 and was really impressed. The real proof of there abilities where demonstrated during Al's flight with his sky cruiser to north of 20k' they provided me with a clear view of the whole flight, I was really surprised that I could track a 4" rocket at that altitude, so I'm really happy with them.
Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it

MARS #21
AMRS #41 L2/LCO/RSO/CO

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Re: Binoculars

Postby Viking » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:44 am

Blew me away when you called out that the drogue had deployed!
Great work keeping track for the whole flight.
Simon
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Re: Binoculars

Postby jhurst7 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:54 pm

Hey guys,

What do you reckon those binoculars would see for a 24mm rocket with a 15-17cm rocket?
I'd paint it all red and I'll use the Stratologger CF so I'll have a beeper, I just need to see where it comes down.
Do you reckon this would help with visually tracking the rocket?
Thanks

-James
L1- AMRAAM 2- H54


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