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Posts Made By: Milton Wilcox

April 10, 2003 05:31 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Enough Mount?

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Hey, Larry, my new mount is REALLY stable :>)

April 12, 2003 05:03 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Vow

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Last night at a star party, I witnessed a young woman totally overjoyed at seeing Jupiter's bands through her very own 60mm Tasco refractor. Ten feet away, a man at the eyepiece of a very expensive SCT was bemoaning that he could not see the Cassini division better.

I hereby vow to try to enjoy my astro equipment more like her and less like him.

Milt

April 22, 2003 02:18 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Looking Back (Cloudy Night Pursuits)

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Since I have been hooked on binocular astronomy for only one year and astronomy in general for only a few years longer, I jumped at the recent chance to look through some older magazines.

Here's what I found in the July 1992 issue of 'Sky & Telescope':

- An article on a comet-hunting observatory in Czechoslovakia that used 1946 Somet-Binar 25x100 binoculars. These had Zeiss optics yielding a "well corrected" 3.7° FOV and the EP's had a 60° viewing angle. Between 1946 and 1959 the staff found 18 comets, 6 of which were by one lady using these binos.

- New giant binoculars advertised for sale:

Miyauchi 45° 20x100 4-element "semi-APO," BaK4, 27mm eye relief. No price listed. Looks like their present models.

Observation 100mm Binoculars 25x/40x EP's on turret, triplet objectives magnesium fluorite coated, two tripods with case and filters, $2,095.00. Sound familiar?

Fujinon 25x150 Astronomical Binocular with right-angle (90°) viewing, 2.7° FOV, fork and pedestal, suggested list $11,000.00.

So, giant binoculars with astronomical quality have been around for at least 56 years, and are essentially unchanged in the past 11 years. But what we have today is that same quality at far lower prices.

Enjoy!

Milt

May 25, 2003 06:48 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

A Look Through Kimball's 25x100's

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Kimball Corson and I met unexpectedly at a star party last night in northern AZ. Of course what introduced us was his Burgess 25x100's!

I want to thank Kimball for all the eyepiece time he shared with me and comment on these amazing-for-the-money binoculars. We were observing from a reasonably dark site - around mag 5.5 - and surfed through a wide range of objects including Mizar/Alcor, M81/M82, M109, Albireo, Antares/M4, the Leo triplet, M39, N.A. nebula, M24, M17/M18 and M8/M20/M21. At times we had a line forming to see the wide field views.

My own take is that color was not intrusive below mag 3, the contrast was very good, and the central sharpness fully acceptable with careful focusing. The sharpness holds up to about 2/3 of the edge, but the edge itself is poor. These Chinese-made giant binoculars, which would no doubt would include similar offerings from Oberwerk and Apogee, are perfect for anyone who does much of their observing through a scope and wants to add something for panoramic two-eyed views.

After reading so much about them, it was great to finally get an extended look. I forgot to ask Kimball what mount they were on, but it was very stable. Maybe he could comment.

Clear skies, Milt

June 12, 2003 01:24 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

But We Already Knew That

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Hello all,

I have been away from the computer for two weeks and am just getting caught up. If this hasn't been posted already, you should check out:

http://cloudynights.com/articles/vision.htm

Clear skies,
Milt

July 14, 2003 06:00 PM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Binoscope Review

Posted By Milton Wilcox

My review of the Astromeccanica/Hutech Borg 100ED binoscope is now available at:

http://www.cloudynights.com/breviews/borg.htm

Clear Skies,

Milt

July 15, 2003 05:39 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Tasco Torment

Posted By Milton Wilcox

A couple of months ago I mentioned the joy of a newcomer to the views through her used Tasco. Indeed, Jupiter had a sharp limb, bands were visible and false color was less than expected. If you could find Jupiter.

The thing was miserable to use. The finder impossible, and so much play in the mount with so little TFOV you had to hold the scope to keep it on target. The joy was soon replaced with sheer frustration.

I took it as a challenge to see if I could salvage some usefulness from the promising 60mm f/13 doublet. Took it apart, found the anchor for the altitude adjustment rod loose, a screw stripped in one pivot bracket, and the baffle at a 45° angle in the tube. Repaired above, added a red dot finder and 20mm Plossl (40x, 1.25°), and it is now a very usable scope.

My frustration is that the marketer would squander a very servicable objective by trading finder and mount quality for useless high power EP's and Barlows, and in so doing turn off the purchaser to astronomy forever.

Arghhh,

Milt

November 27, 2003 03:20 AM Forum: Antique/Classic/Vintage Optical Instruments

Antique Binoscopes

Posted By Milton Wilcox

I observe with both eyes, so When I entered the Nautical Instrument Museum in the Historic Mystic (CT) Seaport, I almost fell over at the sight of a huge and magnificent old brass binoscope. Of course I had to have the history, which the docent eventually found after much rummaging around.

William Cary Edgecomb lived in Mystic from 1845 to 1906. He had an observatory at 64 Edgecomb St., taught astronomy and advertised and sold binocular telescopes. Only five are known to have survived. In a 13 page catalog dated August 1895 and titled 'Binocular Telescopes' is found:

A 2-3/8" binoscope with 34" focal length (f/14.3) with eyepiece(s) for 35x-50x, rack & pinion focus and oak or mahogany tripod, for $175.00, and a 3" version for $325.00.

A 5" binoscope approximately 6' long with eyepiece(s) for 60x-80x, for $850.00. It was this model on display, but sadly missing both prisms and one objective. I took a picture, which I will attach.

And finally the dreamscope, a 6-1/4" with Alvin Clark optics, 94" focal length (f/15) and a certification that the f.l. of the two sides would not differ by an amount exceeding 1/100", for $2,500! This was an immense sum in 1895, and it's not clear that any were ever built.

I guess two-eyed observing is not a recent phenomenon.

Clear skies, Milt

November 27, 2003 03:29 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Northeast Trip Report

Posted By Milton Wilcox

On our recent 13 week camping trip to the Northeast I took my 26 yr. old handheld Nikon 12x36's and newer Canon 18x50's mounted on a Manfrotto 3130 micro fluid head and 3011BN tripod. At times, I rested the little Nikons on the mounted Canons for added stability.

I continued my Messier tour on both binos, working in the narrow windows of opportunity for DSO's in small binos afforded by the lunar cycle, metropolitan light domes and weather. In Twin Mountain, NH in mag 5+ skies, I revisited the Sagittarius eye candy, then moved on to the Ophiuchus globs: M10, M12, M14 and M9 in both binos, but M107 in the 18x50's only. The next window came on Cape Cod, MA under similar skies, where I scored difficult (for 50mm binos) mag 9.5 objects M76 and M73, both located from Machholz' charts, and mag 9 globular M72. The only 12x36 objects added that night were M33 and globs M30 and M75.

Moving on to Mystic, CT, we visited the historic seaport. There I happened upon a 19th century binoscope; a report and picture can be found in the Astromart 'Antique Instruments' forum.

In Amish farmlands east of Lancaster, PA, I attempted Sue French's November Cepheus sampler in mag 4.5 skies and managed 6/9. Near the end of the trip in the Shenandoah Valley, VA came the best night with mag 5.5 skies and good horizons. First I revisited Cepheus and saw a hint of NGC6946 (one of Sue's objects I had missed) near NGC6939, Canons only. Then I cruised the Cassiopeia OC's, including M103, NGC654/663, NGC559, NGC457 and NGC7789, most seen in both binos. NGC281 was a mere ghost with AV in the Canons. Galaxy M77 in Cetus was seen in both. M1 was again Canons only, as was my coup de grace, M74, confirmed with a careful sketch.

There was also the impromptu 2-man star party with a fellow who had a Nexstar 8 - what a great complement mounted 3.5° binos make to an SCT! My Messier totals are now 50 for the 12x36's and 70 for the 18x50's. With M74 under my belt I may have a shot at completing the tour with the Canons. Anyone else seen all 109 with 50mm binos?

Clear skies,

Milt

March 19, 2004 01:37 AM Forum: Binoviewers

Binoviewer Comparo Question

Posted By Milton Wilcox

Hello All,

A recent thread got me wondering if anyone has ever compared binoviewers in identical, perfectly matched (in mono mode), preferrably tracking, scopes with matching sets of EP's?

My personal experience with comparo's has been that if it involves much trading out of hardware, I tend to lose the image delicacies during each changeover. The units discussed on this forum appear to be so close in optical quality that maybe the only way to show up subtle differences would be to go back and forth between two competing units, with everything else identical, in only a second or two.

If two folks on this forum happened to live close to each other and have identical scopes and EP's, but different binos, maybe it could be worked out. I use a Denk II in a Vixen R200SS but live out in the boonies of AZ...

Thanks,
Milt