The complete astronomer’s guide to viewing the Moon using binoculars
People often ask me whether they can get great views of the solar system using even simple 7 x 35 binoculars and the answer is yes. It doesn’t matter if you’re using relatively expensive 7 x 35 Leitz Leica BA Trinovid binoculars or the less expensive Celestron 71300. The night sky will explode with visual gems invisible to the naked eye and the Moon will come alive with color when viewed through binoculars.
The view becomes even better when seen through binoculars like the Oberwerk 100mm giant binocular telescope. Numerous double stars can be seen using state-of-the-art astronomy binoculars, variable stars will noticeably fluctuate at times, and you’ll see stars the naked eye isn’t able to discern. The list of objects to view using binoculars is virtually endless, but let’s start with the Moon.
A mere 238,000 miles distant, the Moon offers viewers on Earth more visual gems than any other object in the solar system. Soaring mountains, immense plains, insanely deep and wide valleys, and hundreds of craters are easily visible on the Moon using astronomy binoculars.
Selecting the best lunar phase for viewing the Moon is critical for people deciding to tour our closest neighbor using binoculars. Very little detail is often visible on the surface after a New Moon, but as the Moon rises further east night after night, more features of the surface come into view. During the First-Quarter phases of the Moon, an amazing variety of lunar surface terrain can be viewed through binoculars.
The huge plains of the lunar seas Serenitatis, Mare Crisium, Tranquillitatis, and Fecunditatis cover the equatorial regions of the Moon. Travel northward to view several large craters scattered across the landscape or south to view an area often called the “no man’s land” of the Moon. Experience the south polar region to be inspired by the rough beauty of a region with so many craters it’s often hard to tell them apart.
It’s always fascinating to view the line dividing the night and day on the Moon, which astronomers refer to as the Moon’s terminator (lunar terminator). Viewers can often see unusual lighting effects on the surface as the Sun rises and sets. If you view from the right angle, a crater can look like a bright, bottomless pit. Sunlight can often be seen traveling down the wall until it floods the bottom of the crater.
The best time to view a New Moon is normally April and May for viewers in the northern hemisphere, and October and November in the southern regions of the planet. Viewers north of the equator desiring to experience the Moon less than a day before New Moon should view during July and August, while those south of the equator will have better luck during January and February. During these times the Moon is higher in the sky, so if you slowly scan a point below the horizon directly under the Sun and the view is free of obstacles, you might experience an extremely thin crescent.
Modern astronomy binoculars offer grand and inspiring views of the Moon and solar system sure to open the mind to the usefulness of binoculars when viewing the universe. Make plans to check out the view they offer and we’re sure you’ll discover just how useful they’re.
Astronomers using binoculars report two eyes are better than one
Astronomy questions and answers – Why astronomy binoculars? The human anatomy and brain are finely tuned for viewing the universe using two eyes, and astronomy gurus indicate there are benefits to viewing the universe through both eyes. Doing astronomy using both eyes means about 40 percent more light reaches the brain, according to some scientific studies. Other astronomy studies indicate our power of resolution and ability to detect faint objects are dramatically improved by viewing the universe through two eyes. Astronomers using binoculars to conduct astronomy studies also report an enhancement of image contrast and additional color.
Modern astronomy implements a vast array of scientific instrumentation and techniques to view the universe. Today’s amateur astronomy guru has at their disposal huge telescopes, advanced optical equipment, and astronomy accessories that were once only in the realm of the professional astronomer. The truth is the low power magnification and very wide field of view of modern astronomy binoculars make them perfect for viewing the solar system. Binoculars are generally less expensive for amateur astronomers looking for a cheaper way to journey to the beginning of space and time. They’re also easier to transport and setup, than an astronomy telescope, you can carry them around your neck.
Do you own binocular research
Conduct some astronomy research on your own. Walk out to a dark viewing spot on a cold, clear, moonless night, and try this easy test. Keep both eyes open, then cover one eye with your hand, and look up at the sky. Make a mental footnote of some of the faintest stars you see in the night sky. Now take your hand away from your eye and view the same faint stars again. You’ll discover there are more stars in this region of the night sky than you first thought. Astronomy studies indicate some astronomers experience as much as a 10 percent improvement in perception.
Let’s do this astronomy test again using a nebulous object in the night sky, like the hazy band of the Milky Way stretching across the cosmos. Alternately cover and uncover one eye as you did before. The contrast between the soft glow of the star clouds of the Milky Way and the background sky will appear far more distinct when viewed through two eyes, rather than one. Astronomy studies indicate as much as a 40 percent increase in the contrast of hazy objects viewed using two eyes.
There’s little doubt in the minds of both astronomy professionals and amateur astronomers that viewing the night sky through binoculars is a great way to start your journey to the beginning of space and time.
Human beings were designed to view the universe using two eyes
Astronomical binoculars are a time-machine-to-the-stars that will make your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” a trip of a lifetime. The views you’ll experience during your journey will blow-your-mind using two eyes, rather than one, and you’ll return from your trip with tales of space and time your astronomy buddies will envy. The Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope’s 100mm aperture helps to create bright, high-contrast 90 degree views of the universe at 24x magnification, using included 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces, that both your eyes will love.
Astronomical binocular telescope with amazing image quality
A 4-inch refractor that accepts standard 1 1/4 eyepieces that are focused individually for optimal performance, the Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope features an all-metal body, fully multicoated achromatic objective lenses, Porro prisms made of BaK-4 glass, and removable eyepieces. Just mount your two-eyed time-machine-to-the-stars on a sturdy heavy-duty tripod, which isn’t included, slip the 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces into place in the integrated 90 degree prism assemblies, and blast-off from the Earth and “Journey to the beginning of Space and Time” to experience the wonders of the universe through two eyes.
Blast off to the stars with the Orion BT100 Binocular telescope
Stargazers Halloween treats abound in autumn’s night sky
Winter treat for the lonely wanderer
Astronomy news (2013-10-15) – Cassiopeia the Queen is one of the first northern deep sky objects we’ll view during our “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”. Cassiopeia the Queen is easily recognizable in autumn’s night sky using her characteristic W or M shape form and she was one of the 48 constellations originally listed by the 2nd-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy during his observations of the night sky. Today, Cassiopeia the Queen is one of 88 constellations recognized by modern stargazers in the night sky, and the abundance of magnificent open star clusters within her arms provides viewers with a chance to see a variety of outstanding celestial objects that have been entertaining stargazers for thousands of years.
Cassiopeia the Queen is a familiar sight for modern astronomers and stargazers in the mid-northern latitudes of planet Earth and is often one of the first constellations in the northern sky beginning stargazers journey to view. Board your time-machine-to-the-stars near the end of October, or the beginning of November, and take the family on a journey through time and space to visit Cassiopeia the Queen. A visit with Cassiopeia the Queen will open a child’s mind to the possibilities of the universe, before them, and your wife will be able to tell her friends that you took her out last night.
Both astronomers and ancient navigators used Cassiopeia as a guide to finding their way
One of the best open star clusters you can view with the naked eye is 6.5 magnitude NGC 129, a large, bright, open cluster of stars 8×50 astronomical binoculars will reveal to have six to twelve brighter stars nestled within the collective glow of a field of stars too faint to resolve using binoculars. You should see about 35 celestial bodies in this region of space and time 5,200 light years distant from your position on the Earth. Look toward the north of two 9th magnitude stars, near the center of NGC 129, and you’ll find the Cepheid variable DL Cassiopeiae. DL Cassiopeiae will fluctuate between 8.6 and 9.3 magnitudes, over the course of an eight-day cycle.
The central star in Cassiopeia’s characteristic W is Gamma Cassiopeiae, a prototype for a class of irregular variable stars believed to be rapidly spinning type-B celestial bodies often fluctuating by as much as magnitude 1.5 or more, Gamma Cassiopeiae will flicker between 2.2 and 3.4 magnitudes as you watch her nightly dance and this star at maximum brightness outshines both Alpha Cassiopeiae and Beta Cassiopeiae. Astronomers believe these apparent fluctuations are due to a decretion disk around this star resulting from the rapid spinning of the star, which results in some of the star’s mass forming a decretion disk. Gamma Cassiopeiae is also a spectroscopic binary star with an orbital period of about 204 days and astronomers believe Gamma Cassiopeiae’s companion star is about the same relative mass as Sol. Part of a small group of stellar sources in the night sky that beam X-ray radiation about 10 times higher than the X-rays emitted from other type-B stars across the cosmos, Gamma Cassiopeiae exhibits both short-term and long-term cycles of x-ray emission. Stargazers should also be able to view Gamma Cassiopeiae as an optical double star, with a faint magnitude 11 companion star, about 2 arcseconds distant from Gamma Cassiopeiae.
Chinese astronomers studied Gamma Cassiopeiae
Ancient stargazers in China called Gamma Cassiopeiae Tsih, which loosely translates as “the whip”, but no references have been found in Arabic or Latin texts of Gamma Cassiopeiae being referred to using a different name. Modern stargazers refer to Gamma Cassiopeiae by a number of different designations, including 27 Cassiopeiae, HR 264, HD 5394, and others. Modern astronauts often use Gamma Cassiopeiae as a star guide because it’s a relatively bright celestial object and in previous space missions this star was used as an easily recognizable navigational reference point in the night sky.
Astronomers note two Messier objects
M103 (NGC 581) is the first of two Messier objects in Cassiopeia’s arms viewable through a six-inch time-machine-to-the-stars and should appear as about three dozen stars grouped in a triangular area 6′ across. A fairly compact open cluster, M103 will be 1 degree east of Delta Cassiopeiae, and is the left bottom star of Cassiopeia’s characteristic W shape marking her throne in the night sky. Pierre Mechain was first given credit for seeing this open cluster in the night sky in 1781. Stargazers using 8×50 binoculars will see about 25 magnitude 10 or fainter stars in their view and a string of four stars immediately to M103’s southeast, which adds to the beauty of viewing M103, significantly.
The second Messier object in Cassiopeia cataloged by Messier is M52 (NGC 7654), you can locate M52 by drawing a line from Alpha Cassiopeiae through Beta Cassiopeiae, and then extending your line an equal distance to M52. An 8-inch time-machine-to-the-stars will reveal about 75 stars in the night sky clumped in various patterns along the edge of the Milky Way that aren’t lost among the background points of light behind these stars. One of the richest open clusters in Cassiopeia’s arms and north of the celestial equator, Messier made note of M52 in his catalog in 1774. This open cluster will appear as a nebulous mass of about 100 stars in 8×50 astronomical binoculars, with a few individual stars that you can resolve a little better. Stargazers looking for a little extra should look to the north of M52 to find Harrington 12, a wide triangular looking asterism containing about a dozen 5th to 9th magnitude stars, which will appear spectacular in low-power astronomical binoculars.
The Owl spreads its wings
Journey less than 3 degrees south of Delta Cassiopeiae to find the spectacular Owl Cluster (NGC 457), a celestial object ancient stargazers could plainly see in the north night sky, the Owl Cluster’s wings will be clearly viewable using a 4-inch time-machine-to-the-stars. Stargazers can also locate Delta Cassiopeiae by using 5th magnitude Phi Cassiopeiae and 7th magnitude HD 7902, which lie to the southeast of the Owl Cluster. The Own’s eastern wing is a line of four bright stars while the western wing is composed of two pairs of stars arranged in a long rectangle. The brightest star in the Owl Cluster will shine at 8.6 magnitude and will appear a little orange in color to star gazers.
A time-machine-to-the-stars with two viewing ports gives you a better view
Astronomy Products – Garrett Optical makes some of the top giant stargazing binoculars in the business, including the 20×110 monster binoculars and its higher magnification 28×110 brother, which are part of Garrett Optical’s Signature Line. These two binoculars boast 4.3-inch objectives for wonderfully expansive views of the night sky. The 20×110 puts 2.7 degrees of the night sky into a single field of view, which allows stargazers to view celestial objects like the Pleiades (M45) and the Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884). The eyepieces of these two giant binoculars aren’t removable, but you can thread standard 1 1/4-inch astronomical filters into the eyepieces of these giant binoculars.
Human beings were made to view the universe using two eyes
An essential focusing tool for your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”
Focusing your telescope
Astronomy Products – One of the toughest things to achieve when trying to take timeless pictures during your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” will be getting a sharp focus on your time-machine-to-the-stars. Professional astronomers and amateur astronomers in-the-know will use a focusing mask over the front of their time-machine-to-the-stars, rather than relying on trial and error to take pictures of unforgettable views during their trip to the stars.
One of the best and easiest to use and setup face masks on the market is the Bahtinov face-mask sold by Focus-Mask. Simply aim your time-machine-to-the-stars toward the star of your hearts desire, take a short 3 to 5-second exposure of your target, and then take a look at the three diffraction spikes on the Bahtinov face-mask. Adjust the focus on your time-machine-to-the-stars, take another 3 to 5-second exposure of your target, and once again examine the diffraction spikes. Continue this process until the middle diffraction spike lies directly between the other two spikes and you should be ready to take a shot of your hearts desire your kids will never forget.
Make sure you take your Bahtinov Focus mask with you
Before you head out on the next leg of your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” grab a Bahtinov face-mask or another face-mask, and your view and astrophotography will improve significantly, and you’ll have more time for timeless views, rather than spending time trying to focus your time-machine-to-the-stars.