Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Review of Celestron's Stereo Binocular Viewer for Telescopes

My eyes aren't getting any younger and with floaters and astigmatism viewing through one eye just isn't getting it done. So I picked up one of Celestron's Stereo Binocular Viewer for use with my Celestron NexStar 8iSE and NexStar 4SE telescopes. I got it through Amazon for $162 (warehouse deal price, regular price would have been $185.)

It came with a really nice aluminum case and the bino has a great feel to it.

Here it is mounted on my Celestron 8iSE:

And mounted on my Celestron NexStar 4SE:

Since the Moon was at first quarter and the skies were clear with little turbulence, I was astonished at the clarity and the feeling that you were just hovering over the Moon! The detail was... WOW !

It is amazing what details that TWO eyes can pick up that one eye has trouble with. The interior ridges of the Copernicus Crater kept me at the scope for minutes! Here is a poor shot taken with my smart phone through one of the eyepieces.
Copernicus Crater on the left side.

Like a regular pair of binoculars, you focus with one eye closed, then focus with the other closed but use the diopter (twisting the eyepiece) until it is sharp. Open both eyes, adjust the spread of the binos to match your eyes and be prepared to be wow-ed!

If you have the cash to spare... GET ONE!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Three Evening Planets with the Celestron 4SE

Took my Celestron NexStar 4SE out last evening for a few quickie images of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

All were taken at prime focus with a Canon T3 at ISO 400 @ 1/125th sec. These are cropped from the single shot and are "actual" size comparison with each other. Nothing to write home about but it was an experiment anyway. Ideally I should have used my Canon t2i or t3i in the cropped movie mode and then used software to find the best frames and integrate them into a higher quality result.

You can see that the planet is gibbous (no longer a full circle)
as our planet is pulling away from Mars (getting ahead of it in orbit around the Sun).

You can easily see several of the cloud belts
and a hint of  in the the Great Red Spot
near the lower right edge of the planet.

The lower part of the rings of Saturn
are tilted downward in relation to us.
You can just make out the two major parts
of the rings as well and perhaps a hint
of a slightly darker cloud belt on the upper part
of the planet.

Just a reminder: These were taken with a small scope (4" mirror)
as compared with the Celestron NexStar 8iSE (8" mirror).
While the 8" is twice the diameter
it has 4 times the light gathering and detail potential of the 4".

Personally, I am just surprised that I was able to get what I did with this little scope! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

M 27 - The Dumbell Nebula

The weather was cooperating and M 27, the Dumbell Nebula was calling! I decided to do something I had not done before: image one subject for 30 minutes of stacking! Using the HIGH setting on my Canon t2i (ISO 12800) the image was quite grainy:

But stacking 180 - ten second exposures like the one above resulted in:

Quite a significant improvement ! I love the DeepSkyStacker program that accomplishes this.