Binocular Astronomy / Edition 1

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Overview

The advantages of using both eyes for astronomical observing are many and considerable, largely because of the way the human brain processes visual information.

Binoculars—the usual kinds—are incredibly useful for wide-field observing, but "binocular astronomy" is much more than that, including binocular eyepieces that can be fitted to normal astronomical telescopes, and even giant binocular telescopes that are effectively two astronomical telescopes working in tandem.

Here is everything an astronomer needs to know about binocular observing. The book takes an in-depth look at the instruments themselves, and has sections on evaluating and buying binoculars and binocular telescopes, their care, mounting, and accessories. In addition there is a selection of fine objects to be seen with 50mm and 100mm binoculars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"Binoculars are an often-overlooked lower-cost alternative for introductory astronomy students and beginning amateur astronomers. … The detailed information on buying and maintaining binoculars will be particularly useful for those who have always used telescopes. … Photographs and drawings are excellent and enhance the usefulness of the book; the appendixes contain additional information to enable proper selection and expert use of binoculars in astronomy. An excellent addition to the well-regarded Practical Astronomy series. Summing Up: Highly Recommended. General reader; lower-division undergraduates; faculty/professionals." (D. H. Gifford, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), August, 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846283086
  • Publisher: Springer London
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Series: Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Tonkin, BSc (Hons), F.R.A.S. has been a keen amateur astronomer since childhood and now spends most of his time doing astronomical education and outreach, both as a Lecturer in Astronomy for an adult education college, and independently with his own organization, The Astronomical Unit. He organizes and leads astronomy courses and talks, public observing, and astronomy-related storytelling for children and adults. In 2000, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

He has been using binoculars for astronomy for over forty years, initially under the pristine African skies under which he grew up, and as his main observing instrument for the last decade. He actively promotes and encourages the use of binoculars within the amateur astronomy community and publishes a monthly e-zine, The Binocular Sky Newsletter, for binocular astronomers. He also writes the monthly Binocular Tour in Sky at Night magazine.

He now lives on the edge of the New Forest, which has some of the darkest skies in southern England. On clear moonless nights when he's not working, he can usually be found at one of these dark sites, exploring the night sky with his binoculars.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     xiii
Why Binoculars?     1
Portability     2
Ease of Setup     2
The Binocular Advantage     2
The 5-mm Exit Pupil     3
Small Focal Ratio and Aberrations     4
Conclusion     5
Binocular Optics and Mechanics     7
Objective Lens Assemblies     7
Eyepieces     9
Prisms     9
Coatings     19
Aberrations     24
Aperture Stops and Vignetting     28
Focusing Mechanisms     29
Collimation     33
Choosing Binoculars     35
Binocular Specifications     35
Field of View     37
Eye Relief     39
Hand-held Binoculars     39
Mounted Binoculars     41
Binocular Telescopes     43
Binoviewers     45
Zoom Binoculars     46
Evaluating Binoculars     49
Preliminary Tests     50
Field Tests     57
Care and Maintenance of Binoculars     59
Rain Guards     59
Storage     60
Dessicants     61
Grit     61
Cleaning     62
Dismantling Binoculars     64
Collimation     69
Holding and Mounting Binoculars     73
Hand-held Binoculars     73
Mounting Brackets     77
Monopods     80
Photo Tripods     81
Fork Mounts     83
Mirror Mounts     84
Parallelogram Mounts     85
Observing Chairs     87
Observing Accessories     93
Finders     93
Filters     96
Dew Prevention and Removal     97
Compass     99
Charts and Charting Software     99
Torches (Flashlights)     100
Storage and Transport Container     101
Software Sources     102
Observing Techniques     103
Personal Comfort     103
Observing Sites     105
Observing Techniques     106
50 Deep Sky Objects for 50 mm Binoculars     107
100 Deep Sky Objects for 100 mm Binoculars     157
Appendices
Double Stars for Indicating Resolution     247
Limiting Magnitude     253
True Field of View      258
Useful Addresses     266
Internet Resources     270
Binocular Designations     271
Glossary of Terms     273
Index     281
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