Society for Popular Astronomy

Cant see the wood for the trees
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Author:  brian livesey [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

Drawbacks with spottingscopes are the maximum limiting magnification, X60 on mine, compared to, say, an 80mm astronomical refractor's x150 plus, and a lower quality of optics on spotters.
Could the spottingscope be described as a halfway-house between binoculars and an astro-scope?

Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

I started with a 3 inch Starboy Broadhurst Clarkson f/14 refractor, and that was my only astro scope.
It cost £28.10s and it took a year to save for. I gave them about £5 a time until I got the full sum.
1956 to 1957.

I also had a Broadhurst Clarkson 25 to 40x 2 1/4 inch drawtube scope. Still looks in wonderful condition.
About the same time. Either 12 guineas or 14 guineas. I cannot remember.

I had no binocular.
First one was a 7x23 Nipole Miniature, Charles Frank binocular.

Nortons Star Atlas and BAA stuff.

Patrick Moore's Guide to the Planets was wonderful. Paperback.
Plus library books, maybe one a week for a year.

1967, I got the first made Charles Frank 8 1/2 inch f/6 reflector. £180, although listed at £220.
Rubbish mirror. Double images.
Dudley Fuller gave me a new mirror at absolutely no cost. A wonderful gesture.


Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

For a fairly dark location and a fit person.

Nikon Aculon 10x50 binocular £100.

Skywatcher 100m f/5 short tube refractor, altazimuth mount AZ3 or AZ5.
£220 to £350 approx.

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8 inch f/6 (200mm f/6).
or 10 inch f/5 (250mm f/5).
Perhaps £500 with an extra eyepiece.

Total £1,000.

See Optical Vision website.
Maybe Sherwoods photo or a local supplier.


If one wants something nice for the holiday season.
The Nikon WX 10x50 binocular, a bit heavy at about 2.5kg, but apparently very nice hand held if one is strong. 9 degree field. Very sharp.
Harrods may have one in stock.
Only £6,000. :)

Well, it is a lot cheaper than a Gulfstream personal jet.

Author:  mike a feist [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

Re the question whether spotting scopes could be considered as a "halfway house" between binoculars and astro-refractors...I would say yes indeed they are. And of course they can be used terrestrially too. I really do prefer upright and left-right-correct images and although fairly recently experimented with various astro-scopes for added light gathering power, and acquiring a lot of different eyepieces and filters to use on them, I found the whole concept just an extra complication and finally settled on two good quality spotting scopes with zoom eyepieces. They are sufficient for my needs now. They are an Acuter Waterproof zoom Spotter , with a 45 deg. eyepiece,16-48x65 ( new) and a Nikon zoom spotting scope with straight eyepiece, 15-45x60 ( used). Although I often say that, because I have poor stereo-vision, I prefer monoculars to binoculars, I have also settled on an Opticron aspheric 8x40 porro-prism wide-angle binocular which fits nicely on my tripod and a Nikon 8x36 "Monarch" roof -prism waterproof binocular bought new some years ago, and reasonably pocketable snd usable hand-held. As a fifth arrow to my bow, I also have a USSR used 8x30 porro-prism binocular with removable yellow filters. The latter has hardly been used and was a family hand- down. I intend to diligently try to stick with these and not buy any more, using my 75th birthday as the cutoff date! And that!!!
(With reference to higher power on telescopes, the huge chunky 8" Newtownian ,( with a focal length about 64" ) that I had as lad in the 1960s, had an eyepiece giving 256x until I finally obtained an eyepiece giving 128x. I also had a eyepiece giving an even higher magnification of perhaps 384x.! Much much too much!) Regards maf.

Author:  RMSteele [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

Happy Cutoffday, Mike.

Author:  David Frydman [ Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

The problem with spotting scopes is that they are not much use for planetary observations.
They are good as light weight scopes.

For someone who is fit and has a dark garden, there is no reason not to go with a bigger more capable scope.

But one has to put up with cold nights.

It depends how much enthusiasm one has, and personal preferences.


Author:  brian livesey [ Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

I'll bet that first 3-inch refractor you had David, opened new horizons for you. Mine certainly did. That first closeup view of the Moon, made me feel that I could fly :D .

Author:  skyhawk [ Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cant see the wood for the trees

I have re bought MY first scope

Prinz 500R

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