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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yes, We Have Some Bananaoculars

Just playing with words. Actually, what we have is a new pair of giant binoculars, a 22x70 William Optics giant binocular. We had these babies out under the night sky on Monday, and they provided some of the most impressive views I have had of deep sky wonders through any optical device. You just have to see it to believe it. I posted a short "first light" review on the Cloudy Nights Forum, which I grant myself permission to reproduce here. You simply must come down to see what these pups can do under a dark sky.

Our new pair of William Optics 22x70 giant binoculars on a Unitron mini-alt-az mount on a TiltAll tripod. (Click for full size image.)

My mini-review on the Cloudy Nights Astronomy Forum:

I have used a number of binoculars in the past, some for astronomy, most for birding, where they also did double duty for astronomy. But I never had one that I felt compelled to go back to. They were nice to have around but not a must have.

So, I'd been wanting a big binocular for my star tour business and when the William Optics 22x70 came up for sale last month, I decided to order it. It came today, and I had it out under the night sky tonight.

I mounted it on a Tiltall tripod with a short Unitron alt-az mount for controls. That worked well, considering this is a straight through big bino. I was not prepared for what I saw. I had the best view of M42 I have ever seen. The nebula finally looked like I thought it should: Huge field of view with many bright stars surrounding the nebula. The nebula itself looked the way it does in photos, except without color. Even with direct vision the nebulosity went on and on spreading easily across most of the 3 degree fov. The fine tendrils and detail with averted vision were amazing. I had my 4" WO refractor along for the ride and must say that M42 did not look nearly so splendid through the 4" as through the binos. There was just no comparison. That really surprised me. And the 3D, did I mention the 3D? Objects seemed to leap from the field of view. I really couldn't believe it.

I also viewed many open clusters with the binos. They were quite splendid, too. Not as bright as through my 4" refractor but the wider 3D views compensated for that easily.

All in all, I have become quite addicted to these binos after one nights use. They will be back out under the sky with me again soon. I could see an entire observing regimen based only on them. 

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