Binoculars: Halfway to the telescope – Part 2

The planets

In the monthly “News in the sky” the magazine Stars and space as well as in “Ahnerts Nautical Almanac” describes the planet can be seen in the night sky now. These publications also contain information about the course of the Moon, comets and meteor showers.

The sun near planets Mercury , you can sometimes see during dusk with the naked eye, but with binoculars it is much easier to find. But you better looking only with binoculars after him, when the sun is below the horizon. Once again, it should be mentioned: ! Never look through a pair of binoculars or a telescope, when there is a danger that the sun in the field of view is , if you have the Mercury found, it appears only punctiform. It’s like with many astronomical objects: the success is to find him at all.

Venus , however, shows already in a good pair of binoculars their lighting phases similar to those of the moon. It was in the summer and autumn of 1610, when Galileo watched the changing phases of Venus in the evening sky. In the world of that time, which saw the earth in the center of the solar system, Venus should have run between us and the sun around the earth. Because you knew that Venus never flies in the sky far from the Sun, Venus should have had only crescent phases. With his telescope but Galileo was able to resolve the punctiform image of Venus for the first time as a sliver, and he realized that Venus showed phases in which she was more than half illuminated. This is only when the Venus passes along behind the sun, making it one of the essential evidence of the correctness of the theory of Nicolaus Copernicus, which shook the understanding of the cosmos the whole 17th century passed. Can you repeat Galileo’s observations?

A more difficult task is to Titan , the only large moon of Saturn to find, with 5150 kilometers across the way, the largest in our solar system. This dot with a brightness of about 8 may sift beside Saturn, requiring a large, high-resolution binoculars. The famous rings of Saturn may also in a good pair of binoculars, but are better appreciated with a small telescope from a 20- to 30-times magnification as such.

The distant planets Uranus and Neptune and the about half a dozen asteroids , the brightnesses of 8 or may achieve more, see in binoculars like faint stars. To be sure, what is the “star” the desired object, to draw a best viewfinder map of the stars that can be seen near the correct position. Now comparing, which “star” from night to night changed relative to the other its position. With this method, all large asteroids were originally discovered.

Deep sky objects

If you previously met with the naked eye some constellations already, you will discover that a pair of binoculars will show you countless new stars in areas, which is previously appeared only as black sky. To get used to the sight through binoculars, they directed him to a known constellation and has the look of a bright star wander to the next.

Pay attention to the size of your field of view. How much of the sky covers it on the card you use? Take two bright stars that just fit together in the image of your field glasses, and see on the map how many degrees apart they are. You can make a ring of wire of this diameter and place it on the map. He will help you understand immediately the size of the field of view of your binoculars. Moving the ring on the card back and forth, you can see how far you have to swing the binoculars to get from one interesting place to another.

If you observe under a relatively dark night sky without light pollution, then you should be an 8 × 50 or 10 × 50 binoculars – these are binoculars with eight- or tenfold magnification and a lens diameter of 50 millimeters – show all the stars brighter than 9 may have, and also all the deep-sky objects (galaxies, galactic nebulae and star clusters) brighter than 8 likes.

As with telescopes is the quality of the cards and Nachlagewerke for success also important in the use of binoculars.


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