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Binoviewers DSO and Moon Observing

Posted: 9 November 2014

Opened: Saturday, 8 November 2014, 1734 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 744
Conditions: Clear, breezy

Sunset occurred a few minutes before the observatory was opened. 1741 MST: viewed Mars, 83X, too low and too small for good viewing.

1748 MST: removed the 2" star diagonal and added a f/6.3 focal reducer, a 1.25" star diagonal, and the William Optics Binoviewers (with 20mm eyepieces; effective magnification 63X) for my planned Deep Sky Object (DSO) observing once Astronomical Twilight ended (at 1852 MST). The waning gibbous moon would not rise until 1913 MST.

1800 MST: slewed to M22 (globular cluster), but it was not yet visible against the still bright sky. 1811 MST: M22 was just becoming faintly visible. 1817 MST: slewed to M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open star cluster), but the sky was not quite dark enough to view all its stars. 1823 MST: stars becoming visible in M11. As viewed at 63X, M11 almost looked like a sparsely populated globular cluster. Went back to M22 (a real globular cluster), which was now easily seen. At 63X it was almost the same size as M11.

Began viewing more DSOs at 63X through the Binoviewers. M20 (Trifid Nebula) was faintly visible, but the sky was still too bright and M20 was getting too low in the sky for good viewing. M8 (Lagoon Nebula) was easily seen, surrounded by lots of stars due to the wide angle view. Very pretty. M17 (Swan Nebula) was visible, also surrounded by stars. Another pretty sight. M16 (Eagle Nebula) only showed a hint of nebulosity in a sea of stars due to the still bright sky and low altitude. At 1835 MST, NGC7293 (Helix Nebula) was faintly visible.

Viewed the globular clusters M13, M92, and M56 at 63X in the Binoviewers. All were very nice views, especially M56 which seemed to be floating in front of the other stars in the field-of-view (FOV). Of course, that perception is exactly reversed; the globular cluster is actually much further away than the stars.

M57 (Ring Nebula) was small but a good view. NGC6888 (Crescent Nebula); only a hint of nebulosity seen. Same for NGC7635 (Bubble Nebula).

1853 MST: viewed M31, M32, and M110 galaxies in Andromeda. All were easily seen in the same FOV at 63X. M110 was a nice view this night with the focal reducer and Binoviewers. I could view M31 structure quite a distance from its nucleus. The focal reducer and Binoviewers provided some great views of the Great Andromeda Galaxy.

1858 MST: the eastern sky was beginning to brighten from the soon-to-rise waning gibbous moon.

Viewed the Double Cluster (open clusters). Both clusters were well inside the FOV. As I noted in my review, there was a neat 3D effect seen with the fainter stars seeming to be further away than the brighter stars.

Then viewed M45 (Pleiades). All its stars fit inside the same FOV at 63X, providing a nice view of the Pleiades. M45 was too low this night to see any nebulosity.

1926 MST: getting windy. 1956 MST: watched the moon rise over the hill to the east through the Binoviewers (plus focal reducer).

2014 MST: the moon was high enough now for a really nice view at 63X. Details along the terminator were sharp using both eyes even with the poor seeing (due to the moon's low altitude in the sky and the wind that was blowing).

This is a handheld iPhone 5s afocal photo (full-frame) through one of the 20mm eyepieces (63X with the focal reducer) taken at 2016 MST:


The image above and the ones below are reversed to match the moon's orientation in the sky, not as seen in the eyepiece.

I removed the focal reducer and did some lunar viewing at 100X in the Binoviewers. The moon's disk was a tight fit in the FOV, but it was a great view.

This handheld iPhone afocal photo (full-frame) did not quite capture the entire FOV:


Added the Binoviewers 1.6X Barlow Lens and did some lunar observing. The views were awesome! This cropped handheld iPhone afocal photo shows Mare Crisium:


The craters Langrenus, Vendelinus, and Petavius were fascinating views in the Binoviewers. This cropped handheld iPhone afocal photo shows them:


2051 MST: removed the 1.25" star diagonal and Binoviewers, and attached the 2" star diagonal with 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece. Took a final look at the moon, 83X.

This was an enjoyable evening of viewing using the William Optics Binoviewers. I am looking forward to many more nights of using them.

Closed: Saturday, 8 November 2014, 2100 MST
Temperature: 63°F

My review of the William Optics Binoviewers is now available on the Reviews page.

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