In the spring I purchased some new binoculars.
I already have a small pair that I bought in high school and they worked fine for general sight seeing and bird watching but with the darkness at night with no lights around I wanted more magnification for stargazing. I was going from 7×35 to 25×100. The first number is magnification and the second is width of front lense which allows for more light gathering so you can pick up the less bright stars. They are Zhumell Tachyon and when I first held them up and looked at the moon I was amazed…at how heavy they were. These things weigh 15 pounds or so and holding anything steady is impossible.
I was able to lay some objects under them and look at the moon..and it was amazing too. I could easily see craters from meteor impacts and the dust sprays from them. When you looked at a star that seemed alone when viewed with only eyesight the star would become hard to detect when viewing in the binoculars due to so many more stars being shown. I needed a more permanent solution. I bought and returned 2 tripods that could not support the weight. Then I got onto some sites that were on building parabolic mounts. So I bought some cheap materials and tried that. I had some issues with supporting the weight once again, even with a counter-weight on the other end..the problem was the mount..plus the whole thing was unwieldy and would have been a pain in the butt if I did not want a permanent lawn ornament..which I didn’t. So, I stumbled upon a small setup where you basically point the binoculars down towards the ground on a 45 degree angle and the binoculars point to a mirror that you can then reposition to point at the stars. Seemed like a simple solution to the weight and size issues I was having. A base that does not really move pointed at mirror. I have been out 3-4 times this year at 3-4AM in the morning watching meteor showers and I can tell you the neck strain sucks sometimes. When I watched a lunar eclipse a couple of years ago my neck killed me for 2 days afterwards..but then again it was -6 and I was outside for 2 hours. So, after watching football all day with my friends I decided to make one. Or at least a prototype. Just some left over 2×4’s and screws. I needed some washers to make the binoculars stay tight..but it all needs some work..and support. Want to check out the sizing and see if I want to make it bigger or smaller…but, just in time for the Geminids..if its not cloudy.
No Geminids for me tonight..heavy rain and high winds expected…they do peak tonight but hopefully sometime during the week I will get a chance to use them..and buy a new mirror.