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Monthly Archives: May 2007

29 May

Not too many years ago, everyone assumed that the maximum exit pupil (second binocular number divided by the first number) commonly offered in a binocular – 7mm -was the best choice for an astronomy binocular, because on paper, a 7mm exit pupil will give you the maximum image brightness and therefore allow you to see fainter objects. That’s why a 7×50 was traditionally the classic astronomy binocular for many, many years and a good one, such as the Nikon 7×50 Sports and Marine binocular still makes an excellent choice.

Then came the giants with larger 70mm and 80mm objectives. This …

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28 May

I received this comment from one of our readers,recently.

“I see you have LOMO microscopes and I would like to know what you think of them. You sound very experienced and I cant find reviews on them anywhere! Thanks! (And BTW, you sound like a great Lady!”

First of all, thank-you for the nice comments and for reading my blogs.

I own several LOMO microscopes such as the LOMO SF-100 stereo microscope and the LOMO Multiscope BMH4-BF microscope. You can also purchase these and other LOMO microscopes from our OpticsPlanet.com website at LOMO microscopes.

I own them specifically because I …

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28 May

The idea that you can make deep-sky (faint objects) more visible by increasing magnification (and decreasing exit pupil) has been circulating for sometime. The idea is that increasing magnification will darken the sky background, thereby making faint objects stand out more. How much truth is there to this notion?

In my experience, it does work – sometimes. In other words, it is like many other observing techniques. It works, but not all of the time. There are simply too many variables in observing for a one-size fits all approach. I’ve had my best luck with this when observing with large …

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25 May

I will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day tomorrow by working.

Not to worry, this is the type of work I love. I will be representing OpticsPlanet.com at a local park and introducing the general public to two of the things I love the most – birds and optics. And they call this work! In the past, I have done seminars and classes on both birding and optics and with my tendency to talk for hours on both topics, I will most likely have to have someone pull the plug on me. Never fails.

If you are in the Arlington …

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24 May

I get country of origin questions on optics fairly often and a good many people are disappointed when I tell them that the model in question is made in China. Some of these folks are hoping for “made in Japan” and a few are still seeking the extinct “made in USA” binocular or spotting scope. I understand their concerns, though I have often reminded them that where a product is made is not always a measure of its quality.

If you’ve been in this industry as long as I have, you remember the days when “made in Japan” was associated …

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22 May

Had the Nikon 10×70 Astroluxe binocular out last night under my light polluted and hazy Chicago skies and have to report that even though I didn’t see much, I did enjoy using this great binocular. As I stated in my previous post, I buy high end optics to see things as good as they can be seen. After last night, I am now adding a footnote that I also buy high end optics to see things under poor conditions as good as they can be seen. No matter what the conditions, though, observing is always more fun when you use …

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18 May

Inevitably, people tend to equate expertise in birding, astronomy and many other optical pursuits with numbers and quantity – how many birds, how long a list, how many deep-sky objects, what detail did you see, what resolution did you obtain and on and on. True, this is a necessary component to gaining expertise and is a valuable tool when communicating with others, but dig a little deeper and you may be surprised to discover that many of us “experts” no longer play the numbers game when we are observing for ourselves.

You see, if it was solely a matter of …

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17 May

One of my favorite times of the year to do astronomy with a binocular is in the summer. This season offers not only variety, but also abundance for the binocular observer. It is hands down the best time of year to collect globular clusters with all these beauties a person could want in and around Ophiuchus and Sagittarius, alone. Of course, no discussion of globulars is complete without mention the most famous one of all, M13, in Hercules and, hey, don’t forget M5 and M4. How can you even pick a favorite, here?

My first love, though, in the summer …

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14 May

Have bike (actually, bikes plural), will ride. That describes a big part of my life and most of what I did this weekend. It’s part of Joanie’s three Bs – bikes, binoculars and birds. It’s a unique combination of interests in that a person can practice all three at the same time.

This weekend, I put a lot of miles on both dirt trails and paved trails, all the while with a Nikon Premier LX 10×25 binocular around my neck. Going compact keeps the weight down and weight is a nemesis for long distance bike work. Though a compact, the …

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09 May

What do you do when you’re stuck in a long line of traffic after work, barely moving and getting stressed out? I’ll tell you what I do. I turn off into a Forest Preserve parking lot and go birding. That’s what I did last night. What a great way to end the work day and, besides, it’s warbler time here and like any hardcore birder, I do my best to make the most of the spring migration.

Of course, an emergency bird stop is something I’m always prepared to do, since I keep a spare bird guide, hiking sandals and …

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