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M51, M101, M57 in small binoculars

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Old April 12th 04, 08:02 PM
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Default M51, M101, M57 in small binoculars

After following a thread on a Yahoo binocular group a few weeks ago
about seeing M57, the Ring nebula, in small binoculars, i wanted to try
myself from a darksky site. Last night (Sunday) i was camping/stargazing
at the Cottonwood campground in Joshua Tree national park in southern

I had my 10" f/5 dob and Tele Vue 76 and most of the evening was spent
using these scopes with my trusty Nikon 10x42 SE alongside to aid in
starhopping. Markarian's Chain of galaxies in Virgo is quite impressive
with the 10"!

Around midnight it was time to take a break from the larger scopes and
just sit back and look around with binoculars. I brought 2 other
binoculars to compare views with... my little Zeiss 10x25 compact
classics and sturdy Leica 10x32 BN. The Zeiss are my hiking binoculars
and the Leicas my standard daytime outdoor binoculars.

At midnight Lyra and M57 were still fairly low so i started with
galaxies M51 and M101 high overhead in Canis Major. The 10x42 showed
them both easily. Can just detect that M51 has a companion and M101 is a
round soft glow. Switching to the 10x32 the main difference is the
background sky is darker with the 32mm objectives. Still, not a bad view
at all and both galaxies were easy to see. In fact, the darker
background, and bit wider field with the Leicas was almost more pleasing
than the view with the Nikons. Finally the little Zeiss compacts. Both
galaxies are still easy to see. They don't quite jump out like they do
with the larger glasses but the galaxies are "easy" to see through the
little 25mm objectives.

Around 12:30am Lyra is about 20=B0 above the eastern horizon. I started
with the Tele Vue 76mm refractor to confirm the field and make sure what
object was M57. (Through the TV76 at 30x the ring shape is clearly
visible.) Through the Nikon 10x42 no problem. M57 is easy to see as a
"star". I couldn't really tell it was anything other than a dim 8th mag
star. Maybe just a bit of a fuzzy star. Also for this, and all binocular
observations tonight, i was handholding the binoculars without a mount.
But since M57 was low in the sky it was easy to sit and brace the
binoculars. Switching to the Leica 10x32 still no problem. The "star" is
still there and easy to see. Down to the little Zeiss 10x25, and with a
bit more concentration, still no problem. M57 is visible in 10x25
binoculars from a darksite. Easily visible even. It doesn't look like
"The Ring Nebula" of course but i wasn't expecting that.

I have some more days off this week and will be spending more of them
out on the southern Calif desert. The forecast is for a bit of high
clouds however. Sigh...

-Florian at Stargazing dot com

Old April 12th 04, 08:30 PM
Bob May
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Default M51, M101, M57 in small binoculars

M101 really needs low power to bring it out of the sourounding field well so
the binocs are an excellent way to see that object.
M51 is also nicely viewable with binocs although the small size of them will
make out little detail.
M57 really needs about 20x to see it as a ring although it is bright enough
to be seen as a stellar object at lower magnifications.
I enjoy showing people M101 with my 15x80 binocs along with the rectangular
box of stars that is near it.
I've seen M57 as a tiny ring in 20x binocs but not in my 15x ones. The
nebula is just a fuzzy starlike object in them.

Bob May
Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less.
Works every time it is tried!


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