Binocular Hints from the Astro-List

These letters were sent to me or posted on the astrolist, some editing may have been applied! Other comments follow the book suggestions
Date: Fri Feb 2 19:14:47 1996
From: ct411@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (A. D. Jenkins)
Subject: binocular observing books

Hi Astrolisters--

As some of you may know Ken Poshedly has twisted my arm so that I would speak on binocular observing at the 1996 Peach State Star Gaze in April.

I went to my local library & found the exact same astronomy books on the shelf that were there when I first started out in observing about 15 years ago & only one book on the subject of binocular observing.

I wanted to give a complete list of books on the subject of bino observing. So, I humbly request that those of you enamoured of the subject, send me your comments to I'd like to know your favorite book(s) & maybe why you think it is so great. At some future date I will make a list of the same available!

Thanx again--
Dawn Jenkins
Lakewood, OH
41.48 N | 81.8 W

Date: Mon Feb 5 15:14:10 1996
From: (Joel F. O'Rourke)
Subject: Bino Books

As a relative newcomer to astronomy, I have spent lots of time (and $) on reading material. I started out thinking telescope, but have retrenched to binocular...

I recommend the following (in no particular order)

"Touring the Universe through Binoculars," Phil Harrington. Short on charts, etc. (see next book) but longer on rationale and equipment selection. See also his book "Starware"

"Binocular Astronomy," Crossen and Tirion. Contains the complete Sky Atlas 2000.0, making it really useful outside. Well-written general introduction to astronomy (binoculars or otherwise). I highly recommend it, even if it may be a little too "deep" for a youngster.

Others I have heard of, but have not seen:

"Exploring the Night Sky with Binoculars," David Chandler.
"Deep Sky Objects for Binoculars," John Kozak

Also, you might want to consider:

"Turn Left at Orion," Consolmagno and Davis. This is what convinced me I needed to invest in binoculars before getting tangled up with an expensive telescope!

I hope this helps. Good luck with your project.


Date: Mon Feb 5 07:38:20 1996
From: (Roberta Burnes)
Subject: Re: binocular observing books

Make sure you include David Chandler's "Exploring the Night Sky With Binoculars". It's just a little thing, a half-size, soft-cover booklet, but it's packed with great information and superb illustrations. IMHO, the best "first book" on binocular observing. Inexpensive, too. Contact David at P.O. Box 309, La Verne, CA 91750. I don't have his e-mail in front of me, but if you write to him, ask him about all his other great astro products. (My fave -- his rotating star chart with undistorted southern sky view.)

--- Roberta

Date: Sat Feb 3 07:11:30 1996
From: gs01har@panther.Gsu.EDU (Art)
Subject: Re: binocular observing books
To: ct411@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (A. D. Jenkins)


I'm looking forward to your presentation on binocular astronomy at the Peach State Star Gaze. I recently acquired a copy of "Binocular Astronomy" by Crossen and Tirion. Although I haven't finished reading it yet, I already appreciate its MAG 6 "Bright Star Atlas 2000.0 and excellent descriptions of various binocular objects, up to and including galaxy groups. His description of the ins and outs of binocular choice, and design are probably a bit sketchy. Additionally, I'd love to see some information on build it yourself binocular holders (I use a set of 11X80s that I picked up second hand[!]). However, in the balance, its a pretty good book for binocular observers. Moreover, I've already given several copies as Christmas presents for yougner nephews.

Don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Clear Skies

Art Russell
Observing Chairman and Beginners Interest Group
Atlanta Astronomy Club

Date: Sat Feb 3 17:02:10 1996
Subject: Re: binocular observing books


You asked for a list of recent (<15 years old) books on astronomy. I feel fairly sure that you are aware of both the following books, but just incase ...

"Binocular Astronomy," by Crossen and Tirion (Willman-Bell, Richmond, VA. 1992)

"STAR-HOPPING for Backyard Astronomers," by Alex MacRobert (Sky Publishing, Belmont, MA. 1993)

If you are not familiar with these books, you are welcome to get back to me for a 'review.' But I should perhaps mention now, that while MacRobert's book is not specifically directed at binocular observing, it has lots of 'good stuff' on the topic.


Jega Arulpragasam
Lunenburg, MA

Date: Mon Feb 5 13:50:40 1996
From: (Wolfgang Vollmann)
Subject: Re: binocular observing books
To: (A. D. Jenkins)


The best binocular observing book in my opinion is by Craig Crossen and Wil Tirion, "Binocular Astronomy". It is available from Sky Publishing.

I like it because it not only has (very good selected) lists of deep-sky objects and (accurate and helpful) descriptions of how they look in 10x50s but, more important: it tries to give an idea of the structure of the Milky Way and what (and how) you can see some indications of it. It does this in providing insight in the structure of the spiral arms and what you can see of it, using bright star clusters as your signs etc.

There is a similar chapter on galaxies.
As an add-in the book has a useful star atlas for binoculars: the Bright Star Atlas 2000.0

The other book I recommend is by Ernest Cherrington, Exploring the Moon through binoculars and small telescopes (Dover). It is the best aid in observing a lot of the features of the only planetary object besides the sun where you can see details with ordinary binoculars. The description is very accurate and readable and guides you well to the marks on the Moon.

Wolfgang Vollmann

PS: I do a lot of binocular observing using 10x50s and 20x80s besides using larger telescopes.


Astronomy with Binoculars
James Muirden


Date: Wed Feb 14 08:50:23 1996
From: (Ian Gore)
Subject: RE: Looking for a cheap but good pair of Binocs

Mike Frazier wrote;
>I've got a friend that is interested in starting into astronomy. He wants to >start with a pair of binocs, but can only budget up to $150 on a purchase (and >$150 is actually pushing it). Any suggestions for a DECENT pair of binocs (he >has his heart set on 10x50's, and I've talked him out of $45 Tasco ones twice >now ;^) that are in his price range?

I don't know if they're available in the US, but the Russian "Tento" binoculars are in the same price range as Tascos, and much better. Based on recent experience, I'd say most Russian optical equipment is very good value for money.

Ian G.

Date: Wed Feb 14 21:41:54 1996
Subject: Re: Looking for a cheap but good pair of Binocs

Hello Mike. Terry Dickinson has long recommended the Bausch and Lomb Legacy in the 7*50 model as a good set of inexpensive binoculars. Note, he is specific on his recommendation here, not the 10*50 or any other in the Legacy line, just the 7*50.

Date: Thu Feb 15 14:07:39 1996
From: rhill@LPL.Arizona.EDU (Rik Hill)
Subject: Cheap & good pair of Binocs

I have purchased inexpensive binoculars before and used the precautions and checks mentioned in Henry Paul's book BINOCULARS & ALL PURPOSE TELESCOPES. They have served me well as long as I followed two rules: don't drop them (that means ALWAYS use the strap unless they are mounted to a tripod), and never leave them in the sunlight (particularly in Arizona). -Rik

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