Interested in looking at the night sky

In summary, the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with a tripod will allow you to see more stars and some of the planets in our solar system. You can find information about light pollution in your area on a good site like Jshine.net.
  • #1
Ironside
32
0
Hey guys. I want to get started in looking at the night sky from my roof etc etc. I was thinking of getting Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars with a tripod as a starting tool which is only about $70-80. I don't want to buy a $4,000 telescope without knowing what I'm looking for lol.


I have two questions:

I live in New York City where light pollution is very apparent and you can only see a handful of stars. To anyone who is an expert in telescopes and binoculars, will these binoculars allow me to look at more stars or some of the planets in our solar system? If you have any other recommendations please let me know.


What's a good beginners astronomy book/guide which can teach me the locations of the basic constellations, galaxies stars etc that can be looked at in the night sky.
 
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  • #2
The wide aperture of the binoculars will collect more light and will increase the number of stars you can see. I've never attempted to star gaze from a city, let alone New York, so I can't comment on what exactly you're likely to be able to see. The binoculars will be an improvement though.

http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/index.php"
That is a good site for finding light pollution in your area. From NYC you have two relatively close choices for some dark skys. The Catskills should be a couple hours away, and I can attest they have pretty good skys. Then there is Cherry Springs, PA which is a dedicated dark skys park. I've yet to make it out there, but I've heard it one of, if not the, best night skys on the east coast.

Stellarium is a great, and free, astronomy program. Enter you location and it will display the night sky at any time. If you can use this on a laptop while you are using your binoculars it makes it pretty easy to learn where things are in the sky.
http://www.stellarium.org/"
 
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  • #3
You should be able to see any of the brighter planets with a decent pair of binoculars even from the city. These regularly are brighter than many of the stars in the sky, with Venus and Jupiter never less than magnitude -3 and -1.6 respectively. In comparison, Sirius is magnitude -1.46. (Smaller numbers are brighter, and -1.6 and -3 are both smaller than -1.46)

Saturn and Mars are less bright so I can't comment on them. Mars varies from -3 to +1.6, while Saturn varies from about 0 to +1.
 
  • #4
Are the big binos comfortable to use, or will you need a recliner to get behind them ? Some models, IIRC, have 45' offset to mitigate the neck-crick...

Another factor, IIRC, is eye-correction. Do your eyes need correction for long or short vision ? Usually, good binos can slightly adjust their eye-pieces independently to match.

One 'gotcha' is astigmatism, where one or both eyes require 'cylindrical' correction. IIRC, you can get corrector lenses for telescopes' eye pieces, but I don't know about binos...

Uh, do you have a 'serious' SLR telephoto lens handy ? I'm told you can fit an adapter plus a telescope eye-piece or adapted web-cam...
 
  • #5
There is no perfect filter to deal with light pollution. The best filters for dso viewing are Orion Ultrablock and Lumicon UHC, IMO.
 

Related to Interested in looking at the night sky

1. What is the best time to stargaze?

The best time to stargaze is during a new moon, when the sky is the darkest. This usually occurs once a month. It is also recommended to stargaze during the late evening or early morning hours when the sky is the clearest.

2. Do I need any special equipment to look at the night sky?

While it is not necessary to have a telescope or binoculars, they can greatly enhance your stargazing experience. However, your eyes are the most important tool for observing the night sky. You may also want to consider a star map or a stargazing app to help you identify constellations and planets.

3. What are some of the best places to stargaze?

The best places to stargaze are areas with minimal light pollution, such as national parks, rural areas, or high elevations. These locations offer a clearer and darker sky, allowing for better visibility of stars and other celestial objects.

4. What can I expect to see while stargazing?

On a clear night, you can expect to see thousands of stars, planets, and even some of the Milky Way galaxy. You may also be able to spot constellations, shooting stars, and if you are lucky, a passing comet or meteor shower.

5. Is stargazing a good activity for children?

Yes, stargazing is a great activity for children. It can help spark their curiosity and imagination, as well as teach them about astronomy and the vastness of our universe. Just make sure to choose a safe and appropriate location for stargazing with children.

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