Orion Premium Linear Binoviewer

Moon, Methane and Messiers

Splendid night of observing and (hopefully) imaging last night.

Sam had his mate James round, and then Andy T came over to join us as well. Due to the long evening twilight and the terminator being in a prime position on the moon, we started there. Once they’d got the hang of it the 2 lads were thoroughly enjoying scanning up and down the terminator taking videos of moonscapes, which when I get some time will hopefully become some nice images.

The areas we looked at were the craters around the South Pole (Scott and Amundsen!) then worked our way down (the image appeared upside down in the mark/planetary camera) past Cuvier, Stofler, Albertegnius and Hipparchus toward the smoother area that’s more dominated by mare. The highlight for me was Albertegnius which was just in the perfect position to be in complete darkness, but with the sun illuminating just the summit of the central peak.

By this time Andy had set up his spectroscopy rig and took a reading from the moon- and matched in to an internet reading of the sun- explaining to the lads that this was because all the light coming from the moon was reflected from the sun, and how the technique enables us to derive what the elements are in the star.

We also did some visual exploration of the terminator- and no matter how amazing the views of the moon through the planetary camera, there is nothing for comes close to the stunning HD quality through the eyepiece. Even at 465x through the zoom the view was sharp and full of contrast; a really stunning view.

It was, by this time, bed o’clock for the boys, but Andy and I carried on. First step was swapping the mak for the 130pd-s and setting some imaging runs going on globular clusters with the planetary camera as I felt that the glare from the moon made any other targets a bit unrealistic. I’ll post these when I get the chance to do some processing!

For the same reasons I decided to go for similar targets visually whilst Andy did his spectroscopy and we shared the results with each other. First up, though, was the double-double- it didn’t split as easily as normal which suggested the seeing wasn’t great (I already knew my scope was both cooled and collimated). Nonetheless I pressed onto some globs:

– M13 Obvs! Always a lovely sight. Whilst there Andy moved the scope onto NGC 6207- a new one on me, and just next to M13. It was a struggle to see and needed averted vision to spot, but at Mag 11 the skies cannot have been too bad to pick this up.
– M92 It’s a bit smaller, but somehow feels more compact and symmetrical than its big brother.
– M3 Again- like M92, more compact and symmetrical. It was nice going through these one after the other- on their own globs are all similar, but when looking at them one after the other you really start to see the differences.
– As we were in the neighbourhood popped over to see the Whale galaxy- several club members have been imaging this lately so it was good to have a proper look. With proximity to the moon it was quite an effort to find this and I had it in the eyepiece for quite a while before I was sure I had it. By relaxing and just looking around the target it became obvious how huge it was- nearly filling the ep at 210x. I couldn’t make out the distinctive shape, however, and neither could we spot NGC4656
– Next stop as M5, which was visibly smaller, but with a dense bright core and was pleasingly circular.
– The next Messier glob easily visible looked to be M9. Whilst aiming the scope Andy asked about the bright light in the same direction- which is over towards East Mids airport- and we both agreed was clearly a plane- although not moving too much. Realising that this meant it was heading towards away from us I tried to aim the scope at it, because sometimes it’s a great view in the eyepiece. This plane turned out to have horizontal banding and 4 moons. JUPITER IS BACK!! Albeit hugging the horizon in a boiling atmosphere. Because of this the views were not brilliant, but it was great to see after a long break. Andy quickly headed back to his spectroscopy gear and lined it up- the result was a mixture of the same elements we’d found from the moon, plus a couple of lines for methane. Very pleasing! I then moved onto M9 and caught a quick glimpse, but was kneeling uncomfortably over the telescope by this stage and was getting decidedly cold so we decided to head in for a cup of tea in the warm and to look at Andy’s spectroscopy results.

Suitably refreshed, and with the moon down near the horizon the sky was darker, but also more hazy. We decided to look at some summer targets and started off with the Ring nebula. I think the effects of time and cold were beginning to set in by this stage as I struggled to get it in the eyepiece- not helped by the fact that everything was dewing over. Andy quickly rectified this and we were rewarded with some lovely rich views and spent some time comparing the views in the Baader zoom with Andy’s Binoviewers. The conclusion was that the binoviewers offered a different experience- more natural and pleasing to look at, but also there was some loss of detail. Partly this is caused by the higher magnification available to the Baader, but we also thought it may be down to the greater number of optical surfaces involved on the binoviewers. We returned to M13 to see if we’d find the same outcome- and it was pretty much the same; although the binoviewers rendered the glob as a sphere- a wonderful view.

I’d have liked to try them out on Jupiter, but by this point it was behind the neighbours house, so we returned to deep sky targets instead- trying for M51. Unfortunately, by this point, the sky was pretty hazy and despite being certain I had the dob in the right place, I could not see the galaxies. Spent a while trying to remove dew from EPs, finders etc, but it was pretty clear that the sky was lightening and it was time to pack up. Big thanks to Andy for coming over- observing in company and sharing ideas adds so much to an evening and the output from the spectroscopy was really interesting!

First light Orion Premium Linear Binoviewer with Orion UK Dobsonian 10 in telescope 20/3/19

First light last night with my new Orion Premium Linear Binoviewer used on my Orion 10 inch Dobsonian telescope. What excited me about his binoviewer when I got it was that it claimed not to need any in focus – an issue that has meant other binoviewers I have tried only work if a Barlow lens is also used which means they only work at high magnifications. The whole point (in my view) of using Dobsonian telescopes are the immersive wide angle views – and you need the wide angle at least initially with an object to find it in a Dob when you are star hopping!

Great news! The Orion (USA) Premium Linear Binoviewer does come to focus in my Orion UK (different company) 10 inch Dobsonian. In fact I needed to use a 35mm extension tube – although that is common too with eyepieces in this scope so does not imply that the binoviewer increases out focus. So I think the manufacturer’s claim that no extra in focus is required seems to be supported on this test.

I had more of a problem bringing images of the Moon and a couple of stars together with my two eyes in the binoviewer – I put this down to lack of experience. There were times when the Moon images did come together and then suddenly the Moon would be significantly brighter.

Mind you, I am being a bit unfair on the binoviewer here. Due to the Moon being located awkwardly behind a tree, I had to place the scope in an awkward position to get a view and my own body was somewhat awkwardly positioned too – so that it wasn’t easy to view properly through the binoviewer.


Orion Premium Linear Binoviewer

My best purchase from the Practical Astronomy Show. These binoviewers differ from other makes in that they do not require any extra in-focus. You never see these on sale….but this one was around £100 off new price! I have tried binoviewers before but the need to use a Barlow lens in order to obtain focus on my Newtonian telescopes has meant that they weren’t very practical. I decent read a review in one of the astronomy magazine about this binoviewers and the reviewer was so impressed he bought one!

I tried it today on my Orion 10″ Dobsonian telescope. In order to get focus, I had to use an extension tube plus my Tele Vue Paracorr – the latter has a long tube and I can pull it out quite a distance to act as an extension tube. All of this suggests that I will easily obtain focus on the night sky.

At the Practical Astronomy Show I purchased a pair of discounted APM ultra flat field 18mm 65 AFOV eyepiece and I already had a pair on Tele Vue Nagler 7mm eyepiece.

The view of the trees at the bottom of the garden was amazing! This the first time I have ever had a proper binocular view through a telescope without any sense of strain on my eyes! Both pairs of eyepiece worked well. I can’t wait to get out under the night sky. Only problem is this could work out really expensive on eyepiece with my having to buy a second one to accompany some of those I already have…..



Always worth having a bag of eyepiece caps so if you see any being sold cheap I recommend you purchase some spares in 1.25 inch and 2 inch varieties for both ends of the eyepiece. Below is my bag – the cheap 18mm eyepiece did not come with caps so good job I had some spare.

The attachments I used to obtain focus – this was opposite of in focus = out focus – as I was focusing on the trees at the bottom of my garden which are closer than infinity.

The Tele Vue Paracorr is one of my best ever purchases – so useful!