Binoculars for astronomy

I am interested in purchasing entry-level binoculars for astronomy.  I have read a little about this pursuit and am hoping to use a Slik universal U-112 tripod with my new purchase.  It is currently equipped for camera use.  I have looked at the binocular adapters and am unsure of how they work and if I should stick with the smaller binoculars to have a more successful result.  Do you have a recommendation for a simple setup?  My husband is an amateur but I think would love something easy to use.  Thank you.

The Slik tripod is limited in how much weight it can carry, I estimate the head can handle 4 lbs. maximum.  It also does not go high enough to get a binocular overhead so you can stand under it and look up.  Therefore you’ll probably need to use it with a stool or chair.  Any of our LW Series binoculars, or any of the Mariner Series, could be used on this tripod, but you will need an L adapter.  I recommend the Oberwerk Heavy-Duty L adapter ($14.95), it will work with any binocular.  If you’d like to consider a more capable tripod, we have the Oberwerk 3000 Series ($149.95).  It has plenty of height and can handle up to about 8 lbs.  Let me know if you still have questions.
Kevin Busarow

20×110 vs. BT-100-45

I like the 20 x 110 mm model.  How neck friendly is this for astronomy?  What reasonably priced tripods are available for “neck friendly” viewing?  I have kids and also 70+ year old parents to consider.
If I went with the 45 degree x 100 mm, how wide a view can I get with say 32 mm plossls?  Is there a wider eyepiece than these?  How much less is seen with the 100 vs 110 mm aperature.  I have had 50 and 70 mm binocs in the past.  Thanks.

The 20×110 is a great binocular, but heavy at 16 lbs.  The Oberwerk 5000 Series tripod/head ($279) can handle it, has plenty of height to get it high overhead, and would be the least-expensive mounting option.  A parallelogram would be the most comfortable for astronomical viewing, but you’d need the UA Millennium ($499) and our wood tripod to support it, so it ends up being a rather expensive setup.
The BT-100-45 is our finest instrument.  But Plossl eyepieces are actually rather narrow.  A 32mm Plossl would give you 19x, but would have a FOV of only 2.6 degrees.  The included 25x eyepieces are a wide-angle design, and have almost the same FOV (2.5 degrees), therefore no advantage to using the Plossls.  I think the difference between 110mm and 100mm is negligible, the comfort of the 45-degree viewing more than makes up for that.
Kevin Busarow

Thanks Kevin
The 100 mm sounds more advantageous. How are the views of planets / moon at say 100-150x? Is there much color?  Thanks.

I recommend a maximum magnification of 75x (8mm eyepieces), chromatic aberration is minimal at 75x and below, but some of our customers are running as high as 100x (6mm).  At 75x, Jupiter and Saturn show nice detail, the moon is fantastic.

The 2017 Great American Eclipse

While Dayton, Ohio would see 89% coverage of the sun during the Great American Eclipse, the crew from Oberwerk headed south in order to experience totality.  Linda and Rick were near Gatlinburg, TN, while Kevin and Jane headed for western Kentucky.  Hopkinsville, KY was declared the best place in the Midwest to observe the eclipse, but we elected to avoid the crowds and chose Russellville- about 30 miles to the east, and also on the center line (2 minutes 29 seconds of totality).  In order to avoid crazy-high hotel rates, we stayed in Louisville, KY on Sunday- which was far enough from the band of totality to still have normal-price rooms available (not to mention downtown Louisville’s 4th Street Live is always a great time).

Our plan was to arrive in Russellville early Monday morning and then scope out the town for the best place to observe.   But first we had to stop at the Russellville Walmart Supercenter to purchase chairs, since we had forgotten to load them in Dayton.   Upon exiting the Walmart (8am), we noticed that the perimeter of the huge parking lot was lined with cars, and some people were setting up telescopes in the lawn area surrounding the parking lot.  We immediately realized that we had found our spot- so we grabbed one of the last available perimeter parking spots and set up.

We brought an Oberwerk BT-100-45 for visual observation (prototype high-gloss white with Oberwerk-USA  TR3 walnut tripod), and an Oberwerk 20-60×82 Sport ED Spotting Scope with Novagrade Tablet Adapter, to capture images and video on an iPad Pro.  Both were equipped with Thousand Oaks solar filters.  We also brought our Coronado PST, with Denkmeier 60mm upgrade, for hydrogen-alpha views of the sun while waiting for the eclipse to begin.  It was a hot day, but the skies couldn’t have been more perfect.   While waiting, we had dozens of people stop by checking out our gear, and it was great fun watching people gasp when they saw the BT-100-45’s incredible view of the eclipsing sun!  The iPad, Novagrade-mounted to the Sport ED spotting scope, was also very popular, as groups of people could all see the view from the 10″ screen.  We estimate there were between 200 and 300 people hanging out at the Walmart parking lot, everyone we met was very friendly and excited to be there.

When totality arrived, the crowd cheered- and it was truly awesome!   We were concerned that the Walmart floodlights would turn on, but they remained off, even though most streetlights off in the distance were on (Thanks Walmart management!).  When the eclipse ended, we packed up and headed for home- us, and millions of others.  Needless to say, the return trip was miserably-slow (we arrived at 12:30am).  But we all agree- it was certainly worth it!

Photographing the Great American Eclipse with Novagrade adapters

The Great American Eclipse, the first total eclipse in the USA in 100 years, occurs Aug. 21st. Hopefully you already have solar filters for your binocular and/or telescope, as we (and most other astronomy vendors) sold out some time ago. If you are using one of our Novagrade smartphone or tablet adapters to photograph or video this event, here’s a tip that will improve the quality of what you capture. Oberwerk 20-60×82 Sport ED Spotting Scope with Thousand Oaks S-4000 solar filter).

Visit Oberwerk at the Miami Valley Astronomical Society’s Apollo Rendezvous 2017

The 47th Annual Apollo Rendezvous is one of the noted annual gatherings of amateur astronomers in the Midwest. Each year, amateur astronomers join with friends and colleagues from around the world at the birthplace of aviation, Dayton, Ohio.

Saturday kicks off at 9:00 AM, at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, with presentations scheduled throughout the day, including-
“Robots in Space – The Exploration of Our Solar System” and “Recent Adventures with Hubble Space Telescope” -G. Fritz Benedict, Senior Research Scientist with McDonald Observatory.
“23 Years of Amateur Astronomy” -Charlie Warren, managing editor of Amateur Astronomy Magazine.
“Clear Skies – Forecasting the Final Frontier” -Tara Hastings, Meteorologist with WDTN Channel 2 News.
The day continues with vendors, planetarium shows, door prizes and raffles. Weather permitting, the evening will wind down with a BBQ and star-gazing at John Bryan State Park Observatory.

How to focus properly?

I just bought a second-hand Oberwerk 10.5 X 70 Ultra and I’m a rookie when it comes to individual-focus binoculars.  When I try to focus the binos I feel like my eye is compensating for improper focus and when I look with both eyes the image takes some effort to focus on.  I think my eyes are compensating because the image can be in focus over quite a broad range of the eye piece’s movement and when I check after focusing each eye individually the right and left sides are often quite different.  It’s a bit hard to describe what’s happening but I thought this might be common trap for young players.  What’s the correct procedure for focusing IF binoculars?  Thanks.

With an individual-focus binocular, if you try to focus with both eyes open, you’ll have lots of trouble as your brain compensates for out-of-focus images.  I always close one eye, while I focus for the other eye.  Then I do the same for the other side.  When you close each eye, do so gently, otherwise you may temporarily change your eye focus from excess pressure.  After you do this a few times, it will become quite natural, and fast.  Let me know if that helps, or not.
Kevin Busarow

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for your help, it just took some experimenting to get worked out. The binoculars are fantastic,  particularly at night.

New for 2017, our Heavy-Duty Aluminum-Frame Case for Deluxe Series and Ultra Series

Our Deluxe Series and Ultra Series binoculars (except for the 10×50 Ultra) now come with the new Oberwerk Heavy-Duty Aluminum-Frame Case. On first glance, these new cases look similar to last year’s cases, but they are substantially stronger and simply much better quality. The only downside is they are almost twice as heavy as the old cases- but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s worth the extra weight to have a much better case protecting your binocular investment.

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