“Warped Astronomy” at Warped Wing Brewery

The Miami Valley Astronomical Society, Oberwerk, and Warped Wing Brewery collaborated and held a “Warped Astronomy” night on 9/28/2017, which combined two of our favorite things- astronomy and beer! Well over 100 people showed up, and were treated to views of the sun using a solar filter-equipped BT-100-45, followed by fabulous views of the moon (BT-70-45 at 32x), and everybody’s favorite- Saturn (BT-100-45 at 75x)! Inside the brewery, roaming MVAS members did “table talks” on various astronomy topics, while attendees sampled Warped Wing’s brews. A great time was had by all, pretty sure we’ll do this again!

Mount for 25×100

Hello Kevin, maybe you can help me. While I am waiting for my bino’s, I am trying to figure out how to convert my azimuth telescope mount to adopt the 25 x 100 binoculars. I have attached an image. Any ideas?

That’s an equatorial mount, which means it’s designed to be polar-aligned, so it can then move on just one axis to compensate for the earth’s rotation. This works fine with telescopes, but is not recommended for binoculars as the binocular must remain level to comfortably view with both eyes. It’s possible to maneuver both axis to keep the eyepieces level, but it’s not ideal. There are two other issues-
1) The plate that adapts the telescope to the mount must be removed and then attached to the binocular. The plate is probably attached to an internal backing plate- which may freely move around inside the telescope if the screws are removed. Not sure of compatibility with that plate, the binocular attaches to a mount with a single 3/8-16 or 1/4-20 screw (the mount hole is drilled and tapped 3/8-16, but a 1/4-20 reducer sleeve is included).
2) The 100mm binocular is 10 lbs., and far outweighs the 60mm scope that the mount and tripod was designed for. If you do manage to attach it, it’s not going to be very stable.
Most customers use our Series 5000 tripod/head ($279). The head is rated for 16 lbs., the tripod for 24 lbs., so easily handles the 25×100. With the included dual panning handles, it’s easy to steer the binocular in altitude and azimuth. It also has a crank-up elevator to compensate for changes in eyepiece height when panning from horizon to zenith. So that’s my recommendation, but if you still want to try the scope mount, I’ll do my best to help.
Regards,
Kevin

Viewing up to 50 miles away

Hello,
We are searching for the best model to purchase for a deck view….we just purchased a home in Panama and want to be able to see the island where our son fishes which is about 46-50 miles …34 by land and 12 by sea – I was looking at telescopes when I found you on a google search. Do you have a model that would see that far that is on a mount …and not for the “professional”??  Thank you.

One of our Long-Range Observation binoculars would be the best choice for long distance viewing.  Using both eyes adds perspective and depth perception to the view, while a telescope presents a very “flat” view.  These are truly the world’s most powerful binoculars, however, 45-50 miles is very distant, and the curvature of the earth over that distance will come into play.  If you are standing on the beach looking out over the water, the horizon is only 3 miles away due to the curvature of the earth.  You have to be standing higher than sea level and/or your target must be higher than sea level to be able to see farther than 3 miles.  There is a formula to determine how far the horizon is, based on the observer’s height above sea level.  The formula is Distance (in miles) = 1.2246*SQRT(Height in feet).  So let’s assume your deck is 200 ft. about sea level.  The square root of 200 is 14.14.  Multiply that by 1.2246, and you get 17.3 miles.
Of course you’ll still want the binocular for your deck view, but unless you’re particularly high up, and/or there are features on the island that are very tall, you probably won’t be able to see the island simply due to earth’s curvature.  Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.
Regards,
Kevin Busarow

Hi Kevin,
This is super! We are actually at 4200 ft. above sea level.  Don’t know how to do that square foot thing…but knowing the altitude and the distance to the sea (35) miles…Island is about 12 more miles….what is your recommendation for binoculars…also would be great to look at stars too…but would love to know the distance.  What do you think?

From that height, the horizon is 79 miles away.  Over that distance, you’ll need perfect atmospheric conditions to get a really clear view- so some days will be better than others.
The 25/40×100 Long-Range Observation binocular that I mentioned earlier would be great for this.  But if you are interested in binocular astronomy, as well as looking out across the water, you should consider our BT-100-45.  It has 45-degree viewing, which is much more comfortable for your neck when viewing the night sky.  When viewing to the horizon, you’ll be looking down into the binocular at a 45-degree angle- but that’s quite comfortable.  It also means the binocular can sit lower on the tripod, and is more accommodating of people of different heights.  Just set the tripod height for the shortest person, and taller people can just bend over a bit more to view through it.  The BT-100-45 is also capable of even greater magnification than the 25/40×100 using our optional 75x eyepieces.  But note that these binoculars are not weatherproof.  You should set this up indoors looking out through a big window to your view.  Take it outside only in nice weather, and for night sky observation of course.  Let me know if you have more questions.
Regards,
Kevin

 

Bushnell Powerview 20×50?

I’m planning to purchase a binocular, thinking about the Bushnell Powerview 20×50.  I just want to know, in this binocular how long a distance can we see clearly? 

You’re asking Oberwerk if we would recommend the 20×50 Bushnell Powerview?  Let’s just say that Oberwerk doesn’t make a 20×50, and for good reasons.
20x magnification is far too much magnification to hand-hold and still have a steady view.  So a 20x magnification binocular needs to be mounted on a tripod to make it usable.  Secondly, 50mm objectives are generally too small to gather enough light to support 20x magnification with good clarity and brightness- especially so for the inexpensive Powerview series.   There is one exception to the above- the $3000 image-stabilized Farvision 20x50S.  If that’s not in the budget, let’s continue…
The Powerview uses “InstaFocus”, which while very fast, is hard to control precisely- and 20x magnification requires very precise focus.  20x magnification also requires perfect collimation (alignment), otherwise you won’t see a well-merged image, and you’ll experience eyestrain at best, and possibly even double images.  Oberwerk is the only USA seller that tests and aligns every binocular before shipping- which is especially necessary at 20x.
If you need 20x magnification, you’re going to also need a tripod.  And as long as you are using a tripod, you might as well get a binocular that is large enough to gather enough light to have a bright image with good clarity.  The Oberwerk 20×80 LW ($199.95) mounted to the Oberwerk 3000 tripod ($149.95), would be the least-expensive binocular that can offer 20x magnification with high-quality.  Let me know if you have any more questions.
Regards,
Kevin Busarow

Questions on 8×40 Mariner

I am new to viewing astronomical objects and I have not bought any astronomical binoculars before. I am wondering if those binoculars could be too LARGE for me, as I am a petite female at 5’3″ tall.  Also, am a (young) senior citizen nearing 67 years, so I was wondering if I will have any problem seeing things with my smaller exit pupils.  The web says this is a good price for a good pair of binoculars, but it never hurts to ask if you ever have any sales or discounts on them. Thanks for you help and advice.

You probably saw the SPACE.COM review for the 8×40 Mariner?  That article made it a best-seller for us, and it’s hard to keep it in stock.  But we have 30 other models, and SPACE.COM only looked at two of them.  So often times, other models are more appropriate for customers, depending on how they intend to use them.  The 8×40 Mariner does offer a very wide 8.4 degree FOV (field of view).  But in your case, you may find the 8×40 Mariner to be rather bulky and heavy for the  relatively-small 40mm objective size.  It also has a minimum IPD (inter-pupillary distance) of 60mm, which is not narrow enough for some customers, especially women.
For the same weight as the 8×40 Mariner, you could have the 8×56 LW, which gathers much more light.  While the 7mm exit pupils may be more than your dark-adapted eyes can take in, it’s likely that you could use more than the 8×40’s 5mm- resulting in an overall brighter image.  The larger exit pupils are also much more forgiving with eye placement.  It has a minimum IPD of 58mm, so works well for more customers than the Mariner.  It’s also just $99.
At the other end of the price scale, we have our finest bird-watching binocular, the 8×42 Sport ED ($299).  It also gathers more light than the 8×40 Mariner, yet is much smaller and lighter weight.  You’d find this model much easier to handle than the 8×40 Mariner.  It has an even wider IPD range, and goes down to 57mm.  The 8.1 degree FOV is very close to the Mariner.  Because it uses ED glass (which is what makes it considerably more expensive), chromatic aberration (also called “false color”) is greatly minimized, making it an excellent binocular for astronomy, as well as bird-watching.  When I’m traveling light, the 8×42 Sport ED is the only binocular I need to bring.
To answer your last question, our products never go on sale (except for discontinued items).  Whenever you’re ready to buy, you’ll know you’re getting our best price.  Let me know if you have any other questions.
Regards,
Kevin Busarow

20×110 Ultra vs. 20-60×82 Spotting Scope

Hello Kevin-  I’m a returning customer and very pleased with your products.  I need your help with my next purchase.  For terrestrial viewing and long distance bird watching, which will provide better image and better resolution in high magnification? I mean which has better power without getting blurry.  The 20×110 binoculars OR 82mm spotting scope that has smaller aperture than the binos?  Thank you.

Your question is interesting, as these are two very different instruments- like comparing apples and oranges.   So to be sure, I just tested this for myself.  The 20-60×82 Sport ED spotting scope set to 20x is  sharper than the 20×110 Ultra binocular.  While the 20×110 Ultra is one of our finest fixed-power binoculars, I can resolve very small lettering on a sign about 1/2 mile away with the scope that I can’t read with the binocular.  This is not very surprising as the scope, with its single 82mm objective, is a little more expensive than the binocular with two 110mm objectives.   The scope is apochromatic, so chromatic aberration, which is always present to some degree in an achromatic instrument, is almost non-existent in the scope.  On the other hand, the binocular view is brighter and more pleasing because each eye has its own 20x110mm refractor, giving a feeling of depth perception and perspective.  But if the primary goal is best resolution, the spotting scope is the clear choice.  It also has the advantage of zooming all the way to 60x, with good quality.  It’s also much lighter and smaller, therefore much more portable.  Let me know if you have any more questions.
Regards,
Kevin Busarow

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.
Regards,
Kevin Busarow

20×110 vs. BT-100-45

Hi-
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.
Regards,
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.
Regards,
Kevin

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. When using a solar filter, the image of the sun is relatively-dark compared to the ambient light around the adapter. The camera will adjust exposure based on the filtered sun, but this will make reflections from ambient light very apparent. The solution is to seal off the gap between the phone or tablet and the adapter. Just two strips of electrical tape is all that is needed (see picture above of the Novagrade tablet adapter mounted on the Oberwerk 20-60×82 Sport ED Spotting Scope with Thousand Oaks S-4000 solar filter).

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