Archive | September, 2014

Scope Talks Review: Kowa SV42-8 Binoculars (Part 2)

September 30, 2014



Spec’s aside, how did the Kowas field test? In a nutshell, very well indeed. But there’s a “but” I have to tack onto that summary.

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Big Sky Joy

September 25, 2014


big sky seronik

My friend was almost 70 kilometres south of Swift Current when he drove into the small town of Cadillac. He figured that if he drove further south where the farms (and farmyard lights) were few and far between, he’d find himself under a wide-open, coal-black sky – and with no Moon that night to spoil the dark

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Scope Talks Review: Kowa SV42-8 Binoculars (Part 1)

September 19, 2014

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The optics are fully multicoated and phase coated for

maximum light throughput and contrast.

I’ve reviewed a lot of gear over the years, and I’ve learned two important lessons. First, nothing is ever perfect. No matter who makes it and how much it costs, if you look hard enough you’ll find things to criticize. Second, the better a piece of equipment is, the pickier the review seems. That’s simply because when a manufacturer gets all the big-picture stuff right, all that remains are the little niggles.

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Urban Guerrilla Stargazing

September 16, 2014



My yard was a no-scoping zone, the eastern third of it being covered by a tree, the rest illuminated by a streetlamp. However, in the southwest corner of our garden sat a big tool shed with a door obligingly facing due east. From within that darkened shelter I could aim my optics through the open doorway at M15 rising above the tree.

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Unboxing Day

September 11, 2014


Christmas comes early — a box of astronomy goodies ready for enjoyment.

There’s also something slightly ritualistic about the whole unboxing process — a little ceremony each of us performs in our own way. Some approach it with reverence, carefully liberating each item from the packing material. Others proceed with excited recklessness, flinging bubble-wrap this way and that, eager to get their trembling hands on the prize.

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A Starry Goose

September 9, 2014



Cygnus’ pattern includes the Northern Cross, a well-known asterism that can help us trace out the bird. 1st-magnitude Deneb at the top of the cross identifies the tail of the swan.

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My Favourite Star

September 4, 2014



The Pleiades cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters – is an easy-to-spot, compact group of six or seven naked-eye stars that is well placed for viewing on clear nights throughout the autumn and winter.

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Binoculars and the Art of Compromise

September 2, 2014


Both these binoculars feature 50mm objective lenses. But which is best,

depends on what you value more — magnification, or field of view.

All other things being equal, as the magnification goes up, the field of view goes down. And if you want to increase the field of view, you have decrease the magnification. The “best” binoculars are the ones that balance these two factors in the way that works for the kind of observing you want to do. It’s a compromise.

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