Sunday, January 20, 2008

William Optics Binoviewers: First Light

When I got the Lightbridge, I also ordered a set of the William Optics binoviewers. The set included the binoviewers themselves, two 20mm wide angle eyepieces and a 1.6 barlow. When I had the Lightbridge out last weekend I tried the binoviewers on it and could not reach focus at all. Further research indicated that they simply wouldn't work on the big Dob unless I shortened the truss tubes. Well, no thanks!

So, last night I took them out with the Lx200 to see how they would do, having read that they work great with SCTs. They look pretty cool on the LX200 itself (click on the picture to the above for the bug photo). Their construction is first class and look rather fancy. Very solid, with smooth movement on both the eye width adjustment and the individual eyepiece adjustment. Without the eyepieces, the William Optics website indicates that they weigh 520 grams. This did not seem to be too heavy and did not affect slewing and goto on the LX200. Still, to save battery power in the future I think I'll slew without them and then re-insert when ready to view.

The view through them in the LX200 was brilliant. I targeted the Moon first. It was a very full gibbous, probably about 85% full. With the supplied 20mm eyepieces, the moon filled the field of view in an amazing display of "3-D-sharpness". Quite staggering, actually. I put them behind a 2X barlow and looked at the Aristarchus region, a favorite of mine that depicts a myriad of lunar features. The view was amazing, the main crater itself was filled with detail, and the Vallis Schroten was nice and sharp. A very pleasing image indeed.

Because of the big moon, deep sky sites were pretty much off limits. M42 looked quite nice, despite the moonlight I could still make out a lot of the nebula with relatively good detail. The binoviewers offered a really nice view, the nebula appeared to sit in front it the trapezium set of stars: quite cool! I also looked at the Double Cluster, and the stars seemed to appear sharp, contrasty and some appeared to be in front of others.

So, initial impressions are that these binoviewers are pretty nifty. I think I'll keep them rather than send them back and just use them on the LX200. I need to be careful not to want to go nuts and buy more sets of double eyepieces - I think the supplied 20mm set with the barlow will do just fine.

In two weeks I am hoping to take both the Lightbridge and the LX200 out to the Canyon of the Eagles for a bit of a shootout between the two. Apart from doing that, I hope to give the binoviewers a good run for their money on DSOs.


imjeffp said...

Yay! New goodies!

Try 'em in the Lightbridge again, but with the 1.6x corrector screwed in.

And it's just me, but I wouldn't worry about slewing the LX200 with them in. If it makes you feel better, you can turn down the slew speed.

Looking forward to a clear night when I can take a peek at both.

Phil said...

Hey Jeff,

I tried to use both the 1.6X (supplied) barlow and my 2X barlow, neither did any good. Still, happy to use it with the LX200.

The weather is peeving me off. Lovely clear skies during the days and then clouds and.or strong winds at night. Grrr.....