Wish I had off work today. Very clear last night. I didnít get home till 10:30 or I might have set up the telescope. I did get out with the Orion 15x70 binoculars. Beautiful clear sky. I used them hand held only. They weigh 2lbs.14oz. so I was good for about an hour. Then my arms start getting tired and I canít hold them that steady. My first target was M57 the Ring Nebula. Iíve lined this up in my finder scope on my 80MM so many times, I pretty much know right where it is. It doesnít look like a ring with only 15x. It looks like a dot, a little hard to pick out until you know which dot it is. Next I tried to see M71 Globular in Vulpecula. It was too low and in the light polluted glare from a big intersection under 1 mile away. Couldnít see it. Up and to the left a little is the beautiful M27 the Dumbbell Nebula. Looked like a puff of smoke just hanging there. Nice, real nice! I turned around and went for M81/M82 galaxies in UM. I could see M81 quite clearly but M82 was illusive. It was also getting low in the sky. Again, I know right where it is so I did get with averted vision. M51 was hanging right overhead. Excellent! Very bright, for M51 anyway. It looked very much like the Dumbbell, a round smoky patch just hanging there. The 3D effect from the bionos made it look like it was closer than the stars. Beautiful image. One of my favorite binos views is M10 & M12 in Ophiuchus. Two fuzzy spots, almost identical, visible in the same field of view. They just about fit at the edges. This is much better picture with the binos mounted. Itís hard to keep them both in the field hand held. Also in Oph is a wonderful Open Cluster IC4665. Many bright stars with some dim ones in the background. At this point I had to take a look at Mars. Very unusual sight. It look just like Jupiter with no Moons. Extremely bright. Vivid orange color. No details, too small at 15x. Very impressive. Bigger than Saturn. Disk clearly visible. Why donít we just keep Mars right there from now on. Directly overhead again, M13, the brightest item in the field. Amazing. Looked like a cotton ball. When ever you look at M13, with binos or a telescope, donít forget to swing over to M92 also a globular in Hercules. I think itís even brighter than M13 but smaller. It looked like a small bright cotton ball. The last constellation I visited was Cygnes. Two of my favorite open clusters are in Cygnes. M29 is small but right there. Little bright clump of stars. I love that one. Then thereís M39 which is a triangular shaped cluster. Many bright stars and some dimmer ones. You might miss this at first because itís in a pretty rich area. But once you recognize it, itís a real easy and wonderful binocular target. Of course when in Cygnes with binos you have to swing over to the coat hanger, which is of course not in Cygnes but close. If you ask me, this is the Asterism that most resembles what itís called. It looks like a coat hanger, not much else to say. The beautiful double star Alberio is absolute splitible in binoculars. It looks great. Can see both components swinging around. This is also better when the binos are mounted. And last but not least, was the item of the night. The stars Omicron1 and 30 Cygnes are listed as 2 stars on the charts, but itís basically a naked eye double star. Check it out. Itís the bright star between Deneb and Delta Cygnes. Look close, naked eye, you can see both components. Then have a look in binos (any size). The colors are outstanding. Omicron1 is bright orange. 30 is blue, bright blue. Thatís an outstanding bino item. Donít miss it.
I saw all that in just under an hour. If it wasnít getting close to midnight, I had about a hundred other things I wanted to see. The sky is full of cool stuff to see in even a 7x35 pair of binoculars. They are the ultimate grab and go optical aid. Five second set up time. Ten second pack up. Even the cheap department store binos will give you pleasing wide views. If youíre into observing and you donít have a pair of binoculars, youíre missing half the fun. Clear skies.