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Home > Reviews > Accessories > Binoviewers > Siebert 2" Binos Followup - Now for Saturn

Siebert 2" Binos Followup - Now for Saturn
By Jason Davis - 1/24/2005

Previously I wrote a report/article regarding the Siebert Optics 2” Black Knight Binoviewers and how they fared on summertime skies, which was widely commented on here on AstroMart and on other review and forums Websites, both with positive enthusiasm and begrudging acknowledgement. I’ve written this article as a followup to that original article, which can be read at http://www.astromart.com/articles/article.asp?article_id=143.

While some would say that “any bino can make planets look good, but what about the deep stuff?” in the previous article I had put to rest my own concern about the DSOs. The binos were better than even a 22 mm Nagler by itself on at least 8 out of 10 deep objects. On the contrary, to me, to capture Saturn large and clear was going to be the tricky one – just to get it to “sit still” in a high power view. I will say that I was provided with the view of Saturn several nights ago (January 20, 2005) that I’ve waited for all my life. Apart from a 2/3rds full Moon, the seeing conditions were excellent. It’s worth noting that two nights later, through a sheen of fog and therefore widely disbursed and diffused Moonlight, the view was 97% as good, remarkable for such dubious conditions.

I have viewed Saturn many times with my NexStar 11 with quite an array of eyepieces, including 1.25” binos with 14 mm wides (the best I could get with 1.25” equipment), and now with this Celestron CGE 1400 have viewed it with a 40 mm Plossl, 34 mm Siebert wide angle, and a 22 mm Nagler, all of which, especially the Nagler, provided excellent views in obviously varying sizes.

With this 14” Celestron, a TeleVue 2” Everbrite star diagonal, the Siebert 2” Black Knight Binos, and the Siebert 34 mm wide angles with 1.5-2 x multimagnifier, the view was unsurpassed by any scope and combination I have ever looked through, which includes small to medium-large dobs.

I spent almost an hour collimating the scope, which strangely enough was far easier to do with a single eyepiece than it was with the binos, and the collimation was the difference, even though it wasn’t “out too far” to begin with. The difference with single-eye viewing with roughly equal magnification was quite simply that there was more detail with the binos, and it appears larger, which you can check for yourself by looking through binos and closing one eye. This coupled with the fact that you don’t have to tape one of your eyes closed makes the viewing experience far more pleasant and comfortable because you can stand there for 20” minutes straight, staring at that marvelous beauty (while the philistines tap you on the shoulder, demanding their turn!).

Of course the Cassini Division was very clear and sharp, but the lighter thin ring just inside it was incredibly bright, brighter than the Division is dark. Perhaps they were giving each other that contrast. I could also make out the smaller division in Ring A, and the semitransparent Ring C was easily discernable (I didn’t even know it was there until this view, and so decided to look it up), especially across the face of the planet, significantly more so than in the photograph. I could clearly see the brighter planetary band (and even stripes within that band), bordered on the top by the duskier and thin brown one that divides the planetary face into two main sections, one tan and one yellowish.

This picture is one I got off the Web and sized it down to about the size of the view I’m getting, and I blurred it to match the sharpness. The difference is that in the view I’m getting the rings are actually sharper, brighter and with more contrast, and the inside Ring C, barely discernable in the picture, is clearly visible. Though this picture and the view I’m getting are similar, the live view is actually better, despite the slight movement from atmospheric turbulence.

I’ve set the scope up at least 25 times since receiving the binos, have not once used single-eye viewing, and the only change in my report is that the intraocular adjustment has loosened and become easier to move. I do have to futz with the Nagler 22s to get them properly collimated, but that would not be the case were my eyes exactly the same. My friends, the philistines, have no problem at all with them.

That’s still my story and I’m sticking to it (at least for now - Jupiter will be the Grande Finale).

Dark skies to you.

Jason --

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