July 26, 2010


I purchased 4-inch (25x100) binoculars in July 2009 only for visual comet hunting. My purpose was carry them with me whenever I go out side the city to sweep the evening western skies after dusk. But I couldn’t use the binoculars at their full extent. The problem was that I was using them without a viewfinder. The binos magnifies 25x and has a FOV (Field of View) of 3 degrees. It was very difficult for me to find the object’s exact location whenever I stumbled upon them. It wasted most of time of my comet hunting sessions. Also the binocular was useless during 2010 Messier Marathon as I couldn’t find most of deep-sky objects. I believe in fast observation and spending much time in observation rather than wasting time in finding objects. Those who are using 25x100 binos must have faced problems of locating deep-sky objects and faint comets. They must have to star-hop to get on some particular deep-sky object.

I decided to solve this problem. Firstly I tried my telescope’s finders and tried to build some kind of support system to fix the finder. I wanted to fix the viewfinder on the central aluminum rod which joints two monocular but could not make it done. Finally I got solution while I was surfing the website of Indian Telescope Manufacturer, Tejraj & Co. I found that a bracket is available that can be fit over a telescopic tube. The bracket actually holds a view finder. I also found that a ringed bracket is available that can be fit over a 110mm diameter telescopic tube to support a view finder piggybacked. My Binoculars’ O.D. (Outside Diameter) is 115mm. The ringed bracket comes with two pieces (half-ringed shape) that joints each other with plastic screws. I ordered one bracket and one 7x25 straight-finder scope.

I received the parcel on 26-7-2010. After opening the packet, I tried to fix the bracket in the left sided monocular of my binos. It was rather shorter! However I could fix it with the help of a black wire that comes with cell phone’s charger. I carefully fixed the finder and set the binos on tripod stand.

-Rahul Zota

July 20, 2010


The planets Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn meet together in the western evening sky just after sunset. On the evening of July 20th, around 8:30pm, Mercury is very low in the west; Venus is in Leo, looking brilliant. Mars and Saturn are in Virgo, very close to each other (5 deg. 47’).

On July 25th, after sunset, Mars (mag.1.45) will be only 9’58” from the 3.5th magnitude star Beta Virgo. Both can fit within my 8-inch telescope operating at 165x! On the 27th at evening, Mercury (mag.0.06) will be just 31’20” away from Alpha Leonis, or Regulus, again a beautiful scene for high magnification telescopes.

After this on 31st of July at dusk, Mars and Saturn will be paired at only 1 deg. 46’ distance! This will be a nice view for the binocular observers! The planets will remain together further in August. There will a mind-blowing scene on the evening of August 13th at around 8:30pm. The three planets Mars, Venus & Saturn will form an elongated triangle. Also a 4 days old, Waxing Crescent Moon will add more beauty to them.

-Rahul Zota