20x50 SuperZenith BINOCULARS
My first equipment was 20X50 Super Zenith Binoculars. It was a gift from my father to my younger brother but it was me who used it more than my brother! It was 1999 and I was newly taking interest in astronomy. I first pointed it toward the full moon in the bright evening sky and thus, from that time the journey of exploring the night sky began. 

This binocular was my best companion in those days. I fortuitously pointed The Hercules Globular Cluster (M13) through this binocular in the summer 1999 while scanning the sky randomly! I couldn’t decide what that object was at that time but it made me curious and after that I couldn’t depart myself from astronomy. My interest grew day by day. This little equipment is almost useless nowadays but I still cherish it to recall my old days when I began to take interest in astronomy!

I used the 20x50 Binocular as a prime observing tool unless I got my hands on my first telescope. It was a 3-inch f/10 Newtonian reflector with alt-azimuth mount. I bought it in the year 2004 and sold it after 6 months of use. I then purchased a 5-inch Newtonian and after using it for 8 months I sold it to purchase a 6-inch Newtonian. I used this telescope at its best to find faint objects in the sky. I did my first and second Messier Marathons using this telescope. After realizing that now I can go ahead the beginner’s level, I decided to go for a bigger aperture. My next telescope was the 8-inch f/6.5 Newtonian Reflector which I bought in May 2007. I spent 100 hours with that scope for comet hunting.

 Then I purchased the 10-inch f/4.7 Dobsonian Telescope in September 2011 to improve my deep sky observing and visual comet hunting. I also purchased an Orion 2”, 38mm Q70 eyepiece with this telescope. This telescope has excellent optics and provides very good views of the celestial objects like planets and DSOs. The built quality is much better than my old 8-inch Newtonian telescope.

4-inch Sky-Watcher Short-tube Refractor and EQ5 Single Axis Motor 
My most recent purchase is the Sky-Watcher st102 achromatic refractor and the EQ5 mount equipped with the single axis (RA Axis) motor drive. This set up is used to find comets with my digital SLR camera and solar and  wide-field observing. 

I bought this binocular in July 2009 and bought its mount and stand a month later. I bought this binocular for the main purpose of visual comet hunting. It is easy to carry the binoculars when I go to the dark sites for comet hunting. The binocular shows the star fields in a 3 degree field of view. I have observed comets down to magnitudes 8.5 hand held using this equipment. The binos weight 5 kg and I can’t use it without stand for longer period of time. 

It is pleasurable observing rich Milky Way fields through this equipment. I cannot stop scanning the skies using this binocular. Till date I have spent few hours in comet hunting. I have observed many of the Messier objects through this equipment. I expect to discover comets down to magnitude 10 through this binocular. In short, this is nice equipment for wide-field observing and visual comet hunting.

I bought this binocular in January 2005. It gives fine views of the night sky objects as well as terrestrial objects. Using this equipment under dark skies, I can spot The Ring Nebula (M57) easily. I keep this binocular with me during every observing session. It is very useful to identify the exact location of the suspect during comet hunting. 

Canon EOS 70D with Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6

I purchased my first dslr camera in August 2011 and learned astrophotography with this camera. After selling this camera I moved to the Canon EOS 60D and finally to the EOS 70D which I am currently using. I use a Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 lens for landscape and star trails photography and the Tamron 70-300 VC USD for deep sky astrophotography and wildlife photography. Very soon I am planning switching to a full frame camera to improve Milky Way nightscapes!


Aadil said...

Good to see you're still keeping your first binoculars and using the latest equipment too. All the best with your astronomical pursuits. Clear skies,

Rahul Zota said...

Thank you very much Adil for the comment and liking my equipment :)

Akbar said...

Impressive, especially the 100mm binoculars! o_O

Rahul Zota said...

Thanks Akbar! The 100mm binos are my best companion whenever I go outside the city for observing and visual comet searching :)

prem said...

I just love the craze you have for this equipments. I have a craze for Binoculars and I deal in them. Feels good to come across the people who are interested in this.

Rahul Zota said...

thanks Prem for comment! Yes binocular observing is full with pleasure especially when you are new into observational astronomy and searching for objects with curiosity! In my beginning days I had stumbled upon many unknown objects and was very excited about them! I have created a list of the deep sky objects I chanced upon in my observing career. Will share my list in this blog soon :)

Manish Chauhan said...

Hi Rahul . I want to purchase Super Zenith Binocular from my relative.
I want to ask u whether this binoculars is still effective or not.. as compared to nikon or olympus .. it is super zenith 20x50.. Please advice me

Rahul Zota said...

hi Manish, super zenith binocular is very good for a beginner. When I was using mine I had noticed that I could not get single view. The view through the binoculars was always double. If possible then avoid buying 20x50 super zenith and invest in 10x50 or 7x50 Nikon, Celestron or some other brand.