How to Choose a Good Pair of Astronomy Binoculars

Almost all astronomers, both amateur and professional, own at least one good pair of binoculars and with good reason too. Binoculars offer unparalleled ease of use, while delivering crisp, clear views of the night sky at affordable prices. Unlike telescopes that have to be set up very precisely to be able to track objects, a pair of binoculars is simply pointed in the direction you want to observe, focused with one simple adjustment, and provided the instrument is held steady, it will produce views that are comparable to, and sometimes superior to, a small telescope.

Nevertheless, binoculars suffer from one major drawback. Unless you are using a giant pair of pier-mounted binoculars, their relatively small objective lenses do not gather sufficient light to view dim objects. Note that the distance of an object is not always related to its brightness, so even relatively close objects that have a low surface brightness might be a better target for a telescope, simply because a telescope gathers more light. Fortunately, though, binoculars offer an affordable way to discover the many binocular targets that are visible from the UK. An interactive sky map to find seasonal binocular targets is available online.

However, price alone should never be the sole deciding factor, especially if you are new to the hobby of stargazing. There are many technical aspects to consider to prevent you buying the wrong instrument, so in this guide we will briefly describe some of the most important things to look out for when shopping for a pair of binoculars for stargazing purposes. This guide will also briefly describe three high quality astronomy binoculars that are suitable for astronomical observing.

Get the basics right

Like all binoculars, instruments designed for stargazing are described by two figures, for instance, 10×50, 12×70, or some other combination. In all cases, the first figure denotes the magnification the instrument delivers, while the second denotes the diameter of the objective lenses. Thus, a 10×50 instrument gathers light through two 50mm-diameter lenses, and magnifies the object being viewed ten times.

These are important figures, because two 50mm lenses gather significantly more light than any 50mm aperture telescope, which means that the view through a 10×50 pair of binoculars is often superior to a view of the same object through a similar sized telescope. As with any optical aid, the more light the instrument gathers the better the views get, which in practice, means that a 10×50 instrument is better suited to observing bright objects such as the moon and planets, as opposed to nebulae and other deep sky objects such as galaxies that have low a surface brightness.

Thus, the secret to buying the right instrument is to be sure about what you want to observe; knowing this will make it easier to strike the right balance between magnification and lens diameter to achieve clear images.

Get proper eye relief

“Eye relief” refers to the distance behind the ocular (small) lenses of the instrument at which the image comes into focus. This value, expressed in millimetres, is an important consideration because an observer that wears eyeglasses might not be able to bring his eyes to within the specified distance. This means that such an observer will be unable to see a fully focussed image. The image below shows a typical eye relief problem that wearers of eyeglasses often encounter.

Image credit: Nikon

Image credit: Nikon

The most common eye relief distance is about 15mm, but most high quality binoculars are designed so that wearers of eyeglasses can comfortably use them. However, there are exceptions to this, so if you wear eyeglasses, be sure to test all binoculars you are considering buying while wearing your eyeglasses to be sure you can bring an image into focus.

Magnification is not everything

While it is tempting for beginner observers to go for the highest magnification available, the fact is that excessive magnification can sometimes make it impossible to view a desired object. There are two main problems with magnification: the first involves the fact that the higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view becomes, meaning that at high magnifications, parts of large objects, such as M45 (Pleiades Cluster), may not fit inside the field of view.

The other, more serious problem involves the fact that as magnification rises, so does image instability. In practice, this means that at say 20 × magnification, every small movement of the instrument also causes a 20-× magnification of that movement, which results in images that are so “shaky” that all detail is lost to the viewer. The obvious solution is to use a sturdy tripod to steady the instrument, but the downside of this is that a descent tripod can be more expensive than the binoculars.

Thus, observers on a tight budget are better served with smaller and lighter binoculars that can be held steady by hand, while still delivering a great view.

Consider the field of view

“Field of view” in this context simply means the total area of the sky that is visible through the instrument. Bear in mind that unlike telescopes, with which the field of view can be changed simply by switching eyepieces, the field of view delivered by a pair of binoculars is fixed. Therefore, if you mostly want to use your binoculars to observe the vast star fields in the Milky Way, or perhaps the surface of the Moon, a powerful, high-magnification instrument might show you more detail, but it will do so over smaller area than a lower magnification instrument will.

While astronomical binoculars are designed to deliver useful magnification as well as reasonable fields of view, the fact is that this ratio is fixed, meaning that above all, the intended use of the instrument should be the deciding factor that determines your choice of binoculars.

Our choice of top quality astronomical binoculars

Although the average observer is spoilt for choice when it comes to the bewildering number of makes, models, and prices of astronomical binoculars, the three instruments described below are widely regarded as being among the best in their respective classes. Note that all three instruments listed here are suitable for use by observers who have to wear eyeglasses.

Olympus 10X50 DPS I Binoculars

Price: £115

Image credit: Olympus

Image credit: Olympus

While some purists might argue that 10×50 binoculars are too small for serious astronomical observing, the mid-level multi-coated lenses on Olympus 10×50 DPS binoculars are of a high enough quality to deliver crisp images that are essentially free of chromatic aberration (false colour), and distortion around the edges of the images that is a common problem on low quality optics.

Moreover, this instrument delivers a whopping 6.5-degree field of view, which is augmented by a painless focussing adjustment to produce stunning views. Additionally, its lightweight construction means that it can be used without a tripod for extended observing sessions through folding eye caps that makes this the ideal choice for observers who have to wear eyeglasses. Note that the indicated price should be treated as a guide only.

Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars

Price: £175

Image credit: Celestron

Image credit: Celestron

The Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 is and affordable 25-× magnification instrument aimed at serious observers that routinely observe relatively dim objects. The 70mm objective lenses gather sufficient light to bring objects into view that a smaller instrument cannot; however, its 3.3-pound weight make them unsuitable for prolonged use without a tripod.

The instrument comes with a tripod adapter that fits almost all standard camera tripods, and it is strongly recommended that this instrument be mounted on a sturdy tripod for best results. This instrument is also suitable for long distance daytime viewing, when it high magnification can be very handy to spot elusive birds or other game species. Note that the indicated price is a guide only.

Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 Binoculars

Price: £499

Image credit: Celestron

Image credit: Celestron

The Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars is widely regarded as one of the best astronomical binoculars ever made. Nonetheless, this instrument is not suitable for use without a tripod, which should be rated as “heavy duty” to carry the 10-pound weight of this instrument without imparting vibrations to the instrument.

The views through this instrument are comparable to a 5-, to 6-inch telescope, but with the added advantage that it takes up only a fraction of the space taken up by a telescope, meaning that the observer gets near-telescopic views from an instrument that fits comfortably inside the average overnight bag. Note that the indicated price is a guide only.

4 Critical Factors That Define A Digital Strategy

As the world of technology evolves and continues to accelerate its pace, we constantly become aware of the digital changes as a apart of the total transformation of the world from traditional to digital. The internet impacts our life more than any time in the past – and as businesses continue to evolve and leverage its power, the need for a unique digital strategy has been one of the most needed aspects of every business.

If you are unaware of what a digital strategy is, let’s just say that it is a mixture of all the digital channels and a perfect opportunity for a business to transcend in the world of the digital – with creating a unique digital brand experience tailored to the needs of the target audeince.

If you want your digital strategy to succeed, you will need a mixture of the following aspects:

  • Social Data – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the trio where you can generate valuable information about your followers. The impact of social data on your digital strategy is tremendous, as social media optimization gives real customer insights and conversations, both of incredible value to every brand.
  • Search Engines – Nowadays, searching for any type of information is broken down to Google and the other search engines, which generate a ridicule number of searches per day. Fortunately, Google and the other search engines have implemented a way for your business to market its digital strategy directly on the search results – and it’s a must have for every business.
  • Mobile – The big rise of smartphones and mobile devices has dictated the growth of mobile users, shoppers and visitors over the last few years. With this in mind, mobile should be an unstoppable force of your digital strategy.
  • Big Data – One of the latest digital marketing buzzwords is the world of big data, which can gauge every customer insights and a plethora of information about any brand – and here evolves the need of implementing it in your digital strategy.

In the end, you should know that now or never is the time to strike the marketplace with your digital marketing plans and show the world the fruitful business of yours – in the best way possible!

Watch Sky TV in Germany: Experience the Best Television Treats

Sky TV can offer you the best television experience. You will only realize that you need it most, the moment it will happen in reality. Although it is true that not everyone is fanatic of watching TV, yet with the best offer that the Sky TV can offer, packed with a device that can let you connect the Internet in your television, it will surely be a totally great experience.

In Germany, many citizens have already availed the packages they want. They have chosen their best channels and subscribe to their local satellite. While there are also those people, especially the expats who have opted to watch Sky TV in Germany and get the international subscription for their preference of available language.

Actually, even if you are not in Germany, as long as you have this device called the Blade IPTV set top box, you can already browse the web and view your search on the wide screen of your television. Yes, this is made possible by Sky TV as well as this Blade Stream HD IPTV And Media Box. This only means that once your subscribed channel could not give you the movie you would like to watch at that moment, then you just can browse online and watch the live streaming. It was indeed an awesome treat.

You just need to coordinate with the local and international satellite installer so they could assist you in integrating the Blade Stream HD IPTV And Media Box to your television and allowing your subscribed channels to still pop up in your TV screen. This might require higher technical knowledge, yet you can hire somebody in your location to do the job.

It is essential that you can set-up the device successfully, without any conflicts with your satellite subscription for the channels, and the Internet connection for your access on the web. With all these things being ready for you, then you can just sit in your couch whole day and experience the best of what your TV can offer. You may invite your friends and family to come over to your place so everyone would have their share of the most advanced TV experience.

You can watch Sky TV in Germany or anywhere in the world, added with special features from the Sky satellite receiving equipment as what was mentioned. Since, there is an additional tool for you to enjoy your TV experience, then surely you can also expect added TV adventures. The device allows you to save your TV show, so you will not miss any episode. You can replay all the videos and music because of the USB port, which you can use to store the data of those files on your flash drive.

All of these and more of the TV adventures from Sky TV and the Blade Stream HD IPTV.

Freeview IPTV: Two Vital Features

IPTV offers some distinctive features to its users that make it a popular on demand video entertainment network. For those, who haven’t heard much about IPTV, it is important to point out that IPTV or Internet Protocol Television is basically a LAN based internet protocol that offers live television all over the world. The most important thing that makes IPTV stand out from other internet television networks is that it offers decoder signals to watch any TV channel in any part of the world. IPTV offers distinctive features to its users and based on the user’s subscription these features are then made available to them.

Here are two vital features of IPTV

Video on Demand: VoD or Video On Demand is the most popular feature of the IPTV. Through this feature, one can view his or her favorite TV shows or movies any time, anywhere – literally speaking – on demand. In order to avail of this service, the customer needs to upgrade his existing package in the IPTV subscription. The IPTV operator has the broadcasting rights to offer different types of visual content that include TV shows, on demand movies and special broadcasting of any popular shows. These shows are decoded by an integrated receiver on the set top box and thus the viewer is able to watch his or her preferred TV shows on demand.

Live Sports Streaming: This is yet another important feature of IPTV, which basically enables users to watch live sports events that are not being broadcasted in their region by their respective cable operator. Many times, sports channels have a very limited broadcasting area and they only air sports events in the regions where they are viewed most.

For example, Rugby is a popular sport in England, but it is less popular in the Asian countries, and that’s why sports channels usually take less interest in broadcasting the live rugby events in the Asian countries, because of the lower viewership. If an English fan visits an Asian country and wishes to watch a live rugby event which is unfortunately not being broadcasted in the particular region by any sports network, then that fan can switch to IPTV so as to be able to watch it even in Asia.

These features are two of the most important features of IPTV. In the coming years, IPTV has planned to introduce more features like these to make television viewing a lot easier, more interactive and more practical.

Freeview IPTV

Watch UK TV Abroad: The Ultimate How To Guide

Access every channel, on every network… anywhere in the world

The entertainment age has come a long way over the course of the past decade. With blisteringly fast internet speeds, increased bandwidths and some groundbreaking software and hardware developments, the era of watching television at set times, within a set timezone, within specified countries is over and done with. Regional television entertainment has become a global demand yet many networks are not embracing the changes in user habits due to contractual obligations, an unwillingness to change with the times and mainly, because the sheer emergence of technology threatens their very existence. Yet these very same networks and organisations that fail to recognise and move with the changes will soon be redundant and shortly afterwards, extinct.

The fact is, traditional means of receiving television signals via aerial, cable or satellite nowadays seems old fashioned and restrictive. Take a look around most households and there will be at least one device that can receive and present live streaming media. Anything from a humble desktop PC or Mac, to a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The options available to the consumer to take streaming media on the go isn’t part of a future vision, it’s here right now. And the mainstream networks know it!

With the ability to travel and move freely across numerous continents and border, the world has become a smaller and more accessible place. Business travel has never been so prevalent, migration from country to country is more commonplace than ever and the variety in tastes and demands all the more eclectic. So is it any wonder that consumers now want to dictate the television content they watch and when they want to watch it? Not at all.

The fact is, a television is a bulky and heavy object. Add to that the cables, the power demands and of course the connectivity of having to be hooked up to a cable provider or worse still, a bulky satellite dish on the roof; it already feels outdated and clumsy. Handheld technology allows freedom to move and internet streaming offers ways to watch the content we want, wherever we are; whenever we like.

Internet Streaming vs Traditional Television

Really there’s no contest. There’s so many ways to watch UK TV abroad that there’s always the perfect solution to practically anybody’s demands. As previously mentioned there’s ways to watch on your existing devices but there’s also ways to watch on your TV but with greater diversity of channel choices, languages, regions and genres. So let’s take a look at some of the options out there:

VPN Systems
Perfect for the frequently traveller, vacation user and type who’s always on the go, VPN’s are seen as the most accessible and low cost way of getting access to foreign TV for expats and viewers who are not based within the UK, as they can use a virtual private network to gain a local UK internet protocol address and instantly unlock access to a variety of on-demand UK TV websites. The major networks such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five all have their own dedicated on-demand services and so too do satellite subscription providers such as Sky as well. All of these services barring Sky are free to access however, there’s a lot of service providers out there offering ways to get hold of a Sky Go account and this makes using a VPN very attractive to the type of user who is always on the go and has a fairly reliable broadband internet speed. It’s also fairly cheap too!

IPTV Boxes
These little boxes are without doubt the most desirable and impressive option out there for consumers who want the world’s TV beamed straight into their living room. Costing less than $100 in most countries, an IPTV set-top box such as a MAG250 or MAG255 is no larger than your average Apple TV box yet packs some impressive features. If connected to one of the many impressive service providers out there, there’s literally no country’s TV you can’t get your hands on so if you want all the UK terrestrial and satellite television stations plus more at your fingertips for the fraction of the normal cost, this is the best option for you.

These little IPTV boxes are great because they allow users to record shows direct to a USB stick and in many cases, already have channels pre-recorded within the integrated 7-day EPG, meaning you can watch any show in any timezone, whenever you wish. A dream come true for expats is massively differing timezones like Australia or West Coast USA.

These boxes are also 1080p HD native and stream pictures at an unbelievably clear resolution so if you demand a wide variety of channels, with high quality images and sound, this is the option for you. The only downside is you have to have your box connected to a TV so in an age of portable devices, this is where this one falls down.

Slingboxes
Seen as a best of both worlds, the humble Slingbox offers consumers a way to watch high quality UK television streams on their TV and on portable devices via an installed app. It does unsurprisingly, come at a price however!

Although less commonplace than years gone by, mainly due to the fact that Slingmedia hasn’t brought any major new upgrades out to compete with the likes of the IPTV set top boxes, Slingboxes still offer some impressive features for those who know the exact television they wish to watch. A Slingbox must be hooked up to an existing source such as a cable box or satellite receiver at which point, it converts the signal to streaming digital data which is then sent peer-to-peer to the end user and never shared. The end user can then either use their in-built app on their tablet or phone or set-top device (such as a WD Media Player, Slingcatcher or Roku) to watch the channels they wish, that their box is transmitting.

So the end result is a very tailored solution but one that is very restrictive in terms of choice. You can only watch the channels that your source can receive so whilst an IPTV box can connect to multiple sources, a Slingbox can only connect to one. But it does mean, you have complete control over your content and you are never at the mercy of an unscrupulous service provider suddenly losing dozens of channels with no explanation or support. So if you know what you want to watch and can get a solid system set up, a Slingbox is ideal for those who want reliability and security.

So all in all, it’s clear that the world is moving away from traditional terrestrial and satellite television viewing habits. Already, the world is moving towards on-demand via services such as Netflix, Amazon and Virgin Media. These trends are only set to continue so it will be an interesting few years to come as we witness a major turning point in world television entertainment delivery.

Watch UK TV Abroad