Guilty excess


Waking early, there was a wonderful sky, the gibbous moon well out of the way and Venus and Jupiter doing their stuff, with Arcturus, Spica, Mars and Regulus for company.  I ventured out into the icy dark with a new toy.  Going shopping for binoculars a few weeks ago sapped my moral fibre, and I bought yet another pair, which is excess indeed.

1 guilt

These do look odd.  This is because they are Pentax close focus binos – the ability to focus at 50cm giving them a slightly cross-eyed look.  The objectives are about 20mm I think, magnification 6.5.  I was sold on the description of them as a kind of field microscope to look at insects without getting close enough to frighten them away, or paintings and architectural features which as a tourist one can’t see properly.  Of course I was going to try them out on astronomy, for which they are definitely not intended.  Their images were feeble compared with the 7x50s, which I don’t hold against them, but both pairs seemed to be generating internal reflections when Venus and Jupiter were in the field of view – disappointing.  It was less of an issue with stars.

I retired to the electric blanket (providently turned on when I got up) still wearing all my clothes, including hat, and shivering, while I finished Stuff Matters.  The speed with which I got through this one indicates rather slight content, definitely at the popular end of popular science.  I would have liked more about the exotic materials with which I am unfamiliar, such as aerogel.  The chapter on why chocolate is so entirely addictive was good, and Miodownik gave a nice sense of the way the substance of clay changes when it is fired.

2 light weight

Yesterday I ignored some seductive sunshine as there was a fairly brutal north wind to go with it.  Today was calmer, and I took the Pentax to the beach for testing.  Hardly butterfly weather, and the birds had all decamped inland, so I practised on the rocks and shells at my feet, which came up in startling detail.  Must remember not to look at any spiders with the binos; I might have hysterics.  They worked well as a compact binocular for cliffs and surfers too, with a smooth focus wheel to move easily between near and far.  And light – very easy to use one-handed or for long observations.  Roll on those butterflies.

Blue sea and sky, with the sun shining through the incoming waves

3 blue

revealing the sand sucked up into their tummies as they approached the beach

4 sand

and lighting them up to the palest and most elegant jade green

5 green waved

with the orderly serries coming on behind them.

6 serries

Soon the light was going:  a very satisfactory sky and sea scape.

7 scape

Now I am going to eat rocket and lemon risotto.

4 responses »

    • They don’t look quite so odd in the flesh, as it were. You can buy Vixen wide field binoculars with a 2x magnification and I think a 40mm objective, and they do look seriously peculiar. Would love to try them for astro purposes, but price tag is rather steep.

  1. I am addicted to that jade green/light brown translucent colour waves sometimes display, and you have caught it wonderfully in those pictures. Thanks for reminding me just how glorious it can be.

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