Thursday, November 7, 2013

Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes, intended for nature watching, are also great for beginners when turned skyward. Spotting scopes are small telescopes of either refractor or compound design. The reason that you will never see a reflecting spotting scope is that reflectors always produce upside down images.

While spotting scopes are more expensive than binoculars, they do offer some advantages. Some spotting scopes come with a tripod and even if it doesn’t come with a tripod, all spotting scopes can be made to attach to tripods to provide a stable viewing platform. Another great benefit of spotting scopes is that many have adjustable magnifications that usually range from 20x up to 60x. The adjustable magnification is great for finding objects and then zooming in on them. The only downfall is that even at low power, 20x, the field of view will be quite small. At 60x, you have the equivalent of low power for an astronomical telescope. Some spotting scopes even come with eyepieces like an astronomical telescope. Some spotting scope eyepieces can also be used on an astronomical telescope when you decide to upgrade.

As with binoculars, spotting scopes can have their viewing field expressed in degrees or feet at a particular distance. Use the same method as for binoculars to calculate the field if it is expressed in feet. Again, higher magnification reduces the field of view.

Like binoculars, aperture is important. The larger the aperture, the better.

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