Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Image stabilizer for binoculars ala Alan MacRoberts

I'm an amateur astronomer since I know about.
I got my first binoculars  only  in the summer of 1999 at Methuselah's age of 45.
This was a  10x50mm Tasco binocular of doubtful quality which  shortly after was replaced by a 7x50mm  Fujinon Mariner binocular of excellent quality .
Since then I always had at least a pair of binoculars.
For the amateur astronomer who begins to observe the sky with the naked eyes , binoculars are great tools because they extends in a great way the innate vision.
You just take your binoculars  to a corner away from artificial lighting. 
The simple gesture of rising your binoculars up to the starry sky, seems to be a sign of recognition, or a  very powerful secret password entered in the  ancient mechanism of the world.
Suddenly the cover of the daily cellar disappear and the panorama of the Universe  unfolds before your eyes.
You feel the heavenly scent of Queen of Night flowers, you hear in your ears the distant barking of dogs , but your look has already
took you over there. At the same time you here  and beyond .
But  the  mobility of  binoculars is followed by their largest, maybe the only, disadvantage: shaking images induced by the weakness of our body.
By 2007 or 2008, I found on the site of  ''Sky&Telescope'' magazine an article which presents the solution found by  Alan M. MacRoberts to stabilize the binoculars.
His ''image stabilization device'' is simple and inexpensive, is made of wood and some screws and by using hand tools within everyone's reach.

You find the entire article at the link below :

I become interested and started thinking about the little project of building such a device.

The first amateur convinced by this  idea was my friend Csillag Attila from Arad, whose version of a stabilization device is shown below.
MacRoberts image stabilizer with a ''Sakura'' 9x60mm binocular, built by Csillag Attila in Arad

Soon ,Serban ,a student in Deva , built a device that belongs to this category, even if it failed to ensure all degrees of freedom of the  MacRoberts's  image stabilizing device.

Image stabilizer built by Serban ,student in Deva

Dan Vasiliu in Bucharest made a collapsible version of the  MacRoberts device, using components from a discarded tripod . Dan's collapsible version  is very suitable
for  amateur astronomers living in big cities and who have to travel a distance to their
place of observation.

Moreover,''the  shoulder mount for binoculars'' of Dan Vasiliu is part of a kit called
''the  minimum setup for observations''  which includes: binoculars, shoulder mount, a
compass, a star map and a flashlight with red light.
Shoulder mount for binoculars, built by Dan Vasiliu, Bucharest

Dan Vasiliu testing his shoulder mount for binoculars

''Minimum  Setup for Observations'' according to Dan Vasiliu: binoculars, shoulder mount collapsed, compass, star map and flashlight with the red light

A beautiful version of the MacRoberts device was made by Dan  Nicolcioiu aka

The MacRoberts device nicknamed Li-zooka, built by ZENDOW  in Targu-Jiu, wearing his Revue 10x50mm binoculars
Tavi Blagoi aka Erwin is my friend and felow member  on www.astronomy.ro’’ forum and on ''60mmtelescopeclub'' Yahoo group.
Next day I posted this article ,Tavi let me know about his version of a MacRoberts image stabilizer made of Aluminium profiles.The counterweight is a piece of door frame filled with sand.
Tavi's device have shoulder cushions and is a work under development,in the future he intend to add a swivel.

Aluminium image stabilizer built by  Erwin / Tavi in Timisoara

10x50mm binocular on Tavi's Aluminium device ,notice the shoulder cushions

Sand filled counterweight of Tavi's device

Below I present some pictures of my MacRoberts  image stabilizer ,nicknamed Bizooka ,on which I can mount three of my binoculars.

Myself, my MacRoberts image stabilizer holding the 7x50mm Fujinon Mariner binocular

My  10x50mm  Baigish binocular mounted on the device

Details of the Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm binocular  on the ''Bizooka'' device

Overal Imperial dimensions  of the frame of my device are: 1.6’’x 9’’x 42’’.
Sides are made of laminated plywood  12.7 mm / ½ ‘’ thick and the two spacers at the ends are made 30x40mm or 1.2 ‘’ x 1.6’’ solid wood.

Pivot plate of solid wood has dimensions of :30x150x205mm or 1.2’’x 6’’x8’’.

The arm supporting the  binoculars is 3mm/ 0.8’’  thick , made of a sandwich of two layers of 1.5mm /  1/16 ‘’ steel sheet.
The hole for the 1/4 inch screw holding the binoculars to the steel arm at their hinge, is  located at a heigh of 225mm or 9 ‘’ from the bottom of the frame.
The handle of the swive plate is made of 12.7 mm or ½ ‘’ plywood.

Here are the results of the  testing of my ''Bizooka''/MacRoberts  device  on May 13, 2011:

,, Last night until from 23:30 to 1:00 I  tested the functionality of my MacRoberts image stabilizing device.
On average each binocular was used approx. half an hour.I observed in the same order, with each pair of binoculars , star fields of Gemini, Leo,Virgo, Ursa Major, Coma Berenice but also the Moon,Saturn, Lyra , Cygnus and Scorpio, Libra and Serpens  Caput.
Of the  Deep-Sky objects  I observed Mel111 , M13, M92, M57 and Stock1.
The order of using the binoculars was: Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm,  Sakura 9x60mm and  Baighish 10x50mm.
The device performed well with all three binoculars.The Sakura 9x60mm binocular is just the weight limit for objects near the horizon,  probably I have to add a few hefty screws  to the counterweight to compensate for this configuration / situation.

After more than an hour and a half of varied observations  with  binoculars mounted on the device, I returned to normal observation with handheld instruments: horror!
It is as if you swap the first class armchair on a high speed ''Intercity'' train for a ride on the buffers of the same train.

Great surprise, and actually a double one,  came from observing the double stars .
Last year, when I managed to resolve in binoculars the double stars 16 - 17 Dragon and   Nu Dragon , Zeta Lyrae, 61 Cygni or Albireo,I had to sit on a chair, and, excepting the first two mentioned stars of Draco, all the rest of stars had to be near the  meridian.
During this testing of my  MacRoberts device, although Lyra and Cygnus were at 30-50 degrees altitude, all the stars like Zeta Lyrae,61 Cyg or Beta Cyg have been resolved in all binoculars. Wider  stars like Alcor-Mizar, Epsilon Lyrae or Zubenelgenubi in Libra are too easy to be split to be added here. ''

If you access the original article by Alan MacRoberts on the ''SkyandTelescope'' site and you take the time to read the comments, you will find my comment in which I proposed the nick-name of  "bizooka''  for this device.
The equation is:           Binocular+ Bazooka =Bizooka

I 'm sure  after you build such a device, you will join me saying: '' Thank you Alan MacRoberts'' !

                                                  BIZOOKA FOR EVER!


Scufundari de mare adancime in Pleiade , roiuri si nebuloase din taramul marelui vanator Orion

Pentru aceasta saptamana aveam numai prognoze meteo 100%  pesismiste , atat pe ''clearoutside'' cat si pe ''accuweather''.
Cand colo , Luni 8 Ianuarie , de cum s-a inserat si pana la miezul noptii - cand am intrat in casa deoarece nu mai puteam de frig , a fost senin.
Ma rog , nu ‘’ senin oglinda ‘’   : umezeala a fost prezenta atat la nivelul solului cat si in atmosfera , imaginea tremura mereu si astrii se vedeau ca printr-un geam ud.
Dar s-a vazut cerul sideral  si asta a fost foarte bine.
Ca de cerul celalalt , napadit de gretosii nori cenusii si sterili , nascuti mai degraba din poluare , m-am saturat.

In poza de mai jos vedem la stanga oglinda de 200mm diametru si focal de 1232mm a telescopului Dobson cu care am facut observatiile de mai jos.

Am inceput in Pleiade , povestea cu asa-zisa stea carbon din acest roi - descrisa in postarea din 3 Decembrie '17 , nu-mi dadea pace.
Sunt convins ca am dezlegat urmatorul ''mister'' : steaua oranj pe care am raportat-o  poate fi vazuta  in orice seara senina si face parte dintr-o  pereche de stele cu aspect de  stea dubla  avand codul  ADS 2755 , aflata la 40% din distanta de la Alcyone spre Celaeno.
Si la grosismente mici se vede culoarea oranj a stelei dar aceasta iese mult mai bine in evidenta la grosismente mari.
La 205x / Radian 6mm , culoarea oranj a fost aseara  bine vizibila.
(Dar nu este o asa-numita ''stea carbon'' , nu este de clasa spectrala K si nici M...)

Am rezolvat la 137x /Revelation Plossl 9mm , steaua dubla din Pleiade cu indice Sigma 450 cu parametrii 7.3mv/9.3mv/6.1''.
Sigma 450 este prima stea  in lantul de stele   care porneste   dinspre Alcyone  spre Sud.
Si Taygeta aflata la Nordul roiului  , este o stea dubla cu separatie de 71'' ,foarte usor de rezolvat.
Am reobservat steaua oranj HIP 17759 care are indice de culoare 1.7 si se gaseste la granita estica a Pleiadelor.
Am reobservat alte cateva ( cinci , sase ,poate chiar mai multe ) stelute galbene si oranj din partea de Sud a Pleiadelor  despre care  Stellarium imi spune ca au indice de culoare de pana la 1.55... deci sunt binisor ''metisate'' !

In mitologia antica greaca , parintii celor ''sapte surori '' adica a Pleiadelor , sunt Atlas si Pleione.
Conform Stellarium ,ambele stele sunt de clasa spectrala B.
Dar la ocular , mie Atlas imi apare a fi de un alb stralucitor - ca sa zic asa ...''neon'' , in timp ce Pleione imi pare a avea o culoare alb fildes , un alb oarecum estompat - sa zicem...oarecum ''calcaros''.
Sunt curios daca aceste diferente le vedeti si voi sau sunt doar  impresii subiective strict personale ale lui moshu Mircea  :?:

Am cautat langa Zeta Tau nebuloasa Messier 1 si am ''calibrat'' focalizarea cu filtru UHC la 49x pe ea.
Apoi am revenit in Pleiade si am reobservat nebuloasele ''Merope'' NGC 1435 si ''Maia'' NGC 1432.
Aseara , la 49x , nebuloasa ''Maia'' mi s-a parut a fi mai luminoasa si mai extinsa decat nebuloasa ''Merope''.

Cu asa vreme proasta nu e cazul sa facem nazuri la ‘’meniul’’  acesta de iarna ,constand in principal din roiuri peste roiuri , cu cate o nebuloasa palida pe ici pe colo .
Mi-e dor insa de galaxii si ,avand in vedere ca ne indreptam spre Regatul Nebuloaselor din Virgo , e cazul sa incep sa-mi exersez  ''muschiul galactic'' .... nu-i asa ?

Am incercat sa observ galaxia fantoma a lui Messier adica M74 dar fara rezultat.
Scanarea zonei nu da rezultate la locul meu de observatii nici cand cerul este de calitate buna.
Aseara nu am vazut Messier 74 nici prin metoda pasajelelor ,lasand deci campul stelar sa defileze prin ocular ,dupa ce am orientat telescopul spre steaua oranj de langa Kullat Nunu /Eta Psc.

Am observat atunci Messier M77 din Cetus.
Stiind ca este o galaxie Seyfert  si ca se incadreaza in categoria galaxiilor cu nuclee galactice active, am folosit fara rezerve marirea de 137x / Revelation Plossl 9mm cu filtru UHC Optolong si marirea de 205x ,fara filtru.
La ambele mariri , Messier 77 se vedea ca un obicet cetos de forma usor ovala ,cu centrul foarte luminos si avand un nucleu cu aspect stelar.
Langa galaxie , se vede steaua HIP 12668 de 10.8mv.
Haloul galaxiei M77 ,asa cum apare in dobsonianul meu de 200mm , are un diametru egal cu jumatate din distanta dintre steaua HIP 12668 si nucleul galaxiei.
Haloul galactic al lui M77 scade abrupt in stralucire la indepartarea de nucleu si se pierde treptat in fundalul cerului nocturn.

La mica distanta de Messier 77 este situata galaxia NGC 1055 ,ambele facand parte din acelasi grup de galaxii legate gravitational.
Observarea galaxiei NGC 1055 nu a mai fost atat de lejera si rapida ca cea a lui M77.Ci dimpotriva !
Desi i-am aflat locatia in cateva minute , am petrecut cel putin o ora cu ochiul la ocular incercand sa vad , sau macar sa zaresc , galaxia NGC 1055.
Marirea de 137x s-a dovedit a fi prea mica din cauza stelelor invecinate care impiedicau observarea galaxiei prin  stralucirea lor.
Am folosit atunci grosismentul de 205x /Radian 6mm si am insistat cam o ora pana ce am ''vazut'' cu privirea periferica - dar cu certitudine - un obiect cetos ,relativ mare- comparabil cu M77 , situat cam la 40% din distanta dintre stelele ''a'' si ''e''.
Nota : am invatat la observarea stelelor duble dificile acea lectie de smerenie care ne cere sa avem rabdare in fata Naturii si sa asteptam acel moment binecuvantat cand binevoieste sa-si ridice valul si sa ne lase  sa aruncam o privire spre sale  lucrurile ascunse care sunt in acelasi timp si cele mai ravnite.

M-am indreptat apoi spre Orion unde am rezolvat la 205x Zeta Ori ,52 Ori si 32 Ori.
Prin filtru UHC am observat la 137x roiul Collinder 69 asociat cu nebuloasa din jurul stelei  Meissa /Lambda Ori .
Am incercat astfel sa vad  nebuloasa Sh 2-264 asociata cu roiul Collinder 69.
Ceea ce am vazut a fost o ceata circulara slaba in jurul stelei Lambda Ori , o alta pata cetoasa  , mai slaba si de diametru mai mic in jurul stelei Heka Fi 1 Ori dar in jurul stelei Fi 2 Ori nu se zarea nebulozitate si asta m-a pus pe ganduri.
Oare o fi fost chiar urme din nebuloasa Sh2-264 sau doar pacla ? De revenit !

In Trapezul lui Orion am vazut sase stele: A-B-C-D-E-F = SPLENDID !

Prin filtrul UHC am putut urmari bratul de nebulozitate care pornind de langa Trapezium strabate SPRE Sud , intr-un arc mare , pana la Iota Ori , la NGC 1980 - subliniat cu albastru mai jos.

Am reobservat Messier 78 si NGC 2071 la 137x cu filtru UHC.
Nebulozitatea asimetrica din M78 a fost bine vizibila iar cea din NGC 2071 , desi mult mai slab luminoasa, de asemenea.Evident ca toata imaginea era dominata de gri albastrui , nici pe departe nu este colorata precum apare in poze.

Am incheiat cu observarea roiului Collinder 84 descoperit ,probabil , in secolul XVII de catre harnicul Giovanni Batista Hodierna cu luneta sa Galilei de 20x si redescoperit in 1857 de catre Karl Bruhns.
Roiul este asociat cu nebuloasa Sh 2-252.
Roiul in sine este dominat de o stea de 8mv aflat in centrul sau ,este un roi deschis dispersat si cu diametru mare de 40' ,ceea ce ingreuneaza gasirea lui.
Am ''defilat'' glorios peste Collinder 84 de mai multe ori ,fara sa-i  recunosc ''sangele princiar'' pana ce mi-a venit ideia de a reduce grosismentul si , deci , de a mari campul vizual.
La 44x si in campul de 82 ' al ocularului Erfle 28mm al lui Erwin , Collinder 84 a iesit imediat in evidenta.

Nebuloasa Sh 2-252 se vede deja fara filtru la 44x si s-a vazut foarte clar la 49x prin filtrul UHC atasat ocularului Plossl 25mm.
Se crede ca exista o legatura intre nebuloasa Sh 2-252 si nebuloasa Sh 2-274 ''Jellyfish Nebula'' printr-un urias nor molecular. Deci cu asociatia stelara Gem OB1.


Dar deja am stat destul la copca cerului ,vanand cu rabdare frumusetile cerului.
Mi-era frig , era vremea sa ma retrag in iglu.

Venise acel moment peste care ,daca as fi trecut , miscarile ar fi devenit nesigure iar dragele mele oculare ar fi fost in pericol la ridicarea taberei.