For those folks who just can’t resist the urge to throw on a backpack and explore the great outdoors, lightweight kit is essential. You need devices and equipment that both perform and don’t weigh you down!
We offer a brilliant range of compact binoculars designed specifically with portability and easy use in mind. The leading brands we carry on our roster – Nikon, Olympus etc – all offer great models that excel in use, durability and portability. Our recommendation of the day is Nikon’s Sprint IV 8×21 binoculars; perfectly designed for easy usability and extreme adventure!
Some folks struggle to find a practical use for night vision optical devices, but when you’re looking for a lost hiker or trying to spot something on the dark slopes of Snowdon, you need high performance, lightweight night vision optics that deliver high quality images. Lightweight (620g) single lens models like the Cobra Nemesis offer high performance at low cost via hardy design (rubber armouring) and cutting edge technology.
The Celestron Astromaster range features several lightweight and compact telescope designs (between 8.16-10.69g) ideal for the intrepid stargazer. The entire Astromaster series is designed for multi-purpose celestial and land viewing, making the budget price models in the collection a good investment for those looking to a) meet their adventurous viewing needs, and b) not spend so much on a device that they’re too worried to use it out in the mud and wind of Mother Nature!
Always on hand to offer our little bit of wisdom when it comes to telescopes, star charts and such, we thought you might need reminding of the Perseids meteor shower, one of the summer’s most prominent and consistently stunning celestial events.
The Perseids garners its name due to the perceived origin of the shower (called the “radiant”), the constellation Perseus. The Perseids enjoy the venerable parentage of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The amazing Perseids meteor cloud consists of detritus ejected by Swift-Tuttle as it passes close to the sun.
An interesting side note of the Swift-Tuttle comet; upon its rediscovery in 1992 it was feared the comet would likely strike the earth or moon. However, upon further calculations this appeared not to be the case. Swift-Tuttle will next be highly visible to the naked eye in 2126.
The 2011 Perseids show is estimated to last from the 17th July – 24th August, peaking on 13th August. The long viewing life of the shower makes it the ideal practice ground for pushing astronomical telescopes to show off the best celestial marvels the night sky has to offer. In the UK we can expect a peak of around seventy meteors per hour. One of the great things about
Parseids is that you don’t necessarily need even one of our beginner astronomical telescopes to see its brilliance.
For more information on telescopes and stargazing tips, take a look at the comprehensive guides in our “Books & Maps” area.
Like cameras and all truly fantastic devices, it can be tough to pinpoint exactly which options are best for your beginner use requirements. So, if you’d like a little help on what, why and how much to pay, read on!
Most of our customers are after astronomical telescopes for varying degrees of use. Some are professionals looking to expand their viewing pleasure at home, whist many are enthusiastic novices wanting budget friendly telescopes that do the job but don’t break the bank. When shopping for astronomical telescopes it’s always worth remembering that what you see through the lens of a budget range refractor telescope won’t be a reproduction of the celestial photographs you see in textbooks etc. That said, a cheap (£200 range) compact telescope, when properly used, can produce absolutely splendid results.
Magnification is often a concern of the novice astronomer. What if it’s not enough?! The simple fact is that lower budget telescopes tend to come around the 32x magnification mark, which is perfectly adequate to see the craters of the moon, Saturn’s rings and even the Orion nebula. They may be small, but a good beginner telescope will produce crisp, clear images.
Since they’re highly tuned and tend to last a lifetime, telescopes don’t come cheap. The usual price for good quality beginner scopes ranges between £200-500 approximately. Telescopes don’t lose their value rapidly, so you should always be able to sell on a well maintained second hand device when you’re ready to upgrade.
If you’re looking for a hobby to occupy your little monster this summer, why not consider star gazing and visual space exploration? Our range of astronomical telescopes includes some brilliant beginner models to set the imaginations of little stargazers flying at the speed of light!
Books and Guides
We currently offer a great astronomy introduction guide called “Stargazing for Beginners” The book is full of tips, facts, charts and techniques to help the novice astronomer get the most out of their equipment and the night sky.
Astronomical telescopes are essential if you want to get the most out of viewing time. Telescopes are steady and designed specifically for the purpose of viewing celestial objects. Binoculars, even high end models, are rarely a patch on even the cheapest telescopes. A good quality telescope, when properly cared for, can last a lifetime.
A Little Real World Help
Days out to the stars may be off the table, but a visit to somewhere like Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre can be of astronomical (get it!) benefit to budding young stargazers and celestial enthusiasts. Kids love to see things in real life, and the working team at Jodrell Bank are always on hand to demonstrate techniques and show just how far the speed of light can take your little one’s enthusiasm!
NASA, the BBC and such organisations offer brilliant online resources to aid in all things astronomical. You could also look to open source (free) software like Stellarium to install excellent 3D planetarium tools on your computer.
On balmy nights as the hazy sun goes down, the urge to wander outside and indulge in a little stargazing could happen upon you. The great thing about summer is the weather (clear skies make for ideal viewing conditions), but one of the frustrations for stargazers is the shorter night. It’s particularly very young astronomy enthusiasts who suffer, as bed time tends to be just before it gets dark!
Equipment and Clothing
Even the warmest summer night can get chilly once the sun’s gone down (or rather, once the earth’s turned away from it!) so be sure to keep some warm clothes (including shoes and socks) on hand and a couple of blankets.
Astronomical telescopes are designed for celestial viewing. Binoculars, no matter how great, tend to be a little shaky (very frustrating!) and not really suited to this kind of observation. Best to leave the binoculars at home for twitching! Our range of astronomical telescopes covers beginners right through to professional/advanced enthusiasts.
Although light pollution happens throughout the year, the warm summer is the ideal time to really push the boundary and travel to somewhere remote for your celestial observation. Consider Dark Parks like Galloway Forest Park and Exmoor.
A reliable star guide is essential. A good book will usually provide hints and tips as to how to find your bearings in the changing seasonal sky. It could be worth downloading an application onto your smartphone too!
Sherwoods Photo Ltd Orders & Information Telephone 01789-488880
Registered Office: The Arden Centre, Little Alne, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, B95 6HW - Registered in England No.00666856
Prices, availability, appearance, product descriptions, and accessories are based on available manufacturer information and are subject to change without notice.