Astronomical telescopes are a feat of modern engineering. Even the lower budget models are capable of treating you to the fantastic sights the universe as to offer. Telescopes work by collecting electromagnetic radiation in the form of visible light that has travelled across the universe to reach us. Various techniques have been developed over the hundreds of years these instruments have been around to increase their capabilities and allow us to see further into the universe, and consequently, further back in time. It is important to note that each telescope has particular capabilities largely determined by its size and power. The aperture is one of the most vital aspects of the telescope because it is the diameter of this lens that will impact the eventual image you see. Larger apertures are capable of collecting more light and will therefore allow you to see more distant, fainter objects such as galaxies and clusters so it is always important to consider what you want to see and how much money you have to do it. Typically, the larger and more powerful the aperture, the more you will have to pay for the telescope.
At Sherwoods Photographic, we have a fantastic range from some of the world’s best telescope manufacturers such as Celestron, Meade, Skywatcher and Tal. The refractor is a type of telescope that uses an objective lens and an eyepiece to create its image, but because of the optical equipment required they are often the most expensive to create due to the apertures. They do have their use however since they can form images that have a high degree of contrast which makes them perfect for lunar or planetary observations.
If you are looking to save money when making observations then the reflector telescope is the most cost-effective when talking in terms of apertures. It has the advantage of not introducing any false colourisation to the image that you are trying to view. Since both systems have their own advantages, modern the telescope builds on both methods. The Catadioptric telescope can be identified by its relatively short length physical length while also presenting a long focal length. Exploring what is on offer and understanding what it is you are trying to image will ultimately inform which telescope you ultimately buy.
It is worthwhile remembering that even binoculars can offer a window on the universe. While they may not have the same magnification capabilities as a telescope, they can make up for this with portability. This can allow opportunists sights that other astronomers and observers would never be able to take advantage of without planning ahead first. Travelling through the countryside at night for instance can reveal the majesty of the heavens as the light from cities and lampposts dies away. We have a great range including equipment from Celestron, Helios, Opticron and Ostara. Astronomical equipment like this are very handy and are as affordable as you want. They are also great for beginners who want to observe relatively close objects like the moon.
Plans to build the largest optical telescope in the world have been given the green light.
Called the E-ELT – the European Extremely Large Telescope – its primary mirror will be around 40m in diameter, and the device will be constructed on a Chilean mountain top, where it can take advantage of very arid conditions of the Atacama Desert.
Support was given by members of the European Southern Observatory (Eso) organisation, although the total funding (£0.8bn) is not yet in place. That could become possible when the council next meets in December.
By then, Brazil should have become the group’s 15th member, making the project more affordable.
It is thought that the telescope will be ready for use from around 2022, and it is set to become one of the twenty first century’s most important pieces of astronomical equipment.
The E-ELT will spot things with a 39.3m main mirror, four times the width of the best modern optical telescopes. And its resolution and sensitivity should make imaging plants outside our solar system a possibility.
At the same time, it should be possible to gain important insights into galaxy formation, black holes, and a lot more. The sharpness of images and the size of the collecting area also make this piece of kit very exciting and powerful.
The telescope and its housing alone will be the size of a football stadium.
Buying your own Telescope
Of course, if you’re buying your own telescope, you don’t have to go for the biggest one in the world! But the sheer variety of models on offer can seem overwhelming.
In fact, many experts suggest power and zoom and a telescope should not be among your priorities when you are making your choice.
Instead, it is often thought better to concentrate on the aperture – the main lens or mirror’s diameter.
The bigger this is, the more light will enter the telescope, and the more you will be able to see.
One thing to bear in mind is that, for every inch of aperture or main lens size, the device will magnify 50 times. Or, if you are working in mm, then magnification is twice the diameter of the aperture.
How Sherwoods Photographic can Help
Whether you’re looking for binoculars, night vision telescopes or any other kind of optical equipment, make Sherwoods Photographic your first port of call.
We’re a specialist independent company, and very much a family affair, with 70 years’ continuous experience in the business. Our showroom is based in Warwickshire, but order online and you can look forward to next day delivery on some of the many items we have in stock.
We can help whether you’re into bird spotting or gazing at the night sky, and whether you’re already an expert yourself, or an amateur looking for their first piece of optical kit.
Use us and you can expect equipment of the highest quality from leading brands, and guidance and advice that’s second to none. After all, we’re the ultimate specialists, with unbeatable knowledge to help you find what you need.
The world’s largest ever set of binoculars was snapped up at auction this summer. Measuring an incredible eight feet in length, it’s not especially easy to imagine these magnifiers being used by a bird-spotter or a spy.
Originally expected to fetch around £300 at auction, they eventually sold in Cirencester for over £2,100 to an enthusiast and collector.
This magnificent piece of kit was originally made over 65 years ago for watching ships, and belonged to an eccentric who lived in Brighton. But for the last 30 years, the viewing equipment has been kept at a house on a hill outside Cheltenham.
A spokesman for the auctioneer involved said: “This set is unique. They rest on a stand keeping them level, so they were definitely not made for looking at the stars. You can scan from left to right. So it would make sense to use them for looking at ships.”
The seller’s father, who left her the magnifiers in his will, had owned the binoculars since the 1970s, but they had been kept in a garden shed for several years. The optics were made before the war, and then placed in the plywood casing at a later stage.
Albert Lambourne Ltd of Brighton made the optics, while William Pacey built the case and mount.
Choosing your own binoculars
Of course, if you’re looking for a binocular set, you don’t have to go for the world’s biggest pair!
There’ll be plenty of other considerations, though – here are just some of the questions to ask yourself before committing to a purchase:
• Will I be using the optics on the move? (If so, go for something lightweight and compact.)
• Will I need to have a tripod?
• Does my equipment need to be waterproof?
• What is the eye relief? If you wear glasses, look for eye relief (the furthest away your eyes can be from the eyepiece and while still taking in the complete field of vision) of 14mm, or 17mm if your spectacles are thick.
• Will I be looking at one object or several things at once? (A single bird or horses at the races, for example.) With single objects, magnification is more important than field of vision, and vice versa.
• Will I be using the gear in poor light conditions? If so, look into light transmission, lens diameter and exit pupil – or how much light reaches your eye.
Choose Sherwood Photographic
At Sherwoods, we’re one of the UK’s top optical specialists for things like bird watching binoculars, night vision and astronomical telescopes and much more.
As a third generation, family-owned business, celebrating our seventieth birthday this year, we have a vast array of specialist expertise and product knowledge in our subject field, as well as an extensive range of products from leading brands. And all at prices which are not astronomical!
Can’t get to our Warwickshire showrooms? Order online and look forward to next day delivery on the many optical products we have in stock. Also look at our website if you’re looking for quirky gadgets and gifts.
Lots of people come to the UK from all over the world to see its towns and stunning countryside, but because you live here all the time, you might take the sights and sounds around you for granted. This is only natural.
However, there’s a simple way to completely change your perspective. By going on trips with your binoculars you can see attractions that would otherwise completely escape your attention. Few things beat spending a day in the open air taking in the nature and scenery around you. If you’re lucky, you can even soak up some sun in the process.
Packing for staycations
It seems a rising number of Britons are making the choice to remain in Britain for their holidays. If you’re planning to do this, make sure you pack your binoculars. Whether you’re looking at the impressive array of bird life on offer, are surveying the sea from the shore or simply want to get a closer look at the general sights around you, you’ll find plenty to keep you amused.
Rather than just travelling through areas of beauty, you’re bound to make more of an effort to stop and appreciate them if you have binoculars with you. They can really help make nature come alive and give you a newfound appreciation for what the countryside has to offer.
You’re not alone
If you’re planning to pack your bird watching binoculars and set off on a break in the UK, you’re not alone. According to research conducted by Jungle Formula, one in five Britons has never been on a foreign holiday, the Daily Mail reports. Meanwhile, of those who have, half wish they had stayed in the UK.
A number of issues were found to put people off jetting off overseas. Language barriers and concerns about dealing with immigration were both cited as potential problems. Meanwhile, falling ill while abroad and experiencing lengthy travel times were also identified as difficulties.
Responding to the findings, a spokesman for Jungle Formula said: “There was a time when people felt they hadn’t been on holiday unless they had been on a plane. But it seems that more people than ever are content to stay in the UK.
“The recession has also had an effect, with people having to tighten their belts and stop splashing out on luxuries like a foreign holiday.”
Choosing the right binoculars
If you’re keen to get your hands on some binoculars for a British staycation, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Sherwoods we offer a whole range of these items and might have the perfect ones for you.
Just take a look around our website to see our full collection. We also offer a range of other products that you might be interested in. For example, if you long to gaze further into the night sky, why not take a look at the superb telescopes we sell? Buying items from us couldn’t be quicker or simpler and it could open up a whole new world of possibilities.
If you keep finding yourself gazing at the skies, you’re not alone. The world has gone astronomy mad after the successful landing of the NASA rover Curiosity on Mars.
Major accomplishments in space like this can be enough to inspire entire generations to pursue an interest in the field. After all, it’s hard to think of anything more exciting than exploring the universe looking for signs of life. Of course, before you turn to the heavens, you’ll need to make sure you have the right astronomical telescopes. Thankfully, getting your hands on products like this is now quick and easy.
Earlier this month, a team at NASA waited nervously as their $2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) robotic landing mission unfolded on Mars. Scenes of jubilation were transmitted from the agency’s base as the most nerve-wracking part of the mission – the descent through the Red Planet’s atmosphere to its surface – went without hitch.
The equipment involved was even able to beam back images of the manoeuvre. NASA has provided nearly 300 thumnails from a sequence of pictures that will eventually be run together as a high definition movie.
Touchdown took place at 06.32 BST on Monday August 6th and the probe landed in a deep equatorial depression called the Gale Crater.
Wasting no time, scientists got to work examining images and one of the most striking snaps taken so far features the 5.5km-high Mount Sharp. Many people around the world have been captivated by the images.
Meanwhile, the team involved are looking to see whether ancient environments on Mars were ever favourable for life. Satellite data has indicated that sediments located at the base of the rocky structure were laid down in an abundance of water.
Unsurprisingly, Curiosity represents the height of technology. It is equipped with ten instruments to study the rocks it encounters and it many years of diligent design and construction to complete.
Of course, a career at NASA isn’t for everyone, but if you’re determined to enjoy the skies and learn about them, you’ve come to the right place.
By taking a look around our website here at Sherwoods, you can find a range of telescopes that can help you explore the planets, stars and moons.
Choosing the perfect telescope
Before you hand over any cash for these items, you’ll no doubt want to be sure that they are perfect for you. We provide many different telescopes designed for amateur astronomers and so you won’t suffer from a lack of choice.
All of these items can be categorised into three different types. There is the refractor, the reflector and the catadioptric.
Sticking to your budget
As well as choosing products that tick all boxes in terms of their specifications, it’s also important to take your budget into account. After all, there’s no point in overspending on the items. If you’re a beginner, it may make sense to start off with the simpler versions and eventually work your way up.
To find out more about what we have to offer, including our night vision items and so on, just take a look around our website.
If you’re selecting your first ever telescope, as you no doubt appreciate, it’s a pretty big decision, and it’s not the sort of thing you buy every week, so you need to make your choice carefully. Here are a few pointers to help.
Some of the factors that will affect your decision are the same as for buying anything else. You have to know, for example, how much you can afford and what exactly you want to use your telescope for, and where you will be using it. How much space do you have?
But, equally, some factors are a bit more specialised. For instance, you need to understand how portable you want your equipment to be, and appreciate the two main areas of interest for telescope users – deep sky and the planets.
For the latter, you need a piece of kit that will provide excellent views at high magnification, while for looking at deep-sky objects, large aperture is more of a consideration that magnification.
While most astronomical telescopes will in practice show you both kinds of object, if you do want to specialise a lot depends on where exactly you are doing your stargazing. Light pollution still means you can see the moon and other planets, but densely populated areas are generally not ideally suited to deep sky viewing.
Even in the countryside, if trees block your view of the southern horizon, planet viewing may be hard with a fixed-in-place instrument, so you may want to go for something portable.
Power isn’t Everything!
It may surprise you to learn that power isn’t always the prime consideration when choosing your stargazing kit. Instead, the capacity of the telescope to gather light, also known as the aperture, is the determining factor in how much you will get to see. And, in fact, the clearest, sharpest images are often experienced at much lower powers.
A small, quality achromatic refractor with an aperture of between 60 and 80mm is a greater beginner’s telescope if it’s the main planets and the moon you want to see.
These telescopes are affordable, maintenance-free and easily carried around, making them ideal for first-timers trying out their new hobby. However, you may not see as many deep sky objects or be ideal if galaxies and nebulas float your boat.
They’re also well-suited to areas with moderate light pollution.
A 90 or 100mm refractor may be a better option for seeing more, but these tend to be more expensive as well.
Telescopes and more from Sherwoods
With seven decades’ experience, Sherwoods offers unparalleled specialisation in products like telescopes, night vision optics and a wide range of binoculars. Based
in Warwickshire, we offer the largest range in the Midlands of optical products, supplying brands from the world’s leading manufacturers.
We have a range of special deals on offer, and many of the items we have in stock can be with you the day after you place your order. Browse our selection online – we’re ideal if you’re looking for unique gift for a special someone.
If you’ve just bought a pair of binoculars, you’ll need to look after them pretty diligently to keep on getting the best results from them.
Using your equipment for the first time
Once you have bought your kit, set the eyepieces at the right distance apart for your eyes by shutting or opening at the hinge. Then, while looking through the, to something at least seven metres away, alter the middle focusing wheel until the image on the left hand is sharp.
At the same time, move the dioptre ring, on or behind the eyepiece on the right, until your right hand image is clear. Once you’ve got this process down to a fine art, it shouldn’t take longer than a few seconds to focus each time.
Use the 60 to 70 Scale
You’ll often find a scale around the hinge’s small front cover screw, displaying numbers 60 through 70, referring to the distance between the centres of left and right eyepieces in mm. Once you’ve adjusted this so that it’s right for your eyes, remember the number.
Caring for Your Binoculars
Especially if you’ve been using them in sandy or dusty places, you will find a blow brush comes in very handy for cleaning your binocular set. If you get gritty particles in your bird watching binoculars, just using a cloth could scratch and badly damage the lenses.
Always clean and dry this piece of equipment after use, before putting away in the case. This gets rid of any potentially corrosive condensation which can occur if you’ve used your eyepieces in very damp conditions, and if they are not waterproof. Leave to dry out for about an hour.
It may sound obvious, but repeated dropping will misalign the lenses and cause the image to lose focus, so be careful.
And clean with a special lens cloth made from microfibres, never just a regular cloth, which could leave marks and scratches on the glass surface. You can also buy special lens cleaning fluids.
What Sherwoods Offers
At Sherwoods, we’re a third generation family with 70 years’ experience in the industry, and a leading UK optical specialist for telescopes and binoculars, as well as night vision and other products. And we supply some of the country’s leading brands, with one of the largest selection of equipment for bird watchers, astronomers and others.
Can’t get to our showroom in Studley, Warwickshire? We have full mail-order facilities for next day delivery on many of the products we hold in stock.
We can help whether you want marine binoculars, bird watching scopes, tripods and clamps, monoculars, portable radios or laser rangefinders. And we’re an excellent place to look for presents for an aspiring astronomer or a budding birdwatcher.
The brands we stock include Meade, Skywatcher, Celestron and others. It’s always worth ensuring we have the product you need before making a journey to our showroom.