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!
Although we tend to associate binoculars with those who enjoy bird watching, there is a growing trend amongst ornithologists to use telescopes as these pieces of equipment give higher magnification and add an extra element to the experience.
The telescope you choose will depend on several factors, with the budget you have available perhaps being the most important. The next thing to consider is the size and weight of the telescope? If this is something you are concerned about then you will need to look closely at the options available.
If carrying heavy equipment is going to be difficult for whatever reason, you can find lighter telescopes which will allow you to see birds close up without injuring yourself in the process! If you prefer to stay with bird watching binoculars rather than a telescope you will find a great range here on the Sherwoods Photographic website, as well as telescopes and other equipment which will enhance your bird watching experience.
After you have bought your binoculars or telescope, taking care of them is relatively easy as long as you remember a few basic rules. If you have been using them in rainy conditions, make sure you always wipe them dry before putting them back in the case. If you think moisture has got inside the binoculars or telescopes, leave them in a warm place to dry.
Finally, when it comes to cleaning the lenses, use a blow brush to clear away any sand or salt which can scratch the glass before wiping them with a soft cloth.
Whether you are new to astronomy or a long time enthusiast, using telescopes to search the skies is a fascinating and at times exciting experience. The word astronomy means ‘law of the stars’ and we have our forefathers in ancient times to thank for plotting out the early maps of the skies.
Of course, these people did not have anything more than the naked eye to chart the stars, but the early work they did without the aid of telescopes was later picked up by astronomers who did have the means to see the stars and planets in more detail. If you are new to astronomy and you want to familiarise yourself with the constellations, using a star map is one of the best ways to do this.
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for and it‘s location in the sky, a good pair of binoculars will allow you to see our neighbours in the solar system. If possible, try and find a spot which is free from street lighting and other illuminations as this will allow you to see the stars without it being tainted by light pollution.
Many astronomical societies who are based in towns and cities will often travel out to isolated rural areas in order to make the most of the inky blackness of the skies above, and if you have never had the experience of looking through binoculars or a telescope in this environment, you really will notice the difference when you try it.
What do Alison Steadman, the late Eric Morecambe, The Duke of Edinburgh, Cameron Diaz, Lee Evans and Neville Chamberlain have in common? Apart from being famous for various reasons, they are all keen bird watchers and these six names are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the numbers of people who enjoy ornithology.
Millions of people all over the world are bird watchers, some of them never moving from their gardens as they enjoy their hobby, while others travel all over the globe to see a rare bird. If you are thinking of getting involved with ornithology at whatever level – either in your garden or jet setting around the world – you will need to have a good pair of binoculars, and as you are here on the Sherwoods website you are in the right place to find top quality bird watching binoculars which will allow you to see the birds you are looking for close up.
If you want more information about how to get involved with bird watching, have a look online and you will be able to find a club or association in your area who will be able to give you advice about how to get started. On the other hand you may not want to get involved with a structured organisation, preferring instead to just get out into the wilds and enjoy watching these fascinating creatures close up with your bird watching binoculars. Whichever option you go for, happy twitching!
One thing the keen ornithologist cannot do without is a good pair of binoculars, and this is why many birdwatchers turn to Sherwoods Photographic when they need high quality binoculars and other accessories. If you are looking for equipment which will help you get the best experience from your hobby, then you are in the right place because here at Sherwoods we stock just about everything you need to see that rare bird when it turns up in your area.
It’s not just birdwatchers who buy their equipment from us, so if you are interested in watching the night time habits of badgers or other nocturnal animals you will find a great range of night vision equipment here as well. Moving away from birds and other animals, there are many uses for night vision equipment.
For example, security guards who need to see what is happening during the night at the premises they are protecting would find their job more or less impossible without these products, as would the police and the armed forces. British soldiers use night vision equipment on their patrols in Afghanistan and they point out that this is one of the most important pieces of kit they have as it allows them to pinpoint potential targets more accurately.
Whatever your reasons for using this kit – for viewing nocturnal animals or for security purposes – you will find a great selection here on the Sherwoods website, as well as a fantastic range of bird watching binoculars.
Astronomy among amateurs is more popular than ever these days thanks to long running television series The Sky At Night and the recent programmes hosted by Professor Brian Cox, which have gone a long way in helping to explain the mysteries of the universe.
These programmes have lead to an upsurge in the numbers of people who want to find out more about the solar system and beyond, and those who are new to astronomy often think that they have to spend a fortune on telescopes. The fact is that it’s possible to get view of the night skies by using a good pair of binoculars which you probably have in a cupboard somewhere. This is an ideal way to get started in astronomy, and if you find you enjoy it you may want to think about upgrading.
The range of astronomical telescopes which are available will allow you to see more than you can with standard binoculars. One thing to bear in mind when using telescopes is they are meant to be used outdoors. If you have astronomical telescopes set up inside the house, pointing out of the window you will have difficulty getting a steady image because of the thermals which are created inside the house.
For more information about telescopes and which one is best for you, have a look at the superb selection on our website and there is sure to be one which will allow you to look into the depths of space.
Since the emergence of telescopes in the 16th century, scientists have been researching ways to improve upon the technology within them. Nowadays, telescopes come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, at differing costs. There are three main types of telescopes; refractor telescopes, reflector telescopes and compound telescopes.
• Refractor Telescopes
Refractor telescopes use a lens to bend the light entering it, and reflect it off a flat mirror into the eyepiece. This image is then magnified into the eye. Although the aperture on entry level refractor telescopes tends to be relatively small, they are excellent telescopes for viewing the moon and planets. They are generally more affordable then reflector telescopes.
• Reflector Telescopes
Reflector telescopes use a large curved mirror to collect the light, which is then reflected to a point of focus on a secondary mirror. The light is then deflected to the eyepiece and magnified. Reflector telescopes are generally considered to be better all-round than refractors, and are seen as being superior for viewing deep space. They generally have larger apertures than refractor telescopes, providing a better image quality.
• Compound Telescopes
Compound telescopes are often discounted by more advanced astronomers, but they can be a great starting point for people looking to take up the hobby. They combine the qualities of refractor and reflector telescopes to provide a better magnification and view, but can sometimes compromise on quality. Compound telescopes are very convenient to use because they can often be folded to a portable size.