About 20 years ago, a friend and I drove from Alabama to a Dark Sky area in Texas. We spent a week observing the heavens throughout the nights and snoozing during the days. The amateur telescopes we were using weren’t bad, but they could have been a lot better. I remember looking at the Andromeda Galaxy (a.k.a. Messier 31 or M31), which is the closest spiral galaxy to our own galaxy (the Milky Way) and being a tad disappointed to see what amounted to a “smudge.”
The reason I mention this here is that my chum Jay Dowling just emailed me to alert me to an Indiegogo crowd-funding project for Giant Space Binoculars You Can 3D Print, brought to us from Analog Sky. Check out this video and feast your orbs on these little beauties.
There are two sizes. The Swift boasts two 6-inch mirrors that result in an apparent view that should fall between that seen by a 10 to 12-inch professional telescope. Meanwhile, the Drifter flaunts two 8-inch f/5 primary mirrors that combine ultra-wide 30x views with the light-gathering ability of a 12 to 16-inch professional telescope.
Did you hear what I just said (well, see what I just wrote)? Looking through a 12 to 16-inch telescope would be awesomely amazing!
Actually, looking through binoculars that provide the light-gathering ability of a 12 to 16-inch telescope would be much more awesomely amazing than looking through the telescope itself. When you are viewing things through a telescope, you can use only one eye while keeping your other eye scrunched up and tightly closed. By comparison, when you are viewing things through binoculars, you can look with both eyes wide open and without strain. In addition to allowing you to observe longer, you can also see more detail because your brain combines the light detected by each eye into one brighter, higher-contrast image.
In addition to the Indiegogo project page, you should also visit the Analog Sky website, which, among other things, compares looking at the Andromeda galaxy using an electronic telescope, a typical 8-inch telescope (which would be an amazing beast to own in its own right), and the Drifter.
Now I’m wondering what it would be like to look at the Earth’s moon using the Drifter… and Mars… and Jupiter and Saturn and their moons, and…
Jay tells me that he’s an early adopter of this Indiegogo project. I believe he’s opted for a Swift with its dual 6-inch mirrors. All I can say is that I cannot wait for him to take delivery and tell me what it’s like to look at the night sky through this bodacious beauty. How about you? Are you, like me, lusting over these awesome devices?