Joe Carr
Binoculars & Sky Window
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I use binoculars for quick looks and extended observing of wide areas of the night sky.  As anyone who has tried to use binoculars to observe the sky will tell you, it is a pain in the neck...literally! Trying to look up while holding binoculars, and also trying to steady the view long enough to observe could be used as torture.  Your neck gets it first, then your arms start to ache, and finally your back starts to object.  Observing for more than a few minutes at a time results in major pain, and after a half hour of this, most observers will give up.

There are several solutions to this problem: lay down on an air mattress on the ground, sit in a reclining chair, mount the binoculars on a camera tripod.  None of these work very well - trust me.

A solution that does work is a parallelogram to mount your binoculars on.  You sit in a chair or stand to use them.  The problem is that in order to get a parallelogram that is sturdy enough to support binoculars and keep them steady, results in a final setup that weighs too much to be considered portable.

After much searching, I finally found the solution.  The Sky Window is a deceivingly simple looking device, consisting of a machined aluminum frame, a front surface rectangular mirror, and a thumbscrew to mount the binoculars to the frame.  The observer looks down through the binoculars and observes the sky from a seated position.  The Sky Window can be mounted on a sturdy tripod, or it can be placed on a table.

I use Celestron 9x63 binoculars with my Sky Window and find this setup works very well for me. After looking through my setup, most everyone agrees this is the only way to use binoculars to observe the night sky with.  Some say they find the price of the Sky Window is too high, and since it is so simple, they will build their own version.  I challenge them to try, and have yet to see anyone pull this off.  The clever design of the Sky Window is not as simple as it first appears!

For a very detailed discussion of the Sky Window I would suggest you browse the excellent online article complete with photos written by Math Heijen: The Sky Window mirror mount for binocular astronomy.

The Sky Window can be ordered directly from the manufacture Trico Machine: Sky Window - highly recommended!!

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Revised: January 06, 2014

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