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A Parallelogram for the Stars

Credit: Dave DeHetre
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davedehetre/4954464378/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Look up at the night sky. Even if you live in a city, you should be able to see a few stars. What can you do to see more? Some people use telescopes, but telescopes are expensive. With a only pair of binoculars and a parallelogram, you too can see stars, nebulas, and planets.

The Power of the Parallelogram

Many astronomers say that beginners should use binoculars to spot stars. Binoculars are inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to use. On the other hand, it can be hard to hold binoculars steady while you’re stargazing. If two people share a pair, it can also be difficult to look at the same objects.

Credit: Dana Beveridge
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scissorfighter/4857071188/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Many stargazers use parallelogram mounts, or p-mounts, to hold their binoculars steady. A p-mount is shaped like a parallelogram, with joints at the corners so it can flex. By flexing the p-mount, you can change the height of your binoculars. Many amateur astronomers build p-mounts at home.

See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2uluHEe_GI

Explore More

Would you like to explore the universe with a pair of binoculars? Check out these sites for more information on stargazing and building parallelogram mounts.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/howtoequipment/3389576.html

http://binocularsky.com/binoc_mount.php

http://web.archive.org/web/20090619055309/http://www.gcw.org.uk/bino/binonet.htm

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Dave DeHetre; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davedehetre/4954464378/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Dana Beveridge; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scissorfighter/4857071188/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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