I'm an amateur astronomer since I know about.
I got my first binoculars only 13 years ago in the summer of 1999 at Methuselah's age of 45.
This was a 10x50mm Tasco binocular of doubtful quality which shortly after was replaced by a 7x50mm Fujinon Mariner binocular of excellent quality .
Since then I always had at least a pair of binoculars. And now I have four binoculars.
For the amateur astronomer who begins to observe the sky with the naked eyes, binoculars are great tools because they extends in a great way the innate vision.
You just take your binoculars looking for a corner away from artificial lighting. The simple gesture of rising your binoculars up to the starry sky, seems to be a sign of recognition, or a very powerful secret password entered in the ancient mechanism of the world.Suddenly the cover of the daily cellar disappears and the panorama of the Universe unfolds before your eyes.You feel the heavenly scent of Queen of Night flowers, you hear in your ears the distant barking of dogs , but your look has already took you over there. At the same time you here and beyond .
But the mobility of binoculars is followed by their largest, maybe the only, disadvantage: shaking images induced by the weakness of our body.
By 2007 or 2008, I found on the site of ''SkyandTelescope'' magazine an article which presents the solution found by Alan M. MacRoberts to stabilize the binoculars.His image stabilization device is simple and inexpensive, is made of wood and some screws and using hand tools within everyone's reach.
You find the entire article at this link:
I become interested and started thinking about the little project of building such a device.
The first amateur convinced by this idea was my friend Csillag Attila from Arad, whose version of a stabilization device is shown below.
|MacRoberts image stabilizer with a ''Sakura'' 9x60mm binocular, built by Csillag Attila in Arad|
Soon,Serban ,a student in Deva , built a device that belongs to this category, even if it failed to ensure all degrees of freedom of the MacRoberts's image stabilizing device.
|Image stabilizer built by Serban ,student in Deva|
Dan Vasiliu in Bucharest made a collapsible version of the MacRoberts device, using components from a discarded tripod . Dan's collapsible version is very suitable for amateur astronomers living in big cities and who have to travel a distance to their place of observation.
Moreover,''the shoulder mount for binoculars'' of Dan Vasiliu is part of a kit called ''the minimum setup for observations'' which includes: binoculars, shoulder mount, a compass, a star map and a flashlight with red light.
|Shoulder mount for binoculars, built by Dan Vasiliu, Bucharest|
|Dan Vasiliu testing his shoulder mount for binoculars|
|''Minimum Setup for Observations'' according to Dan Vasiliu: binoculars, shoulder mount collapsed, compass, star map and flashlight with the red light|
A beautiful version of the MacRoberts device was made by Dan Nicolcioiu aka ZENDOW
|The MacRoberts device nicknamed Li-zooka, built by ZENDOW in Targu-Jiu, wearing his Revue 10x50mm binoculars|
Next day I posted this article ,Tavi let us know about his version of a MacRoberts image stabilizer made of Aluminium profiles.The counterweight is a piece of door frame filled with sand.
Tavi's device have shoulder cushions and is a work under development,in the future he intend to add a swivel.
|Aluminium image stabilizer built by Erwin / Tavi in Timisoara|
|10x50mm binocular on Tavi's Aluminium device ,notice the shoulder cushions|
|Sand filled counterweight of Tavi's device|
Below I present some pictures of my MacRoberts image stabilizer ,nicknamed Bizooka ,on which I can mount three of my binoculars.
|Myself,my MacRoberts image stabilizer holding the 7x50mm Fujinon Mariner binocular|
|My 10x50mm Baigish binocular mounted on the device|
|Details of the Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm binocular on the ''Bizooka'' device|
|9x60mm Sakura Binocular mounted on the MacRoberts device|
Sides are made of laminated plywood 12.7 mm thick and the two spacers at the ends are made 30x40mm solid wood.
Pivot plate of solid wood has dimensions of :30x150x205mm.
The arm supporting the binoculars is 3mm thick , made of a sandwich of two layers of 1.5mm steel sheet.
The hole for the 1/4 inch screw holding the binoculars to the steel arm at their hinge, is located at a heigh of 225mm from the bottom of the frame.
The handle of the swivel plate is made of 12.7 mm plywood.
Here are the results of the testing of my ''Bizooka''/MacRoberts device on May 13, 2011:
,, Last night until from 23:30 to 1:00 I tested the functionality of my MacRoberts image stabilizing device.
On average each binocular was used approx. half an hour.I observed in the same order, with each pair of binoculars, star fields of Gemini, Leo,Virgo, Ursa Major, Coma Berenice but also the Moon,Saturn, Lyra , Cygnus and Scorpio, Libra and Serpens Caput.Of the Deep-Sky objects I observed Mel111 , M13, M92, M57 and Stock1.
The order of using the binoculars was: Fujinon Mariner 7x50mm, Sakura 9x60mm and Baighish 10x50mm.
The device performed well with all three binoculars.The Sakura 9x60mm binocular is just the weight limit for objects near the horizon, probably I have to add a few hefty screws to the counterweight to compensate for this configuration / situation.
After more than an hour and a half of varied observations with binoculars mounted on the device, I returned to normal observation with handheld instruments: horror!
It is as if you swap the first class armchair on a high speed ''Intercity'' train for a ride on the buffers of the same train.
Great surprise, and actually a double one, came from observing the double stars .Last year, when I managed to resolve in binoculars the double stars 16 - 17 Dragon and Nu Dragon , Zeta Lyrae, 61 Cygni or Albireo,I had to sit on a chair, and, except the first two mentioned stars of Draco, all the rest of stars to be near the meridian.During this testing of my MacRoberts device, although Lyra and Cygnus were at 30-50 degrees altitude, all the stars like Zeta Lyrae,61 Cyg or Beta Cyg have been resolved in all binoculars. Wider stars like Alcor-Mizar, Epsilon Lyrae or Zubenelgenubi in Libra can not even be put here. ''
The equation is: Binocular + Bazooka = Bizooka
I 'm sure after you build such a device, you will join me saying: '' Thank you Alan MacRoberts'' !
BIZOOKA FOR EVER!