May 14, 2013 2 AM MDT Tom and Jeannie Clark's place in New Mexico Seeing=6, Transparency=7 Test of Century 8X40 binoculars 9.5 deg FOV I purchased a used pair of very wide angle binoculars and they arrived this afternoon. I paid a very modest price and so I was not expecting much. They arrived well packed and with no damage. I got them outdoors and tried them on some distant hills and a radio tower. I was happy to see that they did a good job, they were in collimation and I had no trouble getting the binoculars to focus. When I bought them I was hoping they would do a good job for astronomical viewing as well as terrestrial. Even if they did not work out for Milky Way viewing, I now knew that they could be put into the car and used for that "boy I wish I had my binoculars" event. By 1:30 in the morning the Moon was down and the Milky Way was up. I set up a chair for comfortable viewing and got started. Beginning at the end of the Scorpion, I could get the Stinger stars, M 6 and M 7 all to fit into the big, wide field of view. M 7 was resolved into 10 stars and another 10 could be seen with averted vision. I moved up to M 24, the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud. It had a dozen stars resolved across the face and the dark lane to the south was pretty easily seen. Then I moved the chair and went after the North America Nebula. This was the most disapointing object I observed. The nebulosity was not obvious except in the Mexico area and few stars were seen within the faint glow. As a comparison I went in my RV and got my Orion Savannah 8X42 binoculars. I immediately saw the difference, M 7 showed 18 stars and another 20 or so with averted vision. Yes, the entire view of the Stinger stars, M 6 and M 7 did not all fit in one view, but the individual objects were much better. The dark lanes along our Galaxy showed much better contrast and the North America Nebula provided that familiar shape with dozens of stars involved within the glow of the nebula. I finished off the observing session just scanning up and down the Milky Way with both the binoculars and naked eyes. We do live in a beautiful Galaxy. Just as the breeze started up a little I realize that my fuzzy slippers and wool socks were not keeping my feet warm; and my ears were getting chilly. Just as I was coming inside to type this up an owl starting hooting from nearby and reminded me of the fun of just looking. Now, I have not found a date of manufacture on the Century binoculars and I can tell you that I bought the Orion binocs about 8 years ago. I would not doubt that the difference in the date of manufacture of these two pairs of binoculars is 10 years or more. And, we all know that the technology of coatings has gotten much better in the last 10 or 12 years. That may be the greatest difference in the view, particularly the contrast. Or, maybe asking a pair of binoculars to provide a really wide field of view is just asking too much. I don't know. I do know that I got a pair of binoculars that will fit under the seat of the Saturn SUV and provide me some nice views of distant mountains or flying hawks. Clear skies to us all; Steve Coe -- See message header for info on list archives or unsubscribing, and please send personal replies to the author, not the list.