Re: New tool may have a niche

From: Richard Crisp (
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 11:31:28 EDT

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    Judy May wrote:
    > >From the start I will admit that I did not purchase this for visual
    > satellite observation.  But after my first impressions, I have a feeling
    > it is going to become a regular at my sessions.
    >    I got a Gen 1 night vision scope for $300.  I bought it mostly to
    > view wildlife at night.  At first I was thinking I would want the higher
    > quality images of a Gen 2 ($800 extra!), but after settling for the Gen
    > 1, I can see that it far exceeds my expectations.
    >    Then, I had a most pleasant surprise as I turned it towards the sky.
    > The view was unbelievable!  I have some light pollution, plus the moon
    > was quite intense, but through the monocular fainter stars became
    > visible.  The handle of the little dipper for instance, normally hard to
    > see here, became quite evident.
    >    Unexpectedly, I spotted a satellite.  I attempted again and again to
    > see the bird with just my eyes, but without success.  The night vision
    > made viewing it very easy.
    >    So why should you pull out a night vision scope when you have a nice
    > pair of binoculars?  With the unit I have, the answer is the much
    > greater field of vision.  Although the magnification is billed as 3.5X,
    > I believe it is much less, and the amount of sky visible in the view is
    > fantastic.  A word of caution, however: the star images are not as crisp
    > and clear as through binoculars.  And especially towards the edge of the
    > field, the image becomes quite blurry.  But for purposes of acquisition
    > of a less-than-ideal prediction, a blurry moving point at the edge still
    > works.  After centering, the image of the sat amongst the stars is
    > excellent.
    >    I have not taken the time yet to perform more specific experiments
    > regarding the exact decrease in magnitude that can be obtained visually
    > nor to discern the actual field of view attained in the sky.
    >    My particular unit is call the "Night Storm" made by "AMTc".  I
    > believe there are several mail-order catalogs that sell their products;
    > mostly camping, boating, and hunting suppliers.
    >    I did try a different unit that came from a company in Cleveland
    > called Newcon Optics.  I returned that scope to the retailer after
    > finding the image intensifier tube to be of vastly inferior quality.  By
    > the way, most Gen 1 night vision scopes are imported from Russia or
    > Ukraine.
    >    Does anyone else have any experience using night vision for satellite
    > viewing?
    I've used mine for all sorts of observing, including celestial objects as
    well as satellites. In fact I was enjoying the Milky Way recently and seemed
    to see more satellites than ever....
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