15 X 70mm SkyMaster

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For astronomers, the 15 x 70mm SkyMaster is almost the equivalent of a low power 100mm rich field telescope. Using two eyes to observe, however, shows you up to 40% more detail than you see looking through the single eyepiece of a telescope. With a wide 4.4 degree field of view, you can sweep the star clouds of Sagittarius, search out the Great Galaxy M31 in Andromeda and the Pinwheel Galaxy M33 in Triangulum, take in globular clusters like M13 and M22, open clusters like the Beehive and the Wild Duck, and much more. A supplied separate tripod adapter lets you mount it on any convenient camera tripod (at 48 ounces, it is realistically too heavy to hand hold steadily enough for extended observing). The tripod adapter mounts on any standard 1/4”-20 thread 35mm or video tripod. You can use the adapter with many other binoculars, as well as the SkyMaster.

For nature study, the 15 x 70mm SkyMaster will let you observe deer feeding in distant meadows early in the morning, mother birds feeding their chicks in nearby nests, courtship behavior in distant off-shore rookeries, and more. With a close focus of 43’, this is not a binocular for warblers or butterflies (unless you are watching them from across your backyard). However, its bright 4.7mm exit pupil makes it a good and very economical choice for any twilight birding or nature study activity where close focus is not required – but bright images are essential.

Eye relief is specified at a very long 18mm. While this is technically correct, the actual usable eye relief typically measures a mm or two less due to the recessing of the eyepieces when the eyecups are in the down position for eyeglass use. A shorter eye relief than specified is typical of all binoculars. There will be some minor vignetting of the field for those who must wear eyeglasses while observing. Soft roll-down eyecups shield the unaided eye from stray light when rolled up, and cushion eyeglass lenses when rolled down.

The supplied neck strap is narrow. Adding an optional wide padded neck strap would make carrying the SkyMaster more comfortable.

This center focus Z-body porro prism uses BaK-4 prisms and multicoatings for good light transmission. It comes with a lightweight soft storage case, objective lens covers, and an eyepiece rainguard. Light rubber armor with textured rubber gripping surfaces and thumb grooves provides a sure hold when dewing becomes a problem. The 15 x 70mm is water resistant, but not waterproof. Setting it down in dew-soaked grass would not be recommended.

There is some barrel distortion (straight lines at the edge of the field are curved), and some visible astigmatism and chromatic aberration at the edges of the field. However, these flaws are not obtrusive, particularly in view of the large aperture and exceptionally low price. As a first serious astronomical observing tool, as a long distance nature study instrument, or as a highly useful companion to take into the field with your telescope at night, the Celestron 15 x 70mm SkyMaster is priced to be easily affordable for any birder or astronomer.

Optical Type:
The optical design of a binocular or spotting scope. A binocular can be either a porro prism (whose objective lenses are off-set and spaced further apart than the eyepieces) or a roof prism (whose objective lenses are in line with the eyepieces). A spotting scope can be either a porro prism or roof prism refractor or a catadioptric (a combination of lenses, mirrors, and prisms).
Porro Prism
Field of view:
The field of view (FOV) is the amount of observable world one can see at any given moment.
Field of view 1000 yards:
Exit Pupil:
The circular image or beam of light formed by the eyepiece of a telescope. To take full advantage of a scope's light-gathering capacity, the diameter of an eyepiece exit pupil should be no larger than the 7mm diameter of your eye's dark-adapted pupil, so that all of the light collected by the telescope enters your eye. (The eyepiece exit pupil diameter is found by dividing the eyepiece focal length by the telescope focal ratio.) Your eye's ability to dilate declines with increasing age (to a dark-adapted pupil of about 5mm by age 50 or so). For those in this age group, eyepieces with exit pupils larger than their eyes can dilate to simply waste their telescope's light-gathering capacity, as some of the scope's light will fall on their iris instead of entering their eye.
Relative Brightness:
A number used to compare the brightness of binoculars or spotting scopes of similar magnification. The relative brightness is determined by squaring the diameter of the exit pupil. The larger the relative brightness number, the brighter the image.
Twilight Factor:
A number used to compare the effectiveness of binoculars or spotting scopes used in low light. The twilight factor is found by multiplying the size of the objective lens (in mm) by the magnification and then finding the square root of that result. The larger the twilight factor, the more detail you can see in low light. A twilight factor of 17 or better if usually required for reasonable low light use.
Eye Relief:
Eye relief is the distance from the last surface of the eye lens of an eyepiece to the plane behind the eyepiece where all the light rays of the exit pupil come to a focus and the circular image is formed, sometimes called the “Ramsden Disk.” This is where your eye should be positioned to see the full field of view of the eyepiece. If you must wear glasses because of astigmatism, you’ll usually need at least 15mm of eye relief or longer if you want to see the full field of view with your glasses on.

A note on our eye relief figures: Quite often, our eye relief figures will differ from those of the manufacturer. This is because we measure the “usable” eye relief, while the manufacturers specify their usually-longer (but technically correct) “designed” eye relief.

The eye lens of the eyepiece is normally recessed below the rubber eyeguard or rubber rim of the eyepiece to keep the lens from being scratched during use. An eyepiece might have a “designed” eye relief of 15mm (and the eye relief will truly measure 15mm from the eye lens to where the image forms). However, if the eye lens is recessed 3mm below the eye guard, the Ramsden Disk forms only 12mm above the eyepiece body (the 15mm “designed” eye relief, less the 3mm of eye relief made unusable by having the eye lens recessed into the body of the eyepiece). This “usable” eye relief of 12mm (measured from the rolled-down eyeguard – the closest point you can get your eye to the eye lens – to where the image forms) is the eye relief figure we would measure and list in this website.

Why is it important to list the “usable” eye relief? For those people who don’t wear eyeglasses while observing, a few mm difference between the eye relief they expect from the manufacturer’s literature and the shorter eye relief they actually get in real life doesn’t mean a lot. They can simply move a little closer to the eyepiece to see the full field, and never realize that the eye relief is a little shorter than they expected. However, some people must wear eyeglasses while observing, because of severe astigmatism. These observers can’t move closer to the eyepiece if the eye relief is shorter than expected because their glasses get in the way. For these people, the real life “usable” eye relief is more important than the technically correct but sometimes not fully usable “designed” eye relief. We measure and list the actual usable eye relief so that people in the real world can pick the eyepieces that will work best for them.

Interpupillary Distance:
Close Focus:
How close you can get to an object and still see a sharp image of it in your binocular or spotting scope is called the “close” or “near” focus
A binocular or spotting scope whose body is clad in rubber or polyurethane armor is said to be armored. Armor can be applied for looks, a better grip, noise-proofing, etc. An armored body does not guarantee that a binocular or spotting scope is waterproof, although most waterproof optics are armored.
The weight of this product.
48 oz
Limited Lifetime
Reviews from Cloudy Nights (www.cloudynights.com)
These reviews have been written by astronomers just like you and posted on the Cloudy Nights astronomy forums . . .
Celestron SkyMaster 15x70mm binoculars review

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Overall Product Rating: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics(4.00)   # of Ratings: 5   (Only registered customers can rate)

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1. Jim on 5/17/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
The Celestron Skymaster 15x70's are a solid pair of binoculars. They are best used in combination with a reasonably good tripod. They can be hand held for short periods but the views are shaky at 15x. If you stabilize them against something or yourself while, say, leaning back in a chair, they give improved views. The tripod is best, though. They provide better magnification and can aid with telescope starhopping in light polluted skies like in northern kentucky near cincinnati. The views are good, too. Finding star clusters has proven one of their strengths in this environment.

My pair came with a bit of mis-collimation between the two sides. This was remedied by using a tripod and looking up some online instructions. Finding the small screws inside the rubber armor was only a little bit tricky as was the process of adjusting the collimation. This adjustment has held for a couple years now. I haven't dropped them yet, so I can't comment on their durability, but the collimation is still good. The center focus and individual eyepiece focus are a bit stiff, which matters a bit when trying to focus in accurately on, for instance, sunspots, nothing unreasonable, just a feature.

I recommend them, given that they are relatively inexpensive by comparison to other models of 15x70's.
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2. Javier on 5/15/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
I've had these ones for over 5 years. They are fun for sweeping the heavens. Scorpio and sagitarius area look amazing. The only complain i have is that. almost every time i use them i have to calibrate the eyepieces, that is, i have to focus both eyepieces so i don't see a blurry image. But concerts on stadiums these are also very good, you don't want to stop using them, of course until your wife wants them too :).

Clear skies
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3. Chris on 5/15/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
Best "bang for the buck" you can find in astronomical binoculars. Very reasonably priced in comparison to others, these binos deliver performance on equal or better than most. At 15X with 70mm objectives they are not light and can give some smaller people problems when they are hand-held (an issue I don't seem to have a problem with) they can be tripod mounted for extra steadiness. for me, I prefer hand-holding as these binos act as my "grab and go" instrument. The 15X is more than sufficient for viewing the Gallilean moons of Jupiter, but are just barely on the edge of enough magnification to resolve the rings of Saturn. The 70mm objectives give a good bright view bringing many of the brighter nebulae and globular clusters into view along with great views of open clusters. No reason why you can't knoock out at tleast 3/4 of the Messier list with these under darker skies. To summarize, you can't go wrong with the Skymaster 15x70's.
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4. Craig on 5/3/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
Bought these from another webstore quite a while ago. I use them with a cheap monopod, ball joint adapter, and the included stand adapter. The views from these binos are excellent, on a good night you can catch some of the brighter Messier objects (M31 and M42 show up especially well), a little bit of colour from most of the planets, and Jupiter's Gallilean moons. The terrestrial viewing is also excellent.

One thing to bear in mind is that these binoculars are _heavy_, I don't think you'd be able to use them without some kind of stabilizer, if I were out and about more I'd probably shell out for a tall tripod so that I don't have to hold them at all.

Not much in the way of gripes - the carrying case is a little cheap, the eyepiece lens-cap is one piece and falls off easily if the binos aren't fully opened, and the focuser's action is quite stiff until it's been used a bit, but none of these points are insurmountable with either care or use, overall an excellent set of starter binoculars.
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5. Justin on 5/2/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
These are a big leap over the typical 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars you find in sporting goods stores or on-line, especially considering the price. If you are looking for your first pair of binoculars and stargazing is your main goal I highly recommend these over 10x50 binos. These binoculars allow you to see all of the Messier objects from a dark sky site and give nice bright views. For daytime use, the extra magnification and brighter views over 7/10x50 binos really help when viewing wildlife especially in low light conditions. The eye lenses are nice and big and have excellent eye relief; I have no problem seeing the full field of view with my glasses on. The weight of these is very manageable with no problem hand holding for a couple minutes. The only problems I've seen are that the focus can go out easily when you're pressing your eyes up to the eye-cups and the included tripod adapter is a bit flimsy. All in all the you get way more than you pay for in comparison to similar binoculars costing $250-$500 for the same 15x70 type.
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Showing comments 1-5 of 5
We haven't recommended any accessories for this product quite yet... check back soon or call one of our experts (1-405-364-0858).
  • Soft case with carry strap
  • Thin neck strap
  • Eyepiece rainguard
  • Objective lens covers
  • Tripod adapter
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Celestron - 15 X 70mm SkyMaster

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Celestron - 15 X 70mm SkyMasterFeature image name not indicated
 AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics (Average: 4.00 | Users: 5)  Only registered users can submit ratings - Register Here
Our Product #: C1570
Manufacturer Product #: 71009
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MSRP: $120.95

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The Celestron 15 x 70mm SkyMaster is a surprisingly economical tool for revealing the splendors of the heavens at night and the intricate secrets of distant wildlife during the day . . .

. . . our 38th year