Norman Butler, the Binoscope Maker!

Binoscopes are a wonderful way to view the night sky

Celestron BinoscopeBinoscopes are just what they sound like "binocular telescopes". They are a special setup of two telescopes with one for each eye. Technically they are still binoculars but once they get big they are more like dual telescopes. And they are usually made by pairing two actual telescopes together.

Norman Butler is currently writing a book on them and he is quite the expert. He has made them, used them, and been published in leading astronomy magazines about his work making them.

The picture at right shows his one of a kind custom made binoscope. It uses two Celestron 102-mm f/6 refracting telescopes with a GOTO drive and it was featured in Astronomy Technology Today Magazine.

One unique thing about this setup is the use of Microscope eyepieces rather than traditional diagonals. This gives him the right orientation and a lot of ease of adjustment. It uses a Lumicon Universal pier and binocular platform as the main part of the mount. He also did extensive modification both mechanical and electronic to this terrific setup.

Norman's book is soon to be published Here is a look at the cover art. And you can visit the Springer Publishing website for more information: Building and Using Binoscopes

The new Second Edition of the book is set to be released in January. You can learn more about it and preorder it on amazon here:Building and Using Binoscopes 2nd Edition

Norman tells us about this new edition:

" ....It contains a lot more updated info on binoscopes, binocular telescopes, big binoculars and many beautiful images of deep sky images and homemade and commercial binoscopes.  If you want...you can include that attached image of the new book cover on your excellent "The Telescope Nerd" website.  My first edition Springer book of the same title is still out there in the astro-book market place and doing well since it was published in early Nov. 2014. 


6 inch f/15 Cassegrain binoculars (10 mirrors) on a clock drive mount completed in 1980, won the Engineering Merit Award at the 1981 (RTMC) Riverside Telescope Makers Conference... It is a ten-mirror 6-inch f/15 Dall-Kirkham binocular telescope on a clock-driven equatorial mount.









10" Dob Buster

My 10 inch f/4 Dob Buster was completed in 2010 and appeared in several popular astronomy magazines (S&T/Astronomy & Astronomy Technology Today) and a few books....Obviously my 10 inch f/4 'Dob Buster' was my most popular homemade telescope I built to date.....

This is a specially designed telescope based on the classic Dob. But Norman did a lot of amazing modifications to this including the enhanced height, the bowling ball counterweight and more. This telescope build was completed in 2010 and was showcased in Astronony magazine and Sky & Telescope!







One of the brilliant things about this telescope is the setup for collimating the main mirror. See those big gold knobs? There are three knobs for adjusting the mirror and a fourth for locking the mirror in place. You might be wondering how three knobs in the corners could possibly move the mirror correctly. right?








Those three knobs are attached to pulleys just like you see here. It's pretty ingenious!






The GOTO Binochair

Now this is the ultimate in luxury! How about the whole chair automatically pointing to targets in the night sky. That's what this chair does! It is a GOTO Chair!

He modified an Ikea chair for this and one of the custom mods is that only the back of the chair reclines. This is a nice upgrade from many binocular chairs that pivot as a whole. That pivoting often leads you to having your feet too high up in the air. This chair avoids that.

The Drive System: Uses pairs of motors from Celestron Nexstar 4SE Telescopes. When they are wired in series they become dual-torque monsters.


Available on Amazon here: Building and Using Binoscopes 2nd Edition

From the Back Cover
Covering both homemade and commercial products, this book provides the reader with simple and straightforward information about the modeling, building, and use of binoscopes. Binoscopes can be thought of as binoculars enlarged to the size of telescopes - essentially, a combination of the two.

Constructing a binoscope is easier than most people think, but it still demands attention to detail and proper background knowledge. The author goes on to provide additional information about the products currently on the market, should the reader choose to purchase one instead of building it. Lastly, the book also compares binoscopes with telescopes in great detail, outlining the differences the reader can expect to see in the night sky from using both. The celestial views obtained with a binoscope, compared to a single telescope of the same aperture, are a very different experience.

The new edition emphasizes the obvious advantages of viewing celestial objects through a binoscope. There are also many new photos and additional information on the latest equipment and some very special and rare equipment a collector might be interested in. Newly added cartoons and additional images of beautiful deep sky objects in each of the chapters makes reading the book a more enjoyable experience. Finally, there is a new comet discovery form and guide to follow for such discoveries, and a complete list of Messier objects for those interested in searching for these.

About the Author
Norman P. Butler is an award winning telescope creator and published writer of telescope-building articles, some of which have appeared in popular astronomy magazines and books. A graduate of San Diego City College, Norman holds a Master’s degree in physics and astronomy. After serving in the US Navy for many years as an Opticalman, he worked for AVCO Everett Research Laboratory at Haleakala Observatory, Maui, building electro-optical equipment for use on a 1.6M and dual 1.2M telescopes. While there, he also performed core measurement studies on the super-massive galaxy M-87, as well as additional galactic studies and stellar scintillation measurements. Butler later went on to teach at the university level in Shenzhen, China, before retiring in 2011 to the island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas. Butler has received the Engineering Merit Award and Warren Estes Memorial Award, both for homemade binoscopes that he designed and built.


Binocular Astronomy (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)

From The Back Cover:

Binoculars have, for many, long been regarded as an "entry level" observational tool, and relatively few have used them as a serious observing instrument. This is changing! Many people appreciate the relative comfort of two-eyed observing, but those who use binoculars come to realize that they offer more than comfort. The view of the stars is more aesthetically pleasing and therefore binocular observers tend to observe more frequently and for longer periods.

Binocular Astronomy 2nd Edition puts an emphasis on understanding binoculars and their use. The additional content reflects the latest developments in technology, new testing techniques, and practical ideas for binocular use. It also responds to the substantially positive reviews of the first edition, and is now even better suited to its target readership.

Binocular Highlights: 99 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users (Sky & Telescope Stargazing)




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