Sam looked through the large lenses of the Bushnell Elite binoculars that he had borrowed from his science teacher. The horizon and the details sprang up to him with magnificent clarity, brightness and edge-to edge contrast and high definition imagery. He figured that if his parents would drag him to this star party, he might as well have his own pair. Dad would never share his Legend binoculars. He was always saying that they were the true leader in light transmission all across the visible light spectrum. They were his pride and joy. And Mom’s Spectators might be powerful and all, with an extra-wide field of view and a Perma Focus design that never needs adjustments, but they were too dainty. She kept them in her pocket when she wasn’t using them.
The astronomy club had set up on the edge of the cliff of Grindstone creek, a popular place for rock climbing and it offered an amazing view of the southern sky. Many had telescopes, but he saw that several members had binoculars around their necks, including the Bowhunter, the Fusion 1600 ARC rangefinding binocular and a Legacy WP. He started scanning the skies with his Elite, amazed at how many stars he could see through the wide field of view, and wondering how long this star party would last. He was already cold.
A kid about ten sat on the dusty grass beside him. “Hi,” he said. “My name’s Dan. Look at these binoculars.” He shoved them in his face. Dan had a good pair of astronomy binoculars, a Stableview. They would reduce his hand tremors. “I’m going to find an alien tonight.” Dan proceeded to lie back on the grass and stare into the sky, his binoculars pressed against his face while he kept up a steady chatter. Sam wished he would shut up.
“Oh brother!” Dan sat up and grabbed Sam’s arm. “Look! A spaceship! I just saw it appear out of nowhere!” He pointed to a bright light that traveled in a straight line across the sky. As they boys watched it, the light just went out. “Oh man,” Dan screamed. “A UFO!”
“Calm down,” Sam said. “You saw a satellite. It went behind the Earth’s shadow.”
“Oh.” Dan smiled. “Well, I’ll keep looking. Dad always says to never give up and to always take care of your Natureview binoculars.” He leaned back again and oohed, pointing into the sky. “Look at all those stars.”
Sam followed Dan’s gaze with his own binoculars. Might as well talk to Dan, it would make the time pass. “You’re looking at the Pleiades,” he said. “Pretty amazing through the binoculars, huh?”
Before Dan could respond, a girl about his own age sat down next to them. She pulled out her pair of binoculars, a pair of Trophy XLT, the ultimate in hunting binoculars, and flipped up the lens covers. “I heard you talking about the Pleiades,” she said, and gazed at them. “Pretty neat. But can you see the rings of Saturn with your binoculars?”
Dan sat up. “Really? You can see them?” She showed Dan how to find Saturn, and then turned to Sam. “Did you guys know that the second star in the handle of the Big Dipper is actually a binary?” She pointed to the middle of the handle. Dan put his binoculars to his eyes and found the asterism above their heads. “Oh brother! I see them!” He grinned. “This star party is a lot more fun than I thought it’d be.”
Sam looked at his two new friends and realized that he wasn’t so cold anymore. “Bet you can’t find the Orion Nebula,” he challenged. Bushnell binoculars to their eyes, the universe unraveled its mysteries to them.