Wondering whether binoculars are any good for astronomy. There are many reasons why stargazing binoculars are useful. How good are binoculars for astronomy? Here are 13 reasons to invest in a pair if you’re a night-sky watcher…
How good are binoculars for astronomy?
What can you see with astronomy binoculars? Let’s see. Comets. The moon features. But read on…here are 13 good reasons binoculars can help your stargazing experience, but there’s probably a lot more. It seems it’s worth getting a good pair of astronomy binoculars.
1. Accessory to telescope
It’s not a matter of binoculars vs telescope, but rather a case of binoculars adding to the experience of using that home telescope. They help with finding stars and planets in the night sky and enhance your perspective when navigating the sky.
2. Above horizon viewing
Binoculars are the best for viewing stars and planets that are rising and just above the horizon. It can be difficult to position and use a telescope for this.
3. Viewing comets
Binoculars are perfect for observing bright comets like 21P, 38P, and 46P/Wirtanen of 2018 that grace our skies from time to time and are spectacular sights.
4. Find outer planets
With binoculars, you can search out Uranus and Neptune with the help of finder charts.
5. Planet viewing
Quality binoculars are useful for planet viewing. You can see the red color of Mars, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, and Antares clearly through a good set of binoculars. Alpha Centauri can be seen as yellow and Beta Centauri as blue.
6. Lunar occultations
Small binoculars are ideal for lunar occultations (when the Moon passes in front) of a star of magnitude 4 or less (brighter).
7. Moon features
They are great for viewing the large craters and maria (seas) on the Moon.
It’s a good idea to have a sturdy tripod for this or at least a way of keeping the image stable. You can try placing your elbows on a fence, one the roof of your vehicle, or on a table while holding the binoculars to view the moon.
8. Finding fainter stars
Binoculars are best for finding the fainter stars shown in star atlases and finder charts.
Binoculars can help you see up to 25x – 50x more stars than with your naked eyes – depending on the unit you choose. This is more than just the magnification. It’s to do with enhanced perception.
Binoculars allow both your eyes to view at magnifications and so you get twice the opportunity for your brain to scan the sky and register the starlight.
9. Dim stars
Binoculars help with finding and viewing stars that appear dim due to the position of the Moon in the night sky.
10. Moons of Jupiter
The more powerful ones are useful for observing the moons of Jupiter as they move around the planet.
Today, scientists recognize Jupiter as having 79 moons, so there are plenty to look for.
11. Great for kids
Binoculars can be more lightweight and compact than portable telescopes. They are also easy to use and are a great way to get children interested in astronomy.
12. Wider field of view
Binoculars have a wider field of view and this is a big plus for scanning the sky for targets and seeing patterns in the cosmos. You get a better appreciation of how night sky objects are positioned in relation to each other.
13. Give you the correct perspective
You’ll see the night sky the right side up. It can be confusing looking through the focuser of a telescope when using a sky chart or even after looking at the sky with your unaided eyes as most telescopes show you the sky upside down.
Astronomy binoculars have many advantages and enhance the experience of night sky watching. The thing with astronomy binoculars, especially the larger ones, is that you need a way to keep them stable, either with a tripod or other means of support.