Instead of a telescope, you may want to invest in a good set of binoculars suited to astronomy. There are a few reasons binoculars are ideal for stargazing. Find out about the best binoculars for astronomy.
Why Astronomy Binoculars
…not only can you use the binoculars for astronomy, but you can also use them for terrestrial pursuits.
In this respect, they are a cost-effective accessory.
Not only that, binoculars have many uses in amateur astronomy. Not only is a pair of astronomy binoculars great for checking out the craters on the moon, there are quite a few other binocular uses in astronomy — see the ones I’ve listed below.
10 Uses for Binoculars, Astronomy Wise
- Binoculars can help you find star and planets in a bright evening sky.
- Binoculars are great for checking out stars and planets just above the horizon.
- For observing bright comets.
- With binoculars, you can search out Uranus and Neptune with the help of finder charts.
- Can see the red color of Mars, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, and Antares clearer through binoculars. Alpha Centauri can be seen as yellow and Beta Centauri as blue.
- Small binoculars are ideal for lunar occultations (when the Moon passes in front) of a star of magnitude 4 or less (brighter).
- They are great for checking out the large craters and maria (seas) on the Moon.
- Best for finding the fainter stars shown in star atlases and finder charts.
- They help with finding stars that appear dim because of the closeness of the Moon.
- Finding Uranus and Neptune with finder charts.
Astronomy Binoculars Buying Guide
Which binoculars for astronomy are the best? You’ll get some ideas of what to look for in this ‘binoculars for astronomy buying guide’.
In choosing binoculars for astronomy think about the size of the aperture and the power (magnification). A power of 7× is a good start in a beginner astronomy binoculars. A 50 mm objective lens is also a good place to begin for comfort at least. The larger the lens, typically the weightier the binoculars.
Binoculars provide a wide field of view and this reveals a larger portion of the night sky than with a telescope. You will also see comets and meteors more clearly.
A pair of 7×50 binoculars for astronomy will give you a field of view of about 7 degrees in diameter. Compare this to a typical amateur telescope (even when using low power) with a field of view of only 1 degree. This translates to 40–50 times the area being visible with this pair of binoculars compared to the telescope.
Best Binoculars for Astronomy
So you might be wondering what binoculars to buy for astronomy?
I recommend at least 7 times magnification and a 50 mm diameter objective lens. This size in binoculars for astronomy is fairly popular with amateur stargazers.
A 50 mm diameter objective lens means a high light-gathering ability and this is ideal for astronomical use.
A 7 times magnification is okay. With a power greater than 10 times magnification you will need to keep the binoculars steady. Remember also, that the larger the aperture the likely bigger and bulkier will be the binoculars.
Astronomy Binoculars Reviews
For astronomy binoculars, Amazon has a great range to choose from. Among the brand names are Nikon, Orion, and Celestron astronomy binoculars.
How to Use Binoculars for Astronomy
You need to keep the binoculars steady for a clear view. You can try to brace yourself by placing your elbows on a table, a railing, or the roof of your car.
Probably a better option is to buy a mount to hold the binoculars steady. If you have a camera tripod you can add a bracket that is designed to attach to it. This will be a cheap option if you already have a tripod. Otherwise, you may want to consider buying a tripod for your binoculars.
One tripod mount I find useful is the SnapZoom Universal Binocular Tripod Mount because it suits binoculars that don’t have a threaded tripod socket. You can click on the image below to find out more details and features of this mount on Amazon.
Skywatching with Good Astronomy Binoculars
People tend to look lower than the object they wish to focus on when using their binoculars or telescope for astronomy. Practice helps with this. Try tipping the binoculars up.
Sometimes it’s easier to first find an object that stands out and then star hop across to where you want to go. I find using a tree or some other landmark as a pointer to the object and then moving your binoculars up to the object also helps.
It’s a good idea to practice on bright objects first until you get the hang of it.
It’s also best to plan your timing as it is difficult to look directly up with binoculars especially with a tripod. You might want to get comfy and lay back in a reclined seat or on a rug on the ground while hand-holding the binoculars if you are wanting to study the center of the sky.
Know More About How to Choose Binoculars and How to Buy Binoculars?
Feel free to comment below.
Hi, I’m Jeff Madden. I’m an enthusiast of the wide open spaces. I’ve had over 15 years experience in presenting spatial data and I find it valuable to research and compare the latest technology available. I hope you find my comparisons on the performance of technology useful for exploring and capturing visuals of the outdoors.