Traditionally, the image of a sky watcher is associated with a nice big telescope probably mounted on a tripod and standing out in a field. In real life, most people prefer to use two eyes instead of just one. Binoculars allow two eyes to be used, but the image of binocular users is more associated with bird watching than sky watching. Constellations are much further away than robins. Luckily, there are astronomical binoculars available.
Depth Of Field
Usually, when someone is shopping for binoculars the idea is to get a good look at a sporting event, fabulous scenery or camping stuff. Binoculars are light weight, easy to use and more stationary than telescopes. They offer perspective because they allow the use of both eyes. All of these qualities are the reasons for using them on a hike, but can they compare to a high-powered telescope?
The truth is that a pair of binoculars is basically two telescopes strapped together. High-powered binoculars can compare to a telescope for a peek at the night sky. The usual telescope provides an image that is upside down and backwards. For getting up close and personal with a star, that’s no problem. The reason that binoculars produce an image that resembles real life is that they contain a prism in each scope that flips the image back to normal before it reaches the eye.
Seeing The Light
Human eyes work on the basis of light. Telescopes and binoculars need to gather up light in order to carry the image to the eye. Larger binoculars gather more light and are better for use as astronomical binoculars. Look for 50mm aperture or larger. That will be the second number on the back of the binoculars. The first number is the magnification. In between is an “X.” With the larger field of vision that comes with two lenses, it is easier to sweep the sky to find the objects that interest you.
One of the problems with using binoculars is that pictures of stellar objects found in most guides are taken with telescopes. The image you will see using astronomical binoculars will be more realistic and not match the photos very well. If you want to go the route of astronomical binoculars, you can find some online guides that will help you locate objects and identify them.
Telescopes are the traditional way to study the sky. But if you’re interested in scanning the final frontier, why not break from traditional and go with the astronomical binoculars?