When we think about astronomy or star gazing, using a telescope is an obvious and most common choice. People are using telescopes for centuries for a celestial purpose.
But what to do if you can’t invest in a telescope but like to explore different galaxies and gazing at night sky and stars is something you enjoy, then we are going to tell you why are binoculars important astronomical tools.
Many sky gazers and astronomers reckon binoculars to be a versatile choice for astronomy. And that is due to various factors that we are going to discuss below in detail.
3 Reasons why binoculars are important astronomical tools?
Without denying the fact that binoculars have lower magnification and image quality is less refined compared to telescopes, there are certain pros that outweigh the cons of binoculars for stargazing.
#1 Lighter and easy to use
Sometimes you just don’t feel like taking out and unpacking those bulky telescopes because let’s admit it that requires some energy and effort. By using binoculars you can save both the time and effort.
Even a kid and a beginner can use a binocular while fixing a telescope demands a certain level of skill.
Binoculars are ideal for you for those lazy times when you just want to enjoy gazing at stars and that lustrous milky-way from the comfort of your chair.
Even experienced astronomers keep binoculars handy at their side for more detailed viewing. Parents who have an eager little astronaut at their hands can certainly take advantage of binoculars too.
Portability and diversity are one of the main reasons why binoculars are important astronomical tools.
Also read: best budget telescopes for astronomy
#2 Field of view
The field of view is basically the size of the field you can see via binoculars. To know more about the field of view and how it works you can check out my previous article here.
Binoculars provide a comparatively wider field of view than telescopes. Telescopes tend to focus on a particular object and cannot provide an extended view of deep-sky objects.
Observing the moon or large objects with telescopes is easy but if you are finding different patterns of comets or dispersed galaxies then a binocular is what you need. That is one of the features why binoculars are important astronomical tools.
#3 Natural and comfortable
Telescopes often use one eyepiece compared to binoculars which literally means “two oculars.” Using two eyes is without a doubt the more natural way of looking especially if you are observing something like in astronomy.
Using two eyes affords you a more natural and stable view which is why binoculars are important astronomical tools.
In most telescopes, the generated image is usually downside up and sometimes even backward. That can get quite irritating but not with binoculars.
Binoculars provide you with the right side up and correct images so what are you waiting for? Get those binoculars out and start gazing at those twinkling stars and lustrous galaxies.
Did you know that on a clear night using binoculars you can lay eyes on 25 or even 50x more stars than what the naked eye lets you see? Even with ordinary binoculars, you can see up to 100,000 stars.
Isn’t that something wondrous, huh?
How to buy the best binoculars for astronomy?
Astronomy doesn’t only consist of gazing at random stars and the moon, there is much more to it. Astronomy means observing Star clusters of different sizes, the milky Way, lunar eclipse, aging of the moon, sky maps, various planets, and other celestial bodies.
A modest binocular will make a good companion for a casual stargazing session in beginning but a more advanced model will afford you a more detailed and clearer view.
The best thing about why binoculars are important astronomical tools is that they are super affordable and work equally great.
Some basic requirements need to be met if you are in search of binos that can improve your astronomical experience.
Aperture is perhaps the most important spec to look for in binoculars, especially from a stargazing perspective. Aperture or lens diameter is the size of the objective lens of binoculars.
Aperture is usually mentioned somewhere on front lenses. In 10×42, 42 is the lens diameter in millimeters. For more on aperture and how it can help enhance your viewing experience check my article on binoculars magnification and aperture.
For the astronomical purpose, a bigger lens means more light accumulation which affords a brighter and clearer picture.
This is why you should opt for binos that have 40mm lens because anything below 40mm cannot be a good option for nighttime viewing.
10×32 binoculars will have 10x magnification rendering an image that is 10 times more magnified than the actual image.
Playing safe, more is not always better. Binoculars with 7x to 10x magnification will prove to be a worthy companion for your astronomic endeavors.
To be honest, there isn’t much difference between 10x and 7x binoculars in terms of image quality and detailed view.
Binoculars with more than 10x magnification and 40 mm aperture are not considered ideal for astronomy because of the fact that higher magnification at the same time magnifies the slightest shake and bump of a hand.
For more insight into how magnification works check out my detailed article on binoculars magnification.
#3 Prism choice
Prisms choice can become a confusing one if you don’t know what to look for. Basic binoculars designs are based on two types of prisms: Roof and Porro prism.
To learn more about prisms and their working mechanism read here.
Binoculars with Porro prisms are more suitable for sky watchers because of their affordability as well as the brighter picture they produce.
#4 Exit pupil
Most people tend to ignore exit pupil while buying binoculars but let me tell you that it is an equally critical factor to look for in a binocular.
Exit pupil is the little round circles of light that appear when you tilt your binoculars towards the light and gaze through eyepieces. The exit pupil describes the size of a beam of light that leaves the eyepiece.
What role does an exit pupil play in buying a good binocular? Simply consider this, those round bright circles should be according to your eye pupil size.
You can get exit pupil size by simply dividing the aperture by magnification. A binocular with 10×50 will have an exit pupil of 5.
Our eye pupil tends to expand during low light situations. Generally speaking, People under 30 years of age will have a dilation of 7mm, those under 40 will have a dilation of 6mm and those above 40 will most probably have a pupil dilation of 5mm.
An exit pupil that exceeds the size of your pupil will produce extra light that will go to waste. Why not buy a binocular with the right exit pupil to ensure brighter pictures?
#5 Image stabilized binoculars
Cutting-edge image-stabilizing technology have made binoculars even more suitable for nighttime viewing.
Like in a modern video camera, you push a button and the bumpy image is stabilized. The same technique has been used in these binoculars.
Plus side to this feature is that you can calm down shaky images that are the result of higher magnification and still see so much more.
Read Also: How do Image stabilizing binoculars work?
Binocular is always a great thing to invest in because you can use them for many different interests. Unlike telescopes, they are not just bound for sky gazing.
As someone who enjoys gazing at the moon and stars and celestial objects, I certainly realize why binoculars are important astronomical tools and after reading this guide I hope you do too.
Happy gazing, stargazers!
An optics enthusiast – I love bird watching as well as wildlife. Originally from South Africa, I moved to the UK at a young age. I love reviewing the latest binoculars as well as traveling. I work as a comms consultant during the day. My plan is to travel across the world so building up to that goal.