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The Best Binoculars for Astronomy

Updated on September 6, 2014

Discover the best binoculars for stargazing here!

If you are enthusiastic about astronomy and stargazing, you may be considering buying your very first telescope. If so, stop and think about your budget! If it is under $200, any professional will advise you to go with a pair of high quality astronomy binoculars rather than a low-end telescope which will only end up frustrating you with its many faults.In fact, you will be very surprised at how well binoculars work for stargazing. Why is this? Well, they show you images right-side up whereas telescopes mostly show you upside-down or mirror-reversed images. They have a wide field of view, making it easy to track celestial objects. Moreover, they are much lighter and cheaper, which is no small bonus for someone just beginning to dabble in astronomy.In this article, you will find some of the best binoculars for astronomy on the market. These binoculars have been personally recommended by astronomers, astrophysicists, and stargazing enthusiasts worldwide.

Photo credit: Edith Soto on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Best Astronomy Binoculars - What to look for in a good pair of stargazing binoculars

  1. Are they lightweight and portable? You won't want to be lugging around a pair of binoculars that weigh more than your muscles can handle, especially if you consider that you'll be using your arms to hold them up to your eyes for long periods of time. The stargazing binoculars with the most manageable weight and size usually have an aperture between 30mm-45mm. Any more than that and you'll be longing for a tripod!
  2. Is the aperture big enough? Since you'll be using your binoculars at night, you need a pair of binoculars that will let in as much light as possible. This means you need a big aperture. As I mentioned above, the best aperture size for casual stargazing without a tripod sits between 30mm-45mm. Do not go any smaller than 30mm!
  3. What is the size of the exit pupil? Exit pupils are the small circles of light you see within the lenses of your binoculars. Ideally, they should be between 5mm-7mm, as that is the width to which the human pupil expands in low-lit situations. You can find out the exit pupil size of your binoculars by dividing the aperture by the magnification.
  4. Are the lenses protected? Generally, you want lenses that have are fully-coated or fully multi-coated. This means that any glass that comes in contact with air is protected with a coating.
  5. Are the optics any good? Though this is not always the case, the rule of thumb is "the higher the price, the better the optics." You can safely assume that a pair of binoculars which cost over $100 will have good optics.

Small and Portable Astronomy Binoculars

Lightweight binoculars for casual stargazing

The following astronomy binoculars are excellent for casual stargazing. They are the kind of binoculars you can keep in your bag, and whip out when you see something of interest in the night sky. With an aperture of 30-35mm and a magnification of 6-7X, they are small and lightweight, making them appropriate for young children. 7X35mm is one of the most popular binocular measurements among amateur astronomers.

Mid-Range Astronomy Binoculars

The perfect entry-level binoculars for astronomy and stargazing

With these mid-range astronomy binoculars, you will be able to marvel at the Moon and other celestial objects. They are considered the best binoculars for entry-level astronomers. With an average of a 40-45mm aperture and 7-8X magnification, these binoculars are heavier than their smaller counterparts listed above, but can easily be held by adults and older children.

Important:

It is not recommended that you go above 10X magnification without a mount, tripod or image stabilisation technology installed into your binoculars.

Astronomy Binoculars with Image Stabilisation

Reduce shake at high magnification

Binoculars with image stabilisation are a rather new invention, but they will revolutionise your stargazing experience. Image stabilisation, the same technology used in professional video cameras, calms down the shakiness you will experience with a highly magnified view. As a result, you will see a clear and detailed image even without the aid of a mount or tripod. The most popular image stabiliser binoculars are made by Canon which is, by no coincidence, also a leader in the DSLR video camera market.

Large Stargazing Binoculars

Big and powerful binoculars which require tripods and mounts to work

If you wish to magnify celestial objects at more than 10X, you will certainly need a tripod or mount to keep your binoculars steady. The following astronomy binoculars all have a magnification level of at least 15X, and an aperture between 70-100mm, allowing lots of light to enter. The only issue you'll encounter with these binoculars is the size of the exit pupil, which should be between 5mm and 7mm for the human eye to focus perfectly. These binoculars generally have an exit pupil of 4mm.

Which pair of stargazing binoculars did you choose? - Thank you for paying us a visit!

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    • Holly22 profile image

      Christine and Peter Broster 4 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

      A very informative lens. I learned a great deal about the different kinds of binoculars on the market. Well done!!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      My sons would love to get some of these for Christmas. We usually just use binoculars for bird-watching.

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 3 years ago

      Nice lens! I have a pair of binoculars, :)

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 3 years ago

      @Socialpro54 LM: maybe you can look at my lens Celestron SkyMaster Giant i really appriciate it

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