Choosing Binoculars for Astronomy

Telescope with approved solar filter
10x50 binoculars are a good general-purpose choice.

Binoculars have two main specifications: magnification and objective lens size. This is represented by a pair of numbers such as 10x50, in which the first number is the strength of magnification and the second number is the size of the front lens in millimetres. A pair of 10x50 binoculars have a 50 mm lens and magnify the view ten times.

I use a pair of Astronz 10x50 binoculars with a 6.5° field of view (pictured). These are perfectly suitable to backyard astronomy. I recommend something in the range of 7x50 to 10x50.

If you don't have the budget for good binoculars in this range, you can go for something cheaper. Even toy binoculars can be fun but you need to understand that you won't be able to do any serious astronomical viewing with them.

If you're looking for more serious equipment, google "astronomical binoculars" and you'll see some very impressive options. We also sell these in our shop so feel free to contact us if you're interested. However, bigger doesn't necessarily mean better for your purposes. Bigger binoculars generally mean more magnification but narrower field of view. Since you're not going to see a lot of details even with powerful binoculars, and one of the main advantages of binoculars is the wide field of view, you may find that large astronomical binoculars are actually less useful than smaller ones.

Large binoculars definitely need a tripod. You can get away without a tripod for smaller pairs but the big ones are too heavy and difficult to manage without a mount of some sort.

One more thing... specialized astronomical binoculars are not quite as versatile. You may find that they aren't as handy for daytime viewing as a more generic pair such as the 10x50.

In summary, you really can't go wrong with 7x50 or 10x50.

Next page: Getting set up

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