When it comes to researching the market for a pair of good astronomy binoculars, many future stargazers enter the world of amateur night sky observing blindly, not knowing whether to go for binoculars, a monocular, or a telescope. To help you with this, I created a short guide for what is and how to choose the best binoculars for astronomy and stargazing for beginners for observing space, stars, planets, Moon, galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae. I will tell you which factors are important when choosing a pair of binoculars for astronomy and stargazing, and I'm going to give you some brief binoculars reviews of models I think you should consider. Happy stargazing, and clear skies!
The Best Binoculars For Astronomy, Stargazing, and Night Sky Observing In 2020
If you just want to get the best astronomy binoculars picks on the market right now, look no more. Here are my personal 5 picks I would consider to choose today for stargazing and astronomy (and actually I'm a proud owner of the Nikon 10x50 binoculars mentioned below).
1. Orion Mini Giant 15 x 63
- Big 63mm diameter objective binoculars grab a ton of light and excel for both astronomical and daytime viewing
- Mini Giant binocular lenses and BAK-4 prisms are fully multi-coated for exceptional light transmission and bright images
- Binocular barrels are internally glare-threaded to eliminate ghosting and ensure rich contrast
- For steady images and extended gazes, you'll want to mount these high-power binoculars on a tripod
- Includes hard case, deluxe wide neck strap and lens caps
2. Orion Scenix 7 x 50
- Great all-around binoculars for astronomy as well as scenic daytime viewing
- High-quality BAK-4 porro prisms and multi-coated binocular objective lenses ensure bright, crisp images
- Wide 7.1 degree field of view and 14 foot close focus
- Sturdy metal (not plastic) housing with large center focusing mechanism
- Includes carrying case, lens cap and deluxe wide neck strap
3. Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15 x 70
- Multi coated optics
- Large aperture perfect for low light conditions and stargazing
- Tripod adapter 13 millimeter (0.51 inch) long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers; Linear Field of View (@1000 yards) / @1000 meter) 231 feet (77 meter)
- Diopter adjustment for fine focusing; Angular field of view 4.4 degrees
- Large 70 millimeter objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low light and long range conditions
4. Nikon Action EX 10 x 50
- Rugged waterproof, fog proof construction
- Bright, multicoated optics
- Long Eye relief for eyeglass wearers
- Objective Diameter:50 mm. FOV at 1000 yds:341 ft. Close Focus Distance: 23 ft. Exit Pupil: 5 mm. Interpupilary Distance: 56-72 mm.
5. Canon 18 x 50 with Image Stabilization
- 18x magnification
- Built-in optical image stabilization uses 2 AA batteries
- Wide, extra-bright field of view
- Lenses are multi-coated for contrast, clarity, and color fidelity
- Shock and water-resistant
Astronomy Binoculars vs Telescope - Binoculars Advantages
Why would you choose a pair of binoculars over a telescope for visual stargazing? There are three main reasons:
Size — Small and Lightweight
Stargazing with binoculars is far easier and quicker to set up than using a telescope. Setup for astronomy with binoculars? Grab them, focus, and you are ready to go. They are easy to transport, and when using a standard, widefield pair of ones, you don't need any tripod or mount — only your hands.
Wider FOV (Field of View) — Easier to Find Objects on the Night Sky
If you are not familiar with the night sky yet, a pair of widefield binoculars is your best way to learn your first constellations (like the Orion Constellation), stars (e.g. Betelgeuse), and some deep-sky objects like nebulae, star clusters, or galaxies. Less zoom — easier to orientate where you are gazing right now.
Price — far Less Expensive than a Telescope
When buying a telescope, you have to acquire some additional accessories:
- Diagonal mirror
When buying a pair of binoculars for astronomy, you are ready to go stargazing right after unboxing them.
And not to mention that 'raw' telescopes (OTAs — optical tubes) are generally far pricier than binoculars.
What do Those Numbers (10 x 50, 15 x 63, etc.) Mean?
The first parameter is magnification (how many times closer the subject is to you — 7 times closer, 8 times closer, 10 times closer)
The second one is objective lens diameter (in millimeters; the bigger — the more light gathering capabilities).
So, a pair of binoculars marked as 10 x 50 has 10x magnification and 50 mm objective lens diameter.
For astronomy, the bigger the objective diameter, the better — bigger objective diameter means more light gathered, thus more faint night sky details visible for a human eye. Although, the bigger the lenses, are, the heavier they become — it's important if you want to operate your binoculars handheld-only, without a tripod.
10 x 50 — Universal Binoculars
The 10 x 50 is considered the 'standard' ratio for binoculars as general. It's a perfect combination of usable field of view, nice speed (in terms of light transmission through the glasses), and weight. 10 x 50 is a universal combination for any applications — birdwatching, outdoor, tourist, hunting, or military. You can use binoculars with those parameters handheld, without a stabilizing tripod. It's a good starting point for a beginner stargazer.
7x - 8x Magnification (7 x 50) — Widefield Models Designed for Astronomy
For handheld wide-field astronomy, you may find that models with lower zoom (7x, 8x) perform better. They are easier to operate with hands without shaking, they reveal more details, and you can see more celestial objects at once due to the wider field of view. They are perfect for beginners to get familiar with the night sky — both adults and kids.
Top Picks for Beginners
Yes, they are a perfect choice as a first optical instrument to start amateur astronomy night sky observing.