...your guide to using optics.

Binocular Astronomy

Like other binocular applications, when selecting optics for astronomy you'll want to think about the celestial objects you intend to view. For example, just about any binocular (even small compacts) will have adequate magnification and aperture to study the moon because it's so large and bright. However, if you want to observe planets like Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, you'll probably want to go with a binocular with at least 10x magnification. Since larger aperture size renders higher resolution, you'll see more planetary detail with 50mm to 70mm binoculars. Finally, deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae, and other galaxies are large but very dim. Therefore, it isn't necessarily magnification you need but light-gathering power, so consider large aperture binoculars like a 7x50 or 10x50, the latter being very popular with amateur astronomers.

Binoculars with magnification 12x and higher (like 16x70 or 20x80) will be difficult to hold steady using only your hands and should be mounted on a tripod for maximum viewing enjoyment. Binoculars generally require a separate “L” bracket binocular tripod adapter to facilitate a tripod connection. Even if your binocular is 8x or 10x, you can still benefit by mounting it on a tripod; you'll see more detail and individual stars with a steady image.

Link: Staff picks - Binoculars for Astronomy

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