Tips For Stargazing With Binoculars

Enjoy watching the heavens? Read why simple binoculars are often the best instrument to use.

For many, the idea of stargazing is appealing but where or how to start is often overwhelming. Here’s a primer for those of you who would like to get the most out of stargazing, particularly if you are contemplating purchasing binoculars or a telescope.

Grab A Quality Pair of Binoculars for Stargazing

Before you go out and buy a telescope, try using a pair of good binoculars. Some might think that binoculars aren’t as clear or advanced as a telescope, but in reality, for certain aspects of sky watching, they are the best instrument of all to use. A pair of 7-power binoculars is lightweight and portable. And a quality pair of binoculars can far outrank a poor quality small telescope and is an instrument that should last you a lifetime.

Which Binoculars Should I Choose?

Binoculars come in a variety of sizes. Most observers prefer the so-called 7 x 50 “night glasses.” The 7 refers to the magnification, while the 50 refers to the diameter of the two objective lenses measured in millimeters.  Any good pair of 7-power binoculars when held steadily will give you a glimpse of the craters of the Moon, the crescent of Venus, and the moons of Jupiter. Should a bright comet come along, there is no better instrument to give you a great overall view of both the head and tail. And by just sweeping along the Milky Way, you’ll be treated to a myriad of stars.

Remember, a dark night sky, free of light pollution, gives you the best visibility!

Joe Rao

Joe Rao is an astronomer and contributes regularly to the Farmers' Almanac.

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