Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 9 years ago

Are Binoculars Good For Astronomy?

Wondering if there any good for astronomy thinking about getting a pair.

9 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, ..., yes, I agree with Geoff binoculars are great for astronomy and, if you are wise in your purchase decision, they can also be useful for daytime observing as well. Read the write-up below for some suggestions on how to purchase a pair of binoculars.

    --- write up ---

    I've owned a pair of Bushnell 10X50 Powerview binoculars for the past 11+ years and I love them. I've used them for astronomy, as well as, terrestrial observing and they've always been great! They still work as well today as the day I received them as a gift 11+ years ago. I haven't tried the 20x50's but if they work for you then get them. Some things you should look for in binoculars are:

    1) The image quality should be consistent from edge to edge, top to bottom, and throughout the field of view ... no 'coke bottle' effect.

    2) Color rendition should be exactly the same as normal vision. So avoid binoculars with Ruby tinted objectives.

    3) The Image should be correct both up and down and left and right. No inverted images

    4) Items (1,2,3) above should remain true through (once focused) zoom.

    5) Items (1,2,3) should remain in focus through zoom in and zoom out operations.

    6) The binoculars should pass the 'cable test' through zoom in and zoom out operations.

    Cable test - find both thin vertical and horizontal cables with binoculars. As you observe the cables in up and down, and side to side, transitions from sides to side and up and down. The cables should display no chromatic distortion (red, yellow, green, or blue) on either side of the cables.

    7) They should be comfortable to use and hold not bulky or difficult to handle. Anything beyond 50mm on objective size begin to be difficult to handle which is why 10x50, 16x50, and or 20x50's are great general purpose binoculars. This is of course a purchase decision you must make for yourself.

    8) At least one or more oculars should be "focusable"

    9) Both oculars should have comfortable cups for your eyes and the oculars should be at least 0.5" (1/2 inches) diameter (or better)

    10) Focus both in and out and return to focus. The focus should "snap-in" and images in the feild of view should have a "crisp" or sharp image. No fuzzy images except for things very close. Far away items should be in focus. If you think of binoculars as being an extension of your eyes then that is how they should work.

    11) The primary objectives should be free of any marring, bubbles or grit in the glass, and should be multi-coated (bluish green in color).

    12) Turn the binoculars around and (with the lens caps off) look thought the main objectives to the oculars (you may need to focus slightly. The oculars should be free of any marring, bubbles or grit in the glass.

    13) Don't buy the "straight barrel" (roof prism) type binoculars. By the traditional type (porro prism). The Porro Prism type binoculars are optically better performers.

    14) Generally, any set of binoculars over 50mm (in objective size) are usually too heavy for the average person to hold steady (unless you're Arnold), so, you will most likely need a Trapezoid, Tripod, or Monopole to hold them steady. Of course for pure Astronomy work the larger the objective the better (70mm, 80mm, or larger). just bear in mind that you will need some type of mount to properly steady them ... so figure that cost into your purchase price as well.

    BTW, If your binoculars fail any of these tests don't buy them or return them immediately.

    Also, Wal*Mart sells the Bushnell 10X50's for $34.95 and the Bushnell 20x50's can be found on Amazon for $52.95 which is a great deal.

    Source(s): 11+ years owning and operation Bushnell 10x50 Powerview Binoculars
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  • There are many astronomical things that can be better observed with binoculars than a telescope. Also, given we have two eyes and binocular vision is normal, you can see things that might be hard to discern with a telescope. For example, the Andromeda galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, and some large star clusters and nebula show up better in my binoculars than my telescopes.

    Younger people (under 50 years, say) would do well with binoculars that have an exit pupil size of about 7 millimeters. You can calculate the exit pupil size by dividing the objective size (7x50 binoculars have an objective size of 50 mm with a magnification of 7x) by the magnification, (in the example case, 7.1 mm exit pupil). As you get older, your eyes' irises don't open up as much, and the extra exit pupil will be cut off by the iris in your eye.

    Image stabilized binoculars can be very nice, but some sort of support for binoculars can be just as good, to keep the "jiggle" out of your view.

    As in a lot of things, "cheap" is not a good idea, but good binoculars need not take away all your baby-food money!

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  • You can probably manage 16x80 binoculars without a tripod, if you can brace your elbows on something firm, like a fence rail. They'll show you fainter things than a 10x50 will. Globular clusters usually look better in a bigger pair of binocs. But they're heavy, and you do need to brace your elbows or the scene will jump around too much. If you just want to ooh and ahh at the Milky Way, then 10x50 binoculars are all you need.

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  • 9 years ago

    Short answer is that some are and some aren't.

    A good pair of say 7x50, 10x50 or 15x70s for example are indeed excellent for astronomy. The combination of wide fields, low magnification and good light gathering power means that images will be bright and crisp with good contrast. They will also be light enough to be handheld with the option of tripod support.

    Binoculars with higher powers, say 20x or 30x will be less attractive for two main reasons. Images will be fainter and less contrasty. Also the weight of higher power binoculars means they will need to be tripod mounted. While that in itself it not a huge problem, it is less convenient than simple handheld scanning of the sky.

    A good guide is to divide the aperture by the magnification. For example 7x50s would give 7.1 while 20x50s would only give 2.5. This figure is the diameter in mm of the exit pupil. This needs to match as closely as possible the diameter of the pupil of your eye. When it is fully dark adapted the pupil of the eye is typically between 5 and 7mm in diameter. So aim to buy binoculars for astronomy whose exit pupil matches the size of your pupil.

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  • Laura
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    10x50's can be handheld but it certainly helps to props them up against a wall or other convenient object. 7x50's are slightly better for handheld use but of course are less powerful. The image stabilised binoculars available come close to being a suitable for both uses. They work very well. Although most of them are on the small side in terms of aperture the IS system more than compensates. I have a pair of Canon 12x36s and I will certainty never part with them. They are also reasonably small and light compared to 50mm binos. Alas, they are not cheap.

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  • GeoffG
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Yes, binoculars are very good for astronomy. They are mainly useful for wide angle views of the Milky Way and large objects like the Andromeda Galaxy. I find the most useful size is 10x50: light enough to be easily portable and easy to hold steady, but powerful enough to show a lot of detail. Orion's Scenix 10x50 come highly recommended:

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    It helps.

    I use 7X50 zoom that can be got for about $30 bucks.

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  • John R
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    Read on what you want to know about, stop being a lazy but

    Source(s): No more answers, get off your buts and look the answers up for your self lazey buts.
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