Best Binoculars For Astronomy
Choosing the best binoculars for astronomy.
Most families tend to have a pair of binoculars around the home, and it's quite possible that the pair you have already may be good enough to get you started.
Of course, if you are just starting out in astronomy or if you enjoy large open star clusters and nebulae, binoculars can actually be a better option than a telescope.
There are several companies that produce binoculars that are specifically made for astronomy, and although many have a premium price tag to match, you will find there are plently more reasonably priced ones, that can give stunning views and reveal galaxies millions of light years away, as well as rich star-packed fields along the Milky Way, bright star clusters,nebulae, moons orbiting Jupiter, and craters on the surface of the Moon.
It is frequently said that binoculars are the most useful "first telescope" you can purchase and many experienced amateur astronomers will often keep one with them all the time.
Preferably binoculars for astronomy should be lightweight, this is very important if you intend to hold them in your hands. They should have an aperture in the region of 40mm-56mm, i.e 7x50, 8x56 or 10x50mm.
You can go much larger of course and but you will need a tripod to hold the binoculars steady, generally the smaller hand held ones will prove to be more convenient and used more often.
The larger the aperture the better since the surface area of the primary lens determines the amount of light the binoculars can bring in. 70mm binoculars will bring in roughly double the amount of light as 50mm binoculars will. (you square the diameter when comparing surface area)
Other important considerations are the lens coatings which will reduce the level of light that the glass reflects. Remember though that no glass will let through all of the light that strikes it, some light is always reflected away.
The Porro-prism design is best, Roof prisms are commonly used, but these are generally harder to produce properly aligned, so low-cost roof-prisms should be avoided if possible. Prism material BaK-4 being the most suitable.
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