When it comes to stargazing, there are basically 2 levels of viewing. You can opt for the standard telescope, or go for a pair of astronomical binoculars
. Let's not kid ourselves, forget about seeing into the furthest reaches of space. You'll only get that from star trek or observatories.
That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the heavens. Both binoculars for astronomy
as well as telescopes offer up a great viewing experience.
In general, the larger the binoculars, the more you will see. The prpoblem, though, is that large binoculars are heavy and may require a mount. They are also more expensive. Depending on the kind of celestial viewing you are looking to do, will affect what type of product you will buy.
Here are some tips to consider when shopping for:
• Lens Coatings.
The coating of lenses are important because they result in better image clarity.
• The size of objective lenses
. Increased increments in size of the optical lenses will give you a proportional increase in light gathered, cost, weight and size.
There are 2 types of glass for binocular prisms. 1. Bak4 glass prisms - which allow all light rays from the edge of field to be completely reflected resulting in a brighter and sharper image than, say, Bk7 prisms. 2. Porro prisms. Which are usually less costly than roof prisms and are preferred for stargazing.
The degree of the viewed image enlargement, is determined by the field of view of the binocular. Magnification in binoculars for astronomy
can range from a power of 6, which will give a wide field view of up to 10 degrees, to a power of 20, which requires a tripod.
• Focus Type
. There are IF (individual eyepiece focus) and CF (center-focus) which are used in astronomy binoculars. However, IF eyepieces are more durable and weatherproof.
. This is not essential, but binoculars for astronomy are often exposed to dew and moisture making waterproofing preferrable.