When we think of astronomy, we often picture ourselves with large telescopes pointed to the sky.
Now, while scopes certainly give astronomers a chance to get up close with the skies, they’re not the only available tools for astronomy.
A humble astronomy binocular can be a great alternative to a telescope.
The best binoculars for astronomy serve a similar purpose to a telescope but provide astronomers with a unique viewing experience.
Sometimes, they can even prove to be more effective for viewing targets such as star clusters, sweeping the Moon’s surface, and catching the passing of the International Space Station.
Of course, even the most high-end binoculars on the market can never match the best telescope.
But views and optical performance aren’t the only reason astronomers choose binoculars over telescopes.
Binoculars are significantly smaller and have an element of portability. Most of them can even be flung across your neck with a strap or even tossed in your bag.
Beyond portability, binoculars give users a more natural viewing experience. Their wider field of view feels natural, and they allow more light for better and brighter images. Plus, you’re using two eyes, making it feel as if you’re right there in front of your target.
But with so many binoculars for astronomy in the market, choosing an instrument that fits your needs best can be challenging.
But it doesn’t need to be so because I’ve created a guide outlining how to choose the best binoculars for astronomy.
I’ve also thrown in five of my favorite binoculars I feel might interest you.
Table of Contents
The Best Binoculars for Astronomy For The Money
#1 Celestron - SkyMaster Giant Binoculars - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The Celestron SkyMaster Giant Binoculars has for a long time now been at the top of my wishlist.
This is because I’ve used many of Celestron’s standard entry-level picks, such as the SkyMaster 25*70, and their premium, high-end picks such as the Echelon 20*70.
I haven’t tried Celestron’s mid-tier binoculars.
And briefly looking at SkyMaster’s specifications, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I will find that “sweet spot” between price and quality.
Perhaps, the SkyMaster could even make the perfect astronomy binoculars for the average amateur night-sky observer wanting to get quality views of the night sky without spending a fortune.
But this is just me speculating, right?
Let’s find out what this model has to offer.
Features and Benefits
Next to all other astronomy binoculars on our list, the SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars are comically large.
It’s the kind of instrument you would expect on a naval ship, scanning the ocean for U-boats.
While I’d love the idea of taking the SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars on short walks from my house or for wild summer camps, I don’t think I’d justify the weight.
In fact, this pair of binoculars are nearly twice the weight of more standard wildlife watching pairs I’ve come across and far too bulky to pack on a rucksack.
Not a great way to start our review, but there’s plenty to love with this pair of binoculars.
As with most of Celestron’s astronomy binoculars, SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars feature Porro prisms to rectify the image.
The design is easily recognizable because the front or objective lens is offset from and not in line with the eyepiece or ocular lens.
I’ll not go into the details of the Porro Prism, but it has several benefits over the traditional roof prism design.
One of them being it provides a slightly clearer, more three-dimensional image with greater depth perception.
Celestron indicates that they use a combination of aluminum and polycarbonate plastic for housing the SkyMaster Giant.
The choice of material makes sense as it adds the overall strength while keeping the weight down.
Another feature that seems trivial at first is the sealed chassis.
Aside from allowing you to use the binocular in the rain, the sealing is useful in preventing dust and other small particles from entering, which can be far more damaging to your optics than water.
Also, the sealing is airtight, preventing condensation from forming on the inner glass surface.
The 15x magnification power and 70mm objective lens are common configurations for most astronomy binoculars and general-use terrestrial binoculars.
Why is this?
First, it’s image stability.
See, 15x magnification power is quite high for a binocular, considering most pairs use either 8x or 10x magnification.
But as high as the magnification is, I still find it easy to hold SkyMaster steady and observe for short periods.
But to get the best out of these, you need to mount them onto a tripod, which Celestron graciously provides.
So, while you can get more powerful options like the SkyMaster Pro 20x 80, they’ll limit you in operating them effectively from hand.
Additionally, you’ll have to put up with several compromises.
For example, the high powers reduce the field of view unless you increase the objective lens size.
So, in my opinion, I feel the 15x 70 configuration offers a good compromise while providing a reasonably wide field of view. This is incredibly useful for orienting myself when observing the stars.
At the same time, the setup offers high magnification power and reasonable image detail.
SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars offer a decently sized 4.7mm exit pupil, beating some of the higher-powered binoculars such as the Celestron 20x 80.
In theory, our binoculars provide a brighter image even in low light when the pupils in your eyes are fully dilated.
The eye relief is also good, and at 17mm, it should be sufficient for astronomers who need to wear glasses to observe.
Simply fold down the rubber eyecups extending past the eyepieces, and you’ve more than forgiving room to glass comfortably.
SkyMaster Giant’s 70 mm aperture is roughly on par with a 5″ telescope in terms of light grasp, but they can’t deliver high-power views of small galaxies, globular clusters, planets, or the Moon.
Instead, the SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars are suitable for open clusters and large nebulae.
As for the views, you can pick up dark nebulae in Cygnus, M31” dust lane, and even spot the M33. These are objects that are impossible or at least challenging to pick with a telescope of this size.
Plus, the BAK4 optics are multi-coated lenses so expect sharp and clear views.
I can even make out the rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s moons, Venus Phases, and a fair number of lunar craters.
#2 Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars - Compact Astronomy Binoculars
The Vortex Diamondback 15x 56 is one of the new fittings from the compact Diamond HD series from Vortex.
In this new series, everything is optimized, and the manufacturer has particularly paid special attention to the optics.
For example, they utilize selected glass elements to deliver exceptional images with high color fidelity.
Plus, this pair comes with many accessories, including a GlassPak Binoculars neck strap to allow for easy reach while offering better protection and comfort than traditional carrying straps.
Features and Benefits
As I mentioned above, what I enjoy with these pairs of binoculars is how lightweight they are.
Though I rarely take my stargazing beyond my patio, it’s still nice not to have to worry about my pack getting heavy if I were to go outdoors for stargazing.
And because this pair is so compact and lightweight, users can use it for various observations, from stargazing, wildlife viewing, bird watching to watching planes.
I also do like the Vortex’s overall build quality.
The rough texturing on both the outer and inner sides of the barrels, on the whole, make it easy and comfortable to hold the binoculars.
When in use, these smaller binoculars feel balanced and fit right into your hands.
I feel the 15×56 Configuration offers a bit of compromise between magnification power and performance.
Sure, Vortex has a higher magnification for better image clarity at greater ranges.
But it also presents us with several negatives.
Some of these include image shake and image quality.
Remember, the Vortex is a hand-held instrument. Without the support of a tripod and mount, your images are likely to suffer from shakiness.
The other issue is the increased power results in a smaller exit pupil unless the size of the objective lenses is increased.
For our case, Vortex 15x 56 produces a 3.7mm exit pupil (56 divided by 15).
In low light, the human pupil can grow to about 7mm in diameter, so as you can imagine, the 3.7mm exit pupil is far from ideal.
But Vortex has a secret weapon; quality glass and coating.
While Vortex’s lens quality is certainly not up to level with the high-end binoculars such as Razor UHD or even Kabibab HD, they’ve most of the mini base covered.
The lenses have more effective anti-reflection coatings, which greatly increases the image quality and brightness.
Plus, the phase correction coating is also good news as it corrects the phenomenon of “phase shift” that occurs as light passes through a roof prism.
56mm Objective Lenses
Diamondback uses 56mm objective lenses, which are considerably larger than the standard 42mm.
The larger lenses are useful in allowing more light into the binoculars and ensuring that a reasonably bright image is produced.
Yet, the 56mm Astro binocular doesn’t feel unwieldy and excessively larger than the 70MMSkyMaster we saw earlier.
Regardless of the light conditions, Vortex Diamondback HD delivers natural, true-to-life images.
It also eliminates any sort of tinting, which is quite common with cheaper, high-powered astronomy binoculars.
Spotting the Moon, deep sky objects, stars, and even galaxies is super easy with this pair of binoculars, especially when the night sky is clear.
With greater magnification, you would expect color fringing, but not with the Vortex.
Of course, it’s no match to some of the lower-powered benchmarks, such as the 8x or 10x binoculars, but the quality lens optics help reduce the chromatic aberrations.
#3 Steiner 8x56 Shadow Quest Binocular - Brightest Premium Binocular
Steiner is known to make some very good binoculars.
At the same time, it also has a reputation for making funny claims about its binoculars.
So, when they came in 2016 with their Nighthunter also, known as Shadow Quest, I knew they would accompany this pair of binoculars with a tag.
I wasn’t wrong, as Steiner claimed the Shadow Quest had the “best light transmission” in the industry.
Of course, I was skeptical and even started to wonder how this binocular astronomy would compare to top instruments such as the Zeiss HT 8*54, well known for its brightness.
So, how bright is Quest’s brightness, and how does it excel in astronomy?
Let’s find out.
Features and Benefits
One department Quest shines and stacks up against its competitors is its rugged durability.
This is the first thing you’ll notice the minute you pull this pair of binoculars out of their hard case.
While the pair is slightly on the heavier side, they sport high-end materials that will resist the normal dings, dense and daily abuses we put our binoculars through.
But what more should you expect from Steiner binoculars?
Night hunter or Shadowquest… if either name hasn’t alerted you about the strength of this binocular, then the 8x 56 configuration will.
The 56mm large objective lenses with a moderate 8x magnification power leave you in no doubt as to the fact that this binocular has a clear focus to help you achieve bright images in poor to extremely low-light conditions.
Indeed, the brand has gone to great lengths to sell the Steiner as the perfect pick for the adverse conditions.
Of course, the binocular is certainly not at par with even first-generation night vision goggles or a true night vision binocular. Still, it can effectively hold its own in low light conditions or in poor weather.
You shouldn’t have any trouble whatsoever picking up your target in nearly any lighting conditions.
Steiner also markets these binoculars as primarily a hunting binocular, but as you’ll later see, I also argue that it has some great attributes greatly desired in a wide range of arenas.
Shadow Quest’s ideal uses range from wildlife observation, bird watching, astronomy to general terrestrial uses.
One of the biggest advantages of using the Shadow Quest is the eyepieces are 100% adjustable. It’s easy to make changes on the binocular even when wearing thick gloves.
At the same time, they’re comfortable enough you allow usage of eyeglasses without compromising their performance in any way.
It’s a useful binoculars feature as it makes the binoculars suitable for comfortable use, even over long periods, and in almost any condition. This helps you get even more usage out of this binocular.
Shadow Quest leverages pretty much on the standard roof prism focus wheel in line with the ease of use.
At first, getting the Steiner binocular may feel a little bit to get into focus, but once you manipulate the wheel a dozen times or more, you get the hang of it, and it becomes super smooth.
This is because the engineers at Steiner went out of their way to ensure the focus wheel only moves when you want it.
If you need a high-definition quality out of a pair of binoculars, you don’t need to look any further than a pair of Steiner’s.
The optics on these astronomical binoculars are crystal-clear and absolutely gorgeous.
The colors are represented in the natural state, regardless of how far you’re when you start glass in.
However, as with most high-end options, Shadow Quest loses a bit of clarity right around the edges of the binoculars. But it’s not so much to distract you.
Shadow Quest’s astronomical viewing performance is almost unparalleled, especially when you compare it against some of the other bigger brands.
The optics are excellent and provide great contrast, showing all the usual suspects well; Open starts such as Taurus and Messier 44 are picked out with ease, while the bright double stars, such as Mizar and Alcor, resolve well under the magnification.
Sweeping through the Milky Way is breathtaking and will grant you access to various stars, deep sky objects, and other awesome celestial bodies.
#4 BRESSER Binoculars Spezial Astro SF 15x70 - Best for Experienced Astronomers
Bresser has a wide array of binoculars for long-range terrestrial observation, but it also has Astro-centric instruments falling in different price ranges and different performances.
And today, we’ll look at a powerful 15x 70 model, which we feel is a great binocular for astronomers with experience who wish to step up from budget models.
How does Spezial Astro SF 15×70 perform, and how does it stack up against the competition?
Let’s find out.
Features and Benefits
As already mentioned in the introduction, Bresser has an array of binoculars in its stable.
The Spezial Astro is one of Bresser’s popular lines, and along with the Spezial Astro SF 15×70, the line also has four other models.
Our binocular, the Spezial Astro SF 15×70, is at the lowest end of the Spezial Astro line and is the smallest.
You might think it’s a flimsy pick, but after much deliberation, I eventually decided to take on the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 for several reasons.
First, it’s a versatile pair of binocular astronomy.
Spezial Astro SF 15×70 lightweight and compact design means I can use it effectively for astronomy and occasional daytime use, with or without a tripod.
On top of this, the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 can also complement your main telescope. If you already have a powerful scope that achieves far more detailed views, the low-powered Spezial Astro SF 15×70 would come in handy, thanks to the wider field of view for better orientation.
Design-wise, the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 is built to handle the most arduous terrain without breaking.
The binocular comes in a rugged nylon case with a padded neoprene neck strap.
On the other hand, the body is covered with ribbed armor, which is necessary to keep the binocular safe against dings, knocks, and drops.
Another awesome feature of the Spezial Astro SF 15×70’s design is the specially-made hinges that move smoothly with the least effort.
A pair of 15*70 binoculars occupies an important space in the astronomical niches, and it’s no wonder it is such a common setup.
This combination of reasonably powerful 15x magnification power with 70mm big objective lenses produces a good balance between size, weight, image detail, clarity, a field of view, and light gathering.
Overall, the setup makes the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 useful in a wide range of situations and a good all-rounder for astronomy.
One of the benefits of the setup is the larger objective lenses, which is considered large enough for collecting as much light without making the instrument heavy and big.
The exit pupil is also decent for this configuration but not the best size. But if you do the maths, you’ll see Spezial Astro SF 15×70 4.7mm beats its step up the Spezial Astro SF 20x 80.
Another benefit of this setup is image stability. The 15x magnification isn’t anywhere high for chromatic aberrations, and I’m just able to hold the instrument steady enough without needing a tripod. Yet, it’s powerful enough for detailed images.
The final element is the field of view, which the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 excels. Of course, the views are relatively narrow for its magnification, but I still find them useful for orienting myself when looking up at the stars. Even better, I also get to see farther than on naked eyes, or even on a 10*50.
Since the invention of telescopes, the cry of astronomers has always been “more light.”
The Spezial Astro SF 15×70 doesn’t fail in this department.
With a 70mm larger objective lens diameter, these lenses are large, especially compared to the standard daytime binoculars with lenses of around 42mm.
Yes, they might be compact, and one of the smaller stargazing binoculars the Astro line, but they can capture a good amount of light.
The instrument also has a decent 20mm eye relief, which is truly excellent and easily makes it onto my list of the best binoculars with long eye relief.
This, in turn, makes the Spezial Astro SF 15×70 an ideal pick for the eye-glass wearers because by simply folding down the eyecups, you’ll have space for your glasses to take up and reduce stray light.
Under a good night sky, it’s easy to obtain the precise focus of celestial objects.
The images are so clear, and when viewing the Moon, false color is barely perceptible.
Plus, the binocular has amazing image contrast and color rendition. For example, it’s easy to detect the crescent of a rising Venus, and when well-controlled, you can also see the Galilean moons close to the planet.
Given the Spezial Astro SF 15×70’s wide field of view, a particular delight was the ability to compare the different celestial clusters in the same field of view.
#5 Celestron – Outland X 10x42 Binoculars - Budget Pick
Traditionally, budget binoculars are associated with flimsy and sub-par performance.
But the Outland X is here to change all that.
It might be a simple budget pick, but it’s a true power horse, rivaling some of the expensive binoculars in the market.
Of course, for the price, expect some compromises here and there, but it’s nothing beginners, or casual astronomers can do without.
But how does it perform as a binocular for astronomy?
Let’s find out.
Features and Benefits
The first thing you’ll notice when picking up the Outland X Binoculars is the weight.
This pair of binoculars offer a lightweight feel, while the compact design helps the binocular feel balanced and comfortable to use.
The addition of a rubber grip is a plus as it makes holding onto these binoculars feel easy and secure.
Furthermore, a rubber-armor design makes the Outland X suitable for active use in various weather conditions.
It’s an all-weather instrument suited for the rugged and unfriendly environments as well as the more laid spectator events.
The 10x magnification power and 42″large objective lenses aren’t the best combinations for astronomy, but they’ve their strength.
I find the 10x magnification decent at best and will enlarge the brighter images to a good size.
The 42″ objective lens, though, on the lower side, will also allow for more light gathering in adverse conditions.
Combined, the setup provides for a decent design that will allow you to explore most of what the night sky has to offer.
However, the biggest benefit is the images from this binocular don’t suffer from chromatic aberration and are stable.
Because of the relatively lower magnification, it’s easier to hold the binocular on your hand without feeling or experience image stability issues.
Another benefit is despite the low magnification, the eye pupil is a decent size, and at 4.2mm, it’s far better than even some of the high-end models on our list.
The Celestron Outland X Binocular boasts of powerful magnification optics, which provide crystal-clear images.
A combination of fully multi-coated lenses with the BAK-4 prisms ensures users are treated to high-fidelity images.
Multiple layers of special coatings within the optics perfect the balance between brightness and contrast. It’s even possible to use the binocular even in low-light conditions.
Pairing the Astronomical binoculars with the Bak-4 prisms was a nice move from Celestron as it helps avoid color distortion and chromatic aberrations.
Overall, the quality of the optics is perfect, especially considering the price they’re available for.
Out in the field, Celestron Outland X is a beast.
Of course, it can’t compare to our top picks, but it has a surprising performance.
It will let you see most of the Celestial bodies, including the Moon, stars, and even some galaxies, with ease.
But because of the small aperture and lower magnification, it limits what you can see and even impedes the clarity on some distant bodies.
Best Binoculars for Astronomy Buying Guide
If you’re still undecided on what binocular for astronomy to pick, our guide should help you.
Here, we look at everything you need to know about the best astronomy binoculars.
But first, let’s compare binoculars and telescopes for astronomy.
Binocular vs. Telescopes
From a physical perspective, telescopes are generally big.
Even the little telescopes are bigger, heavier, and longer than other binoculars.
And because of this, most telescopes need to sit on a sturdy tripod or rocker-boxes for stability.
It’s challenging to use a telescope with your bare hand because angling the long tube up towards the sky makes the shake problem worse. Your extended arm is likely to wiggle the front objective lens.
On the other hand, it’s easy for a binocular to lock in tightly to your eye sockets and your hands as they close into your ace for more stability.
When it comes to viewing capabilities, telescopes generally make objects look larger.
But their main task is light gathering.
But paradoxically, the more the scopes magnify an object, the dimmer it appears.
This is a major deal-breaker when viewing deep-sky targets like galaxies, comets, and widely diffuse star clusters.
Basically, it’s an issue for everything, really, save for the Moon and a few vivid planets, too bright.
Another difference is most scopes use a single eyepiece.
On the other hand, a binocular, as its name suggests, has “two eyes.”
A binocular gives you twice the opportunity of painting your brain with starlight.
The telescope shows a small area, while a binocular, with its wider field of view, lets you scan the sky for targets.
Generally, Astro binoculars will give you a much better appreciation for how objects relate to each other. They give you the chance to see patterns in the cosmos.
The final difference between a binocular and a telescope for astronomy is telescopes show you the sky upside down.
Some telescopes also make it “backward,” as seen in a mirror.
But binoculars present the world from a correct perspective.
Why a Binocular or Telescope for Astronomy?
While binoculars aren’t the number one choice for professional astronomers, they present several benefits that make them superior to large telescopes.
The three main benefits of the binoculars are:
Binocular is a cost-effective alternative to expansive and complex telescopes.
In fact, they provide an easy and immediate low-cost entry point into the fascinating world of stargazing.
Their affordability means that, unlike a single telescope, you can purchase multiple sets of binoculars to make stargazing fun and communal activity for more than just one persona at a time.
Ease of Use
Another main benefit of a binocular is that it’s easy to use.
It’s not anywhere complex, and most people are comfortable using both eyes when looking up into the skies rather than squinting through a telescope.
As a result, binoculars are far more appealing even for long bouts of stargazing sessions.
With a more comfortable and natural feel, binoculars are perfect for families with older kids interested in exploring the world of astronomy.
Plus, binoculars have better astronomy performance as they give a wider view of the sky than telescopes, so users are much more likely to spot celestial objects of interest.
And as we saw earlier, the wider view gives viewers a better sense of patterns in the sky or how objects lie about one another instead of focusing on a single item as telescopes do.
This is by far the biggest benefit of a binocular for astronomy over a telescope.
Telescopes are bulky, heavy, and need to be set up on a mount and tripod. This makes them somewhat impractical for outdoor adventures such as overnight camping trips or other expeditions away from home.
On the flipside, binoculars are easy to pack and bring along with even for the weekend getaways. Heck, they can even be used during international travels.
Plus, they’ve the added benefit of versatility. Beyond stargazing, they can be used for other purposes such as long-distance sightseeing.
How To Pick the Right Binoculars for Astronomy
In the section below, we shall look at the critical features to consider when making your next binocular for an astronomy purchase decision.
But first, let’s look at the different types of binoculars for astronomy.
Types of Binoculars for Astronomy
There’re different binoculars, but today, we’ll look at the two common types of astronomy.
They are the stepped-sided Porro Prism and the H-shaped roof-prisms design.
The less expensive Porro-prisms, named after the Italian optician who invented them, are the best suited binocular types for astronomy.
On the other hand, the roof-prism binoculars are compact and lightweight but with a complicated, touchy optical design. They’re expensive and tend to cluster at the high end of the market.
This is another not-so-common type of binocular.
They’re impressive and even imposing-looking instruments; more like your friendly 7 * 50 on steroids.
Some of the common aperture sizes on these giant binoculars range from 70, 80, and even 100 mm.
For such a beast, you’ll obviously need a tripod, preferably with a special binocular mount allowing you to aim upward.
While they’re a great supplement to your gear collection, I wouldn’t recommend them as your primary instruments-they’re just too unwieldy.
Instead, I would advise you to get the more modest seven by 40 or 10 by 50 before considering these big shots.
Image Stabilized Binoculars
Another recent innovation is image-stabilized binoculars.
These binoculars employ the same ingenious image stabilization technology on the best video cameras.
You simply need to push a button, and the shaky magnified view suddenly calms down, almost freezing in place.
The benefit of this design is you can use higher magnifications and get away with slightly less aperture.
What Kind of Magnification Is Best?
It’s easy to think that more magnification is better, but in practice, once you get binocular with 10x magnification, it gets challenging to hold binoculars steady if they aren’t mounted or equipped with image stabilization.
So, what’s the best magnification?
There’s a debate on what’s the best magnification.
Low-power proponents recommend staying with 7x or 8x. On the other hand, the high-power advocates say the increased detail and darker sky background provided by 10x units are worth the narrower field of view and extra jiggling.
I’m in the low-power camp.
I don’t notice any visual difference between the 7x and 10x that great. More importantly, I’m less fatigued when using low-power glasses.
Features to Consider When Selecting the Best Binoculars for Astronomy
You probably have wondered what the numbers or specifications on binoculars mean.
The specs tell you a lot about binoculars’ stargazing capabilities.
They indicate the field of view in either yards or degrees.
For understanding the magnification power, the first number provided is the magnification above the naked eyes. On the other hand, the second number is the large lens diameter at the front of the binoculars in mm.
For example, if a binocular is labeled 25 * 70, it shows that the binocular provides 25 times the object’s magnification viewed by the naked eyes. Secondly, it achieves magnification with front lenses that are 70mm in diameter.
But as we have seen earlier, higher magnification isn’t necessarily the best as it displays dimmer objects.
Astronomy is done in the dark, so you want a big aperture or a big front lens. The front lenses for binoculars are also called objectives.
Large objectives collect more light, so it’s easier to spot fainter objects in the night sky.
Of course, the aperture size doesn’t matter a lot during the daytime when there’s plenty of light.
But for binoculars for astronomy, the bigger the aperture, the better.
Beyond size, you also want high optical quality.
Stars and faint celestial objects seen against a dark sky are much more demanding than daytime scenes. Therefore, mediocre optics will only but display their laws much more obvious when observing the sky.
In general, price is a good indicator of optical quality. The best optics aren’t cheap.
While the lens and aperture size affects how much light is coming in, the exit pupil affects what light is coming out.
All of that light is focused on a small circular image taken in by your eye through the eyepieces.
T0 determines the size of the exit pupil; you simply need to divide the aperture by magnification. For example, 7* 50 binoculars have a 7-mm exit pupil, while the 10*50 have about a 5-mm exit pupil (50/10).
But you don’t have to worry about this because most binoculars have the size inscribed right there on the back facing you.
Why is the size of the exit pupil important?
Because the bright disk of the exit pupil should fit inside the pupil of your eye.
Remember, not everyone’s eyes open to the same diameter in the dark.
For example, seniors can’t take advantage of binoculars with large exit pupil , and so they can’t see any difference between 7×35s and 7×50s.
The extra light collected by the bigger 7×50s doesn’t fit into your eyes, so it just goes to waste.
Eye reliefs on astronomy binoculars refer to the distance behind the ocular lenses where the image is in focus.
Eye relief is particularly vital for glass wearers.
For instance, if you can’t get your eyes close to the lenses, you need a longer eye relief that’ll project the image beyond the ocular lenses.
Generally, if you wear glasses, you should pick astronomy binoculars with an eye relief of around 15mm. This will let you see the full image.
But don’t get too long eye relief as it’ll reduce the field of view.
Focus and Eyepiece Adjustment
The biggest challenge astronomers face with a binocular for astronomy is getting everything in focus.
See, binoculars are often held in hand, and so, it’s easier for things to get out of whack.
To make things easier, we recommend going for a simple focusing system.
Most binoculars come with a central focus knob for controlling both eyepieces. Some high-end models even include a diopter knob for making up the differences between your eyes.
However, if you want the most user-friendly binoculars out there, we recommend choosing something with a built-in stabilizer.
These binoculars make up for any unexpected focusing issues.
Optics and ISB
Other features you may want to look for in the best astronomy binoculars are fully multi-coated optics to ensure high contrast views and image brightness.
ISB is an abbreviation for Image Stabilized Binoculars.
These options are more expensive, but the added value is they compensate for the movements in your hands and create a more stable image with the least effort on your part.
The final thing to consider is the overall build quality and waterproofing.
You can protect your investment by getting waterproof binoculars so that a few drops of rain won’t ruin an otherwise worth night of stargazing.
Best Binoculars for Stargazing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Can I stargaze with binoculars?
A: Yes, it’s possible to perform astronomy with a simple pair of binoculars.
This is made possible because modern binoculars have high magnification powers, large objective fully multi-coated optics, and Porros prisms.
All these features bring the stars and other celestial objects closer for detailed study. Plus, binoculars offer an inexpensive alternative to the telescope and are more portable.
Q: Why do some binoculars have green lenses?
A: This is because your eyes are more sensitive to green lights. And as such, the best binoculars for astronomy sport green- fully multi-coated optics for green images, which enhance image clarity.
Q: What’s the difference between roof prism and Porro prisms?
A; Roof prisms permit light rays directly through the barrels of the eyepieces. On the other hand, Porro prism binoculars let the light rays jog through the barrels before reaching the exit pupils.
Q: How do I clean my binoculars?
A: Binoculars accumulate dirt fast, so you need to clean them regularly.
To clean off the dirt on the housing, use a soft piece of cloth to wipe the housing.
For lenses, you need a soft cleaning brush. Be gentle with the lenses because they’ve a delicate coating. Clean them as rarely as possible.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winner for the best binocular for astronomy is the Celestron SkyMaster Giant.
It may be big and bulky, but it has awesome binocular specifications and ticks on all the boxes for astronomy binoculars.
Everything from the magnification, eye pupil, large objective lens size to optical quality, the Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars point to a binocular built for stargazing.