Back in the clarity section, we talked about how alignment can affect the detail you see through a pair of binoculars. Some alignment issues can be hard to diagnose. Small alignment issues can only show up with specially calibrated equipment. One can look at the overall construction quality and hope that if they follow tight tolerances on the rest of the production, then optics should follow suit.
Convenient Design: The binocular design provides additional weight with a wider body that allows for a sturdier two-hand grip. The design also helps keep the hands stable so that users are more likely to correctly range the target with the first attempt. This is also helpful for getting readings at higher magnifications, and this is especially true when compared to vertical rangefinders.

We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Ever since ancient times, mankind has gazed up at the skies in wonder. Some of our most profound discoveries came from people who had little more than their eyes and their wits to consider the cosmos. But these astronomy binoculars give modern-day stargazers capabilities the geniuses of old could only have dreamt of, bringing the mysteries of space closer than ever before. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best astronomy binocular on Amazon.

An 8x or 10x will give you a comfortable magnification, with average to wide exit pupil, plus you'll get much better fields of view. Holding these magnifications steady will be easier, so you'll be much more mobile. The most popular size is 8x/10x42 as a good balance between aperture and magnification, but you could also do great with a 50mm to boost the low-light performance and exit pupil.

When Europe was blundering its way through the Dark Ages, Middle Eastern Astronomers were translating Greek texts that named and plotted the positions of stars into the Arabic language, helping to ensure the preservation of humanity's knowledge of the night sky. It is human's knowledge of the position of celestial objects, such as the North Star, that made ocean exploration possible. Determining a ship's heading without these navigational aids was considerably more difficult and less accurate.
One aspect of binoculars often overlooked by birders is minimum focusing distance (or close focus). The binocular brings the distant bird visually closer to the birder for observation and analysis, but the Audubon Society’s Eric Lind is quick to point out that birding can easily involve looking closely at birds and insects that are relatively close to the observer. Having a close minimum focusing distance might give you an amazing close-up view of that feeding hummingbird or majestic butterfly. Binoculars with higher magnification will, in general, have longer minimum focus distances.

Field of View is expressed as feet at a thousand yards. This is fine if you are in the artillery, but astronomers use degrees to define the field of view. If you see on your binoculars a field of view 316 feet at a thousand yards, it means the field of view is 316 feet from edge to edge in your binoculars. To convert this to astronomical field of view or degrees divide by 53. In this case 316 divided by 53 equals 5.96 or 6.0 degrees field of view.

Why do people even consider astronomy binoculars? When first getting interested in astronomy or searching for a gift for a young person, don't we usually ask "What kind of telescope shall I buy?" Of course, there are many different kinds of telescopes available from sources such as discount, hobby and department stores and usually each promises extraordinary celestial views.
So, what exactly makes good binoculars? Binoculars’ optics consist of three main components that affect their performance: the ocular lenses (in the eyepiece), the objective lenses (the lenses that are farthest away from your face), and the prism, which we’ll discuss further in a bit. The ocular lens is a magnifier. So when you see binoculars’ specifications, the first number signifies how much that lens enlarges what you’re looking at. In the case of all the models we tested, that number is an eight, so you’re getting an image size eight times larger than you see with the naked eye. The objective lens gathers light; its related number—in our case, 42—indicates the diameter of that lens in millimeters. The bigger the lens, the more light it can gather.
Field of View is expressed as feet at a thousand yards. This is fine if you are in the artillery, but astronomers use degrees to define the field of view. If you see on your binoculars a field of view 316 feet at a thousand yards, it means the field of view is 316 feet from edge to edge in your binoculars. To convert this to astronomical field of view or degrees divide by 53. In this case 316 divided by 53 equals 5.96 or 6.0 degrees field of view.
Another way to express the viewing angle is the Apparent Angle of View (AAoV). This is roughly calculated by taking the AoV and multiplying it by the magnification. So if that 10x42 binocular from the earlier example has a 6.3-degree AoV, its apparent angle of view is 63 degrees. The AAoV is the angle of the magnified field when you look through binoculars; so the larger the apparent field of view is, the wider the field of view you can see even at high magnifications. Generally speaking, an AAoV of more than 60 degrees is considered wide-angle. Nikon engineers developed their own mathematical formula to determine AAoV (see below) more accurately and precisely, which lowers the angle on average, but most of the optics industry continues to use the first formula for consistency and simplicity.

More resolution - With all other aspects being equal, the larger the objective lens, the better the resolution in the image. But you pay, with increased weight and size. How much resolution you need depends on how much you're going to magnify an image. For a magnification of 8x or 10x, a 42mm objective lens provides plenty of resolution and there is no need to exceed your eyes' ability to see. The reason some people might choose larger objectives would not be for increased resolution but for more brightness in poor light and bad light or for use at night for astronomy.
Obviously, early technology was nowhere near as accurate as modern day technology is (is likely that technology will continue to advance in the future), but you should still be able to get a fantastically accurate reading every single time you bring a pair of rangefinders up to your eyes. There are definitely some limitations to this technology, however.
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The 7x50 configuration, tough body designed to withstand the elements as well as it's bright image, wide field of view and of course the rangefinding reticle, digital GPS and compass mark these Celestron binoculars out as the ideal companion for boaters, security and military personnel as well as hunters and especially those involved in search and rescue operations.
Look at your binoculars as a long-term investment. Unlike the latest electronic gizmos your binoculars won’t become obsolete in six months, and if properly cared for the view through them won’t deteriorate over time. A good pair of binoculars will keep delivering value week in week out, year after year for decades.   More expensive binoculars are also made with better quality materials and to tighter production tolerances, and are built to cope with the rigours of life in the field.

On the packaging of any set of binoculars, there is one piece of information more prominent than anything else. It’s a set of two numbers with an “x” between them (8×32, for example). The first stands for the magnification level of the lenses. So, for instance, if you’re looking at a pair of binoculars with 10 as the first number, you know that their magnification is 10x larger than the normal eye. The second number is an indicator of the objective lenses’ (the lenses on the front of the binoculars) diameter.


To get the price down, the Monarch 7 does have to sacrifice in a few areas compared to the higher end and more expensive optics. The most significant difference you would notice is the quality of the image, especially in low light situations such as a darker forest canopy, sunrise or sunset. The Monarch 7 does reasonably well, but it doesn’t come close to the overall image quality of a Zeiss Victory SF or Leica Noctivid.


If you're fortunate enough to live where there is a nominal amount of light pollution or less, first train your binoculars on the Moon so you see it in the center of your field of view and see what the edges of it look like. If you can't see the entire Moon within the center of your field of view, get its edge right in the middle since all optics tend to soften images at the periphery of their viewing area. Many binoculars, including some expensive ones, will show either a complete halo of one or more colors or color fringes on opposing sides. This is chromatic aberration. It usually evidences itself when viewing a bright object against a dark background or vice versa. What's desirable is to see only the object - without the extra, colored fringes.

Let's take just a moment to consider getting astronomy binoculars with zoom optics at this point. You're probably normal and about now you're thinking that getting zoom optics would be especially intelligent when considering astronomy. Zoom binoculars can seem like an astute purchase due to a perceived greater utility. The popularity of zoom configurations is largely based on the range of magnifications available in on instrument. Unfortunately, the very aspect that makes it seemingly attractive can also work against it optically. You can learn more about the optical considerations in choosing zoom binoculars on the How to Buy Binoculars page (this link takes you directly to the section on zoom optics).
If you’ve been shopping for binoculars, you will have noticed that some look very streamlined while others look chunkier. This is because the physical appearance and size of a binocular is determined by the type of prism it uses. Prisms are used to correct the orientation of the view horizontally and vertically so the scene looks natural; without a prism, binoculars would make things look upside down and flopped. There are two principal types of prisms: roof and Porro. The glass elements in a roof prism are in line with one another, making roof-prism binoculars more streamlined and easier to hold. Porro prisms have the glass elements offset from one another, and can provide greater depth of field and a wider field of view compared to similar roof prism models. This is accomplished by folding the light path, which shortens the length, spreading the objectives farther apart.

Compact binoculars are essentially scaled-down versions of full-size binoculars, with similar rubberized construction to protect against impacts, waterproof seals, a central focusing knob, twisting eyecups, and foldable hinges—yet they are about half the size and weight (around 10 ounces vs. 25 ounces or more). Because the lenses are narrower, the field of view (how wide an area you see while looking through them) is reduced compared with that of any full-size model. But, particularly if you have neck/shoulder pain or don’t mind sacrificing a little optical performance for the ease of packing them in a pocket or tote bag, they’re a solid choice for “light” birding, butterfly-watching, or botanizing. They’re also ideal for mountain biking or backpacking, when you may want to look at a couple things on the trip, but they’re not constantly in use.


Note that most 15x, 20x or 25x binoculars can still be used without a tripod for short periods of time. A tripod is recommended if you want to use them for longer periods of time or if you choose to buy the larger and heavier models. Remember that high magnification will allow you to see further and in more detail. The downside is that with higher magnification usually comes a narrower field of view and a less stable image.
If you aren’t well versed in binoculars and what the terminology means, you might be fooled into buying something that’s absolutely not worth the money. Not all premium binoculars are worth buying, and there are some budget offerings that can absolutely hold their own against competition that’s often a couple times more expensive. You will find a lot of choices, but going for the right one is a challenge in itself. Therefore, below you will find a guide that touches on the basics, what to look out for, and where it’s actually worth investing a few extra dollars.
Follow these steps and you'll go a long way toward selecting quality binoculars for astronomy right there in the store. If you're ordering from an online or mail-order distributor, this kind of test drive won't be possible before you make the purchase. So make sure the sales policies allow you to return defective or unsatisfactory units, then check the pair thoroughly once they arrive.
These binoculars are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture from getting inside; but they can still fog up on you. Depending on the construction and the seals, some waterproof binoculars are also submersible for various amounts of time. Certain manufacturers rate their binoculars for limited depths for limited amounts of time; others will adhere to military standard specifications and rate them for much greater depths.
Telescopes do make objects look larger. But their main job is to gather light. Paradoxically, the more a telescope magnifies an object, the dimmer that object appears. That's a problem when observing deep-sky targets like comets, galaxies and widely diffuse star clusters. It's an issue for everything, really, except the moon — which can be too bright — and a few vivid planets.
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