Binoculars & scopes
Astronomy binoculars: discover a galaxy far, far away!
When you look at the stars you usually use a telescope and not a pair of binoculars. It is, however, possible to look at the stars using only a pair of binoculars, something that can offer a lot more advantages: binoculars are not as expensive and can be used for many other purposes. If you are new at stargazing a pair of binoculars will be the perfect way to start! Also good to know: if you discover that the stars are not really your thing after all you don't have to worry! You can always use your binoculars while hiking or while on holiday.
There are couple of things you need to pay attention to when looking for astronomy binoculars.
You could say that every pair of binoculars can be used for astronomy, even those with a small magnification and objective. After all, with binoculars you will see a lot more stars than with the naked eye.
However, you often look at stars in the dark. For that reason a large exit pupil is key.
The concept exit pupil can directly be derived from the magnification factor and the diameter of the front lens of the binoculars: the diameter divided by the magnification factor. The exit pupil is in fact the circle of light that is produced by the binoculars and should be captured by the eye. The pupil of the eye becomes bigger when it gets darker in order to catch more light. If the exit pupil of the pair is larger than the pupil of the eye, it is easy to position the eye behind the binoculars. If the exit pupil is smaller you will notice that it is much more difficult to get a good image.
Each pair of binoculars has an indication such as 8x42. The first number (in this case the 8) represents the magnification. In this case the object is brought 8 times closer. If an object is located 80 meters away it will look as if it is only 10 meters away. Because the galaxy is located quite far away it is key to purchase binoculars with a high magnification factor. Do, however, keep in mind that with a magnification factor higher than 12x it becomes a lot more difficult to keep the image stable. In that case we recommend using a tripod.
Front lens diameter
The diameter of the front lens is given in millimetres. The size of the front lens determines how much light falls into the pair. The higher the number, the more light will be caught by the binoculars, the brighter the image will be. As such this is very important when you are planning to look at the stars at twilight or deep into the night.