The 7 Best Astronomy Binoculars

Updated November 22, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best Astronomy Binoculars
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. There is something about the vastness of the night sky that makes stargazing a favorite pastime. When you're ready to discover more, astronomy binoculars will take your observation to new heights. With so many features to consider, we've narrowed down a list to give you the best viewing experience of all that lies beyond. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best astronomy binocular on Amazon.

7. Celestron Cometron 71199

The Celestron Cometron 71199 proves you can enjoy the wonders of the night sky without breaking the bank. Its large 70mm objective lenses gather a lot of light for up-close viewing of craters on the moon or comets, but it's heavy to hold for an extended amount of time.
  • comfortable wide neck strap
  • carrying case for easy portability
  • limited diopter adjustment
Brand Celestron
Model 71198
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Nikon Aculon A211

For amateur astronomers not looking to spend a fortune, the Nikon Aculon A211 can't be beat. It gives you almost as good of a view as a telescope, but without the bulk, and has a built-in zoom that makes it an extremely versatile option.
  • comfortable rubber eyecups
  • anti-reflective lenses
  • magnification adjusts from 10x-22x
Brand Nikon
Model 8247
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Celestron SkyMaster Giant

The Celestron SkyMaster Giant offers amazing value for your money. Whether you are into long-distance watching or simple astronomical viewing, it works like a charm with a 15x magnification, ultra-sharp focus and enhanced contrast.
  • comparable to an 18-in telescope
  • has a wide aperture
  • center focus knob is simple to use
Brand Celestron
Model 71009
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Orion Resolux 9546

If you love stargazing through a telescope, but are looking for something a little more portable, check out the Orion Resolux 9546. It has an impressive 18mm eye relief for eyeglasses wearers and offers a nice, wide field of view for use night or day.
  • rugged waterproof construction
  • lenses do not fog up
  • thick rubber covering has good grip
Brand Orion
Model 9546
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Celestron SkyMaster Astro

If you don't mind the size, the Celestron SkyMaster Astro can give you a front row seat to the astounding universe. It features a water-resistant body and has a large aperture for viewing of planets and nebulae in low light conditions.
  • mounts to a tripod easily
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
  • slip-resistant textured exterior
Brand Celestron
Model 71017
Weight 12.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Barska Cosmos Porro

The Barska Cosmos Porro is a standout from average binoculars with its multi-coated BAK-4 prisms, individual focusing eyepieces and durable aluminum housing made especially for the outdoors. It's the perfect option for long-range terrestrial observation.
  • reinforced mounting post
  • works well in all conditions
  • superb image clarity
Model AB10860
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Orion Giant View

With powerful 100mm lenses and an impressive 25x magnification, the Orion Giant View is one of the best at bringing out the small details of space. It captures light like no other and features a small 4mm exit pupil that makes it enjoyable to use for all ages.
  • individual eyepiece focusing
  • can be used while wearing glasses
  • sturdy cross-reinforced barrels
Brand Orion
Model 9326
Weight 18.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Makes A Great Pair Of Astronomy Binoculars

The first step to choosing the right pair of binoculars is understanding what all of the different specifications mean. The most prominent specification notated on binoculars, and one of the most important, is a figure that looks something like 10x70 or 25x100. These two numbers represent magnification and lens diameter. The first number is the amount of times a particular pair of binoculars can magnify an image. The second number is the size of the objective lens, which is measured in millimeters. The objective lens is the one at the end of the binoculars closest to the object you are viewing. So a pair of binoculars labeled as 25x100 would make an image look 25 times closer than it actually is and have an objective lens diameter of 100 millimeters. The objective lens is responsible for gathering light, and the larger it is, the more light it can gather and the brighter the image will appear. Since there is not a lot of light in space, it is important to choose a pair of astronomy binoculars with a large lens diameter.

Some models have an adjustable zoom feature, which allows you to adjust the magnification according to your needs. If you see a pair of binoculars with specs that look like 10-30x100, this means they have an adjustable zoom feature with the minimum magnification being 10 times, and the maximum magnification being 30 times.

The next most important specification on binoculars is the field of view. It will be represented in one of two ways: feet at a distance of 1,000 yards, or degrees. The higher the number of feet at 1,000 yards, the larger the field of view. When expressed in degrees, the higher the number of degrees, the larger the field of view. As the magnification power of binoculars increases, the field of view generally decreases. If you prefer the immersive space walking experience, choose a model with a wider field of view. This will make it easier to pan across the sky and find different celestial objects to view. If you prefer to see those celestial objects in the maximum amount of detail, opt for a pair with a narrower field of view and stronger magnification capabilities.

Binoculars Versus Telescopes For Viewing Celestial Objects

While telescopes have traditionally been the go-to device for viewing the heavens, binoculars actually offer a few distinct advantages. One of the biggest drawbacks of telescopes is their size. Even a small telescope is much larger than your average pair of binoculars. This seriously hinders their portability. If you are taking a multi-day camping and hiking trip, lugging along a giant telescope would be impractical for nighttime stargazing.

The large size of a telescope also makes a tripod almost a necessity. Since telescopes are so long, the arm holding the far end will be almost fully extended. This makes it nearly impossible to hold one without creating a lot of lens shake. Binoculars sit close to the face, making it easier to hold them steady.

As we touched on in the previous section, the greater the magnification capabilities, the lesser the field of view. Since telescopes are generally more high-powered than binoculars, they are notorious for having a very limited field of view. If you know exactly where the celestial objects you plan on viewing will be, this may be less of an issue, but if you need to scan the sky to find planets and stars, this can be very problematic. Seeing more of the night sky at once also gives you a better appreciation of how objects relate to one another in size and distance.

One of the greatest advantages of binoculars comes from their very design. Unlike with a telescope, with binoculars you get to view space with two eyes. This is very important to give your brain the full visual experience. Not only does single-eye viewing severely hamper your depth perception, it also decreases your signal-to-noise ratio, which is not a good thing. When you have a high signal-to-noise ratio, your brain filters out much of the unwanted random impulses from each eye, leaving you with a better view of whatever objects you are looking at. In fact, many astronomers claim that color perception and contrast is improved by as much as 40 percent when using binoculars over a telescope.

A Brief History Of Astronomy

Humans have had an interest in astronomy since ancient times. Prominent Greek writers as far back as the 7th century B.C.E. mention identifiable stars and constellations in their work. Homer mentions the constellations Orion and Ursa Major in the Iliad and the Odyssey, along with the star cluster Hyades and Sirus, the dog star. Hesiod writes of the star Arcturus in his poetic calendar Works and Days.

Civilizations such as the ancient Chinese, Mayans, and Harappans used astronomy to orient their cities and track time as early as 2000 B.C.E. Records also show evidence of some civilizations trying to use astronomy to predict the future. Most early forms of astronomy incorporated both careful study of the night sky and religion.

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.

The true renaissance of astronomy began when Nicholaus Copernicus proposed that the sun was at the center of the universe in the 16th century C.E. Less than 100 years later, Johannes Kepler introduced the Three Laws of Planetary Motion. Around the same time, Galileo was beginning his study of celestial beings with the aid of a telescope, leading him to discover Jupiter's four brightest moons. Astronomers have continued to make great strides in our understanding of the universe, discovering the first planets outside of our Solar System as recently as 1991.

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Last updated on November 22, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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