BETTER THAN A TELESCOPE?
If your passion is planetary detail, close double stars, globular clusters or planetary nebulae, then you should consider buying a telescope. But for the rest of the visible Universe, binoculars are the better option. Setting up handheld binoculars takes a few seconds, and even mounted ones can be set up in a few minutes, so you’ll be observing long before your Go-To telescope-using buddies are ready to start. You can also use them for impromptu sessions where it would be too much trouble to set up a telescope.
Many objects are ideally framed in the wider field of handheld binoculars: asterisms like Kemble’s Cascade or the Leaping Minnow overflow most telescope fields, as do large open clusters such as the Pleiades and the Beehive Cluster. Even large faint objects like the Triangulum Galaxy and the North America Nebula can be easier to see in budget 10x50 binoculars than in amateur telescopes of several times the price.
The bigger your binoculars get, the harder they become to hold steady. A mount will provide a stable viewing platform for
THE GUIDE JANUARY 79
The incredibly wide field available with binoculars really helps when observing clusters of stars, such as the Pleaides (left) and M44, the Beehive Cluster (right)