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Are 10×50 binoculars good for stargazing

Yes, 10×50 are really good for stargazing. They are relatively light weight, so are better for holding at eye level for longer periods of time than heavier binoculars. Also, larger binoculars have a more magnified view and means your hands need to be extra still to see clearly. This can be difficult on a cold, dark night.

Binocular stargazing is becoming really popular across the US and Europe. Many people own binoculars for deer watching, bird watching and even bear spotting!

Across the pond in the UK there a number of bird and wildlife watchers too.

Binoculars are accessible and easy to grab and go. No need to get the telescope on a cold night, find your way to the yard in the dark and try and setup in 10F.

Simply take off the lens caps and look towards the night sky.

Some very keen astronomers and star gazers do so with binoculars only. Needing nothing more than a pair of 10×50 binoculars which offer good views of the stars, planets and larger nebulas and clusters.





10×50 Binoculars vs 10×60 Binoculars

There’s an understandable but common misbelief that the bigger the binoculars the better. This can be true in the right circumstances, but generally a 10×50 pair is suitable enough.

Let me explain. You hold a pair of 10×50 binoculars to your eyes and look up. You see Jupiter, and even through a pair of binoculars you can see Jupiter’s four main and largest moons (Io, Europa, Calisto and Ganymede).

Now at this stage you already have quite a magnified view and keeping the binoculars steady enough to clearly see the object you are zoning in at is a challenge after a minute or so. Leaning against a fence or with elbows on a table in the yard can help keep things steadier.

Now imagine trying to do this with as larger pair of binoculars, such as a 10×60 pair.

For starters the 10×60 pair will generally be bigger and heavier. This means holding them in the air as still as possible for even 30 seconds can be a challenge.

The more magnified the view, the stiller your hands need to be. The slightest handshake or wobble can will be more apparent in such a magnified view.

You will spend more time trying to keep the binoculars still enough to see the object then you will observing.

The only time a 10×60 or larger pair of binoculars would be a better option is if you have a fixed tripod to view them from. Something to keep your hands free. This though means more setup and takes away the spontaneity sometimes.

For this reason, the 10×50 binoculars will be my preference for stargazing.






What type of binoculars are best for stargazing


Well as we’ve already looked at, you don’t need larger and more expensive 10x60s (or bigger), a standard 10×50 pair of binoculars will do just fine.

There are of course many different types of binoculars on the market. Different sizes, colors and brands.

As the size suggests, if you decide on a pair of 10×50 binoculars then all will give you the same magnification, same view and ability to see the same wonderous objects (I’ll explain a bit more about this in the next section below)

Based on stargazing binoculars I have owned, and feedback from other binocular owners I know, this is my short list of good stargazing binoculars:



Brigenius 10×50 Binoculars

At around $35 these are really good binoculars. I own a pair almost identical to these (same manufacturer) and these give me a good clear view of the night sky. These also have a tripod connector if you do want to attach to a tripod for clearer views



Celestron Outland 10×50

Celestron have long been considered one of the best manufacturers of binoculars. A trusted brand with great optics. These are slightly smaller than the budget version and offer a comfortable rubber grip. Expect to pay around $130



Canon Image Stabilizing Binoculars

Not quite the 10×50 size, these are slightly smaller at 10×42 but slight decrease in magnification is more than made up with new technology in image stabilization. Anyone with a DSLR camera will probably be familiar with image stabilization. It heavily reduces hand shaking and gives a much crisper view of the night sky.

One additional difference and bang for your buck is the ultra-low dispersion elements. It’s almost like HD for your eyes and reduces chromatic aberration (purple halo affect) that has plagued binocular stargazers for a long time.

These aren’t cheap though. Expect to pay around $1,500!






What can you see in the night sky with binoculars?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to see so much more in the night sky than just looking up with the naked eye.

Binoculars do just that. Stand in your back yard with a pair of binoculars on a clear dark night and you will see the night sky come alive.

Thousands more stars come in to view. It’s like someone has switched on a light. The darker your skies the more stars you will see.

Through binoculars you can of course see stars. This is a given. They won’t necessarily look in any more detail than you can see with your eye, but look at some of the biggest and brightest stars such as Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran or the wonderful dancing lights of Sirius you’ll see a definite ‘sphere’ and more richer colors.

Through a pair of 10×50 binoculars you can also see sights such as:

  • The four moons of Jupiter;
  • Craters on the moon;
  • The local planets in more detail and color;
  • Large grouped and open star clusters such as the Hercules cluster (a particular favorite of mine);
  • Pleiades in it’s beautiful captivating majesty;
  • Andromeda Galaxy;
  • Uranus;
  • Larger nebula such as the Orion Nebula;
  • Comets – such as Comet Neowise in Spring 2020 (when they make an appearance!)







Stargazing whether looking through a telescope, a pair of 10×50 binoculars or even just looking up with the naked eye is the oldest known hobby.

Fascination and wonder play out every night for us to follow, enjoy and make sense of our place in the Universe.

A good pair of binoculars will help you see much more detail. Give you a deeper sense of wonder and captivate you in to gazing more and more.

Seeing an object for the first time is a truly unforgettable moment.

Glancing at an open cluster resembling a beehive, gazing at a galaxy that light set off 2.5million years ago to reach your eye – or keeping an eye on the fascinating Betelgeuse star that could have exploded 500 years ago and we still don’t know because as the light hasn’t reach us yet.

For all you naked eye observers, a pair of binoculars really is the next upgrade you should consider!




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