Who said you need a Telescope to look at the beautiful night sky? A good pair of binoculars is effective than a telescope, especially for new comers like me. I’m saying this because setting up and focussing a telescope is not an easy task. Binoculars, on the other hand gives you a wide field of view and you can focus an object very easily. The following is an attempt to summarize my efforts and experiences from the last month, using a 10×50 Celestron binoculars that you can find for a pretty cheap price on the market.
I’ve been always intrigued by the idea of buying a telescope. I am not ready to burn my pockets by buying something which I might not like that much. But, I wanted to see if I like observing night sky. I went ahead and ordered a cheapest pair that I can find on the market.
There are few things which you need to consider while buying a binoculars. One is magnification, and second one would be objective diameter. If the objective diameter is more, it can collect more photons and gives you a better picture. For a binoculars, you won’t get much magnification. One more thing to consider is the quality of the prisms used inside.
I got my binoculars. I was really excited, I went outside. I kept an eye on people walking on the road. It was good and clear. Then, I caught few birds in the sky. I conceived an idea about how to hold the binoculars and was ready for my first night of stargazing.
I woke up in the middle of the night. I’m glad that I didn’t scare anyone. I went to the darkest place that I could find near my house. I attempted to focus on the Moon. What I saw is outstanding! The Moon with the craters is such a pleasure to watch. I could find each crater. I realised why poets and authors were so obsessed with moon. It is beautiful, and with a binoculars it made more sense because you can see it with your both eyes. During the one hour time I had spent with the binoculars, I just saw the moon. Nothing else! I came back home that night with an everlasting gratification.
After that, I managed to see Mars and Saturn. I can not say that I saw them, but Mars looked like small orange star and Saturn looked like golden disk. To differentiate, I would generally do a observation again to confirm whether its a planet or star.
I managed to see some so-called messier objects. Unfortunately, without a tripod, it is really difficult to stabilize them in my field of view.
There are few things that I found out after having used binoculars for a decent amount of time.
- Get a Tripod mount if your binocular is very heavy: This is particularly important because, after sometime, your hands shake. With shaking hands, you will not be able stabilize the view. The deep sky objects are very small, and needs a tripod.
- Find darkest place without much lighting: Our eyes take time to adjust to the night vision. If your place is filled with bright lights, you can not really adjust to darkness.
- Smartphone with Sky maps: To find the objects in the night sky, you definitely need a map. Thanks to the new toys, you can install an application and it will do the job for you.
I’d warn you though with this obsession. Every night when I come back to home, I would think mine is not enough. I would think, may be a bigger aperture and may be a bigger magnification or even a telescope would give me better views. That’s serious because they are really expensive.
Carl Sagan once said
It has been said that astronomy is the most humbling and a life changing experience
True indeed! The very essence of our existence, and a vast adventurous universe is stimulating. If you are a newcomer like me, and really like watching the night sky, binoculars is the right way to go.