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Binoculars for astronomy use

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Binoculars for astronomy use

Postby Linda on Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:56 pm

I was planning to buy a telescope but read that 11 x 80 binoculars would be easier to start with. Are these binoculars powerful enough to see the rings of Saturn? I already have a pair of 8 x 42 binoculars for bird watching. What do you recommend?

Postby on Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:07 pm


Yes, a binocular is an excellent way to begin astronomy. It will teach you all the basics of navigating and show you examples of all the deep-sky objects. What you learn with a binocular will transfer nicely to a telescope when you purchase one.

To see the rings of Saturn, though, or other planetary detail requires more magnification. In an average spotting scope or small telescope, you will usually need 40-50x to see the rings of Saturn.

An 11x80 is really at its best for viewing open clusters and large nebulae -objects which do not fit into the field of a telescope eyepiece. Your current 8x42 will also do quite well in this regard, though the 11x80 will reveal more detail in the clusters and show fainter nebuale.

I'd recommend you take your 8x42 and start astronomy now and decide later whether to go with a larger binocular or a telescope. Experience is the best teacher, as always.
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