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Binoculars or Telescope?

In order to get a better look at the objects in our night sky you will want to obtain a telescope or binoculars. These items are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it would be my recommendation to have both. Since cost can be a factor in your decision, lets take a look at the pros and cons of both.

Let’s first look at binoculars. A good set of binoculars can be with you for the rest of your life. They are useful for sporting events, birding or wildlife observing, and astronomical observation. They are easily portable and can withstand travel quite well.

A fairly decent pair of binoculars can cost from between $65 and $250, depending on features and specifications, which is still quite a bit less then you would pay for even the most basic of scopes. Binoculars give you a much wider field of view then a telescope can and present the image in stereo and right side up. This makes it much easier to identify things while you are just getting started. The drawbacks to binoculars are that you have much less magnification and aperture, they may be too heavy to hold for long, and tend to wobble leading to an unclear image. The later can be corrected by mounting the binoculars to a tripod. Magnification is not the most important part of the equation when looking for an astronomical observational instrument. The important item is aperture. Aperture is where scopes far exceed the binoculars.