November 30, 2021

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Find out how to Inform If You Want a Telescope or Binoculars to Stargaze

Picture: vchal (Shutterstock)

When folks take into consideration astronomy—even novice, yard astronomy—the primary piece of kit that most likely involves thoughts is a telescope. And that is sensible, provided that they’re what we see the professionals utilizing in observatories, and have grow to be popular culture shorthand for an individual (often a toddler or younger grownup) who’s into science, or usually perceived as clever and curious.

However telescopes aren’t the one possibility on the subject of stargazing or usually having fun with the evening sky: There are specific conditions the place binoculars aren’t simply serviceable—they’re the higher possibility. Primarily, all of it comes all the way down to what you’re , and what, precisely, you’re attempting to see. Right here’s what to know.

Variations between telescopes and binoculars

This isn’t a contest, but it surely’s useful to check out the variations between telescopes and binoculars by way of what they will (and may’t) do to enhance your view of the evening sky. In an article for The Dialog, Dr. Silas Laycock, professor of astronomy on the College of Massachusetts Lowell breaks it down:


  • Reveals a extremely magnified view of 1 small a part of the sky—usually flipped the wrong way up and backwards
  • Takes observe getting used to solely utilizing one eye
  • Picture have to be completely nonetheless to see very small, extremely magnified objects, which is why telescopes are on tripods
  • Used for extra exact, scientific astronomy


  • Principally “two telescopes bolted collectively”
  • Offers brighter, extra detailed, 3D view of the sky
  • Extra user-friendly and compact than telescopes
  • Extra reasonably priced

When to make use of a telescope vs. binoculars

Based on Laycock, it depends upon what you’re attempting to see. Telescopes are preferable if you’re attempting to choose up as may mild as doable from faraway our bodies, like galaxies. They’re additionally greatest when making an attempt to look at one thing small, like Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s clouds, he says.

Binoculars, then again, are greatest for big fields of view, Laycock says. This consists of issues just like the star fields of the Milky Method, or the glow surrounding child stars within the Orion Nebula.

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