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Tips for Choosing the Best Binoculars for Kids for Stargazing

Most modern binoculars are more powerful than the telescope Galileo first used to examine the universe. Binoculars can be a great way for a child to foster enthusiasm for astronomy. In addition to introducing kids to stargazing, binoculars have other uses for the astronomer.

Binoculars are also a cheap way to introduce kids to stargazing. A moderately powerful pair of binoculars allows a child viewer to identify most of the features on the moon. After this they can turn the lenses to other parts of the sky.

Binocular Power

Binocular power is designated by 2 numbers. The first number is the magnification power. For example a 7 x X means it magnifies 7 times. The second number is the diameter of the larger, objective, lens in millimeters. For example a 7×50, or 7 50 means the magnification is 7 times and the diameter of the objective lens is 50 millimeters. 7 or 8x50s are the best for common astronomy usage. The highest magnification for hand held astronomy is 10×50, and that can be somewhat shaky. Anything bigger becomes needs a tripod to eliminate the shaking. Also, anything above Xx50 becomes more expensive.

Best Binoculars for Kids

These Celestron SkyMaster binoculars are a favorite of parents and kids. You can buy them on Amazon here.

Tips When Purchasing Binoculars for Astronomy

There are several things a prospective binocular buyer should take into consideration when buying binoculars for astronomy. Some imperfections can be overlooked for common use, but cause problems for stargazing. Even so, higher quality binoculars will be better both day and night.

  • The sharpness should extend over the entire view. Focus on a distant object. It should be sharp without double images and true to color across the whole field. It should remain sharp when moved from the center.
  • When viewing stars, the stars on the edge may become distorted. This won’t show up when using in the daytime.
  • Tubes should be parallel to provide single view field. If the binoculars can’t give one field, the tubes aren’t parallel. To check for alignment, place on flat object and look through each lens individually. The object should be in the same place in both lenses.
  • Objects shouldn’t have rainbow edges.
  • Don’t use binoculars for astronomy that have red, blue or green optics as it colors what you’re observing.
  • Good eyepieces allow moving the eye from the eyepiece without losing much of the view field.
  • Binoculars should be illuminated evenly when looking down eyepieces at a distance. Cheaper prisms cause the image to square.

How to Use Binoculars For Stargazing

Binoculars can be used for general stargazing. In addition to the moon, constellations and other skybound objects are viewable. Consulting books with a focus on using binoculars for astronomy give lists of constellations and other sites to turn your binoculars to. Some are quite detailed and a good way to learn the sky. Getting higher power binoculars for astronomy allows a child, or other observer, to see more sky detail. These are considerably cheaper than a telescope.

Amateur, and professional, astronomers keep binoculars in their field kits. The binoculars can be used to identify and locate objects before using the telescope. A wider field of view than a telescope makes locating objects easier than with a telescope.

Astronomy is a good hobby for adults and children to do together. If started young enough, a child may keep the hobby for a life time.

Click here for reviews of the best telescopes for kids.

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