The Binocular Site
Stargazing with Telescope Binoculars
Telescope binoculars offer the best of both optic worlds – a true telescopic performance, but with the comfort and ease of binoculars.
By using this type you can see the stars without straining your eyes or squinting, and end up with a “stereo” view.
This can be the biggest advantage of telescopic binoculars, and you may find once you switch to them you’ll never go back to a monocular design such as in a regular telescope.
Although telescopic binoculars can be harder to find then regular models, you might find it’s well worth the effort. With their ability to easily be mounted and particularly with image stabilization, you can use these models to make astronomy exciting but also comfortable.
Telescopic binoculars will have two eyepieces, often with soft, molded cups, and a sleek, comfortable to use design. By using a tripod or other mount you won’t have to worry about keeping them held up, and can focus on enjoying the view.And if you’re unsure, or already have a telescope, you can also choose to use a binoviewer, which is a tool that can be mounted to your regular telescope and spreads the image across two sides. This way you get the extra comfort of binoculars without giving up your existing equipment, or compromising on buying a really high-powered telescope.
With all the options available there is no reason you should be stuck with a unit that is uncomfortable or doesn’t meet your needs, so take a look!
Telescopes vs. Binoculars
If this is the first time you’ve heard of bino telescopes, you might wonder what the difference is between binoculars, telescopes, and ultimately bino telescopes that combine the two. What’s the advantage of each, and why would you choose to buy telescopic binoculars?
Binoculars are often described as “two telescopes in one”. They offer magnification and use objective lenses and prisms just like a telescope, but have a side for each eye. For many this is more comfortable, and binoculars tend to be smaller and cheaper than telescopes while still offering magnifications and powers that are appropriate for astronomy.
So what do telescopes do that binoculars don’t? Telescopes are more flexible, often providing several different eyepieces that are interchangeable to give different focal lengths and ultimately different power levels.
Telescopes usually have larger apertures which allow them to collect more light and provide brighter images. This allows astronomers to see distant galaxies more clearly and makes gas clouds and start clusters more easily visible.
They usually offer high resolution which means greater image detail at higher distances as well. That said, the extra pieces of a telescope including eyepieces and other equipment adds weight, size, and price to these tools, which just will not work for birdwatching, tracking game, hiking, or boating. Even while stargazing, binoculars can offer the amateur astronomer a great deal of power for a relatively small tool.
This brings us to the question: How do telescopic binoculars merge the two tools, and why would you choose them over one or the other?
Why Choose Telescopic Binoculars?
Bino telescopes combine the benefits of both worlds, offering telescopic power with binocular comfort. In other words, using telescopic binoculars allows you to use that high magnification and big lenses while using both eyes. Eyepieces are perhaps the biggest advantage borrowed from telescopes.
While bino telescope eyepieces are usually made to be extra comfortable and easy to use over long periods, more like binoculars, they are also as versatile as telescope eyepieces. Several eyepieces will be included with your purchase, and each can be used to modify the image as needed. Instead of one set of built in eyepieces as with binoculars, you get the benefit of a telescope’s interchangeable pieces.
By using different eyepieces, you get different magnifications and therefore different fields of view (FOV) so you can watch a meteor travelling through the sky or pick out that distant, faint galaxy.
Each eyepiece often includes built-in focusing mechanisms so you can use them independently, for perfecting that view of distant galaxies or examining the moon’s surface. And focusing on telescope binoculars is usually more fine-tuned, borrowing from the telescope’s precise nature.
Bino telescopes also borrow the very high quality mechanisms, glass, coatings, and other elements of telescopes. While this increases size and weight and often demands that they be mounted rather than held, the precision and performance of this type will be much higher than regular binoculars.
Still, apart from astronomy, telescopic binoculars cannot be used for other activities that binoculars master, such as birdwatching, racing, and the like. Their bulk, precise collimation, and expensive parts make them completely impractical when they need to be moved often or can’t be handled delicately.
The high-end nature of bino telescope parts also means increased price. You will find that prices are closer to those found in telescopes, and may be even higher due to the extra parts that make telescopic binoculars more comfortable to use.
While these offer a truly amazing experience, you will need to invest at least a couple thousand dollars for them. Look for options that come with tripods or mounts included, or that have extras such as spotting scopes, where applicable.
Also consider what eyepieces will work with your set to avoid problems later on. All in all however, bino telescopes offer a very worthwhile combination of binocular and telescope features that make them the high-end choice for stargazing.