In this guide we’ll look at the best binoculars for Astronomy.
We’ve compared design, magnification, image quality and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What are the Best Binoculars for Astronomy?
More Detailed Astronomy Binoculars Reviews
The Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars are my go-to set for astronomical observation. When the skies are clear and I just want a quick look at the Moon or Jupiter, these binoculars deliver.
They feature 100mm objective lenses (the objective lenses are the ones farther away from your eyes when you’re viewing something). This is a pretty large aperture for binoculars! The large lenses maximize image brightness in dim conditions.
They provide 25x magnification. This means that your viewing target will appear 25x closer to you than it would otherwise, with just your naked eye.
This might not sound like much when it comes to stargazing. After all, celestial objects are really far away. But you’d be surprised! Many objects—from the Moon to the Andromeda Galaxy—can be seen extremely well through binoculars. This pair will let you see Jupiter and its moons, the Orion Nebula, the Seven Sisters, and more.
Plus, these binoculars work well for long-range terrestrial viewing in addition to astronomical observation.
Their rubber covering gives you a firm grip, and the armored body is durable and water-resistant. The rubber eyecups are quite comfortable and can be adjusted for ease of use by eyeglass wearers.
There’s also a built-in tripod adapter rod—you’ll definitely want to use this, since these binoculars are quite heavy, at 8.75 pounds. I highly recommend getting a tripod!
Overall, this is a heavy-duty pair of binoculars that provide superb performance.
The Orion Astronomy Binoculars are a fantastic choice if you’re looking for maximal durability. The rugged design is fully waterproof and resistant to lens fogging.
Objective lens diameter is 70mm, large enough to allow in a good amount of light. These binouclars have 15x magnification.
You’ll enjoy excellent views of the stars and constellations, as well as the craters of the Moon. Images are sharp and feature good contrast.
A tripod adapter is included, and you’ll probably want to buy a tripod to go along with these binoculars. At 5 pounds, they’re a bit heavy, and the high magnification makes it even more important to hold them steady.
The Orion Binoculars are the most expensive model on my list, but they provide good value, combining great performance in a tough, compact design.
Dubbed the “Mini Giant,” these binoculars live up to their name. The 63mm aperture supports strong visual performance, but it’s a bit smaller than the previous two binoculars on this list; at 2.6 pounds, the Orion Mini Giant is also significantly lighter-weight.
These binoculars can be more comfortably hand-held—this is a nice feature for activities like birdwatching or scanning the sky. However, a tripod is preferable to provide greater stability for sustained viewing and astronomical observation.
The lenses are multi-coated, and the binocular barrels are internally glare-threaded to minimize “ghosting” and facilitate good contrast.
Magnification with these binoculars is 15x. You’ll enjoy crisp, bright, and high-contrast views of Jupiter, nebulae, the Moon, and much more! They’re worth consideration if you’re especially looking for a lightweight set of binoculars.
The Zhumell Binoculars boast large, 100mm objective lenses—a wide aperture that collects a lot of light. This helps them to perform strongly even in very dim conditions. They are capable of 25x magnification and produce beautifully bright, sharp images.
You can use them to observe the rugged landscape of the Moon, search for nebulae, and spot Jupiter and its moons. The lenses are fully multi-coated, and the overall quality is very high.
The Zhumell’s armored body is durable and waterproof. As with other models on this list, I strongly suggest getting tripod to go along with these binoculars to hold them steady.
Check out the Celestron 71008 SkyMaster binoculars if you’re on a tight budget. They’ve got 70mm objective lenses and support 25x magnification. With quality multi-coated optics, they do quite well in the low light conditions of stargazing.
These Celestron binoculars supply crisp views of the Moon, star clusters, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and multiple planets.
They have a rubber covering for firm grip, and they’re designed so that eyeglass wearers can use them easily. In addition, they are durable and water-resistant.
Like other binoculars on this list, these can (and should) be mounted on a tripod for astronomical observation; a good tripod is essential for eliminating vibration. They come with a plastic tripod adapter, which I recommend upgrading to a sturdier, higher-quality one.
Astronomy Binoculars Buyer’s Guide
Binoculars vs. telescopes
When most people think of astronomy, they think of telescopes. But binoculars are another excellent choice for enjoying the wonders of the night sky.
Why choose binoculars?
They’re compact and lightweight. Compared to the vast majority of telescopes, binoculars are eminently portable. It’s easy to grab your binoculars and head outside on a whim, and it’s easy to pack them along on vacation. Even the larger binoculars on this list still come in at under 10 pounds.
They’re easy to use. Sure, everything gets better with practice, and it may take you a little time to use your binoculars to their best advantage. However, using binoculars tends to be straightforward and intuitive.
They’re reasonably affordable. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at binoculars; you can grab a decent pair even at a lower price range.
They have a wide field of vision. Some objects simply look better in a wider view, especially larger or more spread out celestial phenomena. For example, the Andromeda Galaxy looks amazing in binoculars. This wide field also makes it easy to scan and sweep the sky, taking in hundreds of stars and more easily locating specific objects.
They’re versatile. Many telescopes generate upside-down images. This doesn’t matter when you’re looking at celestial bodies, but it certainly matters for terrestrial viewing! Binoculars view things right-side-up and are therefore a great choice for additional activities such as birdwatching and wildlife observation.
As great as binoculars are, there are some disadvantages, such as:
They have limited magnification ability. The maximum magnification among binoculars on this list is 25x. That’s pretty good, but even smaller telescopes are generally capable of at least 50x, and many can handle much, much more. So, if you want to admire the cloud bands and Great Spot of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, or faint deep space objects, a telescope is your better bet.
They generally require tripods. It’s really hard to hold a heavy, powerful pair of binoculars still for any length of time while you observe. You’ll need to get a tripod to go along with your binoculars. Of course, telescopes require a tripod or mount too, so this is something they have in common.
Factors to consider when choosing binoculars
There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing a set of binoculars for astronomical observation. Most importantly, you need a model that can handle low-light and long-distance viewing. In addition, you may want to consider factors such as durability and weight.
Size of objective lens
I’ve indicated the objective lens diameter for all the binoculars above. This is the second number you see in the binocular name: for example, a set of 25×100 binoculars has an objective lens diameter of 100mm. A 15×70 pair has an objective lens diameter of 70mm.
The objective lenses are the ones further from you when the binoculars are pointed at an object. The larger they are, the more light they collect. This light helps them produce their images. More light translates into brighter and clearer pictures. This is especially important in dim lighting.
Magnification is indicated in the first number you see in the binocular name. So, 25×100 binoculars have 25x magnification, while a 15×70 set has 15x magnification.
15x-25x is a significant amount of magnification that will let you see a range of astronomical sights. However, if you want much more magnification than this, you should look into telescopes.
How much time do you plan to spend with your binoculars out in the field? If you anticipate using them in rainy, humid, or otherwise difficult conditions, then you should opt for an especially durable pair such as the Orion 9546 Resolux model.
If possible, I always suggest trying out a few pairs of binoculars in person before making your final decision. That’s the best way to assess a potential new pair and see how comfortable they are to use.
The five options listed here are a great place to start. They’re at a variety of price points, but they all provide good value: performance, ease of use, durability, and overall quality.