Binocular stargazing is one of my favorite activities. Telescopes may offer more spectacular views, but binocular astronomy has a peaceful, organic quality that's easy to lose when you're zoomed in on one object, attempting to squeeze every drop of possible detail through a high-tech telescope.
Binoculars give a direct connection to the night sky that's hard to achieve through a telescope. That's partly because binoculars are so simple and because viewing with two eyes is more natural than squinting through one eye. But it's also a function of their low magnification, their wide field of view, and the fact that you look directly toward your subject. All of these make it easy to correlate the binocular view and the naked-eye view. Telescopes, by contrast, tend to transport you into an alternate universe where familiar sights are completely absent — which has charms of its own, to be sure.
Over the years, I've written a number of blogs on binocular stargazing. To provide easy access from one to another, here's the complete list:
|Nov 25, 2009||More on Scopes and Binoculars|
|Nov 15, 2007||Traveling Without a Scope|
|Sep 28, 2007||Big Binocular Messier Survey|
|Aug 31, 2007||Ridiculously Small Optics|
|May 10, 2007||Coda: Binoculars Versus Starblast|
|May 1, 2007||Binoculars Part III: One Eye Versus Two|
|Apr 27, 2007||Three Binoculars: Part II|
|Apr 23, 2007||A Tale of Three Binoculars: Part I|