But no matter what pair of binoculars you are using, the inherent lack of steadiness from holding the instrument in your hands can keep you from seeing as much as you could. This situation is inconvenient at even the lowest magnifications, but is especially bothersome with zoom binoculars at higher magnifications. Fortunately, there are ways of obtaining the extra steadiness you need. Some binoculars come equipped to be used with a common camera tripod. Even if the pair you have are not so equipped, you can attach your binoculars to a camera tripod via an adapter available at camera shops for just a few dollars!

Modern technology offers an even more convenient method to obtain a steady view, if you donít mind paying extra for it. Electronically stabilized binoculars are available in the one thousand dollar range. A small computer inside these little marvels cancels out unintended movements to keep an object rock-steady and still in your field of view even though you are holding the binoculars in your shaky hands! I first used such an instrument several years ago during a solar eclipse expedition. The view was steadier than if the binoculars were mounted on a tripod! Tripod mounted binoculars will often shake and tremble in the wind, but there is none of that with electronically stabilized binoculars. If you get the impression that I was utterly amazed by the instrument, you would be correct. So much so that I recently bought a 15x50mm image stabilized binoculars! But letís get back to our discussion of ordinary binoculars.

Of course, there are binoculars with bigger objectives than 50 mm, though they normally cost at least as much as a decent telescope! Even so, they can give you some terrific views! An example of such a binocular was the one I alluded to earlier that was used to discover a comet. Its lenses were 150 mm in diameter (6 inches). Needless to say, such binoculars come with their own special heavy-duty tripod.

Whatever size binocular you end up getting, you will need to become comfortable with finding things in the heavens. The second section of this book Learning Your Way Around The Night Sky is a good place to start.

Even after you have obtained a telescope, your binoculars will be a great help to you when you are trying to initially locate an object in the sky. Their wide field of view will permit you to see large areas of the sky at a glance, allowing you to sweep an area until you find the object you seek.

Selecting A Telescope

So now youíre ready to buy a telescope. I will list the most desirable characteristics for each type of observer. In A List of Telescope Manufacturers, I list several manufacturers for each recommended type.

When compact size is the most important consideration. A Schmidt-Cassegrainian, Maksutov-Cassegrainian, or Schmidt Newtonian. Of these three, the Maksutov-Cassegrainian will probably give the sharpest images.


copyright 2004 Singularity Scientific