Anyone with an interest in astronomy is likely to own a good pair of binoculars. They are also a great entry level piece of optical equipment for avid amateurs looking to extend their knowledge of the night sky before investing in a telescope. While telescopes are able to reveal fine details on planets or the structure in distant galaxies, binoculars actually have their own advantages over telescopes across a range of areas.
Astronomy binoculars, for instance, may not be able to compete on magnification, but they do provide a wide field of view that makes viewing already large night sky objects all the more exhilarating, such as the Moon, large open star clusters, and vast extended nebulae. To find out more, you might like to read our helpful telescope and binoculars buying guide.
Meanwhile, the following list represent the high-end spectrum of the astronomy binoculars market. As such, their stargazing capabilities lie far beyond that of any ordinary binoculars. So without further ado, here are 5 superior quality binoculars for backyard astronomers:
Zeiss 20×60 S Image Stabilization Binoculars
Price: Up to $9,000
Optical Design: Stabilizer Binoculars
Field of View: 156ft at 1000 yards
Zeiss Binoculars 20x60s are high-performance optical lenses, whose coatings provides bright and crisp images, even in low-light. Their classic rubber armoring and waterproof housing ensures extra protection, and mean that they can be taken anywhere. Furthermore, the binocular’s mechanical image stabilization system can be activated at the touch of a button. This subsequently allows for comfortable, stable observing without the need of a tripod, resulting in a unique visual experience without hand tremor.
Zeiss 20x60s feel like they are powered by magic after its stabilizing mechanism is engaged. Suddenly, the Moon stops being a jittery bouncing object, allowing you to see close ups of its surface in incredible detail. Meanwhile, Jupiter’s moons are easily observed without the need for a tripod. Similarly, the Orion Nebula (M42) can be seen embedded in a beautiful star field, lending depth to the view. Other deep-sky objects such as the Crab Nebula (M1), Triangulum Galaxy (M33), and the Double Cluster, also appear well resolved and stable.
Vixen BT 126 SS-A Binocular Telescope Set
Price: Up to $4,800
Optical Design: Double refractor with Porro prisms
Aperture: 126mm (4.9″)
Focal Ratio: f/4.9
Focal Length: 625mm
Light Gathering Power: 324x
Weight: 10.5kg (23.1lb) 10500gms
The Vixen BT126SS-A double refractor binoculars feature a pair of 1.25″ (126mm) eyepiece and 4.9″ objective lenses. With both eyes open, astronomy hobbyists are able to enjoy a rich depth of field rarely experienced during stargazing sessions. Each eyepiece has individual focusing and are interchangeable, allowing for magnification changes during each observing session. The 45° inclined eyepiece holders also provide comfortable viewing of the night sky, while the binoculars built-in Porro prisms presents correctly orientated images.
Vixen’s Vixen BT126SS-A binoculars reveal intricate details of a variety of deep-sky objects. The Veil Nebula in Cygnus and Ring Nebula (M57) in Lyra, for instance, shows themselves with extreme simplicity, including bright folds within the arc of the nebulae. Similarly, the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51a) in Canes Venatici through this pair of 126mm binoculars shows two bright nuclei, as well as the bridge of material that connects them. Meanwhile, the Double Cluster in Perseus presents dozens of pin-point colored stars, and the Pleiades (M45) reveals nebulosity surrounding its brightest stars.
Swarovski 12×50 El Mk2 FieldPro Binoculars
Price: Up to $2,700
Optical Design: Ergonomic, Light Binoculars
Swarovski 12×50 El Mk2 FieldPro are of the most compact 50mm binoculars available, with their perfect weight balance allowing you to hold them steadily while stargazing. This is further enhanced by its impressive EL wrap-around grip, which guarantees maximum comfort when observing over long periods of time. The instrument’s field flattener lenses together with its HD optics ensures crystal-clear images free from color fringing across the entire field of view.
You will be able to see intricate details of the Moon, as well as the Galilean moons, and a whole host of DSOs, including galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Furthermore, this binocular has outstanding optics, and provides crisps images of astronomical objects without chromatic aberration.
Helios Quantum 7.4 25×100 Observation Binoculars
Price: Up to $2,300 (£1,742)
Optical Design: Stabilizer Binoculars
Focal Length: 600mm
Light Gathering Power:
Weight: 13kg (tripod 7.1kg)
The Helios Quantum 7.4 25×100 Observation are fork-mounted, top quality astronomy binoculars, with 45° angled eyepiece holders for a comfortable observing position. The instrument’s triplet objective lenses provide high optical performance, while its eyepieces can be individually focused and replaced with any standard 1.25-inch fitting pairs. Additional Quantum-7.4 features include an all-metal construction, hardwood tripod, and quality fork mount specially designed for astronomical use.
The Q7.4s reveals Jupiter’s banding, as well as shading in the Polar Regions, while the planet’s moons appear pin-sharp and round. Captivating views of the Moon are apparent, including craters such as Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catherina. Given the right conditions, you will subsequently be able to see the lunar terminator move across the craters Aristoteles and Eudoxus. Meanwhile, the Andromeda galaxy’s (M31) bright core and nebulosity is revealed to highlight the shape of the galaxy, with its companions M32 and M110 clearly visible.
Just by panning around the night sky, Q7.4s also reveal a multitude of open clusters, with the binoculars’ contrast and resolution adding to the pleasure, including M36, M37 and M38 in Auriga, M34 in Perseus, and M35 in Gemini. Also, observing M42 in Orion is a magical experience, with its shape and structure enhanced by the clarity of the Trapezium Cluster.
Fujinon Polaris 10×70 FMT-SX
Price: Up to $950
Optical Design: Military Spec Binoculars
Field of View: 278ft at 1000 yards
Angle of View: 5.3°
Weight: 1.93kg (1,937g)
The Fujinon Polaris 10×70 FMT-SX are high-grade military-specification binoculars. As such, they are extremely durable, dependable and able to withstand the toughest conditions. They employ a unique EBC coating, which together with its high quality glass lens, allows superior (95%) light transmission. Images produced are subsequently free from chromatic aberration, and astigmatism.
Fujinon 10×70 FMT-SX Polaris are regarded as one of the best astronomy binoculars available. Their almost 6 degrees field of view makes them great for sky sweeping, while their large 7mm exit pupil makes them ideal for stargazers looking to observe large nebulae, galaxies, and comets. Moreover, the instrument’s unique optical design, ghost image suppression, and high light transmission capabilities provide an exceptionally flat field of view and tight star images extremely close to the edge of the view field.