Reviews

Best Binoculars for Stargazing: See the Cosmos in a New Light

Locate stars, planets, and more in the cosmos with these high-quality stargazing binoculars

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BY Daniel Rika , Linsay Thomas , Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON October 15, 2019

Charting the stars is a fun way to spend the evening if you have the right gear to do so. While you could get a telescope, they can be expensive and bulky. Instead, you can opt for a good pair of stargazing binoculars to help you see the stars.

They are designed to allow you to see the sky more clearly and brightly and are lightweight and easy to use. Here are the best stargazing binoculars to consider for checking out the cosmos.

Best Overall
Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars
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Summary
Summary

These binoculars have a large aperture and exit pupil of 3.5mm, which makes them ideal for viewing the night sky. They work particularly well in low-light conditions.

Pros
Pros
  • Provide excellent contrast, sharpness, and resolution
  • Made of aluminum alloy and have rubber armor covers that are durable and grippy
  • Waterproof
Cons
Cons
  • A little expensive
  • You may need a tripod if you use them for prolonged periods to prevent fatigue
Best Overall
Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars
Best Value
Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars
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Summary
Summary

They come with a powerful 10x magnification and 42mm objective lens for better visibility of space.

Pros
Pros
  • Glass is made out of a multi-layer green coat 
  • Binoculars include a smartphone mount so that you can see the image of a planet on your screen
  • Compact and easy to carry
Cons
Cons
  • On the heavy side
  • Phone attachment can be a hassle to understand
  • Eyepiece is on the smaller side
Best Value
Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars
Honorable Mention
Orion Scenix Wide 7.1 Degree Field 1,000 Yard Linear View Binoculars
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Summary
Summary

These large-lensed stargazing binoculars include a 7x magnification with a 50mm objective lens for better light filtration.

Pros
Pros
  • Lightweight and extremely portable
  • Provide a pristine and clear image of the stars
  • Filter light evenly for a sharp image 
  • Made out of strong and durable metal
  • Function well with glasses
Cons
Cons
  • Protective lens caps can come loose and fall off in the case
  • Magnification isn’t the highest
Honorable Mention
Orion Scenix Wide 7.1 Degree Field 1,000 Yard Linear View Binoculars

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Benefits of Binoculars for Stargazing

  • Further vision. Binoculars are designed to allow you to see images and objects that are far away. While our eyes can see long-distance (up to three miles), the glass lenses of binoculars focus our vision and allow us to see as much as 12 miles away.
  • See more details. We may be able to spot an object that is far away by just looking with our eyes, but it won’t be in focus. For example, we can see stars with the naked eye, but binoculars allow us to see larger and brighter star clusters.
  • Brighter vision. The lenses of binoculars allow light to filter through them. This helps to brighten the image in the viewfinder, so we get a brighter view.

Types of Binoculars for Stargazing

Porro Prism

These are some of the most common types of binoculars. Porro describes the specific prism designed inside the device. They are commonly used by nature photographers or safari enthusiasts. Porro binoculars filter in more light to make objects stand out.

Roof Prism

Roof-style prism binoculars are generally much more narrow than Porro-style binoculars. This is because the glass is side by side instead of askew like Porro binoculars. They are more dependable and tougher and can see further and more clearly. However, this makes them more expensive.

Top Brands

Celestron

Started by Tom Johnson in Torrance, Calif., this company manufactures and designs telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, and accessories. It was founded in 1964 as Celestron Pacific, and it created the first large-scale commercially manufactured telescope called the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. It also designed the Celestron 20x80 SkyMaster Pro High Power Astronomy Binocular.

Orion

The company first began selling binoculars in 1975 as Orion Telescopes and Binoculars. It is headquartered out of the Monterey Bay area in California. It is focused on designing both telescopes and binoculars that are built to help amateur and veteran astronomers study stars, planets, and space. It is responsible for creating one of the best astronomy binoculars on our list, the Orion Scenix Wide 7.1 Degree Field 1,000 Yard Linear View Binoculars.

Binoculars for Stargazing Pricing

  • $50-$100: Stargazing binoculars in this price range are great for beginners or those just starting out. They feature a powerful field of vision, and their lenses may be smaller and more lightweight.
  • $100 and up: Here you will find binoculars with wider lenses, thicker glass, and an improved field of vision. They are generally more robust because of the thick frames. They will let you see further and more clearly.

Key Features

Lens Size

To better view stars and planets, consider stargazing binoculars with a larger objective lens. Larger glass sizes means it will filter more light, brightening objects in the viewfinder. The lens is measured in millimeters and can range from 30mm to 80mm and higher. The second number is the size of the objective lens and determines how much light passes through the glass. A larger lens means more light will pass through, giving you a brighter image.

Magnification

Binoculars with higher magnification allow you to see objects that are further away more clearly.The magnification is one of the most important factors when it comes to binoculars. It tells you just how far the binoculars magnify the object in the viewfinder. For instance, the first number of 10x50 means the binoculars have a max magnification of 10. If you combine the magnification with the objective lens size, you will get the binoculars exit pupil, or how much light is filtered through the lens.

Eye Piece

The eyecup should be soft and made out of a dense yet soft rubber material. You will look through them for long periods of time, so they should be comfortable on your face. You should be able to swap out the cups for larger ones. This can help make sure people with glasses are able to see properly through the binoculars as well.

Other Considerations

  • Design. The design depends on what you will be using them for. If you just use them in your yard to gaze at the stars, then they don’t need to be robust or heavy-duty. However, if you travel around to use the stargazing binoculars, consider a sturdier pair.
  • Tripod Adapter. Stargazing requires a steady hand, and you may want to consider a tripod adapter to help you see better. It steadies the binoculars so they don’t wobble around when you hold them with your hands.

Best Binoculars for Stargazing Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars 

Celestron’s large-aperture Echelon 20x70 Binoculars work exceptionally well in low-light conditions, which is great if you plan on exploring the Milky Way. They have an exit pupil of 3.5mm, which delivers a substantial amount of light so you can make out small details. It's an ideal tool for observing tiny items at long distances as well as magnifying celestial objects.


The binoculars are assembled in California, while the 70mm objective lenses are made in Japan. The BaK-4 prisms provide excellent contrast and sharpness, and the air-to-glass surfaces are covered in the brand's XLT optical coating for additional contrast and resolution. They're made of aluminum alloy for strength and to keep the weight down. The binoculars also have rubber armor covers for durability and to prevent your grip from slipping. They are waterproof and come in a waterproof hard case.


One downside is that these binoculars are quite pricey. Also, if you plan on using them for a long period of time, consider using a tripod because your hands may get fatigued.

Best Value
Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars

The Gosky Roof Prism Binoculars are another good product. These strong binoculars come with a powerful 10x magnification and 42mm objective lens for better visibility of space. One of the best things about them is that they are built with a roof prism that makes them more compact.


One interesting feature of these particular binoculars is that the glass is made out of a multi-layer green coat. This boosts their performance and makes them a bit tougher. Another great addition to these binoculars is their included smartphone mount. This allows you to easily set up the binoculars without constantly looking through the viewfinder.


One thing to note about these is that they are a little cumbersome. While not necessarily heavy, they might feel a bit robust in your hand. Another issue involves the phone attachment. The device can be a hassle to understand at first. Plus, the eyepiece is on the smaller side.

Honorable Mention
Orion Scenix Wide 7.1 Degree Field 1,000 Yard Linear View Binoculars

For binoculars named after a constellation, these are excellent to use for peering up at the stars. They feature large lenses that boast a 7x magnification lens as well as a 50mm objective lens for better light filtration. They also include high-quality BAK-4 Porro prisms and multi-coated lenses for crisper images.


One benefit is its lightweight and extremely portable design. Their lens design provides a pristine and clear image of the stars and filters light evenly for a sharp image. Other high points are the strong and durable metal casing that reduces the chances of them getting scratched or broken if dropped. They also function well with glasses and work well in low light.


You will find a few issues with these binoculars, however. The first involves protective lens caps. They feel flimsy and can come loose quite easily and fall off in the case. Plus, you may have noticed their magnification is on the lower side; however, the objective lens helps to counterbalance the low number.

Honorable Mention
SkyGenius 10x50 Binoculars

These binoculars from SkyGenius are great for stargazing. They have a 50mm, 40mm, and 32mm lens diameter. They have an ocular lens and are made of slip-proof materials so you can enjoy nature even in humid or rainy conditions. They have a range of 376 feet to 1,000 yards. With a wide field of view, it makes it easier to capture fast-moving subjects like birds. These are designed to make it easy to see during twilight or even at night for stargazing. They are shock-resistant, so if you do accidentally drop them, they will be protected against possible damage. The rubber-covered eyepiece is also adjustable for different face shapes and sizes. Topping it off, these are quite affordable for binoculars. 


While these are good for dark conditions, they are not usable in complete darkness. So if there is no moon or the sky is overcast, you will not get a quality view. Given that these are not as expensive as many other stargazing binoculars, you will subsequently not get as much power. But for the price, they are of strong quality and have excellent sharp vision.

Honorable Mention
Bushnell Spectator 4x30mm Compact Binoculars

For another good price but with easier transportability, you can get these compact binoculars from Bushnell. They have four times magnification and a 30mm objective lens. With a field of view that is three times as wide as a standard binocular, you can see more and take in tons of constellations. They are constructed with a focus-free system to keep their operation more hands-free. They can see up to 900 feet. These come with a carrying case and a neck strap for ease of toting around outdoors. 


With these binoculars’ power, you won’t be able to see features on the moon any clearer or details of the galaxy like you would with more powerful binoculars. However, for this price, they are a great quality for stargazing since you can see fainter stars, more of the sky, and make out stars within smoggy or bright cities. Because they are focus-free, they are more difficult to use if you wear glasses. 

Tips

  • If you wear eyeglasses but have a pair of binoculars with a smaller eyepiece, you may be able to swap out the eyecups for larger and more comfortable ones.
  • If you want to view the moon through stargazing binoculars, it is best to do this at twilight to reduce the amount of glare from the moon.
  • To help you locate planets and certain stars, consult a star map or chart online or use a smartphone app.

FAQs

Q: What can I do to avoid or reduce binoculars from shaking?

While binoculars are meant to be viewed with your hands, you can also attach them to a tripod. This will give them more support and reduce shaking or vibrations. 

Q: How can I best view planets and stars with binoculars?

To get the best result and see more stars, planets, and moons, go to an area where there is little to no light pollution. The less light around you, the more you will be able to see. 

Q: What does the objective lens on binoculars do?

The objective lens gathers light from the object you are viewing and focuses light rays to produce the image clearly. For stargazing, it is best to get a pair of binoculars with a higher objective lens so you can focus on the stars or planet more efficiently.

Final Thoughts

For a great set of stargazing binoculars, consider the Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars for their powerful objective lens that will help you focus on stars and planets. There are also the Gosky 10x42 Roof Prism Binoculars, which are less expensive and provide you with a clear and sharp image of the sky.