Binoculars for beginners

With Christmas almost here it's naturally time to think of what to buy that budding astronomer. Like the late, great Sir Patrick, I always suggest a good pair of binoculars for starters, but I sometimes get that: 'but I asked about a  telescope' despairing look. There are plenty of reasons why starting with binoculars is the best way, perhaps one of the more important ones is that often the beginner has no idea of what to look at in the sky. It's so easy to get lost when your telescope field of view is so narrow that you can't find your way round the sky. That can lead to frustration and possibly even eventually giving up and packing the telescope away.

Another potential astronomer and lover of the night sky lost.

That's why binoculars, with their wide field views, are ideal for starting out as they provide that intermediate step between the wide field view of our eyes and the close up views of a telescope. So it's good that Steve Tonkin takes a look this month at the Olivon QB 10x50 binoculars to see what they have to offer.

But today a lot of the pain of finding things in the night sky with a telescope can be relieved as I discovered in my review of the Celestron Cosmos 90 GT Wifi - perhaps this is the way forward for newcomers. In the meantime star charting and planetarium programs are still impressively useful, be it for beginners or advanced astronomers, enjoy Pete Lawrence's review of the latest version of Starry Night software when you pick up the December issue, out now.





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