Joel is very excited to try his newly bought high-powered Gysker 12×42 binoculars for his astronomical adventure. He is with his best friend Dave in Natural Bridges National Monument.
Thanks to inventors of new technological devices that help our understanding and enjoyment of the things that mere naked eyes cannot see.
Binoculars are good examples of optical instruments made of two telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point in the same direction. This allows users to use both eyes (binocular vision) when looking at distant objects. It comes in various sizes and serves different purposes. However, most are hand-held opera glasses to large pedestal-mounted military models.
Unlike a monocular-type telescope, binoculars provide a three-dimensional (3D) image.
Binoculars are also ideal for sky watching or stargazing, especially for beginner sky observers. However, telescopes are more confusing for novices and quite complicated to use than binoculars. So, there will be two things that you will learn navigating – the instrument itself and the unknown realm or the night sky.
Astronomy requires good magnification and light-gathering power for you to experience an array of scenery in the sky. For beginner stargazers, affordable binoculars like the Celestron – Cometron 7×50 Binoculars, BRIGENIUS 10 x 50 Binoculars, or a BRIGENIUS 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars are available and can be purchased online. Like a pair of 7×50, a moderate-powered binocular reveals seven times as much information as the naked eye can see.
Now that Joel has an excellent binocular, there are several things he can enjoy using it. Besides bird watching, he can also use it in astronomy and looking through some fantastic celestial bodies like Moon, stars, and even the Milky Way galaxy.
A full moon in a night sky.
One of the first things to be observed is the Moon itself, and its phases are a perfect target for beginner astronomers armed with binoculars.
The best time to do moon-gazing is during twilight or when the moon is just past new that appears as a waxing crescent in the western sky after sunset, and then it gives you a beautiful view of earthshine. The light reflected from the Earth unto the Moon’s surface produces an eerie glow on the moon’s darkened portion. You can also check your location and find out when the perfect time to see the moon’s best images is enhanced using your binoculars.
The Moon undergoes different phases each month, and with the changes, you can also see the line of sunrise and sunset that progress across the moon’s face. It’s the terminator line or the line between the day and night sides of the moon. Along the Moon’s terminator, lunar features cast long shadows in sharp relief.
Sea Lava or Luna Maria
Craters and mountains on the Moon.
Luna mare or Maria are “seas” of lava on the surface of the moon. These gray blotches were thought to have formed 4 billion years ago when meteoroids hit the moon so hard that lava oozed up through cracks in the lunar crust and flooded the impact basins. The Moon cooled these lavas and eventually formed the gray “seas” we see today using our binoculars. Besides the maria, highlands that nestled between them are also visible. This includes Tycho, emanating long white rays for hundreds of miles over the adjacent highlands.
Planets in our Solar System
The Solar System and all the planets.
Of course, we are always curious about our Solar System and the planets in it. They are also visible using your binoculars if you know some quick ways to locate them.
Mercury. This planet orbits the Sun closer than Earth’s orbit. Due to the proximity to the Earth, Mercury phases are visible at certain times in their orbit, a few days before or after they pass between the Sun and Earth. While seeing Mercury with your naked eye is satisfying, a pair of low-powered binoculars can assist you in locating it once the Sun has sunk below the sky fades into twilight. Mercury will be low on the horizon, in a thicker and more vulnerable to air turbulence area of the atmosphere. As it shines through the unstable air, Mercury will seem as a shimmering or glittering “star.”
The planet Venus is shrouded in highly reflective clouds. It appears as a bright ball to the naked eye, binoculars, and a telescope. It gleams more brilliantly than any star in the sky.
However, due to the clouds, you will be unable to see the surface of Venus. And there are no moons to observe on Venus.
Because Venus is so brilliant, the image in the telescope eyepiece can appear to be a white ball, but by using a moon filter, you can lessen the glare and view the planet’s disk and phases.
This red planet will be intensely red using binoculars. Be aware that the planet rushes in front of the stars. You should be able to catch its direction when it’s passing near another bright star or planet.
Wow, Jupiter is also the most favorite of astronomers. Either hand-held or using a tripod, be sure to get a steady view of the planet to see four bright points of light called the Galilean satellites.
A small telescope is required to see its rings; you can also use your binoculars to see this beautiful golden planet. Some experts can luckily see the Titan, the planet’s largest moon, using a high-powered binocular. In the southeast, keep an eye out for a bright celestial body. You’ll notice a dazzling star below the brightest one (Jupiter) in the entire sky. The only other bright star in this vicinity is Saturn, which is directly on its right. Saturn is just 1/7th as bright as Jupiter, so expect to see a bright but not spectacular “star” as your objective.
Uranus and Neptune
With a finder chart, these planets are easy to spot in binoculars. Uranus might even look greenish due to methane in the planet’s atmosphere. On the other hand, distant Neptune will always appear like a star, even though it has an atmosphere like Uranus.