A pair of binoculars is an often underestimated tool for astronomy – it is used far often by experienced observers than by beginners. In the last years, some books were published about this theme, but when I started working on it, there wasn‘t much literature avaiable, especially not in German language – mot books concentrated on bigger telescopes, which have become much cheaper in the last years than ever before.
This book is for everyone who already knows about the very basics of astronomy. The differences between stars planets have been described in excess in many books, as well as celestial mechanics, so I just want to give a quick overview about the things we can see in the sky. You should also be able to recognize at least some of the constellations – you‘ll learn about the other ones during stargazing.
The focus of this book is on the objects which you can see in binoculars, what you will actually see and how to see it best. The first part tells you about binoculars, how to observe and how the objects will look like in the binocular. The larger part of the book shows you, which objects you can see. There are as well objects which are great for binoculars as well as interesting objects, which may be a bit challenging. Of course there is some background information – you need to know what you are looking at. This book was first published in Germany, so objects which are harder to see in central Europe, Great Britain or Canada, but easier from the southern United States, are not featured too extensive.
The step between naked eye and binoculars is almost as large as the step from binoculars to a telescope with 10 or 14 inch aperture. I can only recommend the visit of a local observatory or astronomy club before buying a telescope. There, you do not only have the option to look through very good instruments, but you can also talk with other amateur astronomer – this will help you to avoid many initial problems.
The look through a good telescope will also shatter the expectations raised by the pretty pictures in magazines and books. This is also the reason why I didn‘t use the most impressive images for this book, but some which are more realistic. If not noted specially, all images of deep-sky-images have a side-length of 1.5 x 2.5 degrees, which equals about half or a third of the field of view of many binoculars.
I can only wish you joy and many clear nights. Do not forget that you have to train your observing skills and that they will improve over time. The following pages can help you at the beginning, but you have to gather experience yourself.