Touring the Universe Through Binoculars Review

Touring the Universe through Binoculars: A Complete Astronomer's GuidebookA Complete Astronomer’s Guidebook

Believe it or not, but Touring the Universe through Binoculars or TUB as it has rather affectionately become known as, is now almost 27 years in the making! Indeed at the time of writing my update to this review, it celebrates it’s birthday next month.

Released in November 1990 and long before the Kindle was even thought of (which it is now available on), I am sure you will agree that that’s a pretty good run for a book to stay in print and this is for good reason. You see I first wrote this book review (see below) not long after I first started BBR myself – over 10 years ago now!

Even back then TUB was considered old, but it was and I believe still is considered the reference point and in my opinion the best astronomy with binoculars book you can get. Sure it may lack the bright color photographs of modern publications, but as you will read if you want to explore what’s out there with your binoculars, then TUB is the way to go:

Book Review: Touring the Universe Through Binoculars

Many people new to astronomy and indeed to the world of optics are surprised to know that you don’t have to use a telescope to view distant objects in the night sky and often binoculars are not only suitable, but in some cases preferable.

Not Just For Beginners
Binoculars should not just be considered as equipment for beginners in astronomy or for people on their way to their first “real” telescopes; “they are valuable observational tools in their own right.” according to the author Philip S. Harrington.

Touring the Universe Through Binoculars proves just this by discussing the entire binocular universe and lists more than 1,100 sky objects from celestial pole to celestial pole. It takes you on a tour of the universe using nothing more than a pair of binoculars.

So even though it is almost three decades old now, it is still one of, if not the most comprehensive book currently available on astronomy binoculars:

The book starts with Earth’s nearest neighbor, the moon, and then goes on to explore each planet in the solar system, asteroids, meteors, comets and the sun. Following this you are taken away into deep space to explore celestial bodies including stars that are known and many sights less familiar.

The final chapter includes a detailed atlas of deep-sky objects visible through binoculars. The appendices include guidance on how to buy, care for and maintain astronomical binoculars, tips and hints on using them, and detailed information on several home-made binocular mounts.

I would say though that if you are very new to astronomy, you may find some of the discussion a little “heavy”, at least in the beginning. But if you keep at the hobby, you will certainly grow into the book and because of the flowing words from the author, I personally found that to be an enjoyable task and I have yet to find any other complete and well prepared list and data of objects visible with only your binoculars.

Free Binocular Star Atlas Software Included

Touring the Universe Through Binoculars Atlas (TUBA)


When first introduced, one of the main criticisms was that although there are more than 1000 objects that you can see with binoculars in the night sky that are listed in the book, maps were not included and so you originally needed an atlas as well.

However, Phil Harrington reacted to this and along with Dean Williams went about producing the Touring the Universe Through Binoculars Atlas (TUBA), which I believe still to be the only atlas of the stars that is designed specifically for use with binoculars.

This too was developed more than a decade ago, but I found it still works fine on my 64-bit Windows 10 computer, (Please note there is no Mac version.) and whilst the interface is a little dated, it really does help a lot:

Because it is designed specifically for star watching binoculars and thus does NOT display all of the deep-sky objects as most star atlases do, what you see on the screen ties up with what you actually see in the sky. This makes it far easier to navigate the sky and thus also identify what it is that you are looking at.

When first released you had to pay for this neat piece of software, but now due to popular demand, both Phil and Dean have decided to release TUBA as freeware, which if you are planning on buying the book, is really a bonus:

Where to buy the book:

Shop In the USATouring the Universe Through Binoculars on

Shop In the UKTouring the Universe Through Binoculars on

Further Reading: Astronomy Binoculars
For more information take a look at my buyers guide to Choosing Binoculars for Astronomy, or for may main hub for everything else related to Binocular Astronomy.

About the Author
Phil Harrington first became interested in astronomy when he was assigned to watch the total lunar eclipse in April 1968 as part of a school homework assignment.

Since then he has spent countless hours touring the universe through not only telescopes but binoculars as well. Phil is an adjunct professor at both Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, and Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York, where he teaches courses in stellar and planetary astronomy. He is a founding member of the Westport (CT) Astronomical Society and is also one of the coordinators of the annual Astronomer’s Conjunction, held ever summer in Northfield, MA.

As well as Touring the Universe through Binoculars, Phil Harrington has written many other books including Astronomy for All Ages, Discovering the Universe through Activities for Children and Adults, Star Watch, The Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning about Over 125 Celestial Objects and many others.

He is a former staff member of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium and instructor at the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, New York and is also a contributing editor for Astronomy magazine, where he frequently reviews telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomical equipment.

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