Binocular Astronomy: What you can see with 7x50 Binoculars

15x70, 20x80, and even 25x100 binoculars: No doubt, it is certainly exciting using a pair of large, very high powered binoculars for astronomy and indeed you could take it even take it further with a telescope using magnifications of more than 100x permitting you to go ever deeper into space as well as delivering more detail of night sky objects like the moon, planets, stars and star clusters.

However as good as they are, bigger, heavier instruments with high magnifications and resultant and narrow fields of view do have their drawbacks, and thus there is also a lot to be said for sometimes opting for a much smaller instrument with a more modest magnification as this gives you more freedom to walk about and easily view the night sky without the need for a tripod.

In my article on the Best 7x50 Binoculars for Astronomy, I go into detail about the main advantages of this popular configuration for Astro binoculars as well as offer a number of recommendations of which model to choose depending on your budget, so I won’t repeat myself.

Rather in this article, I wanted to try and answer a question that I am probably asked most often when it comes to binocular astronomy: What can you see with binoculars?

Simulation of the view of Orions Belth through 7x50 Binoculars
Simulation of the view of Orions Belt through 7x50 Binoculars

Astronomy: What can you see with 7x50 Binoculars?

In the past, I have tried to explain what I see and what in my experience you can expect to see when using a good pair of 7x50 binoculars for astronomy or indeed any other configuration. However, the problem is that what you see (and feel) is very difficult to accurately describe and thus a better way would be to somehow show you.

Readers have suggested that I simply take a photo through the lens (Digi-binning), which I have tried, but the problem with this technique is that a single shot from a camera in very low light does not even get close to accurately portraying what you see with your eyes because most people eyes have a far, far better dynamic range than any camera.

The other option is to stack photos that were taken over time using special software, which is what astrophotographers do. The problem with this is that if done correctly, the photographs often tend to show you more than what you see in a split-second when just using your eyes and a binocular and to achieve acceptable results you also need a pretty high degree of skill and knowledge.

So whilst I know a fair bit about binoculars, I will admit that in terms of astronomy and especially astrophotography, I am certainly a novice and thus someone with more knowledge and experience would certainly do a better job of firstly being able to take decent photos and then be able to adjust them to accurately represent the view of the stars in the night sky with just binoculars:

Astronomy & Astrophotographer Expert

Well, I have found that person! Rory, an astrophotographer has been taking incredible photos of the night sky for years and I have been a longtime subscriber to his excellent Astrobiscuit youtube channel. Indeed his videos inspired me to try astrophotography for myself although as good as his videos are, he makes it look much simple than it is!

Simulation of the view of the Orion Nebula using 7x50 Binoculars
Simulation of the view of the Orion Nebula using 7x50 Binoculars

Interestingly he is also kind of the opposite of me: Rory’s astronomy and astrophotography knowledge are second to none, but as for binoculars and just using them with your eyes for astronomy, he himself admits in his video (see below) that he is a relative novice.

Thus to go some way in rectifying this he does something he has never tried before: He spends an entire evening looking at the stars using nothing other than a pair of 7x50 binoculars and his eyes:

What Does Space Look Like through Binoculars?

From Orion’s Belt and the Orion Nebula to The Seven Sisters, to help us understand what is possible, Rory not only excellently describes what he observes but also goes a step further and uses a specialized Astro camera to take photos of what he was looking at. Then, later on, he edits the photos so that they closely approximate and represent what he actually observed through the binos.

In this way, by watching the video you get a fantastic idea of what you can expect to see with just a 7x50 binocular and why I highly suggest you not only watch the video but also try it out for yourself.

Enthusiasm & Feeling
I also really like the way that through his enthusiasm for what he is seeing, the video gives you a good sense of what you feel when you actually look at things like The Pleiades (Seven Sisters) star cluster for real and I totally agree with him: you really do feel something that is completely different from just looking at digital images, no matter how good they are.

For me using binoculars to view the stars (and other deep space objects) is less about viewing detail and more about the immediacy and being a part of it all:

So I will go from hearing about or learning about an object of interest, find out where to look for it, search for it, and then hopefully discover it in the sky and view it “live”. 

This is what I think is most interesting about binocular astronomy and it makes me feel a part of the universe… albeit an extremely tiny part of it!

If you want more detail, then a telescope and astrophotography are probably the ways to go for an amateur. 

Right, enough of my ramblings! Instead, I urge you to take ten minutes of your day to watch his excellent video, it really will open your eyes to binocular astronomy and get a true feeling of what is possible to see:

What Does Space Look Like through Binoculars – video by Astrobuscuit

Opticron Imagic TGA WP 7x50 Binoculars

Opticron Imagic TGA WP 7x50 Binoculars
Opticron Imagic TGA WP 7x50 Binoculars

Note, in the video, Rory uses a pair of Opticron Imagic 7x50 binoculars. I have actually tested and reviewed 8x42 Imagic from Opticron, which actually went on to win the award for the Best Birding Binocular of 2018 however and even though the 8x42 roof prism version is very different from the 7x50 Porro prism, I am pretty sure that considering their low price point, they offer excellent “bang for your buck” and thus ideal for just about anyone interested or even just getting into bino astronomy.

Cost & Where to Buy
In the UK these can be found online at First Light Optics amongst other places where they are being offered for the incredible price of just £69, whilst in the US, take a look at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, and Optics Planet – see my links below:

More Alternatives

Also, be sure to take a look at my page on the Best 7x50 Binoculars for Astronomy where I list a number of excellent 7x50 binoculars in a wide range of price points.

This includes the popular Celestron Cometron 7x50 Binoculars, Nikon Aculon A211 7x50, and the Fujinon 7x50 FMT Polaris Binoculars.

Further Reading


Comments are closed.