THE BEST BINOCULARS
Contrary to popular belief the first piece of skywatching equipment to buy is not a telescope but a pair of binoculars.
Ayone with an interest n the sky should own a pair of binoculars. Many people mistakenly think that binoculars cannot be as good as a telescope because they do not magnify enough. True, binoculars magnify only 10 to 20 times at best—not enough to show details on the planets or resolve small clusters of stars. But their modest magnifying and light-gathering power is more than enough to reveal many of the sky's most interesting objects.
A three-day-old Moon set in the deep blue twilight and bathed in earthshine is an ideal binocular target. Using binoculars, you can see three or four of Jupiter's moons and even spot Uranus and Neptune as pale blue-green "stars." Dozens of asteroids come within reach of binoculars each year, while bright comets look spectacular.
No astronomical life is complete without a binocular tour of the fabulous dark lanes and star clouds near the center of our galaxy in Sagittarius and Scorpius. With binoculars, you can even range out past the Andromeda Galaxy to the bright galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, 50 million light- years away. Not bad for an instrument costing only about a quarter of the price of a standard beginner's telescope.