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Binoculars and Telescopes

There's a wonderful world and universe out there for anyone willing to see it. Both binoculars and telescopes serve to bring that experience closer to the viewer's eyes so you can see everything in greater detail. From birds to the Southern Cross, these instruments can open you up to the wonder of nature like nothing else because they let you see it with your own eyes.

Reflectors and Refractors

There are two basic ways to magnify an image: reflection and refraction; also known as mirrors and lenses. Reflector telescopes use mirrors to focus light from a larger area into the eyepiece, while refractors use curved lenses to do the same thing. Some telescopes, as well as many binoculars, use both lenses and mirrors for magnification.


Most people use binoculars for outdoor hobbies like birding and hunting; they are also good for getting a closer look at the field if you're watching the match from the cheap seats. While magnification matters, it's also important to consider things like image clarity. Higher magnification brings more detail, and a larger objective means you get more light. Do be aware that more magnification means a smaller field of view.


The simplest telescopes are reflectors. You have an open tube with a mirror at one end and an eyepiece on the side. They are compact, but pack a lot of light-gathering power into that small space. Refracting telescopes are usually heavier, but they are more rugged because the optics are safely sealed away inside the tube. They usually gather less light, but you can also look at things here on Earth. Compound telescopes feature both kinds of optics, and are best for photography.


Whether you are a birder or an astronomer, you are going to need some accessories to get the most out of your new optics. When you're looking for telescope parts and accessories you want to start with a tripod; it's hard to get a good view of the stars when you''re holding up the scope. For binocular accessories, don't forget your case and straps. You want two straps; one for the case and one for the binoculars when they're out of the case.

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