First of all, in case you didn’t know, you can use binoculars – any binoculars – to look at the sky: They’re lighter, easier to use, cheaper, and often better quality than entry-level telescopes.
What’s more, you can also use your iPhone, iPad and even GPS units to go stargazing.
Here’s quick look at stargazing beyond the telescope:
You can use pretty much any 7×50 (that’s 7x magnification, 50 mm wide lenses) binoculars for looking into space.
Because of the lower magnification, binoculars let you see more sky at once and – as a result – it’s easier to aim them and keep them aimed.
PLUS, sometimes, binoculars are the only way to get a closer look at really big objects, like the Milky Way or a comet with a particularly long tail.
Apps like StarWalk for the iPhone and iPad use the gyroscope in tablets to place a labelled version of the sky in front of you that moves as you move the screen around the real sky.
You can also zoom in and “surf” around different areas of the night sky and click on each for more information.
While GPS-based star finders are better for accurately finding objects in the day or night sky, apps are better for “browsing” around the sky.
Either way, both types of next-gen starfinders are the new “killer app” for exploring the cosmos.