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One of the easiest ways to take a spacewalk without ever leaving Earth is to scan the night sky with binoculars from the comfort of a reclining lounge chair on a clear, dark night. But for the best experience, you better make sure those binoculars are actually designed for astronomy. To see our picks for the best binoculars of various sizes and specialties, read our Best All-Around Binoculars for 2018 wrap-up. If you'd like help picking for yourself, there are a few things you need to know.
Your eyes are marvelously adapted for sensing light and color, and for reacting to bright and dark. But it's your brain that builds your moving picture of the world.
Stereo - Eyes - Perception
You see in stereo. But your two eyes give you more than just depth perception.
True, the differences in data between your left and right eyes are integrated into depth information by your busy mind. Even though the vast distances of the universe make it challenging to perceive depth, if you inform yourself in advance with some knowledge about the objects you are going to be observing, you can begin to see the universe in 3D. Binoculars make this mental gymnastics faster and easier.
Binoculars - Extensions - Brain - Circuits - Task
Binoculars are like eyeball extensions, keeping all your brain's visual circuits focused on the task of enjoying the wonders of space. Keeping both eyes walled off from distracting information plays a happy trick on your mental computer.
Depending on the pair you pick, you could see 25 or even 50 times more stars with binoculars than with your unaided eyes. This is not due to the magnification alone, but to the phenomenon of perceptive narrowing driving a flow state. Some people use the term focus, or clarity, to describe the feeling. But it's not an illusion; it's a measurable effect.
Telescopes - Objects
Telescopes do make objects look...
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