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Is a Spotting Scope Good For Astronomy/Stargazing

Is a Spotting Scope Good For Astronomy/Stargazing

If you want to do some stargazing but you don’t have a telescope, is there anything else you can use. Could you maybe use a spotting scope for your amature astronomy instead?

While they’re not quite as powerful as a traditional telescope, spotting scopes certainly can be used for stargazing. With the right size objective lens and apature, you can get closer to the stars just by pointing your scope up.

If you’re interested in using your spotting scope for stargazing but you’re not sure if yours will work, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ll review what spotting scopes are usually used for and then breakdown how they can be repurposed for stargazing. We’ll even give you our recommendation for the best stargazing spotting scope.

What are Spotting Scopes Usually Used For?

Spotting scopes are used to view just about anything that’s too far away to see clearly with the naked eye. They’re used for surveying, hunting, birdwatching and even amature astronomy.

That’s right, one of their main uses is actually as a sort of “portable telescope.” So if you want to stargaze with yours, you’re in luck.

How Do You Use a Spotting Scope for Stargazing?

So now that we know that we can use a spotting scope for stargazing, let’s get into how it can be used. What kinds of objects are best to look at through it? Does it have to be something close like the moon, or can you use it to see far-off objects like Saturn’s rings or even the stars?

Below we’ve put together five solid tips that will help you get the most out of your stargazing experience if you chose to use a spotting scope:

  • Use the scope to view things near and far: Feel free to explore everything. You should be able to easily zoom in on planets and stars. You can even take the time to check out saturns rings if that appeals to you.
  • Use a tall tripod: Spotting scopes are normally used to gaze at objects that are more level with use than the stars. Therefore, they have to be pointed directly up when you’re doing amateur astronomy/stargazing. This is easiest to do if you have a tall tripod to balance them on.
  • Use the right size lens and aperture: If you still haven’t settled on which spotting scope you’d like to purchase, find one with an objective lens of at least 70mm. This will allow more light in and a better viewing experience at night. 

If you have the right spotting scope, most everything else is pretty self explanatory. Just make sure you wait for a nice clear night so you can get a really good view.

What is the Best Spotting Scope for Stargazing?

Our pick for the best “astronomy” spotting scope has to go to the Celestron Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope.

With it’s clear picture and 66x100mm zoom, you’ll really be able to see all that a spotting scope can offer to a stargazing experience.

Is a Spotting Scope as Good as a Telescope?

Your average spotting scope isn’t going to be as powerful as your average telescope. Still, there are many benefits that also come along with that. Below we’ve made a brief list of some of the benefits of using a spotting scope instead of a telescope.

  • Ease of use: A spotting scope provides a great entry point into telescopes, because they are similar but still far easier to use.
  • Portability: It’s much easier to whip out your spotting scope than it is to go through the sometimes long process of setting up a telescope. If you want to stargaze while camping, this could be indispensable.
  • Easy zoom: Zooming on a regular telescope involves removing lenses and placing on new ones. While it certainly pays off, it can also be a pain. With a spotting scope however, zooming is far easier and can be done without completely changing lenses.

Well we wouldn’t say a spotting scope is quite as effective at viewing the night sky as a telescope, it’s still a fantastic option that comes with its own set of benefits. 

So Really, Can You Use a Spotting Scope for Astronomy?

A spotting scope can make for a great tool to use in astronomy. Just make sure you get one with an objective lens of at least 70mm for the best viewing experience.

All you really have to do to use it, is point it up and adjust the lens. It’s really that easy.