Astronomy kit reviews.

Must-have products for budding and experienced astronomers alike.

1. Binoculars: Imagic TGA WP 10×50. Cost: £179/$287 From: www.opticron.co.uk

This excellent pair of waterproof binoculars from Opticron is the perfect companion for the discerning astronomer. The Imagic TGA WP 10×50 porro prism binoculars look and feel fantastic, with some handy rubber moulds ensuring you’ll be able to observe in comfort while peering at the night sky. The views you’ll get through these binoculars are also superb; BAK4 prisms and fully multicoated optics make observations clean and clear. A long eye-relief and retractable eye-cup assembly only add to the style and comfort, and if that wasn’t enough a tripod adaptor socket allows you to set the binoculars up on a tripod for more stable and steady views of the cosmos. An excellent product all round that will more than please any level of astronomer.

2. Book: A Down To Earth Guide To The Cosmos. Cost: £17/$27. From: www.transworldbooks.co.uk

Penned by our featured interviewee this month (Stargazing Lives Mark Thompson, page 90), A Down To Earth Guide To The Cosmos is a fantastic book that’s perfect for both those interested in the science of the stars and those looking to do some observing themselves. Inside, the book is split into 12 chapters, each covering a month of the year. The chapters are further sub-divided into sections on interesting astronomical objects and tips on what to observe that month.

It’s wonderfully written and accessible to astronomers of all ages and levels, so whether you want to find out more about the universe or you just want some advice on what to look out for, this brilliant book is definitely worth picking up.

3. Scope: SkyWatcher Infinity 76. Cost: £35/$55. From: www.sherwoods-photo.com

Don’t be fooled by the price or the look of the Infinity 76. Beneath the childlike exterior is a remarkably brilliant 76mm. Newtonian reflector that will pleasantly surprise you. It’s a compact telescope that is designed in such a way that children of all ages (or even adults) will find it accessible and engaging. The whole thing is bottom heavy and rotates on the included stand, while the x30 eyepiece is more than good enough to view the Moon, Jupiter and much more. To focus you simply twist the eyepiece, while the head of the ‘scope detaches to reveal the primary mirror inside. It’s the perfect product for some quick and simple observations, and thoroughly deserving of our Editor’s Choice award this month.

4. Tripod: Celestron Vibration Suppression Pads. Cost: £55/$65. From: www.sherwoods-photo.com

If you have ever had trouble with a shaky mount while trying to look through your telescope then you’ll want to think about picking up these vibration suppression pads from Celestron. Their application is simple: just place the legs of the tripod on the pads, which themselves can be put on anything from wood to concrete to grass, and the pads will counteract any movement when you touch the scope to keep the whole assembly stable. They work well and will ensure that you can keep viewing the night sky with ease. Another application for them is to use them as a marker in your back garden for where to place your telescope if you’ve found a particularly good spot that you enjoy observing from.

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