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Chances are that, if you’re already seriously looking at the night sky as an amateur astronomer, you already own a telescope. Have you ever considered owning a good pair of astronomy binoculars like the Celestron SkyMaster 25×100 set? Now is the right time to give them some consideration.
We’ll take a look below at the SkyMaster 25×100 to see what they can and cannot do, so you can decide for yourself whether or not this is an investment you want to make in your sky gazing future.
If you see a link in the table below that especially interests you, just click it to jump to that section. To get all the details, just keep reading and scrolling.
Why Should I Consider Astronomy Binoculars at All?
Isn’t my telescope (assuming you own one or have access to one) good enough? Isn’t that all I really need?
It might be.
When I’ve looked through the single lens of my telescope for a fair amount of time, I get tired of squishing one eye shut so that I can see what’s out there in deep space with the other one.
It’s at that time that I wish I could keep both eyes open to peer into the blackness to find what I know is out there or perhaps to discover something new.
Maybe you can keep both eyes open when looking through a telescope, but I can’t. If you’re like me, I bet there are times when you wish your telescope had two lenses too.
Enter, binoculars for astronomy.
There are many binoculars models you can choose from that are specifically designed for night sky viewing. We’re going to examine one of the largest in the SkyMaster 25×100.
If you need a little guidance while looking through binoculars or a telescope regarding what all those tiny points of light actually are, check out these star charts that you can download for free.
You could argue that binoculars with a lower magnification than 25x are better than those with greater power. However, you have to combine that feature with all of the other aspects of a pair of binoculars to really determine which is best.
One of the other more important items to consider is the type of coating the manufacturer has applied to the glass surfaces. Coatings mainly prevent light from reflecting off the glass surface. You want as much light as possible to pass through the glass instead.
Fully multi-coated (all surfaces have several layers of coating) is the best, but those specified as fully coated (all surfaces get at least one coat) and multi-coated (some surfaces have several layers) are often acceptable as well.
What’s So Great about the Celestron SkyMaster 25×100?
Well, first of all, I haven’t claimed these are great binoculars. They are good, but you might not consider them great or the best astronomy binoculars.
Being a very large pair of binoculars, they do weigh a lot – 140 ounces, which is 8.75 pounds!
They come with a tripod mount for a good reason. You will need a tripod to use these binoculars. Some users have reported problems attaching the binoculars and keeping them locked in place when using the suggested tripod (as you’ll see elsewhere), so you might want to shop around a bit, if you don’t already own one that you can use for this purpose.
Since we’re talking about using both eyes for viewing, I should mention that you can adjust the horizontal distance between the two tubes of the binoculars. Technically this is called the inter-pupillary distance. You can set that distance anywhere between 56 millimeters and 72 millimeters, which should allow for all but the closest-set or the farthest-set pair of eyes.
The eye relief, which is how far away from the eyepiece lenses you can be and still find them useful, is 15 millimeters. So you should be able to keep your glasses on while using these binoculars if you prefer viewing that way. This can really be handy if you wear reading glasses like me and need them to see other close objects as soon as you move away from the binoculars.
Each of the tubes of the SkyMaster has its own focusing mechanism. When adjusting them for the first time, you might have to close one eye as if looking through a telescope. This should only be a one-time event though, unless someone else gets to use them too. Once you have set each tube according to the strength of each of your eyes, you focus them on the target just as you would any pair of binoculars.
Earlier I mentioned the coatings that manufacturers add to their glass pieces. Celestron chose to make the SkyMaster 25×100 binoculars multi-coated. While this isn’t the top of the line as far as coating is concerned, it does appear to work well enough here. The fact that the internal prisms use the best glass type available, BaK-4, certainly helps with that.
It’s probably going to be a rare instance when you would have these binoculars near any significant amount of water, but you should know that they are only water resistant, not waterproof. If you’re viewing the night sky, it’s not going to be raining. If you’re using them on a tripod, you’re probably not setting that tripod next to a stream, river, pond, or lake.
Are the SkyMaster 25x100s Right for Me?
These binoculars are not really made for the beginning amateur astronomer. But then, if you’re even considering getting a pair of astronomy binoculars this large, you’re most likely not in the beginner category anymore.
Some buyers have noted quality control problems – loose parts, focusing issues – with these binoculars, but this appears to be a rare problem.
Celestron’s warranty covers repairs or replacement in cases of defective components, so getting a new pair (while a bit of a nuisance) should not be difficult.
If this isn’t enough power for you, you might want to look at one of these telescopes instead.