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How to make the most of stargazing at Mt Mulligan Lodge

At Mt Mulligan Lodge, the activities are endless and they all have one thing in common: they shine a spotlight on the beauty of the Australian outback. They’re not limited to daylight hours, either. When night falls, the stars shine bright from the inky darkness making the lodge the perfect place for stargazing.

We have two astronomy experiences to choose from, and our guides will help you to spot constellations, interstellar clouds and the Milky Way with our resident telescope. If you’re a keen astronomer or simply wish to take your celestial appreciation up a notch, we highly recommend bringing a pair of astro binoculars to make your experience even more memorable.

We asked the experts at Ted’s Cameras for the lowdown on stargazing binoculars, and their top picks.

Star Gazing Queensland

How do binoculars work?

At first glance, all binoculars look the same — but each pair has its own specs and features. Ted’s binocular buying guide dives into the finer details, but here are the key things to know.

Firstly, all binoculars are described by two numbers with an “x” in between, such as 16×50 or 8×40. The first number refers to the magnification the binoculars offer, while the second is the size of the objective (or front) lens of the binoculars in millimetres. Since stargazing is a long-distance, low-light activity, you want to look for a pair of binoculars with a large objective lens. These lenses let in more light and detail, illuminating the sky and helping you see star clusters and planets clearer.

Secondly, most binoculars fall into two categories based on their design. Porro prism binoculars are the most popular. They offer a clear, detailed view but they’re typically larger and bulkier than their roof prism counterparts. Roof prism binoculars are compact and travel-friendly, but because of that they’re more expensive.

Photo by Alistair MacKenzie

How to choose binoculars for stargazing

Ultimately, the best binoculars for astronomy comes down to what you want to see in the sky. When you’re narrowing down your options, pay close attention to these features.

Lens size. Above all, good binoculars for astronomy let in as much light as possible. That way, you’ll be able to clearly see the stars and other constellations, even if the sky is inky black — like it is in the outback! We suggest choosing a pair of binoculars with a 50mm objective lens or larger. Anything less than that, and your stargazing experience may not be as impressive.

Magnification. The other important spec to consider is magnification, and it’s a personal preference. If you want to view the night sky as a whole, a small magnification like 8x should fit the bill. But if you want to zoom up to specific sections of the sky, go for a greater magnification like 10x or 20x. It’s amazing how close the stars will appear, even though they’re literally light years away!

When you combine these specs, the best binoculars for stargazing come in these sizes: 10×50, 12×50, 15×50 and even 20×60. It’s also worth picking a pair with a wide field of view (FOV), so you can fit as much scenery as possible into your frame.

6 of the best binoculars for stargazing

Ted’s Cameras has a range of specially-designed astronomy binoculars to suit all budgets and experience levels. They also have a rental program, so you can try before you buy — and what better way to do that than taking your binoculars to the lodge!

These are our top binoculars for astronomy beginners to enthusiasts:

Star Gazing in Queensland

Our top stargazing tips for beginners

Once you have your binoculars in hand, spend some time setting yourself up for your stargazing experience. The astronomy guides at Mt Mulligan Lodge will be able to answer any questions you have and help you find the best stargazing spots on the property.

These are our tips for having a stargazing experience you won’t forget:

  1. Choose your vantage point before darkness falls. You want a clear view of the sky that’s free from buildings, trees, power lines and other obstructions. The higher up you are, the better your view will be, so don’t be afraid to ask the staff about the best place to see stars.
  2. Go stargazing on a clear, calm night. Even though the lodge is remote and secluded, you run the risk of seeing cloud cover if you go stargazing on a stormy or overcast night.
  3. Download a stargazing app. If you’re planning your stay around stargazing, it’s a good idea to download a stargazing app. These apps monitor lunar events that could coincide with your trip, like moon phases.
  4. Set simple goals. During your first stargazing session, focus on spotting larger objects in the sky, such as the mood. When you feel comfortable with your binoculars, you can try to find constellations and minute landmarks.
  5. Clean your binoculars regularly. Just like cameras, you want to clean any dirt and dust from your binoculars and keep the lenses in good condition.

Photo by Sean Scott

Book an astronomy experience now

We can’t wait for you to experience the night sky from our boutique lodge in Far North Queensland. For an unforgettable getaway, contact our experienced team to book one of our signature stargazing experiences or to customise your own.

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