Binoculars are a perfect way to familiarize yourself with the night sky. The advantage to using binoculars rather than a telescope is two-fold: for one, you get binary vision! No bending over and squinting through the eyepiece. You get to use both of your eyes. Another benefit is that they (typically) provide a larger field of view (FOV), meaning you can see more Big Bang for your buck.

If you decide to invest in a pair of binoculars, buy a decent pair from well-known manufacturers, and don’t buy anything too big. Big means they’ll be heavy and cumbersome, and you’ll want to be able to hold them comfortably.

When purchasing binoculars, you’ll see numbers that read 15x70 or something similar to that. The first number is the magnification (how many times closer something will appear). The second is the aperture, or diameter of the objective lens (the one at the front) in millimeters. You might think that bigger numbers are better. But you need to ask yourself what you want to do with your binoculars. Do you want to lie back in your lawnchair and check out the stars? If so, too heavy and you won’t be able to hold them for very long. Sure, you might get better views, but they won’t last long, and most likely it’ll look like the stars are dancing through your view once your arms get too tired (which won’t be long!).  If you want to put them on a tripod, you’ll have no problem getting a larger pair.

A good guide on Binoculars can be found Gary Seronik's website.