Our top 10 space sights you can see with just binoculars

7. Lagoon Nebula

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The Lagoon Nebula (M8) is one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky. A nebula is an interstellar cloud where new stars are formed. You can just make it out as a faint smudge with your naked eyes but through binoculars you make out the cloud and core of the stellar nursery.

How do I find it?

Those of us in the UK will only be able to see M8 during the last two months of the year but sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. It’s in the Sagittarius constellation, near the spout of the teapot.

6. Saturn

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Sometimes the most amazing sights in the night sky are the ones that are relatively nearby and Saturn is among the best. Sadly you need a telescope to see its rings (I seriously fell off my chair when I first saw them with my own eyes) but you can still get a surprisingly good view of the planet through binoculars. You’ll be able to see the golden colour and if you’re very lucky you might spot Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, orbiting the gas giant. If you buy very big binoculars and steady them on a tripod you might even see that Saturn isn’t perfectly round!

How do I find it?

You can memorise where galaxies and nebulae are but planets are always on the move. That’s where they get their name; they’re wanderers. You’ll have to use an app or website like Astronomy Now’s UK Sky Chart to find out where to look.

5. Orion Nebula

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The Orion Nebula (M42) is a beautiful and bright area of star-formation. It’s an interstellar cloud of gas like the Lagoon Nebula but this one is only about 1,300 light years away making it the closest stellar nursery to Earth. It’s such a busy area of the night sky that astronomers have discovered lots of phenomena inside including brown dwarfs and protoplanetary discs. You can just see it as a smudge with the naked eye but binoculars make it much more obvious.

How do I find it?

Unsurprisingly, the Orion Nebula is in the Orion constellation. It’s quite easy to find as it’s on Orion’s sword and slightly below Orion’s belt.

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