Binoculars are used to view objects from long distances away. Mainly used in hobbies such as hunting or bird watching, they are a useful visual aid. The literal meaning of the word binoculars comes from Latin and means ‘two eyes’. Binoculars are basically two identical telescopes that are juxtaposed and facing the same direction. In contrast to a typical telescope, when using binoculars, you use both eyes without needing to close one and the image viewed is three dimensional. Binoculars typically consist of three main components. The first is the smallest lens called the eyepiece lens which is the part held to the eye. The next is the objective lens which is furthest away from your eye and is also the largest. The final part is the prism which is inside of the binocular itself. This is very important and functions as a mirror. A prism is a solid piece made from glass. As it does not have a mirror’s usual reflective back it is able to refract the light. There are different types of prisms that can alter and affect the quality of the final image that reaches your eye.
Binoculars work by refracting light using these three essential parts. The objective lens obtains light from the object being viewed and amplifies it in order to bring it into focus in the eyepiece where it is can be viewed as a visible image. However, these two lenses alone are not enough as this image would be the wrong way around. To ensure the picture you receive is not upside down the prism is used to correct the image before it reaches your eyes. If you look through a pair of binoculars the wrong way, for example, through the objective lens, images appear tiny and much further away than the actual reality.
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