Binoculars have been in use for a considerable length of time and almost everyone will have used them at some point in their lives, even if only for a brief glimpse while they were passed around by a group.
However, the technology behind them remains mysterious to many.
Essentially, they are a pair of identical mirror-symmetrical telescopes that are mounted next to one another and aligned to point in the same direction.
This allows users to view with both of their eyes when they are looking at objects.
The majority of such devices are shaped and sized to be held using both hands, although some vary widely from small, light-weight models to large pedestal-mounted pairs – for example those used on occasion by the military.
Unlike telescopes, they provide a three-dimensional image and therefore allow users to get an impression of depth.
Binoculars have a range of uses, including general activities – such as observing animals and views for leisure purposes. This is one of the most common ways in which they are utilised and as the technology has fallen in price, they are now accessible for virtually anyone who wants a go.
In addition, the armed forces sometimes make use of them in a range of contexts, as do those engaged in range finding and people involved in astronomy.
Indeed, so prolific are the objects that we do not think twice when seeing them in use and it is easy to forget they have made such a substantial contribution to the way we live.