When it comes to viewing the night sky, there is no wrong way to do it. Astronomy is one of the most fascinating scientific studies. It is also easily among the most beautiful. While there is much to see with the naked eye, including constellations and planets, there is simply nothing that compares with seeing these heavenly bodies magnified. For the highest payoff in astronomy binoculars and telescopes have few equals.
While binoculars certainly do magnify the night sky, they may not be powerful enough for the discerning amateur astronomer. Binoculars are fantastic for bringing things on earth closer, but there are no astronomy binoculars. What this means is that you would be hard-pressed to find a set of binoculars that truly do justice to the amazing stars and planets that have the potential to be seen in all of their glory, and can therefore be called astronomy binoculars. Binoculars are certainly not worthless, and if you can not afford a telescope but are still interested in astronomy binoculars are definitely better than the naked eye. Astronomy binoculars, however, can not compare with a telescope when it comes to viewing the stars in all of their glory.
There are various kinds of telescopes and a trip to the local science store or a glance at the internet may certainly scare somebody who is just starting to get into stargazing. There are "refractive" telescopes, which use two lenses that refract light and enlarge the image. This type of telescope has been around for centuries and is certainly a great concept, but there are better options than refracting telescopes. If you have monetary difficulties, or perhaps are just unwilling to spend larger amounts of money on this hobby, a refracting telescope will still offer you plenty of enjoyment.
There is also what is known as a "Newtonian telescope". This is a bit more advanced than a refracting telescope, using extra mirrors and concave lenses. Essentially, this is the basic telescope that we see in use often these days. The technology may be old but it is still certainly sound. These telescopes have also become very affordable in recent years because of the advancement of technology.
The Maksutov telescope is evidence that progress has certainly been made regarding telescope technology. Once extremely expensive, this type of telescope has come down in price in recent years as well, and the size of the telescope has also dwindled finally into something that the layman can carry around.
At any rate, the thing to be aware of is that you do not necessarily have to buy a telescope to enjoy astronomy. You do however; have to buy a set of astronomy binoculars or a telescope to enjoy astronomy in all of its glory. Just try not to break the bank. Gauge your passion for this beautiful craft, and then spend accordingly.