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Astronomy for Beginners
Well, firstly, LOOK UP! (But not while you’re driving) lol😆
You’d be amazed at how much you can see with the naked eye when you look up at the night sky on a clear night.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with little or no light pollution. No Street lights, City lights, Highways etc . Then you might be lucky enough to see the Smokey band of The Milky Way stretch out overhead.
what you’re looking at are Planets, Stars, Nebulas , Galaxies, Pulsars, Red Giants, White Dwarfs and the gases that make up one of the spiral arms of our own Galaxy.
One particular Red Giant Star, Canis Majoris, is so Massive it would take 1100 years to fly around it once at Mach 2 (1000 miles an hour) It is so huge it could engulf our entire solar system. The planets and our Sun. Yet it is only one of billions of stars in our Galaxy.
Gives you some idea of just how massive our Universe is. Incredible !!!
I digress. Now you have taken a good look at our night sky You might want to know what you’re looking at?
The best way to learn about the stars, planets and Space is to Gen up. Obtain as much knowledge as you can from the many books available in your library, in shops and online.
The book that helped me the most, when I started stargazing, was The BBC SKY AT NIGHT Magazine. It’s released once a month. It shares amazing facts on the Universe. The latest Space Travel and upcoming Stellar events.
The best part are the monthly Star Charts and things to find section. For example. In The things to see with Binoculars. There’s a list of things to look out for in the months night sky . There’s also a check box and you cross off “seen it”. It’s a great way of recording all of your sightings and you can refer back to them if you’ve forgotten what you’ve seen. Which is easily done with all the billions of things there are to see.
There is a ‘What to see with your Telescope” section too.
Download the Star walk or Solar walk App
on your IPhone/IPad or android. You can get the free versions to start. However the paid versions only cost £2.29. These are cool apps that help you find , identify and get information on what you’re looking at.
The apps are very easy to use. Once open you simply point your phone or iPad at the night sky and you can identify planets, constellations, nebulas, galaxies, star clusters and even track satellites like ISS (International Space Station).
Zoom in or out to get a closer look at the subject. Click on “I” button to get information. Name, Size. Mass, brightness, etc.
They have a Red light function so that you don’t get too much glare and spoil your night viewing. Which means that your eyes don’t have to keep readjusting from bright screen to dark sky.
These apps are fantastic tools for observing. Especially when used in conjunction with a pair of binoculars or Telescope (more on that later).
Join Astronomy Forums.
Astronomy Forums are a fantastic resource to get information on all things Astronomy. There are amateur and professional Astronomers at all levels .
Do you want to know the best way to set up your Telescope ?
What eyepieces are best to view Deep Sky Objects ?
How to collimate your Telescope ?
The latest Galactical Event ?
The friendly people on the Forums can tell you anything you need to know.
I am a member of Cloudy Nights Astronomy Forum. Go ahead and join. It’s Free !!!
Get to know the Constellations.
We all know the Sun and the moon but try to get to know the other planets in our solar system. Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn are all visible with the naked eye. The others are a bit more difficult to see but with a decent pair of binoculars or Telscope you should be able to see most of them. Use your Star walk app to see which ones are in your night sky tonight.
There are patterns of Stars that make up Constellations. You probably know them more as signs of the zodiac. Taurus, Capricorn, Leo etc. There are many other Constellations too . The most well known are Orion, Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) and Cassiopeia . You can find these Constellations on your Star walk App.
Now that you have mastered a few constellations and some of the brightest stars. You can start to navigate your way around the night sky.
You will now want find Star clusters, Nebulas and deep sky objects.
Binoculars are Great to see the stars and planets ! It’s amazing the first time you see Saturn and its rings or Jupiter and its moons. The Pleadies and Orions Nebula through binoculars is just mind blowing !
I got my first set of night viewing binoculars from Ebay second- hand, for £20.00. The best £20.00 I ever spent.P
So , which Binoculars should you get? When starting out You don’t need to get the biggest, most powerful and expensive ones. After consulting the Astronomy forums, the senses of opinion was , Get a good make like Olympus or Celestron. With a 10×50 magnification.
I recently purchased a pair of Olympus 10×50 DPS. I tried them out in Dartmoor on a clear night sky with no light pollution and, I have to say, the view was Spectacular!
So there it is . Quite a comprehensive guide to getting started in Astronomy. I hope you found this page useful ?
please feel free to comment and share.
Next Page…. SUPER TELESCOPES !