Getting started in astronomy without breaking the bank.
First Things FirstMake sure astronomy is really your thing. Go outside and look up. It’s free, and it’ll give you an idea of whether or not you’re really interested in astronomy enough to spend some real money. If you’re bored after 5 minutes, observational astronomy may not be for you!
You neverknow what you might see Red lights dont kill your night vision Stretch a red balloon over a flashlight
Start finding your way aroundGet a star chart or planisphere http://kepler.nasa.gov/education/starwheel/ http://www.skymaps.com/ http://www.vcas.org/star-wheels.html
Start finding your way aroundGet some planetarium software Free and good: http://www.stellarium.org/ Free with more features but not as pretty http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ Not free but excellent: Starry Night http://www.starrynight.com/
Digging DeeperGet a basic book Timothy Ferriss Seeing in the Dark Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson 365 Starry Nights by Chet Reymo HA Rey’s the Stars
Digging DeeperSubscribe to a magazine or other publication Astronomy Sky and Telescope http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/ Guy Ottewells Astronomical Calendar ¥ An annual publication
Digging DeeperJoin an Astronomy Club Astronomy Club at Eastern Michigan University University Lowbrow Astronomers Student Astronomical Society at the University of Michigan (primarily undergrads) Ford Amateur Astronomy Club More at http://astrosociety.org/resources/linkclubs3.html
Consider binocularsPros Cons Easy to use Limited aperture Upright images No expansion Good for other things May still want a tripod Inexpensive (relative to a telescope)
About BinocularsNumbers are Magnification X Aperture Bigger magnification = bigger image ¥ Also magnifies the shakes! Bigger aperature = BRIGHTER image ¥ For astronomy, brighter is importantConsider all uses Giant binoculars arent great at the football game
Ready For More?If you can find the Orion Nebula, binocularsarent cutting it anymore, and getting up at 4AM for a meteor shower doesnt sound crazy,you might be ready for a telescope
TelescopesAperture is important Bigger = brighter Too big and youll never use itMagnification is not Get a few good eyepieces
TelescopesTry it before you buy it! Star Parties like Astronomy at the Beach Local Observatories
Other resourcesSky&Tel Starting Right in Astronomy http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/b asics/3308331.htmlAstronomy Magazine website http://www.astronomy.com/en/News- Observing/Intro%20Sky.aspxASP resources http://astrosociety.org/resources/linkobserve.html
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