How to Get Started in Amateur Astronomy

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As beginners in astronomy, we might feel a bit inadequate sometimes in the front of the amazing universe up there. Making choices might sound hard when considering what is needed to get a good start.

Luckily, getting started is not hard at all, simply getting the right telescope, supplies, and learning materials get things rolling! Choosing the right telescope is the subject of other articles I have written. I hope to point you to the right supplies and learning materials in this article.

Choosing A Good Primer To Astronomy

The good news is that there really isn’t a hard learning curve in astronomy. It is fairly straight-forward, so there is no reason to be skeptical of your ability to master the hobby.

Astronomy For All Ages – is a book by Globe Pequot Press, and it is an excellent choice. This book covers everything you need to know about basic astronomy. It is a book that also a young teenager can follow easily.

The subjects covered in it are valuable and straightforward, taking you through a step by step introduction to the space, planets, equipment and theory.

As a primer, this book will teach the necessary lessons you need to go forward, even to the point of upgrading to a new telescope with more advanced technical features. It also helps understanding how a telescope works and how it could be expanded or upgraded, or what kind of telescope your should buy next.

As a beginner, there is no idea to buy a high-end telescope with camera attachments and computer controlled tracking systems. Those could costs thousands and even more. But, I am sure that Astral Photography will become a logical next step. Therefore, it might be an good idea to avoid the cheapest equipment as most likely those can not be upgraded. In the worst case cheap telescope could ruin whole start and interest in this hobby with blurry images. My recommendation is to start with for example equipment such as Orion 9024 AstroView or similar.

Star Charts

Another thing you will need is a star chart. I began with a simple set of printed charts and learned to read them simply by studying the instructions that came with them. A good choice is published by American Educational Products LLC, and entitled, American Educational Products Seasonal Star Charts with Luminous Star Finder.  This chart is fairly straight-forward and easy to use.

Another good choice would be The Observer’s Sky Atlas: With 50 Star Charts Covering the Entire Sky, by Erich Karkoschka. This book of charts comes in at the very reasonable price. This is an excellent option also. Give it serious consideration.

There are many software driven options for learning planetary positioning and star chart reading. A very good choice would be Win*Star Express V3 by Matrix Software.

This is a deluxe option and very easy to follow. Several well-known astronomers were involved in the creation of this platform. It’s probably the best option if you prefer using computers for learning as I do personally.

PS. The public library is another source of quality information! In most libraries, there is an amazingly good selection of books about astronomy. How long time ago you have visited your local library last time?

Telescope Accessories

Obviously, you will need the telescope at some stage, at least when you are sure that you are going deep in astronomy! Even as a beginner certain accessories should be considered. Each telescope manufacturer has specific accessories available for their telescopes.

For the basics, you should be looking for:

  • A Lens Cap for both ends of your scope
  • Multiple secondary lenses for you to increase the viewing power.
  • Lens filters. The lens filters are attachments to the secondary lenses, allowing you to look at bright objects like the moon, and bringing out contrasts. It enhances viewing pleasure and the aesthetics of the individual object being viewed.

As an example, I will point to an accessory case a set you can view online at your convenience. Go to Amazon. Cameras category and there Orion Telescope Accessories subcategory. Now, look for example: “Orion 1.25-Inch Premium Telescope Accessory Kit“. What you can see there, is a very good example about accessories you will need.

Remember, each telescope is specific, although some sizes will work on other telescopes, however, it is better to get those designed for your scope.

Share your hobby with your family!

I hope this article has helped you Getting started in Astronomy and reinforced your interest in Astronomy as a hobby. Remember, this is a great hobby you can share it with family and friends. BTW If you have children, it would be a great idea to teach them basics of astronomy while you are also learning. Take advantage of it, it will be a very rewarding journey for all of you.

If you have any questions or comments about how to get started and what you need, please leave a reply below!

Share this now, thank you!

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