Looking Up: Getting Started With Astronomy

Astronomy has always been a fascinating subject and if you ask any third grader what they’ll want to be when they grow up, they’ll tell you with great confidence that they’ll want to be astronomers. Nothing beats the feeling of observing huge giants of planets gravitating our earth or the mere fact that our planet is just but a speck in the galaxy! Studying astronomy will help you to better understand the various aspects of your existence. Nations have invested a lot of resources in the pursuit to learn what lies beyond the horizons. This has helped to satisfy mankind’s curiosity and answer some of the biggest life questions.

Astronomy in its entirety is the cream de la cream of all sciences. Kids as small as first graders should know about their world and what it means to be part of the bigger picture. For ages, man has strived to understand the stars, planets, and the effects other planets have on his surroundings and all this while looking up.

So, what do you need to get started with astronomy?

1. Investing In the Right Optical Aids

To view distant astronomical objects, you’ll need to invest in the right telescope. Nothing will destroy your stargazing experience faster than a bad telescope. With so many options out there, your investment decision can seem like a difficult one. To that end, don’t settle for anything that looks cheap or defective. Investing in the right telescope will help you to discover, learn, and tell stories about what lies beyond the Milky Way. So, what makes a good telescope?

Below are factors you need to consider when investing in the right telescope:

  • Computerized telescopes – One of the most important factors to consider when investing in a telescope is whether it’s computerized. This is an important feature that will allow you to distinctly identify and analyze celestial data. Peter Thompson from Astronomy for Beginners insists that the best computerized telescope for you should be of the best quality delivering a user-friendly stargazing experience like no other. A computerized telescope will allow you to track celestial objects with real-time data-loading features.
  • The mount – Your telescope kit should include a telescope mount. This will help in stabilizing the images in view. Today, advancements in technology have allowed telescope manufacturers to include tracking functionality features on computerized telescopes. These functionalities have also been enabled on the telescope mount.
  • Portability – you, of course, want to invest in a telescope you can easily move from one location to the other. It needs to be compact and light.
  • Aperture – Before investing in a telescope, be sure to check the quality of the aperture. In telescope terms, the larger the aperture the better.

2. Learning the Skies

The next step will be about learning your constellation. When it comes to hunting down planets and stars, it’s important that you hunt what you can identify. This will make it easier for you when it comes to identifying and memorizing unfamiliar celestial objects. This can be done by joining an astronomy club, whether online or offline. This is a great place to learn, make friends, and trade equipment.

Astronomy is all about observing. It’s important that you start your learning process with your naked eyes. This is a great starting point as it will allow you to understand and appreciate your surroundings. In addition to this, it will also allow you to recognize how various stars change with time and in different seasons. You need to learn your way around the stars at different times of the day too.

3. Learning through Others

It’s most likely that there are astronomers within your location who’d be willing to share their findings with you. There are also online astronomy societies you can benefit from. Anyone who shows an interest in astronomy and is willing to share their research in astronomy is always welcome in such forums.

4. Having Fun While At It

The first thing you’ll need to do is lose your ego. Things will not always go your way. This is especially the case when the weather is involved. So, don’t feel compelled to accomplish your observations in a single night. It’s a work in progress and the best that you can do is to have fun while at it.

Finally, in your inherent pursuit for what’s out there, astronomy is perhaps the only way you can quench your curiosity. The most important thing, however, is to preserve your data, keep a record of your findings, and research. You never know how significant these will be in the future.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.
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