Astronomy As A Hobby

viewingBeginners in amateur astronomy are faced with a number of different challenges. One of the most daunting is the choice of a telescope.

There are countless to choose from and too often there is minimum information on selecting the best one to buy for your specific needs and wants.Clearly, numerous newcomers to the hobby of amateur astronomy are often bewildered by the numerous types of telescopes available on the market and their cost. Fear not, you can get a good reliable telescope with all accessories today, and a long warranty, for under $400.

Astronomy is a fun hobby in which numerous enthusiasts just enjoy looking up at the sky. But if you are more serious than that, then you will need to pick out a telescope. Books and magazines about amateur astronomy are written which can be a good source of information.

Some of the additional popular magazines are Australian Astronomy Magazine, Astronomy Now, and Popular Astronomy. You will find clearly written, authoritative, and scientifically sound articles that will cover both science and hobby activities in amateur astronomy. But you will need a reliable astronomy telescope to enjoy the fascinating hobby of star gazing.
In addition to books and magazines, you will be able to get acceptable advice at a local retailer that sells telescopes. Beware, however, that the thoughts you get at a retailer will be biased towards the products and brands that they carry.

Another interesting thought is the astronomy club in your local area. Geraldton has one run by Ken Lawson. Membership is usually open to all those interested in pursuing astronomy as a hobby. They are the best opportunity for people new to the hobby of amateur astronomy to ask questions – and they’ve got some BIG scopes too!

Have you noticed, the nights are getting longer, and warmer. Mums and dads are dusting off their shorts and tee shirts and getting outside to admire the unbeatable Australian night sky

Have you noticed, the nights are getting longer, and warmer.
Mums and dads are dusting off their shorts and tee shirts and getting outside to admire the nbeatable Australian night sky

Numerous regional star parties are now held by the local clubs and are an essential part of the hobby of amateur astronomy. And for a raw beginner to this fascinating hobby of amateur astronomy, there are countless beautiful objects to ‘discover’ for the first time. Since the hobby of amateur astronomy is one of sharing views with friends and strangers, you are sure to meet numerous new friends who will share your passion and curiosity.

Because viewing of stars and other heavenly bodies is adversely affected by light pollution, clubs will also know the best places from which to enjoy your hobby. So, what are the best sights for astronomy?  A new beginner or intermediate handbook for stargazers is the “Guide to Stars and Planets” by Patrick Moore. The best sky objects are laid out in this book and you’ll find tips on what telescope to buy and how to set up an observatory for yourself at home.

So, realistically, what can you see this spring? Glad you asked. The Moon will be dazzlingly bright and sharp with a lifetime of detail to explore.  The planets will look very small, even with high power, but if you’re patient you’ll be surprised how much colour and subtle detail will be revealed, especially during brief moments when our atmosphere is steady.

All of your observing will be easier and richer with the help of good over the counter sky software like Starry Night.  Here’s a tip – if you go to www.stellarium.org you can download a program almost as good. I use it all the time. It’s easy to use, and free to download.

Take your time and really observe an object. Give your eyes time to adapt to the dark. This technique probably cannot be overstated. Then spend 2-3 minutes studying what’s in your field of view, it’ll reveal vastly more detail than simply glancing at an object then hurrying on to the next.  Written by: Dave Reneke

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