A Beginner’s guide to Astronomy

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Space is for everyone, it is a really amazing and wonderful subject for exploration. In childhood, you have seen images of stars, moon, and planets in books or newspapers. And they look really nice. But have you ever wished that you can actually witness all these objects with your eyes and explore the universe? and don’t know how to start and what to do to get into the field of astronomy, Then this article is going to be great for you.

In this article you will find how to start into astronomy if you are a beginner, what are the steps and measures you need to take if you really go deep into astronomy.

Don’t look for buying a new pair of telescope at first

  • If you are a new to astronomy, know nothing about this subject and planning to buy a telescope then this could be the worst step!
  • First know about the astronomy, how to find stars in the night sky, get familiar with night sky constellations, how night sky changes accoring to seasons, how to differentiate between stars and planets.
  • Steps to learn about night sky…
    • simply go out-side the home and find the open area from where you can observe the night sky clearly, If you are leaving in the light polluted area then probably you can see less stars than the darker skies.
Light polluted areas are not good for observation
Photo by Francois Le Nguyen on Unsplash
Dirk sky site where you can clearly see millions of stars
Photo by Jackson Hendry on Unsplash
  • Keep a star-chart, Red-light (NOTE: Don’t use the white lights or bright lights, It affects the star gazing view), and small pair of binocular like 7×50 or 10×50. For star chart you can download the software stellarium– it is one of the best and free software for PC and another one is sky-safari. There are lot’s of other softwares available but these are the best for beginner as well as advanced amateur astronomer.
Star chart is necessary if you are a beginner, this will really help you to find out the stars and constellations in the sky.
Image: Stellarium
  • After that try to locate the bright stars (For ex. Sirius, Vega, Canopus, Betelgeuse, Arcturus and many more), planets into the night sky, and learn which star comes under which constellations.
Jupiter is at the top, Venus at near to horizon and Saturn is in between them.

There are five planets that we can track with naked eyes are Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Mercury.

  • similarly, try to catch the shapes of bright constellations.
  • Note that how this stars and planets move in the night sky. Find, will you able to see all the stars and planets all day or they change their potitions day by day?
  • By doing this, you will get familiar with the night sky and astronomy and by the time you will know that you are really interested into the astronomy and want to explore more things like nebulas, galaxies and clusters.

After completing the first step, if you really want to go deep down and search for deep-sky objects like nebulas, galaxies, and clusters then you should think to buy the telescope.

Buy a good pair of binocular or Telescope

Now it’s time to buy a good pair of binocular to explore furthermore. Because observation of deep-sky objects requires a good pair of telescopes and dark clear skies.

For starting, a 6″ telescope will give you a fantastic view of planets and deep-sky objects. Higher the aperture the more light your telescope can gather and the more better view. But for beginning, a telescope between the range 4″ to 6″ will provide you a quite nice view of night sky objects.

You can go up to 8″, 12″ and higher to fulfill your enthusiasm towards astronomy.

At the time of learning, to know more about astronomy you can join the local astronomy club in your area or join the star-parties where people gather with their different equipment and talk to them, Amateur astronomers are really interested to share their knowledge and experience with you.

Or join the Astronomy forums to ask your query, I know one of them is TheSkySearchers.

Best Softwares for Beginners

  • Stellarium is the best and free pc software.
  • sky-safari is the best software for smartphone use. IT’s NOT FREE
  • Star chart app for smatphone designed by Escapist games limited.

Best books to read as Beginners

  • Nightwatch by terrence dikinson
  • Turn-left at orion

NOTE: There are other lots of good softwares and books are available but as a beginner, I’ll recommend this.

There are tons of information available on the internet, you can go as deep as you can into astronomy with the help of this information. But these are the basic steps you need to follow if you are a beginner and interested in astronomy. Hope this information will help you to start your journey towards astronomy.

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