Amateur Astronomy can be fun, educational, and very interesting. However, being a backyard stargazer is not all fun and games. There are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to be a successful amateur astronomer. Here we have gathered a few practical tips that you can put to good use if you want to start getting more familiar with the night sky. Hopefully, these will help you to enjoy your newfound hobby even more.
Invest in Books, Not a Telescope, First
Telescopes are expensive. And not all of them are prefect. Buy a stargazing book or two, first. After a few months, gauge your own interest. For some people it will still be there. For others, not so much. If you are still passionate about it after a month, then it’s time to go out into the field.
Find the Right Spot for Viewing
Next, you should look for a place where you can get a good view of the night sky. Avoid light pollution, if possible. For some living in the big city this might mean finding a spot outside of town. Country dwellers might want to look for a place free of trees that will obscure your view.
Get Yourself Some Binoculars
Again, telescopes are very expensive. Plus, they can be a pain to lug out of your home if it’s your first time out. Instead, get yourself a good pair of binoculars. If you have found a good spot you should be able to see quite a bit in the night sky with just these. Be sure to bring your star charts and books along, too! This is another test to see if it is really worth it to you to purchase a telescope. If, after a few months of regularly visiting your spot with your binoculars, you are still passionate, it is finally time to buy that telescope you have had your eye on.
If Purchasing a Telescope, Do Your Research
Before you go out and do anything too crazy, however, be sure to do your research on the various sorts of telescopes offered. What can each of them do? What would your dream telescope be able to do? Are they worth the asking price? Can you find reviews of them online? Be sure to find the best value for your telescope. Doing so can really change how you see and experience the night sky.
Join Fellow Amateur Astronomers
There are plenty of clubs out there for amateur astronomers from all walks of life. Most of these clubs can be joined for either a very small fee, or even for free. When you join fellow amateur astronomers, you can find other individuals who are just as passionate about their hobby as you are. You can exchange hints, tricks, and more. In some cases, you might even be able to figure out where the best stargazing spots in your area are. Some clubs have meet-ups, websites with online forums, and more.
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