So the question is: have you always been intrigued by the night sky or for that matter any sky? When you go to a planetarium, do you come away wishing it could go on forever? Those thoughts are from an avid enthusiast! As a child were all the books and articles on contents of the sky written just for you?
All in the Family
Now that you have your own family the thrill continues; your only son or daughter has stars in his/her eyes too! Your enthusiasm returns. Suddenly, the two of you find all kinds of excuses to look for a good pair of binoculars, go to planetariums, compare features of telescopes, find a perfect spot for sky watching, and Farmer’s Almanacs along with online resources to plan your schedules and watch times.
Astronomy or Fishing
Somewhat like fishing and a few other nature related pastimes, astronomy requires patience which in turn teaches humility. Learning to operate binoculars and telescopes, two tools of the trade, for accuracy and a clear picture takes practice. Such things as unpredictable cloud movements can be quite frustrating. One amateur expert discovered you need to remember to approach celestial objects with an attitude of cautious respect; after all you must go to them on their terms. Just pace yourself and determine to have fun.
One of the first things must be to take advantage of all the sky shows that come your way for observation with the unaided eye. In addition, a subscription for at least a couple of years of Sky and Telescope gives naked eye charts, and is grossly helpful for beginners; there are even free online sites whose information and maps point out extra maps. Of course, you will learn all the basic star names and patterns. Satisfaction will come even when you can glance up in the sky and note any of the heavenly bodies.
Sources and Resources
Devour all information you can find from your neighborhood library. Books, periodicals, and websites abound at these gold mines! Books offer less chaotic organization for beginners than websites many times, and can provide general basic information as well as unique facts not found in other locations. Although you may feel more comfortable with online resources, refrain from turning up your nose at valuable hard copies.
Tools of Your New Trade
While you eventually want to purchase an outstanding telescope with all the necessary bells and whistles, begin with dependable binoculars. They give a wide field of view, are easy to handle which makes it less cumbersome to find your way around the sky. And binoculars present a right-side-up picture directly in front of you. They are also a less expensive way to start out restoring your past one, or starting your new hobby.
Regardless of the instrument you have, I am sure you will delight in whatever you observe. The more you look and examine, the more intrigued you will become of the night sky. Take your time and soak in the mysterious beauty of this amazing universe. Just think, one day your own beginners’ guide to the stars may be a must-have for star gazers!