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How to Start Backyard Astronomy

Buying a telescope can be a daunting task. This is because there are so many different models and types of telescopes, but knowing the basics will make you more likely to find something that’s right for your needs. What follows here should get you started in choosing which type of telescope might work best for your purposes; whether it’s making observations with friends or just looking up at the stars on clear nights.

For those interested in getting into astronomy as a hobby, there are many ways to start. Here is one way that will get you started on the right foot.

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How-to-Start-Backyard-Astronomy

It seems quite fascinating to be able to gaze up into the Sky at Night and detect patterns, individual stars and planets, and follow the moon phases. Humans have been fascinated by the Sky at Night for thousands of years, and if you, too, have been pulled to the vastness of space, you may be ready to begin backyard astronomy.

The Sky at Night is enormous, and there is a wealth of resources and knowledge to be found there. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to know where to begin with backyard astronomy. This essay will walk you through the fundamentals of becoming a backyard amateur astronomer.

Contents Table of Contents

 

  • Choose a Location
  • Get to Know Your Environment
  • Obtain a Map
  • Let’s begin with the Naked Eye.
  • Upgrade to Binoculars
  • Select a High-Quality Telescope
  • Locate a Community
  • Do your homework
  • Keep a journal
  • Wait patiently.

Choose a Location

You may be tempted to go out and get a telescope right now, but taking things slowly will give your new pastime a lot better chance of success. There are a few things you must accomplish first before investing on equipment, star guides, or any of the other things you are undoubtedly anxious to get to.

The absolute first step is to Choose a Location. Will you be doing your stargazing in the middle of the backyard, from the porch, or maybe even from the roof (be careful!)? Picking a single spot will allow you to track the movements of the Sky at Night better.

What, exactly, constitutes a good astronomy location? Here’s what you’re looking for from your selected stargazing spot:

  • Easily reachable
  • View that is unobstructed
  • Light pollution-free
  • There’s enough room to move about and adjust your perspective.

Depending on where you reside, finding a location that matches these criteria may be simple or difficult. Light pollution may be a serious issue if you live in a metropolis. You may locate places outside of the city to conduct your stargazing in certain situations, or you can concentrate on what you can see, such as the moon.

Explore your alternatives in your current location to locate the most perfect location to which you have access.

 

Get to Know Your Environment

It’s a good idea to orient yourself after you’ve chosen a site. Find out how far north, south, east, and west you are from your current location. This will make reading any maps or guides you pick up a lot simpler.

Obtain a Map

You may gaze into the Sky at Night for hours without knowing the names of any stars or how to locate the first constellation. If you want to be able to recognize what you’re looking at, you’ll need some assistance.

Fortunately, owing to cellphones, you have access to a wealth of free materials. You may download a variety of applications that will show you what you can see from your current position. They can identify constellations as well as specific stars and planets.

Here are several wonderful applications to try, but experiment to find one that works best for you. Both Apple and Android customers have a plethora of choices. You may want to acquire a few of them to receive all the resources and perks you desire.

  • SkyView Lite is a free version of SkyView.
  • Stellarium
  • SkySafari
  • Nasa App
  • Sky at Night

Let’s begin with the Naked Eye.

Now that you have a spot, know which way is which, and have a good guide to help you identify what you see, it is finally time to start looking at the Sky at Night! However, this does not mean that you should go buy a telescope now.

You should start your stargazing with nothing more than your own eyes. There are a lot of things you can see in the Sky at Night with the naked eye. You can learn to track the phases of the moon, identify constellations, and even spot some planets. Before you start delving into the deep reaches of space with upgraded equipment, see how much you can find with your eyes alone.  

Upgrade to Binoculars

When you’ve explored all you can with only your smartphone app and your eyes, it’s time to bring in some additional visual assistance: binoculars! While a telescope may seem to be the natural next step, binoculars are a preferable initial option for a variety of reasons.

Binoculars will give you a view that is more similar to what you see with the human eye than a telescope. Telescopes zoom in a lot, which means you are looking at a very tiny portion of the Sky at Night. Binoculars give you a wider view that is still much better than what you can see on your own.

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Furthermore, telescopes often reverse the perspective, so you’re looking at objects backwards or at an angle. Binoculars demand less technical knowledge and take less time to acclimate to. They’re a natural next step for an amateur astronomer, since they dramatically extend what you can see while also teaching you how to seek for things with equipment.  

Select a High-Quality Telescope

If you’ve persisted with your backyard astronomy through both the naked eye and binocular stages and still want more, a telescope can be worth the purchase.

Now is not the time to skimp. Do your homework and Select a High-Quality Telescope. You want the telescope to maneuver easily and give you a clear view, but there are other things you may want to consider such as portability and automatic settings. Some telescopes can find things for you in the Sky at Night, but this may stop you from learning to find things on your own.

There is a huge variety of telescopes available. You definitely want a good telescope (don’t pick one from a department store’s toy section), but you don’t need the greatest for your first telescope. Choose something that is dependable and that you believe you will be able to utilize efficiently.

Celestron, Orion, and Meade are three telescope brands that routinely rank among the finest. They all provide a large selection of models that are suitable for novices. Three examples of each are shown below, all of which are recommended for beginners.

 

Our Personal Favorite

70mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor by Celestron...

Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equ

Meade Instruments Star Pro AZ 70mm 234001...

 

70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor by Celestron…

Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equ

Meade Instruments Star Pro AZ 70mm 234001…

 

Get a Quote

Get a Quote

Get a Quote

Our Personal Favorite

 

70mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor by Celestron...

 

70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor by Celestron…

 

Get a Quote

 

Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equ

 

Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equ

 

Get a Quote

 

Meade Instruments Star Pro AZ 70mm 234001...

 

Meade Instruments Star Pro AZ 70mm 234001…

 

Get a Quote

Locate a Community

You can only learn so much on your own, and you are not the only person interested in the Sky at Night. Check into any local astronomy groups in your area. You can attend events, share your findings, and get tips and tricks from your fellow astronomers.

When you hit a snag, having a community to lean on is also crucial. You may have difficulties locating items, using your telescope, or just having general queries. When you need assistance troubleshooting, having the support of a community might help you stay motivated.

Do your homework

These next two tips aren’t vital, but they can take your backyard astronomy to the next level. If you want a real in-depth knowledge of astronomy beyond being able to identify objects in the Sky at Night, then some research is necessary. Your public library is a great place to start, and you can also reach out to other astronomers in your community for tips.

With a little study, you can get a lot more out of your backyard astronomy. It may help you figure out what to look for and why you’re seeing what you’re seeing.

Keep a journal

One fun part of astronomy is noticing how your Sky at Night changes. The constellations you can see in the summer differ from what you can see in the winter. Keeping a logbook is an excellent way to track what you can see. It can also be a way to monitor your progress. You will be amazed at how much more you can see as you practice and learn!

Wait patiently.

The final thing to remember when starting with backyard astronomy is to Wait patiently.. Finding stuff in the vast blackness of space is a tricky business. You will fail sometimes and have to learn from your mistakes.

You will be shocked at how much the sky has to offer if you are prepared to put in the effort! Check out our post for additional ideas for things you can do in your backyard! You may also be interested in our selection of the best Halloween decorations for the scary season. We also provide backyard games that are guaranteed to make any gathering more enjoyable!

 

The “astronomy basics beginners” is a great way to start your own backyard astronomy. It will teach you the basics of how to view stars, planets, and constellations.

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